As the world opens again, there are more opportunities to get out, travel, and see the sights. And what better way is there to see the country than on a road trip? But before you put the pedal to the metal, make sure you and your car are prepared for a safe journey. Here are the basics on preparing your car for a long-distance road trip.
Get a Checkup and Make Upgrades
You should already be bringing your car in for regular inspections and maintenance, but before you go on a long trip, make sure it’s in perfect running order. Bring it to the mechanic or other automobile service provider and have it inspected from end to end, starting with the tires. Make sure the treads are in good shape and that all five tires (don’t forget the spare!) are at the proper pressure. Have them rotated every six months, or during maintenance if it’s almost time. Top off all fluids and see if the motor oil is clean and clear, or if it’s time for a change. Of course, fill up the gas tank before you leave.
Plot an Itinerary, But Leave Wiggle Room
When you’re going somewhere for the first time, make sure you know what you’ll encounter when you get there. Plot your course and print out maps just in case your smartphone loses service. Decide on places to go, eat, and otherwise relax, but be sure to leave some room for adventure. You never know what you’ll discover, so it’s smart to leave room for something new and exciting.
There’s no doubt you’ll sample food and drink along the way and at your destination but keep your energy and interest up by packing snacks that are healthy and fun. Bring along protein and granola bars, as well as nuts and seeds. Carrots and celery sticks are a good accompaniment to portable packages of humus and peanut butter. Grapes and dried fruit like cranberries, mango slices, apricots, figs, and others will keep you satisfied. Meat jerky or vegan jerky are always filling, while popcorn makes for a satisfying snack, especially with special seasonings. Candy and other fun sugary treats are fine, but don’t overdo it. And always bring along water in a reusable cup.
Bring Entertainment for the Long Stretches
When preparing your car for a long-distance road trip, it’s always smart to bring along entertainment options, and certainly if several of your passengers are children. Computers and tablets are fine in small doses. But if you want to keep screens to a minimum, there are other ways to hold their attention in positive ways when every mile starts to look the same. Audiobooks are always a surprisingly fun alternative and are free on CD or for download through your local library. Work your way through a famous series as you wind down the road!