Monday, July 24, 2017 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

How to Prepare for a Long Road Trip

Going on a road trip can be a fantastic experience, but only if a person prepares enough in advance. There are so many horror stories that people talk about and they all range from breaking down on the side of the road, having the trip take twice the amount of time than was planned, or running out of food or drinks before reaching their destination.

Here are 8 tips for preparing for a long road trip:
 
1    Clean out the car

Before attempting to pack a car (van, truck, or anything else), it needs to be clean. This means that all garbage and anything that a person will not be using during their road trip should be removed. The twelve soccer balls, six baseball gloves, and three frisbees are not going to do a person any good when they are on the side of the road, broken down, and thirsty because they didn’t have room to pack any water.
 
Clean Out The Car
2    Have the vehicle checked out

The vehicle that is being used for the road trip should be checked out about a week before the trip. This will ensure that the oil is fresh, the fluids are full, the windshield wipers are in working order, the tires are inflated properly and have good traction, and that the car is in good working order.
 
Have The Vehicle Checked Out
3    Make a plan

No one can predict how much traffic they will be in as they venture out on a road trip, but the best trips start with a plan. A person should decide on how far they want to drive in one day as well as how many stops they want to make each day. By having a rough idea of how long each break is, especially lunch and dinner breaks, people can stay on track within reason. A plan will also help if a person is planning on eating meals at a restaurant, because they can scope out the best ones ahead of time.
 
Make A Plan
4    Check that the documents are up to date

Registration, insurance, and in some states, inspection stickers should all be up to date prior to the road trip and all current documentation should be in the vehicle. This will prevent any issues if a person happens to be pulled over for going a little faster than they should have been or if there is an accident.
 
Check That The Documents Are Up To Date
5    Program the GPS

A GPS is a great tool that anyone can use when they are on the open road and it can keep anyone from getting lost. No one should be fiddling with a GPS when they are driving, so it is best to program it prior to the trip or at least have a passenger figure it out.
 
Program The GPS
6    Packing

Packing for a road trip can be a daunting task, especially since a vehicle is only so big. There are certain things that should be packed before anything else and those items include basic clothes and shoes, medications, first aid kit, chargers, food, and drinks. If there is any room left, then the pool toys, volleyball, hiking boots, and board games can tag along for the ride.
 
Packing
7    Food and drinks

Some people want to take all the food that they will need for the duration of their trip with them, while others will only want to take what they need to reach their destination. There is no wrong or right way or answer for that with the exception that people need to make sure that they have enough food to get them to where they are going. If a person thinks that they will reach their destination in ten hours and it takes them twenty hours, they are going to either be really hungry when they arrive or they would have spent a fortune while dining in restaurants. The same goes for drinks. It is easy to get dehydrated while traveling, so people should plan on packing about sixteen ounces of liquid for every two hours of their journey per passenger, plus some extra. That may sound like a lot, but it is better to be prepared.
 
Food And Drinks
8    Plan entertainment

Music, movies, and video games can help keep a carful of people entertained for the long haul. There are also travel games, coloring books, and regular books that can keep everyone busy for hours. The trick is to keep rotating these items, so that no one is bored. Of course, sleep is always an option too.
 
Plan Entertainment
A little extra preparation before a long road trip can make all those small issues that crop up manageable. Preparing may take more time, but if it means that a person isn’t stranded by the side of the road for three hours waiting for a tow truck or running into the next gas station to pay $30 for a couple of snacks and drinks, it will be worth it.
 

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