When is the last time you got out for a road trip? Hitting the open road to find an adventure is good for the spirit and an easy, cost effective way to have an exciting getaway that doesn’t require hours and hours of booking and planning and price-checking flights and hotels. However, road trips come with their own particular sets of challenges and potential issues, so even if you’re inspired to take a spur of the moment trip, spend a little time beforehand to make sure you have a safe, enjoyable trip that won’t get spoiled by any unexpected problems that might come up.
- Clean out your car
The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you start your trip out without any excess clutter or junk in your car. Empty out the trunk, remove any accumulated garbage, and give at least the windows and headlights a good washing. You’ll have more room for your bags and any souvenirs you pick up on your trip, and the car will be much more pleasant to ride in for you and your passengers.
- Get the green light from your mechanic
Find a good auto mechanic and take your car in to get checked up, have the tires properly inflated, and see that your fluids are topped off. If your car needs any parts replaced or has any mechanical problems that might come up soon, you’re much better off finding out before you start your trip, instead of when you’re flying down a rural highway in the middle of nowhere.
- Know who to call for help
Even a car that passes inspection with flying colors can suffer a flat tire or other unanticipated problems, so try to make sure you’ve got someone to call in the event of a breakdown. Your auto insurance company might already be providing you with roadside assistance, so find out if that’s the case and have their number handy. If they don’t, you might want to look into joining an auto club like AAA to help you out with things like dead batteries and flat tires.
- Find more than one way to get where you’re going
Exploring back roads and out of the way places is part of what makes road trips so memorable, but make sure to look ahead on your map and figure out how to get back to familiar territory from wherever you’re headed. Having alternate routes figured out ahead of time can keep you from getting lost.
- Keep your passengers comfortable
Make sure your passengers, especially younger ones, have food, water, music, and entertainment to keep them occupied during the long hours on the road. Creature comforts means everybody will get along better and there’ll be fewer distractions for the driver, but don’t hesitate to take pit stops when people need them.
A bit of forethought can go a long way when it comes to ensuring that a road trip goes well for everyone involved, so don’t forget to cover the basics before you hit the road.