The best way to cap off the school year, after pull-your-hair-out exams, is to jump behind the wheel and head out on the open road. Picture it – roof down, hair blowing in the wind, jealousy-inducing social posts (#roadtrip), an upbeat soundtrack. Pure freedom!
But even road trips require a bit of homework, and it can be the difference between an Insta-worthy adventure and a long distance SOS call to the parents at 2AM.
Here are 6 tips to ensure your road trip is a smooth ride:
#1 Keep documents up-to-date
Don’t get behind that wheel without updating your drivers’ license, license plate sticker and ensuring you have current auto insurance within reach in case you need to pull it out. While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to subscribe to a program that offers emergency roadside assistance.
#2 Know your vehicle
Read through your automobile’s manual so you know how it works and how to take care of any basic maintenance. For instance, being able to check your engine, fluid levels and tire pressure will come in handy.
#3 Get a tune-up
For those taking their own car, it’s time to check under that hood! If there’s ever a good time to get a tune-up, pre-road trip is it. Whether that means getting an oil change, wheel alignment, checking your brakes or making sure your tires are properly inflated.
#4 Carry an emergency kit
No amount of homework can prevent an unforeseen event, such as a flood, busted tire or large mammal crossing your path. That’s when an emergency kit comes in handy. You can buy one at any garage or retailer that sells car products. If you’re creating your own, make sure it includes: a flashlight, windshield washer fluid, jumper cables, warning light or road flares and a blanket. Snacks never hurt either!
#5 Go offline
Google Maps and other travel apps are great, but you may end up in a place without service. Yes, offline, circa 1985. Though you may learn to appreciate the adventure of an unplugged life, a paper map will prove very useful if you find yourself without reception.
#6 Know the rules
The rules of the road in a different jurisdiction may not be the same as the ones where you live. So, read up on the cities and countries you’re driving into. Take note of any advice or tips other drivers have offered.
Road trips are the ultimate vacation – and can offer you memories and stories to share for years to come. With just a bit of extra planning, you can ensure that the open road is as safe as it is welcoming.