After the involuntary confinement of the past year, you might be raring to hit the open road and enjoy some hard-earned adventure. That said, your first holiday in months can turn nightmarish if the unexpected strikes.
A little preparation can help any driving holiday go more smoothly. If you’re planning a spring road trip, cover these five things first.
Prepare for Towing
Where will you sleep? If the past year caused you economic hardship, you aren’t alone. As much as you want to help rebuild the tourism industry, you can find better rates at campgrounds than even the least-expensive motels.
As much as you might crave the great outdoors after spending so much time inside, tents leave much to be desired in terms of comfort. Plus, they take up all your trunk space. Most vehicles can tow a small pop-up camper if you maintain your tires and suspension.
Unless you are an experienced DIY auto expert, you should take your ride to the shop to get your tow-hitch fitted. They have specialized equipment like wheel-balancing machines that can protect your vehicle’s suspension from uneven wear and tear — a trailer can worsen existing imbalances.
Prime Your Vehicle
While you have your car in the shop, have your mechanic give her a thorough inspection. They should check all your belts, hoses and fluid levels. Good hoses feel firm and pliant — take your car for service if you detect squishy spots or signs of belt cracks and fraying.
Even if you take every precaution, car trouble can still strike. Before you depart, learn how to perform tasks like changing a tire and adding fluid to your radiator. It’s always wise to carry roadside assistance coverage, but it isn’t a failsafe. You don’t want to sit for hours at night on a dark desert highway when a little lug nut know-how could get you rolling again more quickly.
Pack the Right Supplies
Springtime is a tricky vixen. One day feels nearly tropical with temperatures in the 80s, then the next, a blizzard threatens. Some areas of the country are more volatile than others, but you can expect wide temperature fluctuations nearly anywhere. When packing your suitcase, bring mix-and-match separates for every season.
You should always carry basic first aid and safety supplies in your ride when planning a spring road trip. Include the following:
Polish and Share Your Plans
If you plan on taking a solo road trip, choose your stops with an eye on security. Call hotels and ask about their safety measures and look elsewhere if they seem sketchy. Saving a few dollars isn’t worth putting yourself in danger.
Always leave a copy of your itinerary with a trusted individual at home — print your route off Google Maps so they know your course of travel. Schedule check-ins so that your folks at home know to contact authorities and where to point them if they don’t hear from you.
Provide Ample Drive-Time Entertainment
Are you taking your little ones with you? If so, carefully evaluate how many times you can hear, “Are we there yet,” before losing your patience.
Take along plenty of drive-time entertainment. Now isn’t when you should worry about screen restrictions — you can limit device use once you reach your destination. You can also pick up activity books inexpensively at any dollar store, and a brand-new set of markers and crayons can delight kids for hours.
Cover These 5 Things When Planning Your Spring Road Trip
When planning your spring road trip, cover these five things. You’ll safeguard yourself and your loved ones while enjoying a more pleasant — and well-deserved — journey.