| Car Life

Summer’s here, and that means it’s road trip season! Whether you’re hitting the road with friends or embarking on a solo drive, taking a trip in the good old U- S – of – A is a time-honored summer tradition. Maybe you’re crossing state lines to see some relatives, maybe you’re taking a well-earned vacation, or maybe you’re just heading out for a weekend to enjoy time on the open road. Whatever the reason for your road trip, you’ll need to be prepared before you leave so that you’re ready for any adventure that comes your way. Consult this checklist to help you prepare for a fun and safe trip!

Plan your route.

First things first: know where you’re going! While you do, keep in mind that taking a road trip isn’t always about just following a GPS or a route on a map. Pick out some fun stops along the way by using websites like Roadtrippers.com to find destinations that occur along your route. Roadtrippers finds stops like amusement parks, tourist attractions, scenic points, tours, “offbeat attractions”, places to eat, shopping, scenic drives, and many more.

Prep your smartphone. 

Roadtrippers also has an iPhone app that allows you to sync your routes from the website and find new destinations while you’re driving. The Along the Way iPhone app also lets you discover places to stop. For more helpful road trip apps, check out RoadNinja and Field Trip. Keep in mind, too, that some of the best road trip stops are unplanned, so don’t hesitate to be a little spontaneous!

Get your car checked.

Next, make sure your car is road-ready. (Whether you do this yourself or take it to a shop is up to you.) Start by checking your coolant levels, windshield wiper fluid levels, oil life, and brake pads. You should also make sure your inspection and registration stickers are up to date.

Check on your car insurance coverage.

If you’re driving to or through other states, you need to find out what your car insurance covers out of state. Oftentimes, even the cheapest car insurance will cover you when you cross state lines, but it’s best to double-check before you hit the road. Learn what the minimum requirement is in your state, and update your coverage if you need to.

Prepare for emergencies.

You don’t want to end up stranded alongside the highway with no cell service and a flat tire. To account for the unexpected, prepare an emergency road trip kit with a first aid kit, road flares, bottled water, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, car jack, extra cell phone battery, and non-perishable snacks. To be on the extra safe side, you could also get a roadside assistance plan, which offers things like lockout services, jump starts, and towing.