Preparing for a road trip | 9 tips for a safer trip

Where has the New Year gone?! I can’t believe it is March already and spring is just about to start. Hopefully for many of you that means it is time to start planning for upcoming road trips!

If you’ve been following me for a while now, I’m sure you’ve noticed I road trip…A LOT. Partly because it can be cheaper, but mainly because I just love being out on the road with no where particularly to be, and seeing everything up close from point A to point B. But I’ve learned that nothing in life ever goes as planned. There are many things that can happen that are out of our control especially on the road. All we can do is be prepared for the hick-ups so it doesn’t ruin the trip!

Here are the steps I take to help my trips go smoothly-
1. Visit the dealership

It is imperative that whatever you plan on driving in is reliable. Whether this means you visit your dealership, mechanic, or can do it yourself (even better!), you should always be sure that your motor oil is good, all fluids are full, your tires are filled, and everything all around is running and sounding correct. If you don’t have a service plan this may cost you a little money upfront but it will save you even more later on. I know this one can be easy to put off but it is one thing you don’t want to skip out on!

2. Keep up with Mother-nature

Speaking of things that could go wrong- the weather is definitely something that is out of our control. When you’re traveling you should always pay attention to the weather reports and plan accordingly. This means tracking weather AND packing for it. If it’s a hot summer you’ll want plenty of sunscreen, hats, and extra water. If it is going to rain a lot maybe pack an umbrella and rain boots. If it is in the winter definitely pack a windshield scraper, shovel, boots, and plenty of emergency kit items like blankets and water, etc. incase you get stranded somewhere. This may seem a little extreme to you, but trust me, I have plenty of trip mishap stories I could tell you that would make you understand how important this is. It is especially important to pay attention to weather when you’re traveling across country. You could be driving through drastic weather changes since each state is different. Shout-out to my dad- he’s like my personal weatherman! He’s so good at tracking storms and helping me time things properly. Just last weekend he helped me beat the giant snowstorm across the country! 🙂

3. Over-budget

You may be thinking your trip is already expensive as it is and now I’m telling you to OVER-budget?! Yes, I am. Everyone has their own standards when it comes to traveling and no matter if you like to spend your money on 5 star hotels or save by crashing at a $14 campsite, one thing is for certain- you need to budget your trip within your own means and add a cushion! No matter if I’m road tripping or flying somewhere, I ALWAYS over-budget and here is why:

It saves money in the long run AND I won’t be worried about money so I can enjoy the trip 100%. What fun is it if you’re worried about whether you can afford to do this or that or how much money you’ll have left after the trip? This also leaves room in the budget for emergencies. If your money is already tight and something goes wrong, how do you plan to pay for it? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have to dip into my savings account if I can help it.

I could write a whole other blog post about budgeting for trips, or how to even afford a trip you didn’t think was possible- so keep a lookout for these future tips! 😉

4. Research

Everyone always asks me how I find places I visit…research, folks! But I don’t only research places to go and things to do. I research other things such as distances between destinations, places to stay, local weather, local news updates, road closures, reviews, etc. You’d be surprised at the amount of helpful tips you can find. Imagine driving and finding out the road is closed for winter so you have to backtrack 220 miles. Or the campground you planned on staying at is closed due to maintenance. Maybe the hike you planned on doing has high risk for flash floods and there’s rain in the forecast. These are all mishaps I’ve managed to avoid by researching! Now I don’t mean plan every single step of your trip down to the hour or minute because who wants to do that!? But having an idea of where you’re going to be and what is around is very important especially in the case of an emergency.

5. Be early! Pack the night before

How many of you are last minute packers? I can be guilty of this too. But I’ve found that packing the night before will prevent any added stress on the day of departure. It is no fun running around the house trying to gather things in a frenzy. You’re actually more likely to forget things that way. Your road trip is suppose to be fun and exciting! So be ready to leave on time and start it off on a good note.

6. Download the tunes + Directions

Most of us are so use to being connected to the outside world 24/7 that when we lose service we panic! If you can’t stream your favorite music or podcast, what do you listen to? If you lose your Maps directions because you’re too far out of network, do you know the way?

Before my trips I always use my Pandora One which costs me only $10 a month to create playlists and download them before I leave. That way if I lose service I always have something to listen to. Having an old school road map in the glove box probably isn’t a bad idea either, but I usually just download the directions or screen shot them on my phone so when I lose service I don’t also miss my turn.

8. Keep the tank full

I don’t know about you, but driving while on a nearly empty tank just gives me anxiety. I’m always paranoid about running out of gas in the middle of nowhere! To be safe and avoid the unnecessary stress I simply keep my tank full. I’ve driven my car enough to know how long each tank of gas will last me. I don’t like letting the gas get too far below a half tank so I know to stop every 3-4 hours to fill up. I don’t mind this on long road trips anyways because it breaks up the drive and allows me to reload up on snacks!

9. Have a roadside service plan

While driving from Utah to Colorado one summer a deer ran into the side of my car. No, I didn’t HIT a deer, IT hit me! Accidents can happen at any moment while on the road whether it is with another vehicle, a wild animal, or something mechanically goes wrong. Having a roadside service plan will help ease the amount of stress in the situation. Luckily the deer only dented my passenger door, but it would have been way worse if I had hit it head on. I feel better knowing I have a roadside service plan that 100% covers me while I’m out- they put me in a hotel, tow my car for free, and help me find somewhere to get it fixed. If you know you’ll be road tripping frequently this is definitely something you’ll want to look into.

There you have it- my top 9 tips for a safer road trip. I’ve road tripped a lot over the past few years and these steps have definitely saved me from trouble, so please, don’t take these lightly! Plan accordingly but most importantly have fun and enjoy your upcoming trip! 🙂

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