Keep a Running Checklist of Things to Pack
Inevitably something will get left behind, it’s the nature of a road trip. But keeping a simple checklist on your phone of things to bring is key to keeping stress levels down and from wasting money on forgotten items at your destination. Just don’t pack too heavily, or you’ll have no room for souvenirs.
Heading to the beach? Did you remember the umbrella, cooler, beach games, towels, radio, inflatable mattress, boogie boards, life jackets, or those beach chairs you’ve been keeping in the attic? Did you remember to bring some cash for toll roads? Spare set of car keys? A road map for when your cell service cuts out?
Inspect Your Car Before Hitting the Road
Vacations are for having fun. The last thing you’ll want is to find yourself on the side of the road and miserable due to a breakdown. Make sure to give your car a fair inspection before departing.
Check tire pressure, oil and coolant levels, the health of your brake pads, wiper blades, belts and hoses, your spare tire, and when in doubt – bring it in! Your mechanic will be able to spot many issues before they become problems.
Bring Some Backseat Entertainment and Snacks
Bring an iPad, portable DVD player, a Sony Walkman, the original Gameboy – literally anything that will keep them engaged once the “License Plate Game” gets old. If you do bring an iPad or another tablet, research a few free apps and give them a download.
Know Where You’re Going, But Don’t Obsess
You don’t need to regiment your road trip like you would your work day. That’s not fun. But it helps to know where you’re going. This includes interesting places to stop, eat and sleep. Choose wisely and the best part of your vacation might be the stops you make on the way!
It also helps to know the local traffic patterns. For instance, you wouldn’t want to attempt a drive through a major city during rush hour. And you certainly wouldn’t want to conclude your road trip with one.
Have a Backup Plan
If something does go wrong, it pays to have a “way out.” That can mean having a satellite navigation system, membership in a roadside assistance car club, or traveller’s guides to your destination.
Be safe, and happy trails!