The Ultimate Road Trip Checklist
Now that spring is officially in full swing, many families will take time away from work to see loved ones, go on vacation, or just to simply enjoy the open road. If you and your family are planning a trip, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure your road trip goes as smoothly as possible.
What to Pack on a Road Trip
Apart from what you’ll need when you get to your destination, there’s a lot you should pack when you’re planning a road trip. We’ve put together some basic packing tips for you below.
Road Trip Essentials
- Driver’s licenses, vehicle registration, and vehicle insurance information are all road trip essentials that should be packed away in your car in an area that is easily accessible in the event of an accident or a traffic stop or in case your car breaks down while on the road.
- You don’t want to get stuck anywhere with a flat or punctured tire, so make sure you have an inflated spare tire, tire jack, and tire wrench properly stored away in the vehicle you’re traveling in. Make sure and check your spare tire pressure before you get your trip underway.
- You should always have a roadside emergency kit in your daily driver, but this extends to any vehicle you’re road tripping in too. At the bare minimum, a good roadside emergency kit should contain jumper cables, road flares, a tire pressure gauge, a reflective vest, a first aid kit, and a flashlight with spare batteries.
- Depending on how far you’re traveling, make sure and pack plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and keep your energy up. If you’re not planning to stop for meals, then pack a couple of your favorite sandwiches and bags of chips to eat while you’re on the road.
Road Trip Accessories
- While it’s not 100% essential, it’s a good idea to carry a small amount of cash with you when traveling. You never know when you’ll find yourself in a roadside diner that only accepts cash or another similar situation. Additionally, cash is especially good to have handy in order to easily pay for things like toll roads and parking meters.
- It’s no secret that we’re all attached to our phones. While on a road trip we can certainly use them to listen to music and podcasts, stream movies, or entertain us in a variety of other ways, but most people also use the navigation apps on their smartphones as their map and to serve as a guide while traveling to areas they’re unfamiliar with. As such, it’s important that you remember to grab your phone’s mobile charger before you head out.
- While it is extremely useful, technology can still fail and relying completely on electronic devices for navigation is never a good idea. After all, cell service isn’t available everywhere so you won’t be able to rely completely on your smartphone to lead the way. Learn to read and track your progress across paper maps and make sure to bring some with you in case you find yourself lost in an area without Wi-Fi access or cell service.
Staying Entertained & Comfortable
- A travel pillow and blanket are great for items for helping you keep comfortable while on the road. Lay your seat back and catch up on some sleep when it’s not your turn to drive.
- If you’re not prone to car sickness, then a good book makes for a great companion in the car on long trips and will help pass the time.
- A playlist of your favorite music (and headphones, if other passengers don’t prefer your choice in music) can go a long way in keeping you from getting stir-crazy while sitting in a vehicle for an extended amount of time.
How to Prep Your Car for a Road Trip
Before you begin the process of actually packing your car the next time you’re planning a road trip, make sure everything is in working order so you don’t run into any costly surprises while you’re away from home. Our mechanics can check all of the following and more:
We’ll take a look at your mileage and dipstick and if it looks like you’re close to needing another oil change soon, we’ll make recommendations as to whether or not you should have it done before you leave or if it can wait until after you return.
In addition to checking the oil, we’ll also check the other fluids (radiator, transmission, power steering, etc) in your vehicle and top off any that look low so you don’t have to worry about them while on your trip.
Even if you’re not traveling at night, making sure all of your lights are working properly is important to ensure not only your safety but also the safety of everyone else on the road around you. Something as simple as an improperly functioning turning signal can spell disaster if you’re not able to communicate your intentions clearly to the other vehicles around you. Lights also help other drivers to see you better no matter the time of day or weather, and can afford you better visibility in foggy or rainy weather.
You never know what kind of weather you’re going to run into while you’re out traversing the highway. Weather can change in a matter of minutes, so we’ll make sure your wipers are up to par and can handle any rain you run in to.
We don’t think we need to stress the importance of brakes in relation to the safe operation of vehicles – everyone knows how important they are to stopping in time and to preventing accidents. Let us make sure everything with your brakes and pads checks out okay before you head out on your trip.
Nothing’s worse than riding in a car that has a squeaky belt or whistling hose that is in need of attention. The continued noise is enough to drive any patient person crazy, especially if you have to endure it for hours on end. Prevent any headaches like this from coming up by having us give your cars internal systems an inspection to look for any cracks, leaks, or other signs of wear and tear. Not only can we save you a headache, but we’ll also save you from having to make an even more expensive repair later on down the line.
So, the next time you’re planning a vacation or road trip, schedule an appointment with us and let the trusted experts at Action Gator Tire help make sure your vehicle is prepared for the long haul. We’ll be happy to help you get your vehicle road-ready and are equipped to handle any type of auto repair or maintenance you may need before you head out.