By Laura Graham www.awineanddine.com.au
So, the time has finally come, you’ve been itching to take that road trip for so long. You’ve taken all of the necessary steps to ensure that the trip happens such as putting in a request for time off of work, possibly having the post office hold your mail, and maybe even securing a house sitter.
We’ve all been there; we get so excited about our upcoming road trip that we sometimes forget to take a few extra precautions that would ensure that our trip goes as planned and incident-free. Before heading off to your adventure, here are a few extra things to check off of your list, that you may not have thought of.
CHECK THE WEATHER
Check the weather on the days that you’ll be in transit, as well as the weather during the time that you’ll be at your destination. Seriously, it can be below zero and snowing in one state, and t-shirt and shorts just over the border in another state. Packing clothing items that can be layered is a lifesaver.
Pack essentials such as a winter coat, a hoodie or jacket, an umbrella, extra socks including thermal socks and warm pants. Even if you’re travelling in the middle of the summer, there can still be some pretty cool nights. Let’s face it, you didn’t come all this way just to be stuck in your hotel room due to the weather not cooperating.
Whether you’re travelling in your own vehicle or a rental vehicle, the transportation that you will be using needs to be thoroughly inspected prior to your road trip. A tune-up would be ideal but if you’ve had one within the last 10,000 to 12,000 miles, then a simple check-up will suffice. Car rental companies perform an overall inspection prior to turning over the keys, but it would still be a good idea to let them know that you are travelling a great distance.
If you’re taking your own vehicle, be sure that the mechanic that you choose is aware that you will be taking an extended trip. They will know which points on your vehicle to pay a little extra attention to. Check the major points such as the engine, transmission, battery health, starter, tire pressure and especially the tire treads.
HAVE EMERGENCY KITS READILY AVAILABLE
Hopefully your trip will go off without a hitch, but it’s better to be well-equipped just in case. A fully-stocked first aid kit and a blanket should be kept in the vehicle at all times. Heated throw blankets can be purchased, they plug into the cigarette lighter socket in order to warm up.
Also, a car battery charger can come in use. Make sure to fully charge it before you leave home. Most of them come with electrical outlets where you can plug things up such as a phone charger or a portable fan.
You can also keep flares and a disposable camera in your vehicle to take pictures in case any accidents occur. A portable camera is a safe option in case your phone battery were to die.
Lastly, do not forget to pack any medications and vitamin supplements that any of the passengers may need. When packing luggage for multiple people, space can get a little tight. You don’t want to be digging and straining to get to items that are buried under a bunch of heavy bags. Designate one small tote as your necessities tote, it will sit up front in the cabin with the passengers for easy access.
BOTTLED WATER & NON-PERISHABLE FOOD
There’s nothing that kills the mood faster than someone suffering from hunger or thirst on a road trip. There are lots of stretches on the highway that do not have a gas station or restaurant for several miles. You will be thanking the heavens if hunger strikes and you can just reach over and grab a healthy snack or drink. You can also keep a small cooler in your vehicle and refill it with ice periodically as you stop for gas.
PLAN AHEAD FOR STOPS
A simple internet search will help to guide you on the best place to stop for gas, rest stops, hotels and food. It’s always good to be aware of your surroundings, but extra safety measures should be taken whenever you’re away from home, as you are most likely unfamiliar with the territory.
Research hotels ahead of time to check their prices and reviews. Also, if you are travelling with pets, ensure that the hotel that you choose to dwell in is pet-friendly.
Always take your breaks or naps in major locations. Choose well known, large gas stations and rest stops that are well lit with lots of traffic and a strong cell phone signal.
As adventurous as road trips are with all of the beautiful landscapes, scenery and fun stop; there will be some downtime. It’s good to have some form of entertainment, especially if you are travelling with children or teens. Tablets, handheld games, and headphones will be your best friend. Also, make the passenger is the designated deejay. Play music chosen by the driver, it’s only fair.
Obtaining proper auto insurance coverage is probably the most important step that you can take while planning your road trip. If any accidents or mishaps were to occur on an uninsured or underinsured vehicle, the financial burden that it would cause would be catastrophic. If someone else drives your vehicle, are they covered under your insurance? What if your vehicle gets stolen or vandalized? The inconvenience alone is almost just as bad as the financial burden. Imagine trying to get an inoperable vehicle home from a different state, with no financial assistance at all.
Besides potential damage to your vehicle, there are many other factors to consider including any other vehicles involved, and bodily injury to any persons involved, or legal ramifications. Car insurance not only provides protection both physically and financially, it gives you peace of mind knowing that you and your loved ones are protected.
These are all simple steps that you can take while planning your upcoming road trip, that will make a huge difference in removing any worries that you may have during the process. This leaves you with plenty of room for fun, new experiences, and a ton of adventure to enjoy with your family r travel partners.