Road trips can be a lot of fun. They’re a great way to experience different scenic sites and engage in interesting activities, both on the way to and from your destination.
In order to fully enjoy your days or weeks of travel, however, you need to feel confident that –
• You’ll return to a home that’s in the same condition as when you left it.
• Your car will take you everywhere on your itinerary without breaking down.
If you want to leave home with that kind of confidence, you should take some time to do a few standard things prior to leaving on your adventure.
Nothing can ruin your road trip faster than having your car break down in the middle of nowhere half way to your destination.
You don’t want to spend (or waste?) your precious vacation time searching for someone who can repair your car and then waiting for the necessary spare parts to arrive because they’re not in stock.
You can never be 100% sure that your car won’t break down, but at least you can do everything possible to avoid that from happening.
Here are eleven things that will let you have an easy mind while you’re having a great time on your road trip.
1. Have your vehicle thoroughly checked out by a mechanic you know and trust.
Yes, getting ready for a road trip is the perfect time to have this done. If you were planning to do this a few months before your departure, why not wait and do it just a few weeks ahead of your trip?
Replace worn parts, including belts and hoses. Take care of this long enough before you hit the road so that you have time to test everything out.
2. Have your tires checked.
Get them balanced and aligned and make sure your spare is in good shape. In addition, double check that you have the right equipment to change a tire – just in case.
3. Have your oil changed.
Unless, of course, you’ve just had it done recently.
4. Top Off All Fluids in Your Car.
Make sure you check and fill all of your car’s fluids, including the radiator, transmission, and windshield wiper.
5. Prepare a Roadside Emergency Kit.
Being prepared is the best way to avoid disaster. Put together an emergency roadside kit – again, just in case. Your kit should include –
• a flashlight with spare batteries
• jumper cables
• flares or triangle reflectors
• tool kit with screwdrivers, pliers, etc
• tire inflator and sealant
• granola bars or other food that can be eaten as is
• a blanket or two.
You don’t want to return from a great trip to discover that your home has been broken into and many precious belongings have been taken.
6. Don’t Post Your Travel Plans on Social Media.
While you may be excited about your upcoming road trip, letting the whole world know that your home will be empty for an extended period of time is like sending a special invitation to burglars. Wait until you return home to post about your wonderful adventure.
7. Clean Out Your Fridge.
Remove all perishable food from your refrigerator prior to leaving for your trip. You don’t want to come home to molding food or spoiled milk.
8. Put Your lights on a Timer.
A house that remains dark for days or weeks at a time is a beacon to thieves. While putting your lights on a timer won’t guarantee that a break-in won’t occur, doing so will keep the thieves guessing.
9. Ask Your Friends to Check on Your Home.
To make it appear that someone is home, ask a couple of trusted friends or family members to check on your home sporadically, pick up your mail, and possibly mow your lawn. In addition, should a break-in occur, someone can sound the alarm and report it to the police right away.
10. Leave Your Itinerary with a Relative or Trusted Friend.
Write out your planned itinerary. You may make changes along the way, but at least your friend will have an approximate idea of where you’ll be each day. Include the phone and address information of any hotels you booked before departure.
Make copies for yourself and for your friend.
Phone your relative or friend each day and let them know your location so that if something should happen, they can give authorities an up-to-date account of your last known whereabouts.
11. Secure Your Home.
Before you drive away, take a walk through your house to make sure all doors and windows are locked.
Preparing for your road trip before you ever get into your car actually makes your trip far more enjoyable because you know you’ve done everything you could to avoid mishaps.