There is nothing better than taking a cross country road trip. Learning how to prepare for a cross country road trip can help you to ensure that your trip is all you hope for.
With pandemic travel restrictions in place, many people are taken to the road and vacationing old school with cross country road trips. Learning how to prepare for a cross country road trip with some expert tips will help even the novice be fully prepared.
During the Planning Stages of Your Cross Country Road Trip Do These Things
If you are wondering how to prepare for a cross country road trip successfully, you should know that planning is a big piece of the puzzle. You want to take the time to not only plan your route, but plan for stops along the way, arrange for lodging when you will need a break, and make sure you have crossed all your tee’s and dotted all the I’s in your planning.
When should you start planning? As soon as you decide that you are taking that cross country road trip. Here are some tips for planning your road trip:
- Make a checklist. You should make separate checklists for what needs to be done for your vehicle, and what needs to be done for the people that are taking the road trip. In other words, both the vehicle you are driving and the people that are traveling are going to need to make some preparations.
- Don’t skimp on the planning. It can be easy to get caught up in the adventure and forget to plan for things like planned stops but it is very important that you do plan for these things. You do not want to find yourself in the dead of night when you are too tired to drive anymore aimlessly driving around looking for a place to stay.
- Make sure you have your documents in order. If you need to buy a small folder or case to hold important documents like documents from the auto insurance company, your driver’s license, emergency contact lists, and more.
- Share your itinerary with friends and family. Anything can happen, you want to make sure that someone knows what your intended plans are, just in case.
A well-planned trip can enhance your safety and of course, enhance the fun of the trip. Planning every detail of the trip can actually help you to stay flexible on your trip. This may sound counterintuitive, but if you have a strong framework in place, you will feel better about taking those side trips during your road trip and having a plan to come back to.
Keeping a checklist of everything that needs to get done before you get on the road will ensure that you do not find yourself forgetting anything behind or worse yet, not having a place to stay when you need to stop. Gathering all of your documents in one place like the documents from your automotive insurance provider will mean if you need easy access on the road you will have it.
With a little planning ahead, you can avoid many of the frustrations on the road that can kill the joy of a cross country road trip. Put the time in during the planning stage and you will be able to travel with peace of mind. How to prepare for a cross country road trip starts with being prepared.
How To Prepare for a Cross Country Road Trip On a Budget
If you want to travel the country but you do not want to break the bank there are steps that you can take that will help you to save some money while on the road. Planning and using technology can help you to save on everything from lodging to fuel.
There are apps that you can download that will help you to find apartments to stay in along the route. Air BnB’s are a great way to save on the road. In many cases, you can find great lodging in great locations at a fraction of the cost of what you would pay for a hotel. Many people rent out rooms in their apartments to travelers at very low cost.
Worried about fuel costs? Download an app that will show you where to find wholesale fuel pricing across the country. These apps can tell you where the cheapest fuel is and how far away from the station you are. The savings can be tremendous, and the good news is most of the apps are free.
Another way to save on fuel while you are on the road is to get a rewards card for a nationwide chain and only use those service stations to fill up. Many nationwide fuel companies have their own credit card which they offer with cents off each gallon of gas when you use the card. Get the card and pay it off each month just so you can get that added savings.
Speaking of credit cards, if you do not have one, get one and keep it in your document folder just in case of an emergency. It is important that you either have a cash reserve or a credit reserve put on the side when you are traveling to cover unexpected situations.
How else can you make your cross country more affordable? Try these things:
- Get a cooler. That’s right a cooler can help to save you money. Instead of buying drinks and snacks at the gas station when you are filling up where you will pay premium prices, stop at supermarkets along the way, and take advantage of the savings. Bringing drinks and snacks along for the road trip from grocery stores can help you find substantial savings on food costs.
- Consider traveling with a buddy. Road trips are more fun when you travel with someone else, and of course, help to split the costs. A travel buddy can mean a savings of 50%.
- Look for free things to do. There are a lot of free things that you can do on your cross country road trip take advantage of those things instead of paying to have experiences.
There are plenty of ways to travel on the cheap, sometimes you have to put in a little extra work, but in the end, it will be well worth the savings to work a little harder to find the savings. Of course, you do not want to skimp in some areas. Do not skimp when it comes to your car maintenance or necessary repairs.
