How to Prepare for a Long Vacation Drive
For many people, the mere thought of road trips makes them want to pack their things and just leave. It’s exciting, and it makes them feel free, as they finally take a break from the daily routine and can have some fun.
As exciting as trips might be, they require plenty of organization. People can’t just pack three clothing pieces and call it quits. They need proper preparation because they never know what could happen on the road. Therefore, here are some tips on how to prepare for a long vacation drive.
1. Make a plan
Before jumping in the car and going wherever the road takes you, it would be a better option to make a plan. Writing things down makes it easier for you to organize the trip, so make a list at least a week before hitting the road. Note the things you need to buy, as well as what your suitcase will be filled with. Having a plan helps you avoid forgetting something.
2. Fuel your car
Your car might need fuel along the way anyway, but it’s better to have it ready for the road. Having enough fuel is essential because you don’t want your car to stop in the middle of the road until the next gas station.
3. Check the car’s battery
The battery’s condition is important before going anywhere. You must know whether the battery is ok or if it needs replacement.
The battery’s terminals need to be tight, so if they’re corroded, they are going to be a nuisance. So, make sure they are not corroded. Also, replace the battery if you notice cracks, acid leaks or any other damage to it.
Car batteries last for about 3 to 6 years. Thus, if your battery is old, make sure you test it before hitting the road or replace it. Trips should be fun, so incidents shouldn’t ruin them.
4. Check the engine oil
Engine oil is very important, so make sure to check it before you leave. If you have an oil change due soon, it would be a better idea to do it now. Moreover, take some extra engine oil with you on the trip, just in case.
If you want to check the oil, park the car, stop the engine and warm up. Let the oil drain down the oil pan, pull the dipstick out, wipe it, insert it back and then pull it again. Check to see if it’s near the “FULL” mark on the engine oil dipstick.
Top it up if the oil level is low. Moreover, if you notice that it has a dark color, change it.
5. Check the tires
Tires are another important thing you have to check. You need to ensure they are safe to use, so accidents are avoided at all costs. To begin with, check to see if they have the recommended pressure.
Also, have your tires balanced if you feel a vibration at highway speeds. It’s unsafe to drive if a tire is worn below the limit, so make sure that’s not the case.
Additionally, make sure you have a spare tire with you. You never know what you encounter on the road, and a pierced tire can happen at any time.
6. Check the automatic transmission fluid
Make sure that the automatic transmission fluid is in a good condition before going on a trip. Change it if the time has come.
Check to see if your car has a transmission dipstick, then you can check the fluid. Place the car on a level surface after you warm it up. Pull the automatic transmission fluid dipstick, wipe it with a cloth or lint-free paper and insert it back. Afterward, pull it back and see if the fluid is enough and if it’s in a good condition.
If its color is brownish, then it’s time to change it. New fluid usually has a pink-red color, so a dark color is abnormal.
7. Get a basic emergency kit for your car
You never know what an incident could occur, so it’s better to be ready. Consider taking an emergency kit, so you could fix some possible issues. It can include tire gauge, flashlight, tire sealer-inflator can, jumper wires, work gloves, pliers, screwdrivers and others.
You should also consider taking emergency stop flares or signs, spare ignition key, headlight bulb, electrical tape and windshield washer fluid.
8. Get everything ready
This is probably the first thing coming to anyone’s mind when they think about trips, but you need to pack everything that you need. Take clothes, snacks, drinks, money, a first aid kit, phone charger, etc.
Bring warm clothes as well as summer ones, depending on the season and area where you are going to drive. Bring raincoats, umbrellas, and boots, in case it rains, and you go exploring the nature.
Make sure you charge your phone before leaving, because you never know what happens, and you may need to call someone.
Also, take some snacks and drinks, but make sure they don’t need to be refrigerated. Get something that resists in higher temperatures and doesn’t start smelling. You only need something quick on the road anyway, because you’ll probably eat at the destination.
Finally, take enough money, because you never know what can happen along the way. You may need it for fuel, accommodation, food, souvenirs, medicine, and many others.
9. Make a second plan
Before you leave, talk to your friends or family members, and make a schedule. You need to decide what road you’re going to choose, and where you’ll stop. This will keep things organized and it will make it easier for everyone to embrace the trip.
Before going on a trip, it’s better to prepare. You can’t hit the road unprepared, so make sure you pack essential things and that your car is in good condition. If your car is safe and has enough fuel, then you can fully enjoy your road adventure.