Road trips are a well-documented pastime of Americans. Commonly captured in U.S. cinema as a metaphor for a journey or coming of age story, road trips appear liberating and exhilarating. But they can also a bit romanticised. A proper road trip takes planning for it to go smoothly. Here are some of the biggest mistakes to avoid to ensure your next road trip adventure doesn’t hit a dead end.
Mistake #1: You Don’t Have Backup Navigation
GPS-enabled mobiles and dashboard units make it easy to navigate your way without a map. However, depending on your route, you may run into areas with spotty or absent connectivity. No service means no map! If you happen to get lost while disconnected, how do you get on the right route again? Before your trip, pick up a map or road atlas just in case.
Mistake #2: Your Budget Doesn’t Include Car Maintenance
Road trips are a great budget-friendly way to travel and a great way to take a holiday without breaking the bank. The one area you shouldn’t skimp on is pre-trip maintenance. A broken-down vehicle will put a quick stop on any road trip, so make sure your car is ready to tackle all those kilometers. Here’s a short list of things of things to check:
- Check your tyre pressure and inflate to recommended PSI. Check your spare tyre too!
- Check your tyre tread for unusual wear.
- Check and top off all important fluids (oil, coolant, transmission, brake, power steering, windshield washer). If you’re not sure how, check YouTube!
- Clean the windows and windshield.
- Check windshield wipers and replace if necessary.
- Check all lights (headlamps, tail lights, turn signal, dome light, dash light).
Mistake #3: You Don’t Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Trunk
While you hit the road picturing a perfect trip, emergencies do happen. Make sure you’re prepared to handle most roadside issues. You can purchase a kit online or build your own. Here’s a list of things you should keep in your car in case of emergency:
- First-aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Tyre jack
- Tyre iron
- Tyre inflator or sealer
- Tyre pressure gauge
- Duct tape
- Car manual
- Energy bars or MREs
- Water bottles
- Flares or reflective triangle
- Seat belt cutter
- Window breaker
With the exception of the seat belt cutter and the window breaker, you can keep all these items safely in your trunk. The other two items should be kept in the glove compartment or arm rest storage for quick accessibility.
Mistake #4: You Rely on Tablets to Entertain Children
They say “never put all your eggs in one basket,” which is exactly what you’ll be doing by amusing your children with tablets or mobiles alone. Even with multiple chargers keeping everyone’s devices charged, there are limitations when you don’t have Wi-Fi. Plus, is it really a holiday if everyone is staring at screens? Prepare several different options to keep everyone entertained for the long hours ahead. With fun games like these, no one will be bored enough to ask the dreaded road trip idiom “are we there yet?”