The first key to any successful road trip is planning. While simply piling into the car and setting out on the road can seem fun and spontaneous, you will be regretting your decision within a few hours. One wrong turn can leave you lost for hours, and not knowing where the next gas station lies can make for a stressful journey. Add to that the threat of breaking down, and fun will be the last thing on your mind.
It is crucial that your car be in good working order before you set out on a road trip. Try to schedule complete tune up prior to your trip, making sure the oil has been changed and tires, breaks, wipers, air conditioner, heater, battery and fluid levels are all in good shape. Breaking down on the road can be an expensive detour. It is also a good idea to put together an emergency kit, just in case. Make sure to include a first aid kit, flat tire tools, jumper cables, and at least a gallon of drinking water – more if you will be traveling through a desert or during hot summer weather.
Once you have your car ready to go, it’s time to start actually planning the trip. Make sure you have maps of all the areas you plan on travelling through, even if you have a smart phone or GPS. These devices are not 100 percent error proof, and are completely useless if the battery dies or it loses its signal. Paper maps or an atlas can ensure you never lose your way. Find out the gas mileage of your car, and use that to include gas stops on your journey. You can also locate convenient rest areas where you can stretch your legs use the bathroom.
If you are travelling by car, it is important to pack light. The more people coming along on the trip, the less space there will be for luggage, so keep that in mind when it comes time to pack. Pick outfits that can be mixed and matched, and consider bringing a portable washer or change for a laundromat. If you have the ability to wash your clothing, you can bring along fewer outfits. Make sure that there are plenty of snacks and drinks as well, as buying them on the road can be much more expensive.
With the right planning and a little preparation, a road trip is a great way to enjoy a vacation without breaking the bank. You will also enjoy getting to see new areas meet people you would never see by simply flying past.