How to Prepare for Your Next Road Trip

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Prepare for a fun-filled, stress-free adventure

Everyone who’s ever taken a road trip knows that it’s not just about where you’re going but how you get there that’s important. No one wants to ride in a car or truck for hours and hours without a plan and without having everything necessary to ensure it’s a safe and enjoyable trip. Here’s a guide on the most important things to do to prepare for your next road trip.

Make a budget

Taking a vacation by car helps you avoid costly airline tickets and fees for baggage and rental cars, but there are still costs involved and it’s best to plan ahead by making a realistic budget. First and foremost, how far are you going and how much will it cost you for gas? Include tolls, too. Next, think about where your stops will be, how much it will cost to stay in hotels along the way and the amount of money you’ll need for food. Are you going to take any detours to explore attractions along the way? If so, include the cost of tickets, souvenirs and any related activities as well. It’s a good idea to forecast high, that way you know you’ll have enough to cover any unforeseen expenses. Bring extra cash in case you stop somewhere that does not take credit or debit cards.

Get your vehicle revved up

When was the last time you had the oil changed and the belts and tires checked? If it’s been a while, you’ll want to get all that done and maybe even have the tires rotated. Check your headlights, brake lights, wiper blades and fluids as well. Before you head out on the open road, it’s always a good idea to clean out your trunk and vacuum up any dirt or debris in the car to make it more comfortable for your passengers.

Load up the emergency essentials

Make sure you have a flashlight, a first aid kit and that your spare tire and jack are in working order. If you need tools to change a flat, be sure to pack those too. If you’re going to unknown territory, get a map of the area—even if you’re using a GPS because those devices sometimes don’t have the most up-to-date road changes or information on new traffic patterns.

Pack light

Packing light is not just a good idea because it’s no fun to lug heavy suitcases up stairs at motels, it also helps improve your gas mileage. So bring only necessities and make sure everyone you’re traveling with does the same. Packing light is also a good idea when you have multiple people going along, there’s more room for folks to stretch their legs and spread out in the vehicle. Be sure to bring along light, non-salty snacks and water bottles for the drive

Plan out your route

With all the apps out there today you may think planning your route isn’t necessary. But taking the time to plan out which roads you’ll be taking is a smart idea. Of course, you can always adjust your route according to sights you decide to see while you’re on the road, but if you have an idea of the major roads and highways you’ll be taking, you’ll be better off. There are apps that can help you plan out gas costs, like FuelMyRoute, and the website Gasbuddy.com that can help you find the cheapest gas stations. Other apps like OnTheWay and Roadtrippers (which covers the United States) will give you ideas on great places to stop. Be sure to be aware of weather conditions in the areas you’re traveling through so you know what to expect as you drive (severe thunderstorms, hail and wind can be a detriment to your driving).

Review your auto insurance policy

When was the last time you looked over your car insurance policy? While it may seem tedious and unnecessary, it’s something you should do before you venture out on a road trip. Check to make sure you have roadside assistance included in your policy, that way if you do break down, you’ll have help right away, no matter where you are. Make sure that your policy allows other drivers to drive your car, which should be included as long as you give the okay. If you don’t have rental car coverage, consider adding this option to your policy; it stinks if your car breaks down far away from home and you’re stuck because the local repair guy needs a week to fix it. Most importantly, make sure you have your insurance card with you when you head out.

Ready to hit the open road? Be sure to review these tips on the most important steps to take to prepare for your trip. If you have questions or want to make sure that you have the right amount of coverage, contact Avante Insurance and we’ll be happy to help.