Heading out on a road trip can be everything from a fun adventure to a necessary evil. Sometimes you have to drive across the country because you’re moving home, working, or doing someone a favor.
But there are other occasions when road trips are just for your own enjoyment, whether you’re on your own or taking family or friends along for the ride. No matter who is going on the trip with you or why you’re taking it, being well-prepared is important.
There are some big mistakes that a lot of people make when preparing for a road trip, as well as along the way. You can recover from some mistakes easily, but others could ruin your whole trip. Before you head off on a road trip, read about some of the top mistakes to avoid below, and plan your trip accordingly.
Not Getting Your Vehicle Serviced
When you’re going on a road trip, you need to be able to rely on your car to get you there. If you experience any problems with your vehicle along the way, it could delay or even completely stop your road trip from continuing. Even worse, it could put you in an unsafe situation in some cases. So it’s vital to ensure your vehicle is ready to roll before you get out on the road.
Taking it for a proper tuneup will reassure you that it’s not only roadworthy but can also survive a longer trip. You want to make sure that your brakes are working, your tire pressure is good, and that everything is well-oiled and working as it should be.
Forgetting to Check Your Spare Tires
If you’re thinking about things that could go wrong on the road, a flat tire is one of them. You never know when you might have to stop due to a punctured tire, and you don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road. Being able to change it yourself so you can get back on your way is essential. Of course, to do that, you’re going to need a spare tire.
Head to ozzytyres.com.au or a similar site, and make sure you have a spare available. If you already have a spare, be sure to check it before heading off on your trip. You don’t want to find out that it’s not in good condition when you really need it (or worse, that you’ve already used it and forgotten to replace it).
Failing to Plan Your Route
Maybe you know where you’re going on your trip. You have a rough idea of how you’re meant to get from A to B, and you’re going to have your navigation system to guide you. But there’s always a chance that you could end up getting lost.
That’s why it’s a good idea to sit down and plan your route to make sure you really know where you’re going. This will also allow you to plan any stops you want to make, choose the most scenic route, or make any other choices that will affect your enjoyment of your road trip.
Not Taking Entertainment for the Road
Whether you’re traveling alone or with family or friends, keeping everyone entertained in the car is important. The driver has to concentrate on driving, but even they can appreciate some music, conversation, or someone passing them some candy. Adults can generally amuse themselves if they’re passengers on a road trip (and can take turns driving too) but kids generally need a bit more help to avoid feeling bored.
Make sure you take a range of options for entertainment with you if you want to prevent whining in the back seat. This could include travel games, tablets or DVD players, snacks and drinks, and other things to keep everyone entertained throughout the trip.
Planning Too Tightly
It’s important to have a good plan for your road trip but there can also be such a thing as too much planning. If you plan your road trip down to the minute, you could find your trip disappointing. Firstly, you could struggle to stay on track if anything delays you. But you could also make your trip fairly boring if you don’t leave room for some spontaneity.
Part of the fun of a road trip is getting to stop now and then, even if it’s to do something unplanned. What if you spot a sign for something interesting or you just see a view that you want to stop and admire? Enjoy the journey and avoid overplanning.
Not Stopping Enough
Including time to stop in your schedule is important. You’ll need to stop to use the bathroom, fill up on fuel, and perhaps have some food. But it’s also a good idea to ensure you stop and stretch your legs along the way. This is important to prevent you from sitting in a cramped car for too long.
Not only can you start to feel the effects physically, but being cooped up and concentrating on the road for too long can start to get to you mentally too. A break to stretch your legs and take a walk will help to refresh you and make you a safer driver.
Forgetting to Pack an Emergency Kit
If anything happens during your trip, it’s essential to have some emergency supplies. You could end up facing a disaster if something goes wrong and you don’t have the right tools and gear to help you out. There are various things that you could pack, both for making repairs to your car and keeping everyone happy if you need to stop.
If you’ve checked your spare tire, make sure you have a kit to change it. Jumper cables will come in handy if you need to give your vehicle a jump start, and a car battery charger or spare battery could come in handy too.
As for items for you and your passengers, there are some things that you could find helpful, especially if it’s very hot or cold outside. A few blankets, plenty of water, some energy bars or other food are a good idea. At least one flashlight is smart to carry too, especially because it can help you with vehicle repairs and more.
…And a First Aid Kit
In addition to an emergency kit for your car and any sticky situations that might arise, a first aid kit is a good choice of items to pack. There are various things that you can include in your kit, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be all-encompassing. A few essentials, such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, and painkillers, are useful to have when you’re on the road.
You can buy a ready-made kit if you want to make sure you have all of the essentials or you can put one together yourself. If you already have a first aid kit, be sure to check it before you go. Remove anything that might have expired and stock it up with any items that are missing.
Not Checking Parking Options
Finally, when you’re planning to stop during your road trip, make sure you actually will be able to stop. You need to check that there are adequate parking options available so that you’ll be able to park your vehicle securely. Firstly, be aware of the size of your vehicle and check what’s allowed wherever you plan to stop.
It’s also a good idea to check your general parking options when stopping during your journey or planning to visit certain destinations. Where can you park and how much will it cost?
Don’t make these mistakes when you go on a road trip. Avoid them and you can make sure your trip is a success.