Tips to get ready for long drive
Make lists a week or two before the trip
. List what will go in your suitcase and make another list of things you need to do before the trip. This can include getting a car tune up, or washing/waxing/cleaning the car. This will help you be less stressed since everything is written on paper, and you will be less likely to forget something
Pack your suitcase a few days before the trip
. This gives you time to think about adding things in or taking things out and will generally make you less stressed before the trip.
Pack an additional carry on bag
. This could include some books, electronic entertainment (handheld games, mp3 players, laptops, DVDs if the car has a DVD player, etc.), non-perishable snacks (such as granola bars and cookies), and drinks if you have a cooler. Remember that if you bring carbonated drinks, they may go flat.
Choose the right car
. Ensure your car is serviceable before you depart. This means that your car should be within its servicing period, and the oil and filter should have been changed recently. All of the water reservoirs should also be full. Check your tyres to ensure they will remain within their wear limits during your trip and purchase and install new tyres if required.If you will be driving a long distance also consider getting your wheels aligned before you go as this will save on tyre wear later on. If you drive on any unsealed roads while you travel you should also plan to get the wheels aligned again after you return (lesson learnt from our road trip last year we did not do this step and had to replace all four relatively new tyres within 12 months).If you will be hiring a vehicle have a close look at the quality of vehicle that they offer and support they will provide.
. The biggest killers on the road are fatigue and alcohol. Before you depart you should quickly research a rough plan of your route including the driving times and distances. If you will be stopping to sightsee en route you should plan a maximum of four hours of driving in a day. If you have a long distance driving day you should plan to have a non-driving day afterwards to recover. Make sure you do not drink alcohol and drive.Allow an extra day or two so you can be flexible if you decide to stay longer in a place or decide to break a longer drive into two shorter driving days, or if something unexpected occurs. Also do some initial research into sightseeing options along the way so you know where you are interested to visit and can build these into your plan.Online tools such as Google Maps enable you to quickly put together a route plan.
. If you are using a GPS ensure you have the latest map update before you depart. It is also worthwhile to purchase a large hardcopy map to enable a bigger picture view of your trip.
. Ensure you plan for What Ifs while you are on your road trip. What will you do if your car breaks down? Have you got suitable roadside assistance for your destination? Will your vehicle hire company provide roadside assistance? What will you do if you have a car accident? Do you have suitable car insurance or travel insurance for your destination? Have you purchased insurance which will reduce your hire car excess? If you have a problem in a remote area how will you communicate? Will you have mobile phone coverage on your planned route, or is it a major road with a lot of traffic who should be able to help you? Should you take additional communications equipment such as a satellite phone, a two way radio or an EPIRB? Have you got a current first aid kit in your car and do you know how to use it? Should you pack some additional bottled water and food in case of break down or traffic stoppages, particularly if you are travelling in remote areas and the weather will be hot? If you will be travelling in a very cold environment do you have appropriate safety gear?
. Long boring roads require entertainment. If you have children in the car consider if you have a DVD player or other handheld electronic games which the children can use in the car. Ensure you can recharge or power the equipment using the car engine and battery, which may require the purchase of additional equipment. Consider how many items you will want to plug in at once and purchase additional equipment such as double adapters etc.Think about whether you like to listen to music as you travel. Ensure you have the equipment to play your own music through your car radio. Pre-purchase some new music prior to departure to enjoy along the way.Also be prepared to play some car games with children so they do actually look out the window sometimes!
Enjoy Your Road Trip
. Once you have gone through these road trip preparation tips you will be ready to go. Have a great road trip Subscribe via Email to ensure you receive future Pretraveller articles. You can also follow Pretraveller via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and RSS Feeds. Have you got any additional road trip preparation tips or road trip experiences to share? Please share your experience in the comments below.
Create a list of things to bring
. such as Fill car with gas, bring money for food and more gas, clean out car, put towels over seats in case of accidental spilling, find a portable DVD player, buy food, etc.
Gather things you need for the car trip
. such as iPod, portable gaming system (Nintendo DS, PSP, etc.), books, magazines, portable DVD player, DVDs, yarn for knitting or crocheting, camera, video camera, diary, journal, paper, pens and pencils, markers and crayons, headphones, cards, snacks, drinks, meals, etc.
Prepare the car
. Put towels over the seats in case of accidental spilling. Clean the car out so its comfy. Make sure everything will fit in the car
Choose your seat once you get in the car
. Try not to sit behind someone who is notorious for pulling their seat back. Sitting by the window is generally a good choice, as you can open it if you need air and you can view the sights that you pass by.
. Bring pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. Also, wear comfy clothes, if you do not, it will be a long car ride. This is great for sleeping. If you can and want you could wear pajamas
Before you go
. Bring an extra pair of clothes, just in case. Make sure everyone has gone to the bathroom. Make sure you have everything
. If you are bored, sleep
Have fun and enjoy the ride
. If the family starts fighting, play the quiet game, it will relax everyone. Another thing you could do is eat, people stop fighting when its time to eat.
Drive to your destination
. Punch the location in on your GPS system if you have one. Go to rest stops on the way there to get meals and use the bathroom.
Check everything one last time before you leave
. Make sure everyone has used the bathroom, that you have money for gas, that there is entertainment in the car, and that nothing was left on in your house.
. Some people get car sick. You might want to bring some medicine along with you. Advil can help.If you are prone to travel sickness, take a travel sickness tablet before leaving, and take the packet in your bag just in case. Even those who aren't sensitive to travel sickness can get queasy at times.
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To turn back
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