Road trips are either excellent adventures or white-knuckled, teeth-gritting misery. There isn’t much in between. With a bit of preparation, common sense, and a good attitude, you can stack the deck in your favor.
It’s all in the planning
Get your vehicle ready. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. You don’t want to deal with the hassle and extra expense of a preventable mechanical breakdown when you’re hundreds or thousands of miles from home. Check the following to see if they should be changed, flushed, or refilled:
- Oil and air filters
- Spare tire
- Spark plugs
- Tire air pressure and tread depth
- Wiper fluid
Plan well. Ensuring a good trip means more than mechanical preparation.
- Plan how many miles you plan to drive each day. Don’t overextend so you are too tired to enjoy your trip.
- Know where you plan to spend each night. Trying to find a place to stay at the last minute can be a stressful crapshoot.
- Keep some nonperishable food, such as granola bars, on hand. Nothing sours a trip faster than being “hangry.”
- Have in-car entertainment for the long, boring stretches that don’t offer much to see or do. Audio books, music, and podcasts can be lifesavers after several days of poor weather or monotonous landscapes. Just make sure you download the files ahead of time in case you are out of cell range.
- Have your vehicle’s maintenance manual handy in case you need emergency repairs. The mechanic you find may not be familiar with your car’s make and model.
- Don’t depend on an app for directions if you’ll be driving in remote or sparsely populated areas. Get maps and place them where you can find them easily.
- Put a spare car key in your wallet.
- Include sun reflectors for windows and windshields.
- Place a vehicle fire extinguisher in an easily accessible place.
- Make sure you keep a good supply of drinking water – including enough for any pets you take along – in the vehicle. Include a funnel for refills from larger containers.
- Pack a few bags for trash or to store wet items.
- Don’t forget a roll of paper towels and wet wipes.
- Include chargers for phones, cameras, tablets, laptops, etc.
Be fuel savvy. On-roof storage is really handy, especially if you have a crowded car. But there’s a cost for that convenience – it affects the aerodynamics of the vehicle and the added air friction diminishes your fuel economy. When you also factor in the additional weight of the items you packed, you may use much more gas than usual, so make sure your fuel budget reflects a reduced miles-per-gallon estimate. Make sure you also plan to refill more often than usual and have a good idea where gas stations are if you are driving off the beaten path.
Enjoy your trip!
Our Risk Coaches™ are licensed insurance professionals who are trained to look at coverage from your perspective. They’re glad to help you navigate the often-perplexing world of insurance coverage. Contact your local Risk Coach professional or call us at 800.342.5342, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.