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How to Prepare for Cross-Country Road Trips

Vacations are something many people look forward to, and they may even plan them years in advance. That time to get away and forget about the stresses of life, even if for just a short time, is what they’re looking for. All too often, these getaways are put off due to the estimated cost of air travel and the idea that vacations must cost a fortune. In reality, vacations can be managed on a smaller budget — and in a car. 

Cross-country road trips can provide the escape desired with plenty of extra adventures that would be missed traveling by plane. But there are a few things to do before heading out to see the country. Here are some ideas of how to prepare for a cross-country road trip — including planning, auto checks, detours, and fun gadgets — to keep you safe and allow you to get the most out of the adventure.

Plan Your Spontaneity

While spontaneity is the key to enjoying any road trip, a bit of planning will ensure you are safe, as well. Set a destination and look for fun ideas along the way. Map out your route, and make sure you have an idea of the distances and rest stops throughout your trip. This simple planning will help avoid unnecessary delays along the way or turning your road trip into a waiting game for a service truck. Your plan should also include a check-up for your car.

Check Your Car Before Departing

What could be worse than heading out on your adventure and finding yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere? Having your car serviced before any trip is essential for reaching your destination. Not that having your vehicle checked will guarantee unexpected occurrences won’t happen along the way, but it will certainly help. This maintenance should include checking the fluids, oil, filters, tire pressure, and gauges.  

If you are unsure of your car’s ability to make the journey you have planned, renting a vehicle for the trip might be a better idea. Car rentals can have some great benefits for your trip, like roadside service and even replacement should the need arise. The process of renting is not that complicated either and won’t take too much away from the spontaneity factor. Plus, choosing the right rental could provide extra space for traveling comfort during the more extended portions of your drive.

Leave Room for Detours 

When you’ve got a long road trip ahead of you, taking the most direct trip possible is usually the favored option since no one wants to be stuck in a car longer than they have to be. But making time for stops along the way can make the trip more enjoyable and memorable.

For example, if you’re taking a road trip across the U.S. from the east coast to the west coast, there are some mandatory stops like Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon. Both destinations are popular with national and international tourists, receiving millions of visitors per year a piece. Go on a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon or choose one of the many eclectic stage shows in the Vegas. Either place will surely make your cross-country trip that much better because you’ll have something fun to anticipate to break up the drive.

Take the Necessities

While the experience and adventure are what make road trips worthwhile, having the necessary items to fill the time and help you find your way will be critical factors in its success. There are several car gadgets that will make your trip more comfortable. Some of these include cell phone chargers, mountable mobile phone stands, extended-life spare batteries for those detours, and possibly a camera (though most people use their cell phones nowadays) for those unforgettable moments.You may also want to consider downloading some audiobooks or creating a music playlist to help entertain you on your drive. Even if you know your drive will take 36 hours, you won’t really know how that will feel until you’re on the road. So, make sure to consider your entertainment before leaving, too — It’s certainly a necessity.

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How to Prepare for Cross-Country Road Trips