Anyone who has ever taken a road trip knows the feeling of anticipation and excitement preceding the journey. But what do you need to do in order to make sure your trip is as perfect as possible? Here is an ultimate road trip checklist of things to do before hitting the open road!
Picking the right vehicle: Make sure you have a car that can handle the trip
If you’re planning a vacation, it’s important to think about the type of vehicle you’ll need. Certain regions may have different driving conditions than your home state. You might also want to consider the size of the car you’re buying. Here are some tips for choosing the right vehicle:
- Check if the car can handle the terrain and weather in the destination area. Make sure it has good brakes and tires.
- Think about what size car will fit your needs and budget. Larger cars can accommodate more people and luggage, while smaller cars are easier to maneuver in tight spots.
- Consider whether you’ll need a convertible or four-wheel drive vehicle. Four-wheel drive is especially important in mountainous areas or on icy roads.
- Be sure to ask about insurance rates in your destination area before making a purchase.
Planning your road trip route: Decide where you want to go and map out the route.
One of the most important steps in planning your road trip is deciding where you want to go and mapping out the route. Start by figuring out what attractions or locations interest you the most. Once you have a list, start combing through online maps and driving directions to find routes that fit your needs.
Some tips for planning a great route include:
- Scan through online travel guides to get ideas on where to stay and eat along the way.
- Consider avoiding highways whenever possible; instead, explore smaller back roads and scenic byways.
- Check traffic conditions before heading out – if there are any major road closures or holiday events in your area, plan accordingly.
Preparing for your road trip: Make sure you have everything you need for the trip
When planning your road trip, make sure you have everything you need. Here are some tips to help:
- Make a list of the items you’ll need and pack them in a bag or container.
- Check the weather forecast for your destination before you leave. If it looks like rain or snow is in the forecast, bring an umbrella or raincoat.
- Make sure your vehicle is in good condition and has enough gas and oil.
- Plan which towns you’ll stay in each night, so you don’t get lost.
- Pack snacks, drinks, maps and driver’s manuals, and enough money for the tolls and parking fees.
Below you’ll see a breakdown of what to do two weeks, one week, and the day before your trip. As well as the complete checklist for what to bring with you during your trip.
The complete pre-road trip Checklist
2 to 4 weeks before you go on a trip
1) Ensure that your car battery is in good condition
2) Check your vehicle’s engine oil level and its color
3)Check the vehicle’s coolant
4) Get any major repairs done to the vehicle
5) Create a budget for the trip
6) Check the vehicle’s glove box for current registration and tags
7) Check the vehicle’s tire treads and pressure
8) Check the vehicle’s spare tire
A week before the trip
1) Check the tire pressure again
2) Check the vehicle’s air filter
3) Buy a road atlas or free maps from AAA if you’re a member
4) Buy snacks and first aid kit supplies
5) Check your vehicle’s load capacity
A day before the trip
1) Pick up a GPS for travel suggestions and traffic or detours warnings
2) Prepare a map as a backup
3) Keep your mobile phone fully charged in case of emergency
4) Check you car insurance policy and carry valid proof of insurance in the car
5) Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage in case of an emergency
6) Check for detours along your route
Staying safe on the road: Follow safety precautions while driving
Many people think that they can just drive and not worry about their safety while on the road. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, there are many things that drivers can do to stay safe while driving. Here are some tips:
First and foremost, always obey all traffic laws. Not only will this help you avoid getting a ticket, but it also gives other drivers a sense of trust that you will follow their rules as well. If you have to make a quick decision, always try to use your headlights as a warning signal instead of using your horn. And lastly, don’t drink and drive!
The final checklist: Make sure you have everything you need for your trip
Here are 22 road trip essentials to insure you and your family make this year’s road trip one of the most memorable experiences of your life.
Remember, some simple planning ahead can avoid a lot of frustration and save you a lot of time on your trip. As much as you would like to think everything will go smoothly, there will be bumps on the road. However, with proper preparation, you can make sure those bumps are tiny and you can continue enjoying your trip.
The time to find out you forgot something is before you leave and by following this checklist, you’ll guarantee you have everything that’s required for you and your family to have a wonderful and safe experience.
Original infographic via Weiss Insurance Agencies, content updated in April 2022.