Road Trip Planning 101: How to Best Prepare

Most of us are stuck at home sheltering in place but with all this free time, there’s no better opportunity to start planning your next big trip. Many people will be itching to hit the road as soon as the recent outbreak of coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) comes to an end, whether that means traveling to the next town or the next state. Estimates now claim that we might be able to start venturing outdoors as soon as early May, but that still gives us a few weeks to start planning the perfect road trip.

After all, social distancing means that you likely have some free time on your hands, even if you are able to work from home. If you’re itching to start being more productive, planning your next event is a great pastime to make the time spent at home move a little bit faster. As long as you have a pen and paper, planning your next big trip will be a breeze.

Most of us will never take traveling for granted again. If you’re one of the many who plan to go on a trip when this is all over, however, there are a few steps to consider before you book your next hotel. You need to learn how to prepare your car for a road trip, set a budget, and determine if there are any other places you want to go on the way to your final destination. Rely on these important pieces of advice to help you prepare.

Choose where you want to go

While many road trips all demand that you check your compressor fluid, you can’t do anything until you decide where to go. This point might seem obvious, but it’s the first step to ensuring that you have a successful plan in place. If you don’t have a set destination in mind, you might forget important items for your trip, especially when it comes to staying comfortable in the car.

Choosing where to go can be harder than it seems. All they know is that they want to hit the road, whether that means traveling to the next state or hopping over the border to Canada. While many people have a dream destination in mind, others might have trouble identifying what they’re looking for in a good vacation — and a good road trip.

After all, the road trip is a part of the journey. You’re going to explore some concrete jungles on the way, but a good road tripper will also plan their journey to witness some beautiful sights on the way. Countless people in Texas will check out the Grand Canyon if they’re traveling north while Floridians can’t help but hit Disney World on their way to the aquarium in Georgia. If you’re only thinking about your final destination, then you might be missing out on the nuances available to you through a road trip. If you didn’t plan to witness some cool sights on the way, then you might as well take a plane and get there faster.

Planning a road trip is more work but it can really pay off in the end, especially if you find some cool stops to visit on the way. Talk to the people with whom you’re traveling to ensure all your road trip dreams are being met; for example, one of your family members might want to try new food in each state you visit while another prefers to see national landmarks on the way. While your path shouldn’t look like a meandering river across a map (too many detours can raise your risk of having an accident especially if you’ve rented an RV or tow feature through a trailer service), you can certainly plan a few stops to make the trip more exciting for everyone.

Get your health in order

When it comes to traveling for long distances, not everyone is equipped for a lengthy journey. Between physical and mental health issues, any number of problems might arise that make it more difficult to plan a trip. Before you book any hotels or make any financial investments, it’s important to engage in an annual checkup with your doctor.

An annual checkup might seem annoying at first, but they’re essential to maintaining your health, treating underlying conditions, and identifying any risks that can be tackled early on. For example, those with lower back problems might be able to ask their doctor about the best ways to maintain back health on a car ride. Others might be recovering from a personal injury and need to get cleared before they can operate a motor vehicle in the first place. Ensure every member of your road trip’s party is able to handle a long car ride, whether they’re driving or not.

But it isn’t just physical health you should be worried about; your mental health should also be taken into account as you plan a road trip. It’s easy for people to become anxious or uncertain on the road. That’s why it’s vital that you remember to pack any meds that you might need and load your car with a few activities to keep yourselves busy. Some frequent road trippers have also found that installing an in car video system helps ease anxiety. Since you’ve got a live stream recording and saving everything that happens on the road, the camera will be able to catch any issues that arise. These films can prove that you were the victim of an accident and identify the license plates of irresponsible drivers. If you want an additional form of protection while on the road, installing an in car video system can ease everyone’s anxiety.

You should also schedule a multitude of breaks throughout the trip. Long stretches of driving can become boring and it’s important to get out and stretch your legs once in a while. This is key for your mental and physical health. Grab a coffee, use the bathroom, and always be sure to pull over when you’re feeling tired.

Learn how to prepare your car for a road trip

Simply jumping into your car and driving away is not a great idea, especially if you’re traveling for long distances. While you’re itching to hit the road again, you have to ensure you won’t be calling an accident attorney when your car falls apart halfway through your journey.

If you’re wondering how to prepare your car for a road trip, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the top considerations soon-to-be road trippers should make when you’re learning how to prepare your car for a road trip:

  • Change your oil: You haven’t been driving your car much lately, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t overdue for an oil change. A fresh oil change will ensure your car is running smoothly for the whole car ride.
  • Pack the essentials for your car: Maintaining your car health is almost as important as maintaining your own health. Just like you need to pack your meds, you should also pack a spare battery, jumper cables, and a few spare parts in the trunk in the event that something goes wrong. Hopefully, you won’t have to use any of these repair essentials, but you will certainly feel better knowing that you have them if you need them. This is just one way that people are sharing how to prepare your car for a road trip.
  • Invest in physical maps: Every car owner should have a physical map somewhere in the car. In the event that your phone won’t charge or your GPS won’t charge, having a real map handy will ensure you won’t get lost. While this isn’t an important part of your car maintenance, this should always be included on the list of ways regarding how to prepare your car for a road trip.
  • When in doubt, just take to the automobile repair shops: While you might know how to change your car’s oil and replace the headlights, few people know how to change brake pads or identify a worn down tie rod. Whether your car is new or old, taking it into automobile repair shops before a big drive will help keep everyone safer. Ask your repair person if your car is fit for the road and learn about how to prepare your car for a road trip by asking them for advice. The cost of hiring a professional now will be far cheaper than shelling out for hydraulic repairs when you’re in the middle of the highway. This step is especially important if you have any lights alerting you that there’s a problem on the dash.

Pack smartly

You likely have plenty of time before you start packing, but making a list of things to do before you go is vital to your trip’s success. Packing should include clothing that you can wear in layers, forms of entertainment for the road, and a safe to keep all your important documents, well, safe.

It might seem over the top to bring safe accessories on the road, but this is key if you want to keep your passports, medical records, spare money, and other personal information safe from harm. Car safes are becoming increasingly popular and many car owners are able to store them right in the trunk without difficulty. Many people are already using safes and safe accessories when it comes to long-distance moves where people are trying to protect the cash for their home that they just earned. If you got cash for your home, wouldn’t you want a safe to keep it secure? Even though you might be going on vacation and not moving house, this is a great way to keep your documents in one protected place.

You might also want to brainstorm the best snacks for the road. If you have a cooler that fits in your car, you can pack a slew of items ranging from sandwiches to fresh fruit to savory dips. But if you’re more low-maintenance, packing healthy food can be a challenge. You deserve to indulge in some chips and other packaged foods, but be sure you’re not eating these for an extended period of time. Junk food can make you feel more lethargic, potentially putting your drive at risk.

Packing healthy foods that will keep for an extended period of time can be hard but bananas and oranges have natural barriers that protect the fruit from the outside world. Keep these items in a bag and try not to let them get too hot in the car when you see some of your top destinations on your road trip.

Everyone is itching for the next best thing, especially since we’re cooped up inside as a result of the coronavirus. If you’re gearing up for your next road trip, be sure to rely on these tips when you want to learn how to prepare your car for a road trip — and yourself.

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