Summertime is heating up and it’s time to hit the highway with your friends and family. But in case you feel like the past year has impeded your wanderlust, maybe it’s time for a refresher in road trip etiquette. See everything between here and yonder while staying safe, healthy, and happy with this selection of the best tips for great road trips.
Get the Car Road-Ready
Before any road trip, your first step is to ensure the car is ready for the road. Bring your car in for periodic checkups long before you hit the highway, as certain parts and systems need extra attention if you’re planning an extended tour. Have the wheels inspected—all five of them, including the spare in the trunk—to ensure they’re in good condition and inflated to proper PSI levels. Your oil needs to be changed every three months or 3,000 miles, or it may just need to be topped off. See that the other fluids, filters, and windshields are in good working order or have them replaced. Your car isn’t just a means of transportation; it’s your home on wheels for the next week or more.
Plan Your Itinerary, Then Take a Virtual Trip Before the Real One
The best road trips are filled with surprises, but only the fun kind. Take the time to decide where you want to go, then create a binder outlining accommodations, restaurants, rest stops, sightseeing sites, and more. Guideposts along the way make for a safer and more exciting trip. Always leave wiggle room and alternatives for changes or to investigate what the road throws at you. Next, before the rubber meets the road, use online map sites to chart a course and use street views to familiarize yourself with street layouts and landmarks.
Best Snacks for the Road
Part of the fun of road tripping is experiencing cuisines from other regions and local treats and dishes that have become world famous. But when you’re riding, keep snacks simple and healthy so your travels are pleasanter and free from car sickness and emergency bathroom breaks. Pack a cooler with ice water and plenty of fresh and dried fruits, crisp vegetables, jerky of all sorts, nuts and seeds, and cheese. Packing a pit stop picnic with sandwiches and wraps is always pleasant if you’re driving through scenic country.
Be Wild and Free
One of the best tips for great road trips is to throw the itinerary out the window every now and again (but not literally). Don’t view the country through the rigid lens of the windshield; take the time to stop and look around. Pull over at particularly lovely spots to stretch your legs and take in the glories of nature and the lovely local architecture.