The Great American Road Trip: This quintessential part of the American spirit is more alive than ever, with families, couples, and solo travelers driving across the country in search of adventure, exploration, and entertainment. Whether this is your first road trip or your 20th, it pays to get a few things in order before pushing that gas pedal.
Take Care of Your Vehicle Inside and Out
Your vehicle is an essential part of any road trip. Where would you be without it? Even if your car is relatively new, take the time to get it checked out. Many mechanics and tire shops will give you a free pre-road trip inspection to look for anything that may go amiss. Be sure to have them check your tires, brakes, fluids, and spare tire. A little car care before your trip will reduce the risk of having a breakdown on a remote stretch of Route 66. For a bit of extra protection, invest in a roadside assistance plan.
After your vehicle receives a clean bill of health, take the time to give it a good clean inside and out. This will not only give you a fresh start but will also protect the finish from damage.
Packing for a road trip isn’t the same as packing for a flight. In addition to packing more on a road trip, you can bring along as much liquid as you choose! For ease of travel, pack in a number of small bags instead of in one large bag. This will make it easier to choose only what you need to bring into your lodgings for the night. Pack like items with like items. For example, pack all toiletries in one bag, shoes in another, and clothing in a third. Bring along a computer bag for your electronics and charging cords. Don’t go crazy with the number of bags, but put together what makes sense for ease of access as you travel.
Consider where you will store different items within your car for safety purposes. You’ll want your electronics to be in a dark, cool place, and any other valuables to be out of sight to a passerby. It’s best if you can store all luggage out of sight, so potential thieves don’t know you are traveling.
Prepare for Emergencies
Having a roadside assistance plan is great protection for your car, but what about you? Medical emergencies can happen on the road, whether it’s something as serious as a car accident or as uncomfortable as the flu. Do your research ahead of time to know what medical coverage is available to you as you travel. Does your insurance cover out-of-state medical care? If you have Medicare, consider investing in Medicare supplemental insurance, which allows you to see any doctors in the United States who accept Medicare.
In addition to confirming you have medical coverage on the road, be sure to share your route with a friend or family member, and check in regularly. Having someone know where you are is helpful in times of emergency and natural disaster. Plus, you can tell them all about your adventures as you go.
Don’t Forget the Snacks and Entertainment
Part of the fun of road trips is driving for miles and miles out on the open road. Sometimes, though, the open road can get a little bit tiring. Break up the trip by making stops between destinations, and by bringing along plenty of entertainment and snacks.
For entertainment, pre-load music, podcasts, and audiobooks onto your phone or tablet. Don’t be stuck without something to listen to when the cell service is spotty! Also be sure to pack plentiful amounts of your favorite healthy (and not-so-healthy) snacks. There’s nothing that can spoil a road trip faster than being hungry far from a town or rest stop. Plus, by bringing your own snacks, you are sure to have items you enjoy eating.
The memories you make on a cross-country road trip can last a lifetime. By utilizing these four tips, you will be prepared and ready for that cross-country road trip of your dreams.
How about you? Do you have additional tips for preparing for a cross country road trip? Do tell!