With winter chills giving way to the warmth of Spring, you may feel the familiarity of wanderlust creeping back again. International travel is still a dream for most but with just a car, you have access to plenty of unique experiences to make spring in 2021 a season you’ll never forget. These are some of our favorite car-related staycation activities to be enjoyed with family or friends.
1. Car Camping
If you’re after a bohemian adventure without having to fully commit to “van life”, you might consider spending the night in your car. Whether you want to sleep near a trailhead for an early start on a hike or even combine it with a mini-road trip, spending the night in your car should be a fun and comfortable experience.
One of the best things about car camping is the endless options of where to go. National parks, mist-shrouded forests, or stark desert plains – you’re free to camp wherever your four wheels can take you. That said, it’s still your responsibility to find out if you need a permit to camp in your desired location so you can avoid waking up in an impound yard. The National Park Service is available to answer any permit-related questions.
After you’ve got that squared away, your only limit is your imagination. Car camping combines other staycation activities on our list, and you can even turn it into a mini-road trip.
2. Catch Up On Simple Car Maintenance
If you haven’t guessed by now, we REALLY love cars. But even if you weren’t born with a socket wrench in your hand, it’s fairly easy to learn the basics. Learning about cars and how to do basic maintenance will open up a whole new world to you. You’ll save money by performing easy repairs yourself, and unlock the secret language that mechanics seem to speak.
With the internet at our fingertips, there is practically a universe of different ways to learn about cars. The trick is to find which one interests you:
- TV shows/YouTube videos: This is undoubtedly the most entertaining way to learn about basic car maintenance. However, there is one disadvantage — the lack of hands-on experience you’ll get.
- Car forums: It doesn’t matter what you drive, or what you want to do to your car, it’s a guarantee that someone, somewhere, has done it before, and documented it. Forums are generally more in-depth than TV shows, but you’ll need some impressive problem-solving skills, as well as a fair idea of what you’re doing before you dive into that engine swap.
- Buy an old clunker and wrench on it: This is definitely jumping into the deep end, but it’s also one of the fastest ways to learn about how cars work.
In any case, you don’t need to have a deep understanding of how engines work to perform some basic maintenance like checking your oil or even swapping out an air filter.
But no matter how deep (or shallow) your mechanical knowledge is, we’ve got your back. Our technicians are always happy to answer questions about your car, show you what they’re doing, or take a weight off and do the job for you. We can break down any job into a language you understand so you’ll always know exactly what work we’re carrying out, as well as any preventative maintenance that needs to be done in the future to keep your car happy.
3. Car Wash With The Kids
Remember how excited and scared you were the first time your parents took you through a car wash? The suspense at wondering if the car would fill up with water, how you were going to defend yourself against the ever-growing bubble monster or if those cloth rollers would somehow tear the roof off like a tin can? And the best part is you’ll come out with a clean car.
If your children are terrified by the prospect of going through a car wash there’s also the option of doing it by hand. Kids love helping out and playing with splashing water so this is the perfect activity for them. If you delegate them to pre-rinse duty with the hose, they will relish having so much waterpower at their command.
4. Local Scavenger Hunt With Friends Or Family
Scavenger hunts can be played a couple of different ways, depending on if you are playing as a family or with friends in different cars. The only thing you will need to prepare is a list of items to discover.
If playing together as a family, everyone will need to work together as a team to find as many items as possible before the time runs out. For an added challenge, each family member can guess how many items you’ll find, with the closest winning a prize. With the family working together to plot the fastest route and uncover items on the list, it adds another layer of gameplay.
Playing with friends can be more fun but also a lot more chaotic. Arrange to meet at a set location and separate into teams. Give each team a copy of the list of items and agree on a set time to return to the meeting place.
5. Playing Tourist In Your Own State
Some of the most memorable experiences can be had close to home, in your own backyard. The USA has thousands of interesting spots off the beaten track, and they’re all within driving distance.
