Perform These Essential Checks Before Hitting The Road
Nothing can ruin a road trip faster than a breakdown. Before you hit the highway to your favorite holiday destination, looking over your car and performing some basic inspections could save you a lot of grief. As a bare minimum, you should check the following:
- Fluids – Three key fluids to inspect are your oil, coolant, and brake fluid. If any of these are unusually low, it’s important to let a mechanic inspect your car to see if there is a leak. Make sure these are topped off because driving with low fluids can be dangerous and cause damage to your car.
- Lights – Even if you’re not planning on driving after the sun goes down, the headlights and brake lights on your car should all be working. If the weather turns nasty, you’ll be glad to have them!
- Wipers – It’s easy to visually check your wipers to see how much of the wiper blade is left or if they are dry and cracked. Even if it’s not raining, you’ll want to be able to use them when you need to clear dirt and bugs off your windshield. While you’re at it, make sure you have enough windshield washing fluid as well!
- Tires – Tires have tread wear indicators in their grooves, and if they’re level with your tire tread, it’s time to get them replaced.
Plan Your Rest Stops
When you’re driving in heavy traffic or for long distances, it’s important to schedule regular breaks to give your passengers a chance to stretch their legs, and yourself a mental break from all the driving!
Websites and applications like USA Rest Stops make finding interesting rest stops and planning your breaks a breeze, indicating places to stop such as pet-friendly areas, rest stops with scenic views, places with nature, and wildlife parks or historically significant sites.
Get Comfortable with Google Maps
Google Maps has transformed the way people plan their road trips, allowing you to scan your route, taking notes of points of interest that you and your passengers may want to visit along your way. The feature we love is the ability to plan your trip itinerary using the additional location information like reviews from other drivers who have been there previously!
Organize a New Playlist
With streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, there has never been a better time to hit the road. With so much great music being released pretty much daily, there is no shortage of new music to load up for your road trip, or if you’re feeling nostalgic, check out some of these classic road trip songs.
Discover Some Hidden Gems By Eating Local
Thanks to Google maps and websites like TripAdvisor, it’s easier than ever to discover secret food spots, hidden restaurants, and some of the best local food from any region. You might be stuck in holiday traffic, but you can give your taste buds a rollercoaster ride while exploring rich cultural heritage along the way.
You may prefer to take your time during your holiday road trip, and enjoy your time on the road instead of trying to get to your destination as quickly as possible. If you are the kind of person who likes planning daily itineraries and scouting accommodations ahead of time, you’ll want to book your hotel rooms and restaurants before you leave. Or if you prefer winging it, there are sites like HotelTonight that offer great last minute deals!
Prepare Your Electronics
Electronics have evolved far beyond simple navigation into fully-fledged entertainment devices that can break up the boredom of long traffic jams. Before you leave, make sure everyone’s smartphones are loaded up with podcasts, movies, books, and any apps they will need. Our pro-tip: make sure there are enough charging cords to go around.
Although your road trip is hopefully going to be a lot of fun, take the time to plan for any potential emergencies as well. Familiarize yourself with local hospitals, make sure your first aid kit isn’t missing supplies, pack plenty of water, a small tool kit, and check that your spare tire is in good condition. Also, check if any of your passengers have any special needs or allergies. That way, if the worst does happen, you will already have a plan to deal with it.
Have an Escape Plan
Dealing with bumper-to-bumper traffic isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. It takes a large amount of concentration on the driver’s part and can test the most patient passengers. When this happens, it may be worth exploring the roads less traveled. Google maps will alert you if heavy traffic is expected, but to make the trip more enjoyable, plan some alternate routes. It’s all about the journey!
Divide the Tasks
One clever way to alleviate boredom is to give your passengers responsibilities based on what they’re good at. One passenger might be a culinary expert, so let them plan your meal stops. Task someone with navigation and traffic spotting duties. Someone else could be in charge of entertainment and in-car games. How you do this is up to your imagination, and it can turn a boring road trip into a fun, interactive experience for everyone.