Road trips are a great way to explore the country to discover special places you can call your own. However, a successful road trip involves proper preparation, especially if you’re traveling with children or animals.
Here are a few road trip preparation tips that will make your adventure more enjoyable, affordable, and worry-free.
Proper Insurance & Paperwork
Many people buy minimum coverage on their vehicles and this isn’t usually sufficient. Whether you’re driving your car or a recreational vehicle, check with your insurance agent or broker to ensure you’re protected.
No one plans an accident, but when they occur they can have devastating consequences. You’ll want to review your bodily injury, property damage and uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, at the very least.
Have your current license, registration, and insurance documents with you and take care of any unpaid traffic or parking tickets before you head out onto the open road.
Unless you’re a very hardy soul, you’ll probably want a plan. If you’re on a budget or under a time constraint, you’ll definitely want one.
Most times, a general plan is superior to a rigid one. Part of the fun of road trips is that you can veer off course and uncover something amazing. The best-laid plans usually have some change anyway. Your hotel reservation might not exist when you arrive, or you might want to spend an additional night when you find a special spot.
Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination and focus on avoiding hot spots. Listen to local stations for traffic updates such as road closures and traffic jams.
Plan What Is Important – Wing the Rest
We live in an electronic world and many apps and websites exist that can help you plan aspects of your trip. For instance, if fuel economy is very important to you because you’re driving a gas guzzling RV, try GasBuddy to pinpoint the cheapest gas on your route. You can even calculate the total cost of your trip.
If you’re interested in attractions, classic routes, natural wonders, and really odd things to see, check out RoadTrippers. They offer U.S. information on their website and via their app.
Check out the weather before and during your trip too. Weather Underground offers mobile and website weather information and access to activities you might want to explore on the way. If you’re a foodie, you can even use TVFoodMaps to visit the restaurants featured in over 30 TV shows.
The point is, you can get totally carried away with planning and forget to have fun. Plan the important aspects of your trip, and fill in the rest on the go.
Prepare Your Vehicle
Before you hit the road, get a vehicle inspection. Ensure your vehicle’s tires, brakes, fluids, and filters are in tip-top shape. Check your spare tire and store an emergency road kit in your vehicle. Many people choose to join a roadside assistance service. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere, it will save you plenty of hassle.
Pack Light – Pack Right
When you’re traveling, less is more. If you load your vehicle down too much, you’ll get horrible mileage. Don’t pack too many clothes – you can always wash them on the road. When possible, use small containers instead of full bottles for items such as shampoo and lotions. They last longer than you think and you can always buy a bit if you need it on the way.
If you rent a vehicle, ensure you have the technology you need to connect, such as a cigarette charger or a USB port. You’ll also want to load your device with music or download streaming apps like Spotify or Pandora. You might want to save a few playlists too.
If your vehicle doesn’t have GPS, you might want to buy one rather than using your phone. GPS kills your battery quickly and it isn’t always convenient to recharge.
Follow these road trip preparation tips and you’ll stay safe, have fun, and discover interesting places too. With proper insurance, paperwork, safety equipment, and entertainment on board you’re more likely to make happy memories.