Friday, April 13, 2018

Your Road Trip Checklist

It’s almost summertime and you’re ready for an adventure with your buddies. If you’re planning a road trip, near or far, get ready to hit the open road with these pre-trip tips.

Have you decided whose car you’re taking? Make sure it’s in good working condition for long distances early on. You don’t want to find out it has a major engine issue the week you’re supposed to leave. You should also get the oil changed and check your tire pressure a week or so before you leave.

The day before, get it washed and detailed (it’s not fun to start vacation sitting on a pile of crumbs), then fill up the gas tank just as you head out. If it’s going to be an especially long trip, find out who is comfortable taking a turn at the wheel and if the car owner is okay with other people driving.

You don’t have a specific plan in mind, just see where the wind takes you before you reach the final destination, but a map might come in handy. Living in the “I” generation means everyone will probably have access to GPS on their phones, but you should throw a fold-up map in the glovebox just in case reception gets spotty on a random side tour you decide to take.

There are plenty of amazing things to stop and see (and eat) that you hadn’t planned on, and sometimes those establishments only accept cash, so have some on hand in addition to any debit or credit cards you’re toting.

You’ll also want to get a good estimate on how much you plan to spend for the duration of your trip, especially for necessities like gas. If you’re not prepared, the trip may end sooner than you planned, and you might find yourself waiting for an Idaho Falls towing company to rescue you.

Pillow & Blanket
The fun of a road trip is the journey, but after several hours in a car, you may be ready for a nap. Bring a pillow to lean against the window when you need to sleep and a blanket when everyone wants the AC on full blast but you’re freezing.

Both will be useful when repositioning yourself to get more comfortable. Your friends may even thank you, and if they’re begging you to share, you can always make a trade for something great they brought along.

Maybe you’re planning to stay in hotels, hostels, or with friends along the way, but no one can predict where your restless hearts will lead you. If you end up in a ghost town when it’s time to break for the night, a tent is a lifesaver. Who knows, you may find that you need a few more nights under the stars.

Sweatshirt & Gym Shoes
It’s easy to plan for the indoor portion of your trip, but don’t forget about the amazing natural wonders you’ll come across that you hadn’t planned on. It would be a shame if you didn’t go on an epic hike through the rain because you only brought t-shirts and flip-flops.

Your comfy old gym shoes will come through for you whether it’s a hike, a quick run, or a few turns on a fair ride. A sweatshirt, on the other hand, is the perfect crossover between lounge and activewear. It knows how to take a beating and is easy to wash when you inevitably drop it in the dirt.

Let’s not forget the most important item you can bring on any kind of trip, road or no. Start out with a variety of sweet and salty, healthy and indulgent snacks that everyone can share. You may love your soda and other flavored drinks, but a case of water will be better for everyone and cheaper, too.

Pick up some new treats along the way, too, and you’ll make it back home with only one regret: that the trip wasn’t longer.

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