Countless people plan for traveling throughout the summer, but planning a successful road trip is more difficult than it sounds. Here are seven tips to help your adventure go off without a hitch.
1. Get Your Vehicle Ready
Before you even think of getting started on an extended driving trip, you’ll need to take care of any pending maintenance on your vehicle and make sure it’s ready to handle long miles on the road. Schedule an oil change, ensure your tires are roadworthy, and get all your fluids topped off before your departure. If you’ve just purchased a used vehicle, ensure you’re familiar with the vehicle’s history report and what that may mean for any necessary maintenance prior to setting out for the trip.
2. Prepare for Roadside Emergencies
Prepare an emergency kit stocked with everything you need for jumping the battery, changing a flat tire, and keeping you and your passengers hydrated and fed while you wait for help. It’s also a good idea to pack a first aid kit, emergency flares, and a flashlight in case you get in a car accident or are stranded for an extended period. Enroll in a roadside assistance plan so you can rest assured that you’ll be able to get out of any jam you get into on the road.
3. Make a Budget
Between gas, entertainment, and dinners out, the costs of a road trip quickly add up. To keep expenses in check, set a realistic budget for your trip. In addition to fuel, food, lodging, and other necessities, calculate a budget allotment for toll fees, admission to attractions, and souvenirs. Don’t forget to factor in extra funds for emergencies and unexpected detours, as well as the costs of getting your vehicle ready for the road.
To save money, pack a cooler with food and drinks that you can restock at grocery stores along your route, take advantage of AAA travel discounts, and consider using a credit card that rewards you for gasoline purchases. If you’re visiting national parks on your trip, purchase a lifetime pass for a discounted rate to save big on admission fees.
4. Shop for Travel Discounts
Traveling in the summer months is a great way to make the most of good weather. It’s also an excellent strategy for saving money on travel costs. Companies like airlines, car rental agencies, hotels, and attractions offer discounts to senior or student buyers. Consider keeping your travel dates flexible to get the best deals on airline travel.
5. Consider a Rental
Compact cars are great for navigating busy cities and saving on fuel costs, but they’re less than ideal for spending long hours in the car. If you drive a small vehicle, consider renting a larger automobile like a minivan, SUV, or even an RV for your road trip. The extended leg room and ample cargo space will maximize your comfort during your vacation. If you opt for an RV, you’ll have the added benefit of an on-board bathroom and kitchen.
6. Plan Plenty of Stops
The reality of long hours on the road can be challenging. To stay comfortable throughout your journey, account for extra time for taking plenty of breaks along the way. Regular stops at rest stops, roadside attractions, and restaurants give you a chance to stretch your legs so you don’t become stiff from spending too many hours in a cramped car.
7. Plan a Pet-Friendly Excursion
About half of American seniors own a pet, and many of those want to bring their companion along on vacations. Traveling with a pet can add challenges to your highway adventure, but with adequate preparation it’s possible to plan a pet-friendly road trip.
Websites like BringFido can help locate pet-friendly accommodations along your route, but that’s not the only step for planning a successful adventure with a furry friend. Pack all necessary food and medications, update microchip information, and set up a secure, comfortable seat for your pet to enjoy the ride. If you’re going somewhere pets aren’t allowed, like certain national monuments and parks, make boarding arrangements in advance.
A road trip is a wonderful way to explore the country and spend quality time with a loved one. With these steps, you can plan the adventure you’ve been dreaming of.
Author: Keith Jacobs
Editor: Jocie Bartlett
Image via Pixabay