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Saturday, 18 August 2018 08:42

How to Get Ready for a Road Trip

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mapWhen it comes to taking a vacation, there are so many options that it can be difficult to decide.

You could fly to an exotic location or take a train across several provinces or territories. Using the bus is another option, with the choice of many different tour operators offering trips near and far. If you’d rather have a vacation that’s far more flexible, driving a car or riding a motorcycle is a much better option. You’ll be able to stop when you want and visit all the best tourist attractions, and you won’t need to worry about any other passengers. However, before you set off on a long road trip, there are plans that need to be made. You also need to make certain preparations and check everything is in good working order. To help you with your next road trip and to ensure you don’t forget something important, here are some tips to follow.

Plan all the Details

Start by planning your route and include some of the main places you want to visit along the way. It will also help to have a rough idea of when you plan to get there. When you’re driving or riding long distances, it will pay to be a bit more old-school and carry a book of maps. GPS systems are all well and good but can sometimes be unreliable. They’re not all that helpful if you want a bigger picture of your journey, so you can see what else is along your route. It will also be useful to check online with a service like Google Maps to find out whether there is any road construction or other holdups taking place along your route. Don’t plan to be driving for hours on end. Even if you’ve got someone to share the driving with, it will be good to take a break every now and again.

Take some time to plan some of your meal stops, while also allowing for a more flexible eating approach. There are websites online that will provide you with information; Google maps can give you details of local restaurants and so can use your GPS system. Space your meal stops out well, so you’re not left feeling ravenous because this will make it difficult to concentrate on driving. Also, allow for a rest period after eating. Getting back behind the wheel straight away will make you feel very tired. Worse case scenario, you can always stop at a grocery store and have a picnic.

If you’re worried about cost, then you should consider doing some of your own cooking along the way. Pack a camping stove and some pots and pans, together with plates and cutlery, and you’ll be able to stop whenever you want. Alternatively, if you’re planning to stop in one particular location for a few days, look for an apartment to rent, and you can do your own cooking. This will save money, and you’ll be able to prepare some food for the next leg of your journey.

Making reservations for some accommodation along the way will also be a great idea as it will give you a goal to focus on. It might also be difficult finding a cheap option if you don’t plan ahead. That doesn’t mean you have to plan every single night of your trip. Give yourself some flexibility, because you might want to stay in one location longer.


Preparing Your Gear

Whatever vehicle you’re using, it will pay to check it over thoroughly before departing. Your vehicle should be in good working order. Making an appointment at your local garage a couple of weeks before you travel will allow them to give it the once-over. There will also be adequate time for them to make necessary repairs. Check all your fluids are topped up, and the tire pressure is as it should be.

You’ll want to check the weather forecast, so you know what to pack. If you’re travelling a long distance, it could be very different than your current location. To save space in the vehicle aim to pack clothing that can be layered and items you can mix and match.

Pack some snacks and drinks just in case you can’t find anywhere suitable along the next stage of your journey. Chips, crackers, popcorn, veggie or fruit chips will be perfect. Remember to stay hydrated as well, but don’t drink too much so that you’re constantly stopping for toilet breaks.


Be Prepared for Emergencies

It’s a good idea to be prepared for emergencies. You never know what’s waiting for you around the next corner. Some of the basics you might want to consider packing include:

  • Roadside emergency kit that includes a flashlight, jumper cables, and flares
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Blankets
  • First aid kit
  • Radiator fluid and motor oil

You should always make sure there is a spare tire in the trunk of your car and be able to change it in an emergency. It will also help if you’re aware of some of the basic tasks you might need to perform along the way. For example, do you know how to check the oil and fluids?

Make sure you take enough money with you and have a credit card for emergencies. Not all places you stop will take cards, so it pays to always have cash as well. Bear in mind you might struggle to find an ATM if you’re travelling somewhere remote.

The last piece of advice is to consider joining a roadside assistance service. You want the service you’re paying for to include long-distance towing to a garage because you can’t guarantee your car will break down near to a town. Many of the assistance services also provide helpful information with regards trip planning, maps, and discounts on accommodation.

Road trips can be great fun, but they can also be a nightmare if you’re not prepared. Everyone will have their own way of preparing. Some will make a checklist; some will make use of apps. The points mentioned above are the basics you need to consider.  

Last modified on Saturday, 18 August 2018 22:54
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