Road trips are always a fun way to see more of a particular area and get to know friends better as you spend hours talking together. But going on a cross-country road trip takes all of this to the next level. Because of the length and sheer extent of a trip like this, it’s essential to approach your trip preparation differently.
Have Your Car Serviced
Having your car serviced before you go out on a road trip is an important part of your preparation. Without having your car serviced, it is possible that you could experience malfunctions or other technical problems and be in a difficult situation trying to find a mechanic who can perform the work quickly and for a reasonable price. Simply making sure that your car is fully functional before you head out will not only prevent potentially dangerous car problems, but it will also help you have more peace of mind.
Get Snacks for the Trip
While getting snacks before your road trip might not initially seem as critical as something like having your car serviced before you embark on your trip, it will make a big difference on your budget as well as how much you enjoy the experience. Food like energy bars and no-peel fruit are great options to avoid crumbs, the need for utensils, and excess trash. As you decide on the snacks to get, you may need to bring something like a cooler. Having a cooler—even a small one—can be a significant help in order to allow you to bring healthier snacks like yogurt cups or certain fruits that need to be cold.
Next, make sure that you have adequate emergency supplies to be prepared for a host of different problems that might occur as you travel. For starters, research the different weather conditions that you will be up against during your trip as well as the various types of terrain you will be traveling through. Even if you are going on a summer trip, it’s possible that you could drive through some heavy rain or strong winds when making your way through mountainous regions. Basic emergency equipment includes tools to change a tire, blankets for cold, and a power bank to charge your phones.
Make Upgrades to Your Car
Another step to take when preparing for a road trip is to upgrade your car. There are a host of different upgrades that you might want to consider, but one of the most common and least expensive options is window tinting. Window tinting blocks up to 98% of solar heat, which can take stress off your car’s AC system. This is an especially beneficial upgrade to get if doing a summer road trip. You may also consider adding a rear-view camera if you do not already have one, to enhance the safety of your vehicle before leaving on your road trip.
Plan Your Route
Planning your route is one of the most fun but sometimes most challenging steps of preparing for a road trip. Depending on your start and end city, there are usually a couple different route options that vary in length by a few hours or so. Think carefully about the main cities you really want to hit and the main activities along the way you really want to do. Look at reviews to determine what will actually be enjoyable and what just has misleading advertisements. Then adjust your route to accommodate those sites into the plan.
Arrange For Places to Sleep
As you plan your route, it’s important that you also think about your sleeping arrangements during your trip. For some people trying to finish the long drive as quickly as possible, they will not stop anywhere and instead simply rotate drivers, allowing some to sleep for periods of time. While this can be an option, it’s generally better to have at least one place where you stop and everyone gets to actually sleep. Getting good sleep will help ensure that every driver is actually fully functional while driving, keeping you safe. Plus, some motels can be an adventure all on their own. Of course, check out reviews for hotels beforehand so you don’t end up staying in a place that is sketchy or badly cleaned!
Figure Out Driving Shifts
After you’ve planned your route and figured out where you’re going to stay along the way, the group of travelers should determine the different driving shifts. How you allot your driving time will vary significantly by the intent of your trip. If, for example, you are moving from one city to another city across the country, you might prefer to spend a lot of hours per day driving in order to get to your new home as quickly as possible.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to make a vacation out of your road trip, you might prefer to break up driving time a little bit more. Regardless of your preferences regarding the duration of driving shifts, you should also communicate with other passengers about taking turns. Having conversations about sharing the driving responsibility early on will help everyone have proper expectations for the trip.
Carefully Plan Your Car Packing
One of the most important steps before taking a long cross-country road trip is to plan your packing carefully. It’s essential that you think through what you need to bring for the time you’ll spend on the road as well as the equipment or clothing you’ll need for your various destinations. If for example, all your clothes are thrown into your suitcase, it will be harder for you to access the specific pieces that you want to wear on long driving days. In addition to separating your stuff for the road trip from your other stuff, you should think strategically about how to fit everything in your car. The game Tetris can be a great inspiration if you’re having trouble fitting it all. Also figure out which things need to be the most readily accessible and try to pack things in so that those items are on top and near doors.
Going on a cross-country road trip is worth the pain of planning. The gorgeous sights, the driving vibes, and the quality time with loved ones can’t be replicated. And, as you follow some of these steps and thoroughly prepare for your trip, you will have an even more enjoyable experience.
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