Roadtrips seems as American as apple pie as baseball. With a lack of railways and a thoroughly interconnected freeway system, the lower 48 are a snap to visit.
Roatrips allow you to see the countryside. Plus you get the added benefit of having a car at your intended destination. Much cheaper
flying, roadtrips are the most money conscious way to travel with a family.
A successful roadtrip is more than just hopping into a car and hitting the open road. It might seem like a kill joy, but preparation for a roadtrip can actually save you a lot of time and money if done right.
Car Tune Up
Most car problems can be predicted if you give your car a good look over before you hop in. Now, a quick 45-minute trip might not
warrant a visit to your mechanic. But a cross-country adventure warrants one.
If you have a newer car, you won’t need a professional to look it over unless there is something you are concerned about. Any strange noises and clunks might not seem like a big deal when you are close to home, but those could be the beginning of bigger problems. The kind of problems you don’t want to experience while on the road.
The next step is to check your oil. If you are due for an oil change, do it before the trip. Rotate your tires for good measure, and make sure your tires are filled with enough air. Low tires are at risk for popping and can actually decrease your gas mileage.
You should always travel with the necessary documents (insurance, driver’s license, registration), but it is even more important on a roadtrip. You are more than likely to be traveling on highways and highway patrolmen are sticklers about having the right documentation if you are pulled over. The best rule of thumb is to obey all traffic laws and stay within the posted speed limits. But if you get pulled over, you will want to have everything you need to avoid spending a night in a dumpy, Podunk jail because you forgot to bring proof of insurance.
Having a good map doesn’t take away the spontaneity of traveling, it just helps ensure you do not get lost. If you are a “travel as you go”
kind of traveler, keep a map in your carin case you get lost. You can still have an adventure, but you can ensure that you do not spend the night in the middle of nowhere in your car because you have no idea where you are. Take it up a notch and bring a GPS. You will have up-to-date information on all streets accessible by satellite (which is almost all). Never again waste time driving in circles and asking for directions. As long as you have an address, you should be good to go.
Car Care Kit
An emergency car kit is important for every roadtrip, especially if you break down. The kit should include water, some food, extra clothes, a tire iron and jack, jumper cables and a first aid kit. It might seem like a space hog, but you will be grateful when you need it.