A road trip is probably the best way to explore the diversity of this country. Road trips are a great way to get to know family and friends while on the road and it literally takes you places you have never been to. However, a journey with too many disasters takes the joy out of the bonding. As the saying goes “getting there is half the fun”; but a road trip loses its point if getting there becomes a painful affair. Here are a few tips to take the speed-breakers out of your road for a smooth journey.

1. Plot a loose route

Have a sense of the main places you want to hit, and a rough idea of when you want to get there. Check mileage, think about how long you can realistically drive per day. It’s often fun to get or buy a map and physically work out your route from that.

2. Plan meals 

Make a note of some of the places you’ll eat at along the way. Try to stick to a loose meal schedule so you’re not ravenous and looking for food along a stretch of road with nothing. When in doubt, you can always get a good variety of foods at grocery stores. If you have particular diet like vegan, gluten-free, etc, then the grocery stores are often going to be your best choices.

3. Make some reservations

It’s fun to drive aimlessly sometimes and just find a hotel for the night, but it’s often hard to find the best lodging at the cheapest price if you don’t plan ahead. Sometimes, you also get stuck going much farther than you had hoped because you can’t find lodging, or the lodging you find is not at all what you wanted. You certainly don’t need to plan every stop for every night of your trip — think about planning one or two nights ahead if you like to keep things loose.

4. Check your vehicle

Make sure your car, van, or recreational vehicle is in working order. Get it inspected shortly before your trip to ensure everything is in proper order and functioning appropriately. Make an appointment at your auto repair shop at least two weeks before you are due to leave. Sometimes there are more issues with your car than you realise and your mechanic will need more time to get your vehicle ready.

5. Check fluids and bring extra

Check your motor oil, your coolant, your brake fluid, your gearbox and diff oil, everything at home, rather than on the side of the road halfway into the trip. Spare belts are also a must.

6. Music

Be sure to carry a good number of songs for the road. It is better if it is a mix of various genres so that you do not get bored of your playlist.

7. Gather emergency supplies

Pack them together and place in the bagbefore you get the rest of your gear in. Keep in mind, however, that they will need to be accessible at all times. You will typically want to include the following basics: motor oil, radiator fluid, roadside emergency kit with flares, jumper cables, and flashlight. Also be sure to carry a fire extinguisher, non-perishable food, drinking water, blankets and a first aid kit.

8. Cash and credit cards

Sometimes you end up eating or wanting to stay a place that is cash-only, and you need to be prepared. If you’re planning to be in a fairly remote area, chances are that there will be few ATMs, making cash even more necessary. Credit cards might be vital if you end up getting an unplanned car repair. You need to be ready if you have to make any emergency purchases.

9. Catch up on your sleep

Driving while you’re tired can be a pain while also being dangerous. Know when to speed through and also when to pass the wheel to someone else to avoid unplanned disasters.

10. Bring more water

Whenever you think you have carried enough water, carry some more. You can never carry enough drinking water for a road trip especially if it’s summer.

Text: Roshan Pinto

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