Road trips are a perfect avenue to create memories by yourself or with friends and family. Perhaps you’ve been planning this trip as your first ever #vanlife travel vlog. Or you’re moving to a different state and want to try taking the road less traveled by. Maybe it’s a long-awaited family trip that will hopefully give you stories to tell your grandchildren. Whatever the reason behind you getting behind the wheels of your van or trailer, make sure to take the time to plan. Planning things out beforehand will ensure that you avoid headache-inducing problems such as having your car break down in the middle of nowhere or running out of funds halfway through the trip.
Take note of the following essential things to prepare before heading down the road. Last-minute planning on the night before a trip is never recommended. You might forget or overlook a lot of things before the big trip. It’s never too early to plan, especially if you need time to file paperwork or get your documents in order. Make sure that you have everything you need and that your car has everything it needs as well. Both you and your mode of transportation will be spending a lot of time together, so you should become familiar with it before stepping on that gas pedal.
Check Your Car
This is probably common sense, but it never hurts to give your car a quick cleanup from exterior to interior. This ensures there isn’t anything that can cause you problems down the road. Check your car’s coolant, oil, tire pressure, and brakes, as well as making sure you have spare tires at the ready along with a tire jack and iron. Ensure that the belts, caps, hoses, and filters are all in place and good working condition, along with your car’s lights, signals, wiper blades, and wiper fluid. Clean the interior of your car to familiarize yourself with the layout and where you’ve placed everything.
If you’re going on a road trip in a newly purchased van or trailer, make sure all the paperwork is in place, such as the manual, registration, bill of sale, and title. If you lack one of these documents, consider professional vehicle registration services to make the process easy and stress-free. If you already have all these documents on hand, place them in a waterproof container and store them in your front seat compartment for easy access.
Pack Your Essentials
Of course, you shouldn’t forget to take care of the other party involved in this trip—you! (And anyone else you bring along.) Make sure to pack the following essentials on your road trip: Have a first-aid kit on hand to treat any scrapes, wounds, or burns should the need arise. Have water and snacks packed for when you or your fellow travelers get in the mood for munchies. For added comfort, bring some blankets and pillows.
Stock up on entertainment, from downloaded podcasts and films or TV shows to several upbeat playlists to keep the mood up on the long country roads. Don’t forget your documentation gear: cameras, chargers, memory cards to immortalize memories for posterity’s sake. Another tip is to make sure you always have a spare key on your person if you lock yourself out of your car by accident. Also, consider fixing sun protectors on your windows to counter against the sun’s glare during the hot hours of the day while you are all on the road.
Have an Itinerary and Budget
Planning a road trip is half of what makes any trip so fun. Even if you are the type of person who wants to wing it and find whatever adventure you can on the road, it’s still a good idea to at least plan out where you’re going and how much you plan to spend. This ensures that at least you won’t waste gas having to backtrack since you missed your exit or wasting money on overpriced motels when you booked a room ahead of time.
Have a physical map on hand in case you lose service and can’t connect to Google Maps. Make a list of places you’d like to see and at least have a rough idea of what highways and exits to take to visit these places and to get to your destination. Make sure you budget enough money for food, gas, accommodations (book a room in advance to get discounts), and any fees you might need to pay when visiting a museum or park. And above all else, make sure to have fun!
Going on a road trip isn’t just getting in your car going where the road takes you. It takes a lot of preparation, so you don’t hit snags along the way. Make sure to get the correct paperwork beforehand and put safety and security above all else.