Nothing says summer vacation like the traditional road trip. Millions of people will be heading out on the road during the next few months, and if you are one of them, it is important to make sure that you are ready for a long trip. It is certainly enjoyable to be spontaneous and get off the beaten path, but like any kind of travel, road trips take preparation. Many people forget the planning step only to be frustrated by inclement weather, full motels, broken down vehicles, and extravagant gas prices.
One of the most important steps in making sure that you are road trip ready is to get your vehicle serviced. Becoming stranded on the side of the road is a definite way to ruin a good time, although it might turn into a great story later on! You can get your car, truck, or SUV looked over by a certified mechanic. If you’re doing it yourself, be sure to check the following:
Tires – Look for any wear to damage to the tires and make sure they are properly inflated.
Fluids – Check the oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and wiper fluid.
Brakes – Test your breaks for any vibrations or grinding noises. If they are, have the breaks checked.
Belts/Hoses – With the vehicle turned off, inspect these for cracks or wear. Be sure to check the hoses going into the radiator.
Batteries – Check the battery terminals for wear and consider taking the vehicle to a service center to have the battery tested.
Wipers – Consider replacing your wiper blades before a long trip.
Emergency Kit – Make room in your trunk for an emergency automobile kit. These kits have essential items for road trip emergencies including work gloves, jumper cables, tow ropes, first aid kit, and a multi-tool. Always have a spare tire ready.
Although budgeting for a road trip doesn’t sound like much fun, it is an essential part of good preparation. Estimate expenses for each day you will be on the road adding in how much you and your family might spend on food, gas, lodging, sightseeing, and souvenirs. It is a good idea to overestimate your budget just in case and have cash on hand if you encounter places that do not take credit cards.
In addition, getting ready for a road trip means knowing how to pack wisely and include items to keep yourself and young children entertained in the car. Important items to remember include music, maps, toys, and travel-sized games. When traveling by road, it helps to have an idea of what the weather will be like at your destination and take an extra layer of clothing. Moreover, there are a variety of handy smartphone apps to help you plan your trip, discover the best gas prices, find places to sleep and eat, and locate a wide variety of attractions to see.
Even though some of the most memorable road trips involve some degree of spontaneity, don’t forget to plan ahead. Make sure that you are road trip ready for the summer travel season.
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