Almost 800 million US citizens will take part in a domestic trip this year. With the global pandemic getting less severe, many people are still being cautious and choosing to holiday in the US. If you are planning on a trip do you know how you can prepare for your journey? With just a few tips, your road trip can be a huge success. Read on as we discuss our essential guide to road tripping.
Before You Have Work on Your Vehicle, Do Research
It may seem romantic and exciting to hop in the car and go. However, you should always prepare for a road trip or face the possibility of disaster. There are too many variables that may send you off course.
Planning the Route
Your first decision is to choose where you are going. Work out how long it will take to get there, based on how many hours a day you are willing to drive. Decide if it will be a straight drive, or if you will stop at other places on the way.
Once you have the road trip planning route, factor in your rest stops. These can be as big as overnight stays in hotels, or simple gas station breaks. This helps you keep better time and you can make reservations if you need to do so.
Set a Budget
The main spend on your road trip will be gas prices, which can be unpredictable. Work them out at current rates based on the mileage you will drive and your vehicle consumption. Add a 10% contingency to check that you can afford it if gas prices fluctuate.
Numerous apps can help you calculate this. They will allow you to put in your stops and add budgets for food and accommodation as well. After these essentials, you just need money for any luxuries you may wish to buy en route.
What Is Needed for A Road Trip?
The items below will all help your journey go much smoother. You may already have many of the items listed, particularly if you have been on a road trip before.
Map or GPS Navigation
This will help you get from A to B on the trip. Research to see if any road closures or traffic issues will result in diversions and factor these in.
First Aid Kit
Your car should always have a first aid kit in it even during day-to-day use. Check it is well stocked with band-aids, bandages, and a selection of over-the-counter medicines and ointments.
Even if you are staying at hotels where toiletries are provided, take your own to stay fresh on the journey. Pack your toothbrushes and paste along with deodorants, soaps, and colognes.
Make sure you pack appropriately for the destination. When you are in the car, you want clothing that is loose and comfortable. If you are planning to visit places like the beach or a pool then don’t forget to take your swimming gear with you.
Get Your Car Road Trip Ready
There are several areas you need to address before you put your car on the road. You wouldn’t want to set off and break down halfway. The checks below are essential for car prep and any problems should be addressed before you leave.
Fluids are the lifeblood of your vehicle, helping it run and stay efficient as your travel. There are six essential fluids you must check which are listed below.
- Radiator Fluid
- Brake Fluid
- Power Steering Fluid
- Transmission Fluid
- Windshield Fluid
The owner’s manual for your vehicle should tell you how to check and replace these. If not, then check online using the make and model. A local garage may also be able to do this when they give your car a check.
Start by checking the correct air pressure for your tires and repeat this process every 1000 miles. If your tires are too low you will suffer from bad handling along with poor fuel economy. Overinflate them and the quality of your ride will be compromised.
Also, make sure they have enough tread to last the rest of the journey. One easy way to do this is with the penny test.
Place a penny into the tread of the tire. Lincoln’s head should be upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head without it being obscured, then you need to replace your tires as the tread is worn.
Check that all of your lights are working before you set off to avoid being pulled over. Turn the car on, switch its lights on and check them. Get out and walk around the car, asking someone to hit the brake and turn signals for you.
The air filter is essential to your car to prevent dust and dirt from entering the engine system. When they become clogged and saturated it impacts performance, air quality, and fuel consumption. They’re easy and cheap to replace, so you may as well pop in a new one before the journey begins.
Over time your brake pads wear down, decreasing the efficiency of your stopping power. This is often audible by screeching and scraping noises. Get a garage to replace the pads if you are hearing this before you set off.
Start Your Road Trip Journey
Now you have the guide to road tripping, all you need is a date and destination. Stock up on snacks, decide who you are taking, and hit the road. Remember to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
If you need comfort and reliability on your next trip, let Autoswiftly assist. We can broker the best possible deal for your next car. Click here to see how the process works for you.
Recommended reading: The Definitive Guide to How Long People Keep Their Cars