LA residents have the opportunity to discover hidden stairways scattered throughout the city. Texas residents may opt to explore the Museum Of The Weird. Arizona locals may prefer to explore the world in their own backyard by visiting the Biosphere – a recreation of the earth’s various biodomes.
Wherever you live and whatever your interests are, you can find plenty of offbeat and unexplored curiosities close to home.
To find these, you will need to perform a bit of a deep dive on Google. Get creative and dig deeper than the predictable Tripadvisor suggestions. Google Maps is another reliable way to find spots you may have never considered. Additionally, visiting local tourist boards can uncover a treasure trove of locations and things you probably never knew existed.
6. Go Stargazing
If you prefer an immersive, relaxing experience, stargazing is hard to beat. The best thing about it is that anyone can enjoy it – all you need is a blanket to layout and a dark patch of sky. For the best night-time viewing experience, you will need to travel away from city lights to a place where there’s plenty of dark sky. Alternatively, anywhere with high altitude typically offers black-velvet nights and clear nights for primo stargazing.
No equipment is necessary, but for the optimum stargazing experience we recommend the following:
- Star map
- Hot Coca
7. Give Your Car A Makeover
Nothing is quite as satisfying as a meticulously cleaned car. Learning how to clean and detail your car properly is something every car owner should try doing. Not only will you save some money, but you’ll thank yourself every time you hop in to drive your squeaky clean car. The interior and exterior can be tackled separately if you’re pressed for time or want to break up the tasks.
For the exterior:
- Evaluate the condition of your vehicle: Figure out how dirty your car is and what equipment you’ll need to make it shine. Also, figure out your goals. Are you just giving it a quick touch-up or making it like-new again?
- Read the labels: Figure out which products you have and what they’re used for. Some products can’t be used on paintwork or leather and can damage your car if used incorrectly.
- Organize your buckets: Everyone has their preferred system for cleaning their car but the preferred method is to use one bucket with soapy water for cleaning, one bucket full of water for rinsing, and a third bucket with a mixture of cleaning product and water for your wheels.
- Wheely dirty: This can be a fun project within reach for the little ones. Clean using the allocated bucket and spray with a hose to rinse off.
- Washing the car: The easiest way to tackle this is to use a hose to remove large clumps of dirt before using soapy water to clean the rest. Rinse off the soap and then use a chamois to dry.
- Wash the windows: The only trick to washing windows is to use a specific automotive glass cleaner and household glass cleaners can damage the glass due to the presence of ammonia.
- Wax on, wax off: Wax not only makes your car shine, but it also protects the paint against UV rays and road grime.
For the interior:
- Take out the trash: Remove any loose rubbish that shouldn’t be there – this includes anything under the seats or in drink holders or door pockets.
- Clean the floor mats: Shake all the loose debris off the mat before using a carpet cleaner if they’re carpeted mats, or scrubbing them if they’re rubber mats.
- Clean interior windows: As with the outside, automotive glass cleaner should be used. Special care will need to be taken on tinted windows by checking the label to see if your glass cleaner is safe for window tint.
- The center console: Anything that is stained like your center console and cup holders will need to be scrubbed with a sponge that’s been soaked in warm water and dishwashing liquid. This is not suitable for leather interiors, which require specialized products.
- Dashboard: The dashboard is mostly dirty from dust and fingerprints so a damp microfiber cloth will suffice.
- Steering wheel: Grime, dirt, and bacteria can be removed with a disinfecting wipe and dried with a microfiber cloth.
- Seats: Loose dirt should be vacuumed up before applying upholstery cleaner to cloth seats or leather conditioner to leather seats.
- Door panels: The panels are easily cleaned with a microfiber cloth or leather cleaner (where appropriate).
- Carpet: The carpet should be vacuumed as a final step to remove loose dirt.
All that’s left is to add an air freshener, enjoy your clean car, and share on social to inspire your friends to give their cars a spring clean, too!