After the past year, we’re all feeling the need to get out to escape the confines of our homes and see what’s going on in other parts of the world. When the weather is warm and the sun is shining, nothing meets the need for fun, travel, and new experiences better than a road trip. In case you’re feeling the need to bug out but think your traveling skills are a little rusty, here are a few helpful and important tips on how to prepare for a summer road trip.
Get a Tune-Up and a Check-Up for the Car
You won’t get far unless you have a worthy vehicle. Even if you’re not due for an inspection, bring the car in and let the mechanic have a look. Your service provider should check and rotate the tires, ensuring all five (don’t forget the spare!) are properly inflated and free from defects. Before a long-distance trip, especially in the hotter months, check and change the oil and assorted filters. A tune-up will keep things humming along, while giving the mechanic or technician a chance to see what might need to be repaired or replaced.
Pack With Efficiency and Preparation in Mind
You don’t need to bring everything on a road trip. Pack light, because extra weight puts stress on your car, making it waste fuel, burn oil, and generally slow you down. Bring the bare minimum of clothing, your itinerary, maps, a travel kit, a first aid kit, your phone and camera, a water bottle, a travel pillow and blanket, a book, and some pens and a notebook for journaling. Add what you think you’ll need for comfort, but really, minimalist is the way to go. You’ll pick up supplies and souvenirs along the way, so leave room for the trip back.
Be Ready for Whatever the Road Throws at You
You’ll already have your accommodations lined up and noted rest stops along the way (right?). But what about the road’s X factors? Fortunately, while you never know what will happen, a few things can happen to your car that you can be ready to tackle. Pack a car emergency kit in your trunk. At minimum, this should contain tire sealant, a tire jack and lug wrench, a flashlight, batteries, road flares or signals, jumper cables, a utility tool, and an empty gas can and full water jug. Oh, and if you don’t know how to change a flat tire, practice before you leave!
When considering how to prepare for a summer road trip, don’t forget your dining options. Part of the fun of a highway journey is enjoying the simple, homespun pleasures of road food. That said, don’t forget to eat smart along the way. Pack a cooler filled with ice water and treats like fresh and dried fruit, crispy veggies like baby carrots and celery, nuts and seeds, and other healthy snacks. A balanced diet and a settled stomach are better companions on the road!