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Preparing for a Long Road Trip

in Travel by

One of the best things about living in America is the vastness of the nation. There’s no shortage of beautiful natural landmarks and different cities to see. And so much of the US is accessible by car! However, as any seasoned traveler will tell you, the secret to a good trip is in the planning.

Preparing for a long road trip can make all the difference in how enjoyable your journey turns out to be. These tips will help you make the most of your adventure.

Get Your Car Serviced

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There’s a reason you see pilots walking around planes before a flight. It’s far better to catch potential problems on the ground than it is to be caught by them in the air.

Similarly, you’ll be happy you found that worn accessory belt at home, rather than seeing it break somewhere in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Having your next scheduled maintenance performed, along with an overall inspection, will minimize the potential for a breakdown. Pay particular attention to the battery, belts, tires, fluids, and brakes.

Minimize Costs

Approached indiscriminately, road tripping can be an expensive undertaking. However, you can reduce your expenses dramatically with a bit of thought. Fill your car the day before you go at the gas station you know has the best prices in town. On the road; look for highway oases with multiple restaurants and fuel stations. Competition breeds lower prices.

Pack lightly and rid the trunk of anything you won’t need on the trip. This reduces weight, which improves fuel efficiency. Similarly, you’re on vacation, so slow down. Sticking to the speed limit frees you of looking over your shoulder for the Highway Patrol and helps your car return better fuel economy.

Use some of that extra space in the trunk to carry a cooler stocked with easily consumed nourishing foods. This will save you the costs (both financial and health-related) of fast food meals.

While we’re on the subject of money, make sure all of the household bills that will come due while you’re gone are taken care of before you leave. The last thing you want to do is overlook paying your online car loans— while you’re out on the road in one of your cars.

Plan Your Route

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The idea of wandering wild and free evokes a certain romance to be sure, but it will be easier for loved ones to find you if you leave an itinerary. This also ensures you get to see the primary attraction you have in mind while working in some lesser ones along the way. You should also work in stops every couple of hours or so to get out of the car, stretch your legs and refresh yourself.

There are all sorts of smartphone applications you can take advantage of now to help you plan a route for your trip. It’s also a good idea to join a roadside assistance program like AAA, which also offers trip planning services. You’ll benefit from their routing expertise and you’ll have a backup if your car breaks down.

Remember the Entertainment

If you have multiple kids, get each of them a tablet computer loaded with their favorite games and videos. Give them earphones so the audio doesn’t drive you nuts.

Meanwhile, you’ll also want to stock up on your favorite music and podcasts to keep your mind occupied on those long stretches when the scenery is dull and the radio only pulls in farm reports from Tuscaloosa, Alabama (unless you’re a fan, of course).

With all of that said, keep in mind road trips are also good for family bonding. So, along with those options, come up with some activities everyone in the car can enjoy together too.

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Preparing for a long road trip with these thoughts in mind will help you make the most of your journey. It will also keep you safe and ensure everyone in the car enjoys the excursion as much as possible.



Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com