Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just jump into your car right now and go for a road trip? Of course, it would! Can it be done? Sure. Should you do it? No way! Road trips are exciting excursions where you aren’t necessarily bound by a schedule – the feeling of freedom a road trip evokes is simply awesome. In order to fully enjoy the experience, however, you will need to properly prepare for it.
Plan your route
Unless you intend to go wherever the road takes you (which is completely cool, but quite daring), carefully planning your route and stops before setting off is of the essence. Meet up with all the people you are travelling with and make sure that everyone is on the same page with regards to their travel styles – for example, some people prefer frequent stops, while others despise them. If you want to avoid frustration and awkward moments, map out how you’re going to get to your destination.
Always bring a physical, paper map
A couple of decades ago, a digital map that tracks your movement and outlines the quickest route to your destination was a thing of science fiction. Nowadays, all modern cars come with these devices built into their dashboards. For older cars, using tablets or even smartphones with a particular holder is an equally convenient option.
However, once you hit the road, there is no guarantee that you’ll have the access to the Internet, which renders these devices borderline useless. While downloading an offline map before the road trip is a perfectly viable option, there is also no guarantee that your battery (car or tablet) is not going to die and this may leave you stranded. This is why bringing along a good old paper map will be the safest choice. You know, just in case!
One of the main reasons why a spontaneous road trip is not a good idea is that your car probably isn’t prepared for it. You might think that the fact that you’re using it on a daily basis in your town means that it is more than roadworthy. However, road trips dictate different rules.
Firstly, when an engine is running for extended periods of time, it guzzles a lot of motor oil, so checking the oil levels is mandatory. In fact, you should check all of your car fluids in order to keep it running smoothly.
Secondly, tyres are subject to an increased wear and tear while on the road and if one is already fairly worn out, it may blow out, not only ruining your day but putting lives in harm’s way. Check for the tyre tread and pressure before heading out on a road trip.
Add all necessary contacts
Depending on where you’re going, the emergency service number might not be the same as back home, so make sure you do your research before you set off. Additionally, having a mobile mechanic on your speed dial can be of huge assistance, should your car break down while on the road. The local version of AAA also goes without saying. Finally, never go on a road trip without notifying someone back home.
Planning a road trip in advance might sound less exciting than going for a spontaneous ride, but rest assured that waiting for someone to pull over to help you, only to tell you that they don’t have the jumper cables is definitely far from exciting. Make sure that you plan your route, buy a paper map, make all the car preparations and added all the vital contacts to your phone. Now, you can enjoy your road trip.