Planning a summer road trip this year? Do movies like RV and Family Vacation not scare you from the adventures that could await you on your cross country trek? Before you go, make sure you check off these top 23 travel tips.
- Look at maps and plan your route. There are many great online maps that do a HYBRID map view showing real streets and routes with satalite images. Knowing the location, and how it looks, by viewing it from space is both cool and very helpful, so you won’t get lost.
- Research the roads you’ll take. You’ll especially want to know if you’ll be traveling through areas of major road construction. The maps mentioned above are a little dated. Some new roads and maps will not have current, realtime data, bring physical maps, like ones you could buy from AAA along.
- Make estimates of travel times along the route, so you’ll have an idea when you’ll be at certain points on your trip. This will help you to plan rest and meal stops. It will also help you plan to avoid traveling through a major city or area of road construction during rush hour.
- Get the car checked, especially the filters, belts, fluid levels and have the oil changed. Don’t wait until the last minute, it may take time to get an appointment and parts may need to be ordered. You also want some time to drive around town and make sure that whatever they fixed stays fixed. If you vehicle is ‘mission critical’ and could die at any moment, DON’T take it with you, borrow a friends car instead.
- Check the condition of your wiper blades, both front and back windows.
- Check the operation of your turn signals, brake lights as well as the high and low beams. Bring some extra fuses along.
- Examine the tread on your tires. Consider mountain driving in winter conditinos on snowy peaks. Make sure you have chains or 4×4 traction for icey roads, out of season. Or try a different route.
- Make sure your car is prepared for the weather it will encounter on your trip. You might need more antifreeze or need to recharged air-conditioning when you go through the desert.
- Today, many cars have fancy wheels instead of hubcaps. These wheels usually have a lock to prevent them from being stolen. If you have a car with wheel locks, make sure you know where the key is stored (often with the jack). Otherwise, a flat tire will become a major problem since you won’t be able to get the wheel off the car.
- Get your car cleaned. You’ll feel better in a clean car.
- Pack an emergency kit in your car. Include motion sickness medication if anyone in your group suffers from it. Remove any items from the car that you won’t need on your trip. Bring some blankets.
- Prepare some on road entertainment for your trip. Include games and CDs of music and/or audio books. Portable DVD players are really inexpensive and help pass the time in dead spots where where is nothing new to see.
- Check your plates, registration and insurance information to make sure they are all valid. Be sure to place your insurance company’s emergency contact number in your car.
- Check with all the drivers in your party to make sure their driver’s licenses haven’t expired.
- Check your insurance for expiration dates and coverage for your automobile.
- Arrange for someone to start your other car, if you leave one home, during very cold or very hot weather.
- Fill the car with gas before you pack the car so all the fumes won’t bother your passengers. Check the fluid levels and tire pressure, your tire pressure will affect the ride and gas mileage you get on your trip.
- Pack the car inside the garage, with the door down, so people driving by won’t find out you’re leaving.
Overall, enjoy the road trip. It’s not going to be as crazy as Clark W Grizwold’s family vacation experiences, and if it is, make sure you video it and put it up on You Tube!