A summer road trip is an exciting and popular way of getting out of the house to explore with friends or family. Whether you’re traveling across the country or a few hours from home, preparing for your anticipated trip takes some planning. With so many factors to check before a road trip, how do you know where to start? We’ve created this guide to summer road trips to help you remember everything you should do before hitting the road.
Preparing Your Car for a Road Trip
Car maintenance is one of the most important parts of preparing for a road trip. Your car is what makes this trip possible, so make sure it’s ready to roll. Here’s what to check on your car before a road trip:
1. Check Tires and Tire Pressure
Inspect all your tires for possible cuts or gouges that could cause issues down the road. Use a quarter to check the tire treads. If you can see the top of George Washington’s head, it means the treads on your tires are getting too worn down. In this case, you may want to consider getting new tires before your road trip.
While you’re checking your treads, it’s a good idea to check your tire pressure, as well. Make sure each tire is inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendation, which is listed in the owner’s manual and the driver’s side door jamb.
Also, remember to get a spare tire or check the one you already have. It’s reassuring to know it’s in good condition in case you need it in a pinch.
2. Top off Fluid Levels
Add replenishing any fluids that appear low to your list of things to check before a road trip. Engine oil, coolant, transmission, brake, power steering and windshield wiper fluids are all essential for safe vehicle operation.
3. Check the Brakes and Battery
If you hear or feel grinding when you use your brakes, take your car to a repair shop to have them fixed before your trip. Also, make sure your car’s battery has life in it, and remember to keep jumper cables in the car.
4. Run the Air Conditioner
A broken air conditioner would make a summer road trip less comfortable. Run your car’s air conditioner before your trip. If it’s not operating properly, have it repaired so you’re ready for the summer weather.
5. Get Window Film Installed
Having window film installed is another great way to ensure comfort on your road trip. Window films or tints can help reduce glare while driving, protect you and other passengers from harmful UV rays and reflect heat so your interior remains cool. Windshield films are also a good road trip option. They lessen the impact from rocks or bugs to protect the glass and help hold shattered glass together to protect you in an accident.
What to Do Before You Leave
Now that your car is prepared for the long drive, there are a few other things you need to think about before you leave:
- Plan your route: While delays are inevitable with traffic and kids on board, it’s a good idea to have a loosely planned route. Try to estimate where you’ll be on the route when it’s time to sleep and eat. Find places to stay and know your options. Aim to be in specific locations by a certain time to keep your trip on track. Stay flexible, as plans are always subject to change.
- Lock up your house: Make sure windows and doors are locked before you leave. Unplug unnecessary electronics to save money while you’re away. Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your home, bring your mail inside and water plants.
- Pay bills early: If you’ll have bills due while you’re gone, pay them early. This step gives you one less thing to remember while you’re away.
- Contact your credit card company: Let your credit card company or bank know you’ll be traveling. Doing so lets them know it is actually you spending money hundreds of miles from home.
- Create a travel playlist: The radio offers limited options for entertainment, especially when you have to search for stations as you travel. Create a playlist or download audiobooks and podcasts to listen to. You’ll stay entertained and can have something everyone will want to listen to.
- Charge electronics: Technology can be helpful on your road trip, so it’s important to get everything charged before you leave. If you have kids that need to be entertained, make sure their DVD players or other devices are charged and ready to go. It’s also a good idea to prepare chargers or battery packs for in the car in case anything essential runs out of battery.
What to Bring on a Road Trip
You’re getting your car ready and know what to do before a road trip, so now it’s time to pack. There are many items to remember to bring along on your trip. Creating a checklist can be a helpful way to make sure everything gets packed. In addition to your clothes, shoes and toiletries, we suggest you also pack:
- Snacks: Pack snacks to avoid making more pit stops. Pack a variety of snacks so everyone can find something they like. Fruits and veggies or multi-grain bars are healthy alternatives to chips and other road trip snacks.
- Water: Fill reusable water bottles halfway and freeze them the night before your trip. You’ll have ice-cold water and keep other items in a cooler cold.
- Medicine: Of course, pack any prescription medications. In addition to these, pack medicine like Advil. The last thing you want is to be driving in an isolated area with a headache.
- Neck pillows and blankets: Neck pillows take up less space than regular pillows while still allowing passengers to nap. An extra blanket can be helpful in the car or at hotels, too.
- Car activities: Bringing these activities is especially important when entertaining kids. In addition to electronics, portable games and quiet activities can help occupy kids on a long drive.
Prep Your Car for Summer With Madico® Automotive Film
To help make your road trip experience go smoothly, consider having window or paint films installed on your vehicle before your trip. Madico window film and tints cut down on glare, UV rays and heat for a more comfortable drive. Our windshield and window films also help hold shattered glass together to protect you and your passengers. Madico paint protection helps shield your car from scratches and other road trip hazards, letting you return from your trip stress-free.
Find a Madico dealer near you before your next road trip.