How To Prepare for a Cross Country Road Trip With These Vehicle Safety Measures
Since you will be spending a lot of time driving your vehicle on your cross country trip, you should follow a few simple steps to get your vehicle in great shape. The first thing you need to prepare for on a cross country trip is your vehicles safety.
Before you get on the road, take your vehicle into the auto shop and have it completely checked out. Let the mechanic know what you are planning and ask them to do a complete inspection of all the major safety equipment and major mechanical systems.
The mechanic may recommend having your brake pads replaced new windshield wipers or other maintenance that is about ready to be done. This is also a good time to get any windshield repairs that you need.
When you are preparing your vehicle for a long road trip you want to make sure that any maintenance that is coming due or that will be due while you are on the road is done ahead of time. For example, your brake pads have about 500 miles left on them, if your travels will exceed that limit, change them now. You do not want to get stuck somewhere you are unfamiliar trying to find a mechanic to make the repairs.
Of course, in the interest of safe travels this is also the time to have oil filters changed, a fluid check of all your fluids, and have any other work that needs to be done before you get on the road. Have your tires checked and if need be visit one of the local tires stores to have worn tires replaced.
Avoiding breakdowns and vehicle safety concerns while on the road starts with ensuring your vehicle is 100% and ready to roll. Investing in some repairs and replacement now is the key step in how to prepare for a cross country road trip.
How To Prepare For a Cross Country Road Trip and What to Pack
You do not want to overpack for the road trip, but there are some essentials that you should pack for both yourself and your vehicle to ensure you are prepared. When you are packing clothing, think about packing different layers of clothing so that you will be prepared for any type of weather.
What should you pack in your vehicle:
- Put together a safety kit. Pack a blanket, a flashlight, jumper cables, and some granola bars. If you do get stuck on the side of the road you will be able to stay safe until help arrives.
- Grab a first aid kit and keep it in the car just in case of mishaps.
- Bring a small tool bag. Include an adjustable wrench, a tire gauge, and consider putting a can of fix-a-flat in the bag.
Packing your car with the essentials will ensure that you are prepared for anything that may come up. You want to travel light to stay comfortable in the vehicle but you do need to have the items that will keep you comfortable on the road and ensure your safety. Remember, an important part of how to prepare for a cross country road trip is being prepared for anything.
Do Your Research
In light of COVID 19 restrictions there are other things that you will need to be sure you have on hand while you travel. Masks, hand sanitizer, and learning about local rules of the areas that you will travel to is important.
Each state has put in place rules that affect everything from the number of people that can gather, what hours stores can be open, what time alcohol sales end, social distancing, and wearing a mask. You do not have to become an expert at the local rules, but you do want to make sure that you are prepared to follow them.
It is a good bet that at a minimum you should have masks, and hand sanitizer handy, not only to follow local guidance but to keep yourself safe when traveling. Being prepared can mean not being excluded from some of the sights you plan on seeing.
Check times and availability for any of the sights you plan on stopping at. Many states have reopened with restrictions in places like amusement parks, museums, and other tourist attractions. Many tourist attractions are limiting access and require an advanced booking. For example, the largest zoon in North Carolina requires advanced ticket purchase and booking online for your group.
While you are researching local rules because of COVID 19 you will also want to take time to learn about your vehicle. For example, if you get stuck on the side of the road, do you know what you need to know about towing safety and your vehicle?
Check your insurance policy to see if you have coverage for things like towing, or assistance if you need a jump start. Some policies will cover these things with roadside assistance plans. If yours does not, it may be worth it to join Triple A.
Learn how to change a tire, and while you are it make sure your spare is in good condition. Road hazards are everywhere and getting a flat tire without a spare can really put a damper on things.
How To Prepare for a Cross Country Road Trip And Stay Calm
With a lot of planning, and some research you can learn how to prepare for a cross country road trip successfully and have the time of your life, whether you are traveling alone with friends or your loyal four-legged friend.
Planning will help you feel ready, and of course, keep an open mind about the trip. Somethings may go wrong and that is okay, you just correct the problem and keep it moving. Rule number one, trust in the process, and stay calm. For example, if you lock your keys in your car when you stop at the gas station, take a deep breath and connect with an automotive locksmith that can have you on your way fast.
There may be some bumps in the road but if you follow the advice on how to prepare for a cross country road trip, you will be fine. Enjoy the journey.