Road trips remain one of the most popular and affordable ways to travel. Choosing to travel by car gives passengers the opportunity to explore several cities or states on a long journey to their vacation destination. It’s like getting multiple vacations in one (and for a lot less money). Getting around in your car is a lot of fun, but for your trip to be successful, you’ll need to make sure you’ve covered all aspects including safety, accommodations, packing, and entertainment. Here is a more detailed list of what you need to do to get prepared for your upcoming road trip.

Safety First

Being out on the road for miles at a time creates a bigger chance of being involved in an accident. It also increases your chances of getting stranded on the side of the road. To reduce the likelihood of these things happening, you need to keep safety first.

  • Insure Your Vehicle – Accidents happen every second of the day and you need to be prepared in case it happens to you while on your road trip. You can look for cheap car insurance online to provide adequate coverage in the event you crash.

  • Inspect Your Vehicle – The more you drive your personal vehicle, the more damage it will incur from the wear and tear. Before leaving for vacation, inspect your vehicle to make sure there aren’t any repairs that need to be addressed. It is especially important to check things like the fluid quality and levels, filters, hoses, brakes, and tires. You should also check traffic signals, brake lights, headlights, and reverse lights so you don’t get pulled over and ticketed.

  • Pack First Aid – You don’t plan to get hurt, especially not while driving, but anything could happen. A first aid kit is recommended to deal with any minor injuries on the road. Your kit should have basic supplies including bandaids, ointment, alcohol, peroxide, and cotton swabs.

Planning the Trip

Now that you’ve taken care of the safety measures you need to plan the rest of your road trip. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you plan:

  • Plan Alternate Routes – Once you’ve decided where your final destination will be you need to map out the best driving routes to get there. Though you may have a good scenic route in mind, you should plan an alternate route. Should something go wrong like an accident or construction, it could require you to go another way and you want to be prepared.

  • Plan Frequent Stops – Here’s a planning tip that falls under safety as well. If you’re going to be driving more than 3-4 hours to your destination, you need to plan stops in between. Driving for that long can be tedious on the driver and uncomfortable for the passengers. Try to make the stops interesting. For instance, if you’re going to Niagara Falls from Baltimore, Maryland, you might look for things to do in New York City as a nice break.

  • Be Mindful of Hotel Check-ins – When booking a hotel room be mindful of the check-in times to avoid losing your room or being penalized. If a hotel advises that check-in is at noon, but you don’t believe you’ll make it until three, it is best to let them know up front so they can prepare.

Packing for the Road

You’re almost at the end of your road trip planning. The next task to conquer is packing. Since you’ll be driving, you won’t have as much storage space as you might have in an airplane, boat, or train, so you’ll need to be smart. Here are some things you want to make sure you pack:

One Bag Per Person – Try to stick to a one bag per person rule. Get everyone to pack light so that you have more space in the car for your luggage. Ideas to getting things in one bag might include buying travel size personal hygiene products, rolling clothes, packing neutral bottoms and multiple tops, and minimizing the number of shoes you bring.

Food – You’re going to be on the road for some time, which means you’re bound to get hungry.  You can’t very well keep pulling over to pay for food because this wastes money and time. So, pack a bag that has food and drinks in it for you to enjoy in the car.

Entertainment – Again, the idea is to make the driving experience as peaceful as you can. Your planned stops to see other sites and take a break are a good start, but you’ll need to pack some entertainment. If you’re traveling for children, for instance, you need toys, gaming devices, and tablets on board. If you’re traveling alone or with a significant other, a good book, a long playlist, and your smartphone might suffice.

Have you checked everything off on this list? If you have, then you’re ready to hit the road and explore the world from your car. Grab the bags, the family, the food, snacks, and entertainment, and program your destination into the GPS. Last but not least, don’t forget to pack a camera or a car charger for your smartphone so you can take lots of photos along the way.