Road trips are an amazing privilege, and they’re a year-round source of great memories, incredible sights, new places, and chance encounters with the people of the world. Whether it’s a national monument, a natural setting or a visit to see places or people, a road trip is a great way to get out there and see the world. However, just jumping into a car and driving is the cause of great frustration and headache in many unprepared travelers, and there are few issues that absolutely must be resolved for a safe and enjoyable trip.
Is the Vehicle Safe to Drive?
It’s hard to beat a breakdown in the middle of nowhere with no phone or internet signal. While it might seem like a mild inconvenience, the very real threat of natural predators, adverse weather and a potential collision with another motorist presents potentially fatal consequences.
A vehicle should ideally be inspected and have routine maintenance as close to the date of the actual road trip as possible especially on tires, windshield wipers, oil and brake fluid. These parts should be checked ahead of time, and things like air conditioning and battery life wouldn’t hurt to inspect, as well.
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Are There Important Laws in Your Destination?
Road trips often span states, countries and sometimes even continents. If laws are going to change throughout the span of the trip, it helps to know them ahead of time. A great example of this is with traffic violations: Some places have dozens of different laws that can result in a huge ticket if disobeyed. What’s worse is that you must typically appear in that place for any court hearings, further adding to the expenses of the trip.
Is There Anything That Needs to Be Maintained While You’re Gone?
A cat still needs to be fed during a road trip. Leaving or abandoning responsibilities can cause serious problems down the road, so taking a few moments to think about what needs to be cared for while you’re gone is a great line of thinking. There could be important packages, dying plants or even an in-home issue that suddenly needs to be resolved, so having someone watch the house or apartment can be a great idea. It’s important that they’re well-trusted, and if that person can’t be found, as many precautionary steps must be taken as can be in order to prevent a disaster from arising.
What Happens if You Get Stuck?
Sometimes accidents happen. A roadway could be closed for a variety of reasons, a tire could pop, the weather might change and there’s always the possibility of that one-in-a-million thing happening along the way. While simple entertainment goes a long way, having snacks and drinks on hand can be extremely helpful. A spare gas can has been a lifesaver for many, and small preparations can be absolutely crucial in making the road trip an enjoyable experience. While it might seem old-fashioned, printing out a map as a backup plan could prevent a major hassle, and checking the weather or having a traffic-alert app is also highly recommended.
Are There Any Cool Stops Along the Way?
Many a road trip has been thrown into chaos by a silly stop at an event or attraction. When taking a road trip, spontaneity is great, but doing a bit of research can save some serious headache along the way. For example, deciding to take that one-hour detour to the beach is often a great idea, but there might be little things that you don’t know about that are harder to find. It’s a real pain to make it all the way home and realize you could have driven an extra 20 minutes to taste the best strawberries in the world.
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Spend, Save and Venture
Buy all the useful utilities you can afford ahead of time. Flashlights, multi-tools, knives, ropes and other useful tools might just make your life a lot easier along the way. It’s also great to think about things like a gas card, a credit line or even borrowing some money to make the trip as smooth as possible. Saving money is just as important, and being thrifty can translate to a far better outlook and that comfortable feeling that comes with being as prepared as possible. Once that’s all squared away, the adventure lies ahead, and you’ll be on your way to a journey of your own making.