October 06 2020 – Safety Kits Plus
Thinking about heading out on the open road? Here are some terrific tips on how to best prepare for a road trip.
When preparing for a road trip it is just good common sense to plan ahead in advance. The whole goal is to reach your destination and return safely and without too much stress. It is very tempting to be spontaneous and jump in the vehicle without taking the proper precautions. But making the effort to do some simple pre-trip planning can save time, aggravation and possibly lives. Read ahead for a checklist that can help reduce the risk of placing yourself in situations that are not safe and can ruin your trip.
We have all become used to relying on map apps on our cell phones but it is a good idea to invest in some good old fashioned detailed maps. You never know when your cell phone will go down or when you might find yourself without service. Learning to read a map is actually a good skill to have. Take some time in advance looking at your travel routes or at least the intended routes. It can be fun to trace out your route or where you've been and it makes a great momento.
BE FLEXIBLE - LEAVE ROOM FOR SPONTANEITY
Some people are planners, they like to plan out every last second. Others are spontaneous and like to go where the wind blows them. We would like to suggest a balanced approach. If you are a planner, resist the temptation to over plan.
Purposely leave open days and times throughout your trip. This will practically force you to experience people, places, food and fun that you otherwise would not plan ahead for. Be open to greasy spoon restaurants and weird tourist sites. You never know when you're going to have the meal of your life or be blown away by some super silly monument. There will be winners and losers but in the end you will absolutely be glad you left some flexibility.
For those of you who never plan a thing, perhaps try having at least a few specified destinations and activities. It might just take a little pressure off of the constant feeling of never knowing. That can be stressful even if it works for you most of the time. Just a few planned stops can make all the difference.
HAVE A BUDGET
It is incredibly easy to spend money you do not have while on a road trip. Take time to think about the fixed costs prior to leaving home. You should have a general idea how long you plan to be away. Do some research to determine what your average basic costs like lodging, gas, food, attractions and entertainment are going to be. You will want to identify an average daily amount you are comfortable spending. You will definitely want to add an additional 15 to 20 percent for overages. And do not forget, you have to get home too!
There are many ways that you can save money. One of the biggest expenses will be gasoline. You may not have access to an efficient vehicle but if you do definitely take it. Eating out for every meal with drain your account fast. Make sure you are able to do grocery shopping while on the road and prepare as many of your own meals as possible. That may require finding lodging that has a kitchenette or access to a common kitchen area. Many hostels or campgrounds have these kind of facilities.
PREPARE YOUR VEHICLE
+ Check tire pressure (including the spare). Inspect for uneven tread wear and follow your owner’s manual for proper tire pressures and rotation frequency. Take your car to an ASE-certified technician to have tires rotated and balanced.
+ Test brake lights, headlights and turn signals to make sure they work properly. Change weak or dead bulbs.
+ Replace worn wiper blades.
+ Check fluid levels under the hood, including battery fluid, brake fluid, coolant, oil, transmission fluid and windshield wiper fluid.
+ Check belts and hoses for any visible cracks or bulges. Replace belts and hoses over 4 years old.
+ Bring a spare car key. Don't leave it in the car silly or you may have to break a window to get to it.
+ Be flexible and go with the flow.
+ Invest in a roadside emergency club like AAA. Not only can they save the day if you have a dead battery or flat tire but they usually offer great discounts on hotels, restaurants and attractions.
When in doubt, take your car to a certified auto technician; most shops can get your vehicle ready in no time with little expense. If there are issues with your vehicle it is best to address them before your trip.
BE PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY
Make sure you have a good Car Emergency Kit on board. You can make your own or take a look at the best Car Emergency Kits that Safety Kits Plus has researched for you.
If you plan to make your own Car Emergency Kit, here is a list of essential emergency supplies to include:
+ Survival blankets and warm clothing
+ Working compass
+ Exterior windshield cleaner and coolant (antifreeze)
+ Complete First Aid Kit
+ Ice scraper and snow brush
+ Non-perishable food bars (most have a 5 year shelf life)
+ Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth
+ Basic tool kit w/utility knife
+ Water packets with extended shelf life
+ Working flashlight and extra batteries
+ Multiple alternative light sources (light sticks, candles, headlamps)
+ Jumper cables
+ Folding shovel
+ Air compressor or can of fix-a-flat
+ Work gloves
+ Emergency whistle