Whether you are a college student or retired, we have all had spontaneous desires to jump in the car for a road trip. But you might want to put on the brakes before you leave the driveway to prepare yourself and make your road trip worthwhile.
The most important thing to do before leaving is to look at maps and to plan your route. Check out maps and directions online, and research any construction that may get in your way. From these, make estimates of travel times so you can have an idea of when you will need to stop for rest and meals. Additionally, you will know when to avoid traveling through major cities during rush hour.
In terms of car maintenance, there are several things you will want to check out. Get a full service oil change, which will include a check of the filters, belts, fluid levels, etc. Check the condition of your wiper blades along with the operation of turn signals, brake lights, and high/low beams. Depending on the time of year and your route, you may need weather-oriented products such as anti-freeze and an ice scraper and examine the treads on your tires.
Pack an emergency kit including motion sickness medication, bottled water, emergency flashers, jumper cables, etc. Remove any items from your car that you will not need on your trip.
Check plates, registration, and insurance information to make sure they are all valid. Also, insure that all drivers in your party are licensed and insured on the policy. Be sure to place your insurance company’s emergency contact number in your car. Fill the car with gas before you pack the car so all the fumes won’t bother passengers.
To make the trip enjoyable for everyone try some of the following ideas…
- Buy some new music or interesting audio books to listen to while on the trip.
- If your music interests are vastly different than your children’s, you might consider getting them a portable CD or tape player and bring lots of batteries. But, agree in advance about its usage times.
- Bring along games or toys to help shorten the ride. Avoid items with lots of small pieces. You might also consider small prizes or presents at regular intervals along the trip. New toys often receive the most interest and will help keep your child occupied.
- If your children are old enough, give them a map of their own. Have them keep track of your progress by making them the navigator.