Summer is in full force, and for many that means it’s time to pack up the car and head out on a road trip adventure. Whether you’re planning to travel with a friend, by yourself or with the whole family, here are a few things to keep in mind so you can ensure your trip is remembered for all the right reasons.
Prepare Your Car
Before you start organizing your suitcases in the back of the car, it’s important to do a quick inspection of your vehicle. To avoid ending up stranded on the side of the road, Woman’s Day.com recommends you take a close look at things like transmission fluid, windshield washer fluid, engine coolant and oil. Are you due for a change? Are your fluids topped off? Also, inspect your hoses and belts for any bulges, blisters or cracks. Replace any necessary parts, and consider buying replacement belts and a hose-patch kit for peace of mind along the way.
Woman’s Day also recommends that you inspect your car’s brakes, battery and tires for any signs of concern. Ensure your tire pressure matches the recommendation in your vehicle’s manual. Take the car out for a drive and listen carefully for any strange sounds or noticeable issues, such as burned out lights. Addressing these concerns before you head out could save you from a very large headache when you’re supposed to be having the time of your life.
Map It Out
While there’s a certain allure to just jumping in your car and driving without a thought as to where you’ll go or what you’ll encounter, it’s not a bad idea to plot out a general idea of your destination. Smartphones make navigating your adventure a whole lot easier these days, but, according to HowStuffWorks.com, it’s also a good idea to have maps on hand, too, in case you run into any unexpected issues.
Bring the Necessities
When it comes to packing for your road trip, be sure to include things that will help you in the event of a mishap, such as a breakdown or flat tire. ConsumerReports.org provides a list of things you’ll want on hand should you find yourself in an emergency, including (but not limited to):
- Cell phone
- Multi-tip screwdriver
- First-aid kit
- Tire pressure gauge
- Flashlight (with extra batteries)
- Jack and lug wrench
- Spare fuses
- Jumper cables (or a battery booster)
If you’re planning a long-distance trip, consider adding a set of basic tools, water and non-perishable foods, a CB radio and a GPS navigation system to your list.
Fill Your Tank the Smart Way
Gas can be a pretty hefty expense as you rack up the miles on your road trip, but, with a little planning, you can minimize those costs. Online resources, like FuelEconomy.gov and GasBuddy.com, allow you to calculate your fuel costs based on your car’s make and model and the distance you plan to travel, so you can budget and plan accordingly. Gas Buddy also has a free app that helps you find cheap gas while you’re on the go, or you can download apps like SmartFuel and Fuel Finder, which claim to have accurate and up-to-date pricing.
Taking a summer road trip can be an exhilarating experience chock full of stories to share for years to come. A carefully planned trip helps you make great memories without breaking the bank on repairs along the way.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share on preparing for a summer road trip? Let us know in the comments below!