Planning an epic road trip that will take you and your friends and family across the country? Many people spend months, even years, planning their road trip, while others prefer to fly by the seat of their pants, leaving everything up to chance. However, when it comes to making sure you have everything you need to avoid emergencies, stay safe, and enjoy yourself, a little planning goes a long way. Here are some of the things you should think about prior to packing up the car and hitting the open road.
Keep it clean
Before we go any further on this list, think about the current state of the car you'll be using for your road trip. How clean is the interior? If you're going to be spending hours on end cooped up in this vehicle as you drive from checkpoint to checkpoint on your journey, you and your travel mates probably won't enjoy being in a car that is littered with assorted food wrappers, junk mail, soda cans, and miscellaneous items from your closet. By making sure your car is clean, tidy, uncluttered, and good-smelling, you can ensure a more comfortable trip for both you and your passengers. Pro tip: keep empty trash bags with you to give your road trip buddies a convenient place to stash their snack trash until you get to the next garbage can.
Are you covered?
Even if your car is relatively new and in the best of health, there's always a chance something could go wrong when you're driving for miles and miles each day. Minor issues like flat tires and batteries in need of a jumpstart can cause a mild annoyance and derail your travels for a couple of hours- not to mention the catastrophe you could be facing if anything major breaks down and leaves you stranded hundreds of miles from home. By signing up for extended auto warranty, you can save yourself a world of trouble and have peace of mind that help is just a phone call away. Pro tip: look into an extended auto warranty before hitting the road.
Most used car buyers search for "extended auto warranties". Extended warranties are actually either Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (in California) or a Vehicle Service contract (in the rest of the USA). According to Olive, coverage can happen as quickly as tomorrow.
Get a check-up
Speaking of auto repairs, it's always a good idea to visit your local auto repair center for scheduled routine maintenance before you hit the road. Your auto technician will change your vehicle's oil, rotate the tires, check fluid levels and more to ensure that your car has a clean bill of health before the start of your road trip. Not getting your car checked out before embarking on your adventure could spell trouble for you and your passengers, so it's good to be prepared. Pro tip: make your auto check-up appointment for at least a week before your trip is scheduled to begin. That way if the mechanic uncovers an underlying issue, there's time to get it fixed without wrecking your itinerary!
Keep a loose plan
We know, we know- half of the fun of a road trip is the spontaneity! We're all for a little unexpected side trip to see the world's largest waffle, but it's not a bad idea to have at least a loose itinerary planned. It's important to anticipate trouble spots and plan to hit them at a time when traffic is likely to be on the lighter side. It's also good to have a rough plan sketched out so you don't make it to a destination that you've been dying to see just as they're closing it up for the night! Pro tip: sit down with your friends and a good old-fashioned paper map of the country a week or so before embarking on your trip, and plan out your basic route based on what you want to accomplish most on your journey. Not only will this map serve as a rough idea of where you're headed, but it will also be an awesome post-trip keepsake of your memorable adventure!
Plan some entertainment
No matter how much you and your travel companions love driving, and how well you all get along, sooner or later there's going to be a point in your journey when things get downright boring. By thinking ahead and bringing some good road trip entertainment, such as a custom-crafted playlist you've put together or a fun trivia game you can play without taking your eyes off the road, you can make sure everyone stays engaged and happy throughout the trip, which can help you avoid any on-the-road squabbles. If you are a parent, be sure to think about packing fun things for the kids to do while they're in the backseat. (And if all else fails, there's always "Slug Bug!") Pro tip: Earbuds are everybody's friend. Make sure to bring along a few extra pairs of earbuds or headphones for any road trip buddy who forgot to pack theirs. This is an especially important tip for moms and dads of young passengers- you'll thank us later when you don't have to spend the entirety of your journey listening to "Baby Shark."
No matter where your road trip takes you this summer, we hope you have a vacation you will always remember! By taking a few safety precautions, planning ahead, and being prepared for anything you may encounter, you'll be on the road to the best time ever!