With the wind in your hair and loved ones by your side, a summer road trip can be a delightful breeze. On the other hand, if you forget the crucial planning stage, you might find yourself broken down on the side of the road wishing you had just booked a cruise. The following are a few tips to ensure you have a memorable trip of the positive variety.
1. Bring a map
Even if you have a GPS system and several smart phones on board, it still doesn’t hurt to have a real live paper map for your voyage. You never know when electronics will fail you due to a lack of reception. With a paper map, you can also see all of the alternate routes that your other devices might not show you.
2. Have your car checked before you leave
Your car is going to be where you spend the majority of your time, so you’ll want to make sure it’s up to speed. Have your oil levels checked and windshield fluid filled before you go. It’s also a good idea to check the tire pressure and make sure you have emergency equipment such as jumper cables or flares in your car.
3. Make sure your insurance is up to date
Whether you’re renting or driving your own car on your fantastic voyage, you’ll want to check whether or not you have adequate car breakdown cover should anything go wrong. The last thing you want is to find yourself stranded in a small-town mechanic’s shop without enough coverage to pay for repairs. You can compare car insurance quotes online before you leave to get a good deal.
4. Bring along your own tunes
Part of the fun of driving is singing in the car, and matching your music with the scenery. You don’t want to leave it up to the chance of listening to the radio, or you’ll end up with periods of static in more remote locations. You can burn your own road trip mixes on CD’s, or hook up your mp3 player to the car’s sound system.
5. Stock up on snacks
Stocking a cooler with your own snacks will keep your energy levels up in between meals, and can save you time and money to boot. Rather than paying for a restaurant meal three times a day or living on junk food, you can have picnics with your own customized sandwiches.
6. Give yourself enough time for spontaneous stops
Keeping a loose itinerary can help you make hotel reservations for overnight stops and avoid killing too much time. Yet you want to give yourself enough spare time that you can comfortably stop at the kitschy roadside attractions and diners that make road tripping so much fun.
7. Have a back-up plan
Cars break down, roads close, and a sunny day can turn stormy rather suddenly. When things don’t work out the way you think they will, it’s helpful if you have a back-up plan prepared, whether it’s an alternate route or a secondary hotel to stay in. Keeping your itinerary flexible will save you stress in the long run.