Nothing is worse than getting halfway to your destination and realizing that you forgot an essential item that you meant to take with you on your trip. Whether you are traveling across the country or locally, prepare thoroughly. The following seven steps will help you find your destination safely and with everything you need.
Preparing Your Vehicle
The first step you should take before any long summer road trip is to make sure your vehicle is in safe working order. Key to ensuring that you get good mileage out of your vehicle is doing a full tune-up, including checking oil levels, brakes, tire tread, and gas and fluid levels.
Hot summer temperatures can put a lot of stress on vehicles. It is strongly recommended that you take your vehicle in for a full service oil change. While there, mention any areas of concern and, if needed, get necessary repairs made.
Planning a Route
Many smartphone apps that can assist in providing directions to your location, but it is helpful to printouts of directions in the event that you get lost or you lose phone service. Planning your route in advance might also alert you to interesting places that you may want to visit along the route. Remember, the destination is only part of the journey!
Before you embark on your trip, make sure you research bank locations, local currencies, and payment options. Credit cards are accepted most places, but it may be worth traveling with traveler’s checks and some cash, especially in the event you run into unexpected difficulties using your card.
Organizing Items to be Transported
Make an itemized list of everything you plan on taking on your trip. Try to be as thorough as possible when planning and account for all necessary items including clothing, luggage, toiletries and sunscreen. Do some research about the location to which you are traveling. What will the weather be like? Should you bring a sweatshirt or a rain jacket in the case of unpredictable weather? As you begin packing, check items off the list.
Loading the Vehicle
Make sure you pack carefully when loading your vehicle. Heavier and sturdier items should go on the bottom and should be secure. Lighter and more fragile items that you might need to access at some point should be packed last. If you are towing a camper, make sure the load is evenly balanced to offset the possibilities of trailer sway.
Packing Road Trip Supplies
If you are taking kids with you on an extended journey, you will want to pack some forms of entertainment, snacks and emergency medical supplies. Supplies will help keep passengers busy, hopefully reducing the number of times you hear “Are we there yet?”
Getting Adequate Rest
Make sure you get sufficient sleep leading up to a big trip. Driving on little sleep is a hazard. In the nights leading up to your trip, make sure to spend time getting good quality sleep. If you plan on leaving early in the morning, you might consider getting to bed earlier the night before. These steps, as well as structuring rest into the trip itself, will help to guarantee your safety as you head out on the open road.