Road trips are the stuff summer is made of. You might be sleeping in an RV, a tent, or a hotel, but the classic road trip always involves a car and long stretches of time on the open road. Once your trip itinerary is planned,
don’t forget these three essential elements to road trip success:
State Farm has compiled some safety tips that will help you get the most out of your summer trip and leave you feeling at ease while on the road.
Getting your car ready:
- Consider a pre-trip inspection by a qualified technician; repairs can be more costly on the road.
- Check the air conditioning. You may want to have a professional inspect the entire system.
- Check the air pressure in all tires, including the spare, to make sure they are properly inflated.
- Inspect batteries and battery cables for corrosion, cracks, and dirt.
- Have a licensed brake adjuster inspect your brake pads and linings for wear.
Keep your home protected:
- Alert your alarm company you’ll be gone.
- Secure valuables in a safe deposit box or safe.
- Disconnect the computer, TV, stereo, and other electronics, or make sure they are plugged safely into a surge protector.
- Set exterior and interior lights on a timer to deter burglars.
- Lock all doors and windows, even in the garage, and don’t leave a spare key outdoors.
Packing is truly an art form. There’s a fine line between packing too much and too little. Consider comfort first. Will you be doing a lot of walking? Bring different pairs of shoes to match the adventure and give your feet some variety. Will you be getting wet often? Even an overnight in a hotel is not typically enough for clothes and towels to dry, so be sure to bring extras or plan a stop with access to a drying machine.
When packing up the car, organize items in the order the will need to be accessed. And again, think safety. A long road trip often means lots of gear, and a high-speed crash or rollover can turn those items into deadly projectiles. Here’s how to load your vehicle securely:
- If you’re in a sedan, most items should go in the trunk, where they can’t injure vehicle occupants in a crash.
- In SUVs, minivans and station wagons, keep luggage in the rear luggage compartment, and consider buying a safety partition that helps keep cargo from entering the passenger compartment in a crash.
- If you use luggage carriers on your vehicle, pay particular attention to how those affect your vehicle’s handling, and never exceed hitch or carrier load limits. Secure all external loads well and check them frequently.
Keeping Passengers Happy
Pass the time happily and comfortably with these ideas:
- Make sure everyone has some sort of pillow (except the driver!).
- Be prepared with snacks and some special treats to surprise the kids.
- Pack a flashlight, headlamp or book light for each passenger. You might not be ready to sleep just because it’s dark outside.
- Be ready with a variety of games in your “vault.” My family enjoys a variety of license plate, sign, who am I, Mad Libs and bingo/scavenger-type games. An indispensable book for road trip fun is Miles of Smiles: 101 Great Car Games and Activities.
And definitely check out R We There Yet Mom’s fantastic post listing 50 Best Road Trip Tips from travel writers around the Web.
During the This Girl Travels Family Travel Twitter Party on July 24th at 1pm, we’ll be giving away this fully loaded Road Trip Kit, courtesy of State Farm. The kit includes the following items, all packed in a stylish and durable Amelia Earhart Milano Collection Tote bag:
- Glove box first aid kit
- 2013 Rand McNally Road Atlas
- Car emergency kit containing tools, tire gauge, heavy-duty gloves, tape, fuses, jumper cables, and more
- Insulated bag
- Travel bingo game
- Stain remover wipes
- LED reading light
- Inflatable neck pillow
- Travel mug
- Adorable stuffed dog
There will be lots of other great family travel prizes, too! Read all about it and RSVP here http://twtvite.com/ThisGrlTravels then join us at 1pm ET on 7/24 to chat about family travel. Find us using the hashtags #ThisGirlTravels and #SFRoadTrip.
Shannon Entin is a family travel writer passionate about road trips and homeschooling – and how they come together to keep her and her family learning and growing all the time. Join her “Travel. Think. Grow.” email newsletter list for family travel inspiration!