Road trips give you the chance to travel at your own pace and take in an array of amazing sights that you would miss when traveling by air. However, spending several days on the road requires a bit of preparation in order to make your journey the best possible. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning a cross-country drive.
Plan Your Route
The best route for your trip will depend upon what you hope to see along the way. Having a well-researched, pre-planned route helps you avoid missing anything important and allows you to stick to a travel schedule if needed. Of course, how strict your plans need to be will depend on what you are aiming to get out of the road trip. During the planning process, do not forget to account for some sightseeing and plenty of rest points. You may want to arrange the trip so that your overnight stays land in places that you would like to spend time exploring.
Take Care of Your Car
You are counting on your vehicle to be the backbone of your excursion, so make sure it is in good shape before you head out, and practice proper maintenance throughout the entire trip. Prior to leaving, take your car to a trusted mechanic for an oil change and tune-up. In fact, it is a wise idea to have your car checked once before you leave home and once before you head back. During the drive, keep an eye on your vehicle to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Take along some extra coolant and engine oil just in case. Always keep plenty of gas in the tank and a spare tire on-hand.
Be Aware of Local Traffic Laws
Passing through multiple states is part of the fun of road trips. Each state has its own unique characteristics, but this also means you may be subject to changing traffic laws. For the most part, general traffic laws remain consistent throughout the country, especially if you stay on highways. Although, some states have varying laws about things such as turn signals, wiper use, or headlight use. When in doubt, use your signal and your headlights.
If you venture into a city or populated area, there may also be different traffic norms than in your hometown, so drive cautiously. If you want to be legally-conscious and give yourself a good laugh, check out this list of infractions that includes some of the craziest traffic laws in each state.
Travel in Comfort
You and your road trip crew will be in the car for a long time, so try to make the environment as comfortable as possible. Stock up on snacks, water, good music and great company. You might want to bring phone chargers, blankets and pillows, an emergency first aid kit, and bags for garbage. Finally, do not forget the old-fashioned paper map, as you may be driving through some locations without internet service.
For many people, road trips are a beloved summer tradition. Whether you are getting ready to travel with your family or your best friends, start your voyage off on the right foot with proper road trip preparation.