As soon as that sun comes out it feels like summer is just around the corner. Even if we’ve got several months of a pretty spring between us and summer, it’s just the right time to start planning that epic road trip. You know the one I’m talking about. The one you’ve been talking about taking for years now! Whether it’s trekking across America to see the hottest new band with all of your buddies, or a family road trip to a big fun reunion back home, summers are for road trips. Now is the time to start preparing for the road trip of your dreams (or nightmares if it isn’t YOUR idea to take this long drive) to ensure that the trip is smooth, fun, and free of any problems that could ruin the vacation. Here are five solid tips for preparing for an epic road trip, the likes of which you’ll always remember!
1. Plan, Plan, Plan! Sit down with everyone who will be going on your road trip with you, in the same car or caravanning. Decide on your destination, and any stops you’re going to add on the way there or back. Of course it will be more enjoyable if you are flexible and willing to go with the flow, but having a rough schedule or agenda will help everyone enjoy the trip more. Make sure everyone is on the same page about when you’re leaving, where you’re stopping, and how long everything should generally take.
2. Get your vehicle in tip-top shape. The most devastating occurrence for any road trip is a break down. Take your car into your favorite tune up shop and get your car looked at just to be safe. Check out the engine, top off the fluids, and get an oil change to ensure that your car is running efficiently.
3. Pack Smart. Limit the amount of luggage for each passenger to conserve space, reduce the strain on your car, and improve your fuel economy. Make sure you are also packing the necessary tools to change a flat or jump start an engine. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have some clean drinking water and some non-perishable snacks just in case!
4. Fight Boredom. Have every passenger make a couple of great playlists and rotate through them, or try an audiobook! There are also thousands of different podcasts which you can cater to the interests of your passengers. A DVD player with plenty of movie options is great, especially for kids. You can also play different car games or print lists of interview or get-to-know-you questions to facilitate interesting discussions throughout the drive.
5. Be as Fuel Efficient as possible. Road trips mean a lot of gas, which can quickly add up. There are a few things you can do, though, to improve your fuel economy. First, keep your car as light as possible and make sure your tires are adequately filled. Second, invest in a gallon of fuel additive. Fuel additives help your engine burn the fuel more efficiently - getting every single drop and adding miles to the gallon. This is not only good for your engine, but it means you will fill up less frequently on a long road trip. Third, be smart about choosing gas stations. Fill up at home before leaving, since you’ll already know the cheapest gas spots and then choose populated stops along the road because it means there is more competition which drives down the gas prices. Finally, drive the speed limit and work out a plan for splitting gas among the passengers to increase your fuel economy.