If you’re anything like us, the thought of boarding an airplane during these confusing and fearful times make you a bit…squeamish. Yet, you don’t want to (and you shouldn’t) let fear keep you home all summer. Do things the old-school way and hit the road. To make your road trip as carefree and enjoyable as possible, though, keep these five tips in mind.
Pick a Destination …
… Any destination. Whether you want to travel three hours to see Roswell or 12 hours to San Diego, pick any old spot on the map. Choosing a destination rather than just winging it can save you considerable time and headache for when you do finally get on the road. For instance, defining a start and finish destination can…
- Help you determine for how long you will be gone
- Calculate gas, food and lodging costs
- Plot a course
- Map out “in between” sites to see
- Reserve lodging ahead of time
Most importantly, working with a destination in mind will give you purpose and ensure you make the most of the miles you put in.
Clean Out Your Vehicle
So, you only have a few gum and straw wrappers in your cupholders and dog hair in the back seat … No big deal, right? You think that now, but when new gum wrappers join the old ones, and when you can’t find anything to wear that’s not coated in black dog hair, you’ll be sorry. Take an hour or so to really clean your car of all the debris and wayward items. Bust out the shop vac to get the doghair and dirt off the floors and seats. Dig under the seats for lost items, and clear the glove box of unused manuals and pamphlets. Even if you can stand some clutter, the filth, no matter how minor, will begin to get to you after spending a few days cooped up with your loved ones in close quarters.
Invest in a Tune Up
If there was ever a time you needed to invest in a tune up when your vehicle was running perfectly fine otherwise is before a road trip. Take your vehicle to your local mechanic to have him or her check the brakes, fluid levels, tire condition and other essential vehicle features. Make sure you have jumper cables in the back and windshield wiper fluid on hand. Test your AC to make sure it’s working, and test your battery.
Check Your Documents
You may have paid for your registration and carried insurance continually for years, but do you have physical paperwork that proves this to be true? While most law enforcement officers these days can pull up your information digitally, you don’t want to take chances. Download and print paper copies of all the information you could possibly need while on the road. Think insurance cards, vehicle title and registration and license. If you have unpaid parking tickets, pay them.
Join a Roadside Rescue Service
If you’ve never been stranded on the side of the road due to unexpected vehicle problems, count yourself lucky. However, don’t consider yourself so lucky as to assume it will never happen to you. When you put in 20 hours on the road in a short period of time, you increase your odds of blowing a tire, overheating your vehicle or experiencing some other adverse vehicle event. Plan ahead for these events by joining a roadside service company, such as AAA. Your foresight now can save you considerable time, hassle and money in the future. Taking a road trip is a great way to shake off those COVID-19 blues. However, to ensure it’s a trip you wantto remember as opposed to one you’re forcedto remember, don’t hit the road blindly or without a bit of planning. Take our five tips to heart, and you should have the trip of a lifetime.