Planning the to hit the open road this summer? Here are some tips to help you prepare for the ultimate road trip.
With summer right around the corner, everyone is itching to travel or indulge in a spontaneous weekend with summer’s most famous activity: a road trip! Yes, you could book plane tickets for a tropical destination or retreat indoors to bask in some refreshing air-conditioning – but they don’t compare to the liberating feeling of the wind in your hair or driving next to the setting sun.
If you wanted to hit the open road and make this a summer to remember, you should first dedicate time to preparing your car for an extensive road trip. Regardless of whether or not you’re driving a newer model, every car needs to be treated the same before you drive it around for thousands of miles.
These are the six best ways to prepare for an extensive road trip:
1. Clean out your car
First and foremost, you should keep your vehicle tidy from the dashboard to the trunk to everywhere in between. Driving in a car that hasn’t been vacuumed or has trash piling up on the floor is not a pleasant experience – nor will it ever be. Therefore, carve out some time to clean both the interior and exterior of your car a few days before you leave. Aside from making you feel like you’re practically driving a brand-new vehicle, keeping a car clean actually prevents premature damage on its paint job and maintains a high resale value.
2. Take it into the auto-shop for a check-up
Whatever you do, never leave for a road trip before taking your car to the auto-shop. Get everything checked out: brakes, lights, engine, cooling system, etc. These elements not only keep your car alive and functioning, they also help maintain your safety which should always be your number one priority. Trust your auto-technician when they say a component is malfunctioning or something needs to be replaced.
3. Pack ahead of time
You know what’s worse than packing last-minute for a road trip? Forgetting to pack something all-together. This nightmare of a situation is enough to make anyone shudder. To avoid that outcome, create an organized list of everything you need to bring on the trip. Also, consider the passengers of your vehicle. Do they need any accommodations that need to be taken care of ahead of time? When you have an organized list of your belongings, you can pack according to this list knowing that you won’t leave anything behind.
There’s nothing quite so liberating as hitting the open road!
4. Put together an emergency kit
Unfortunately, accidents or unforeseen circumstances happen, so it’s best to have an emergency kit that caters to them. As the adage goes, it’s better safe than sorry. Aside from medical supplies, pack an extra change of clothes that are suitable for any type of weather, a flashlight, jumper cables and anything that indicate you may need help on the road, such as a flare or triangle reflector. The last thing you want to experience is a situation that you are not at all prepared to handle.
5. Familiarize yourself with the route and directions
Nowadays, technology can direct us anywhere we want with the simple swipe of a finger. However, it’s important that you still familiarize yourself with your routes ahead of time. Highlight your directions on a paper map and analyze the area to see if there are any alternate routes to your destination. This way, you can react calmly if you miss a turn or find yourself suddenly lost in the middle of nowhere. When getting lost on the road is the least of your problems, it feels like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
6. Learn how to perform basic tasks on your vehicle
While it’s ideal to leave all types of vehicle work to a professional, unfortunately, you won’t have one on call if you suffer a flat tire on the side of a highway. Learn how to perform basic tasks on your vehicle such as changing a spare tire, checking the oil in the engine and properly examining radiator fluid. These basics can make a huge difference in the performance of your car altogether.