Summer may still be a few months away, but right about now is when most begin planning their vacation, whether it’s to secure cheaper prices through early booking or to ensure their spot in a popular tour or at a popular destination. If it’s a road trip you’re planning, there are a few more items on the preparations to-do list than if you were simply flying out to a beach resort.
To help make sure your next road trip goes as smoothly as possible, add these seven tasks to you preparations checklist.
1. Gather your Documents
Insurance cards, vehicle registration documents, passports and any relevant consent forms if you’re traveling with a minor who isn’t your son or daughter are all important documents to have at all times. Check to make sure they’re all valid, signed and approved for the duration of your trip.
2. Sign Up for Satellite Radio
Between cities are miles and miles of open road, which is also the distance between radio towers. Unless you’re prepared for bouts of radio static between cities as your vehicle’s receiver looses the signal, a satellite radio subscription is a good idea. If you’re not currently a customer, you can sign up for a free three-month trial just before your vacation.
3. Map your Route
This tip goes without saying, but some details to consider are the average traffic conditions in the regions you’ll be visiting, scheduled infrastructure projects and which back-road routes are best for optimizing the experience on those occasions when you decide to take the next exit. Many road maps have markers indicating which roads offer worthwhile scenery and pit stops. However, be sure to consult more than one to ensure accuracy. The Rand McNally Road Atlas is a good resource.
4. Prepare your Vehicle
Take your vehicle in for maintenance and be sure to check the tire treads and pressure, the brake system and have an oil change. Truthfully, you should have a thorough examination of your vehicle before you hit the road.
Speedy Apollo Auto Service Centres of Calgary recommends checking all the fluids in your vehicle. The engine and transmission oil, coolant and brake fluid are just a few examples of the fluids that prevent things like overheating, premature wearing of gears and an increased effort to start the engine.
5. Emergency Kit
Update your emergency kit. Beyond the staples like batteries, flashlights, a jumper cable and fire extinguisher, include a battery charger, air compressor and tools for basic auto repair jobs such as changing a tire.
Check with your provider for roaming fees and long distance calling charges. It’s probably a better idea to add services to your contract to avoid the insane fees, especially if your road trip includes crossing international borders.
7. Sign Up for Roadside Service
Your car emergency kit is for minor hiccups, but in the event something worse happens, having a roadside service that can readily provide contact information for towing companies and trusted mechanics offers peace of mind, especially when traveling with your family.
When planning anything, it’s always best to prepare for the worst-case scenario, because anything can happen on the road. The last tip every road tripper should follow is be spontaneous. After all, road trips are about the journey not the destination.