Summer is almost here, and it's likely to be ready to hit the road. The thrill of travel can be exciting, as long as it doesn't distract you from preparing properly. You should have multiple goals when you look over your car before the big journey.
The car needs to be in good shape, of course, but you also need to be ready in an emergency and set for the terrain that will greet you.
Ready to start packing? Great! These tips can help you turn an ordinary vehicle into the ideal, cross-country machine.
1. Pay attention to your tires
Let's start at the bottom, where the rubber literally hits the road. Make sure you have proper tires for your trip that will withstand long hours on the highway or possibly off-road terrain, if that's going to be your thing. Be sure to get a professional's opinion if your tires look at all suspect.
"You'll want to look at the state of your tires early on and do what you need to get them fit."
You may also need to rotate your tires if you haven't done so in a while. In general, you'll want to look at the state of your tires early on and do what you need to get them fit.
2. Make your car mobile-friendly
If it's been a while since your last road trip (or you aren't very tech-savvy), it may surprise you how much you can do on your phone these days. There's a good chance you'll be pretty dependent on this device for everything from maps to entertainment. That means investing in some key phone accessories could be money well-spent.
A phone holder, for example, can keep your device within easy reach and some sort of hands-free interface will give you fewer distractions. You can also look for phone chargers to keep your device fully charged, which will be essential, as well as adaptors to keep it hooked up to your radio.
3. Have supplies well-organized
It's ok if you don't think of yourself as an expert packer. Take a little extra time to think of ways to organize all of your possessions for easy access, as well as a perfect fit. A Mashable list even suggested using storage containers, like you might have in your home, to split things up into tidy little groups.
The same list also said you could use a shower caddy to carry all of your containers for essential car fluids. If you don't have a little space in your car doors for this (or even if you do), the extra storage will be that much more useful.
"Plan pit stops, take breaks and generally keep awake and alert."
4. Don't push yourself too hard
This is more of a tip for the road itself, but it's good to keep in mind before the trip, too. Avoid putting too much of the burden of driving on one person if you can. You can plan to switch with other passengers who can drive, but it also helps to schedule pit stops, take breaks and generally keep awake and alert.
A Nationwide article quoted Dr. Michael Breus, who advised drivers to chew gum or even sniff peppermint to stave off sleepiness.
"It's a pleasant, all-natural pick-me-up that has been shown to reduce fatigue and increase alertness," he said of the latter.
5. Check your car in advance
One last general tip: Be thorough! Give your car a good once-over and use the road trip as an excuse to check up on anything you've neglected. Transmission need some work? Air conditioning busted? Seat recliner stuck? Whatever it is, mark it down on your "to-fix list" far before you hit the road so you have time to get it taken care of.
It might sound tedious, but believe us: Once you've got all of this done you'll truly be good to go!