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How to Survive (and Thrive) on a Long Road Trip

Car Travel Tips And Secrets For Your Upcoming Road Trip

With the holidays getting closer, many of us are planning long road trips to see family or vacation in a warmer climate. The trek from one state to another can be daunting for both driver and vehicle. However, if you follow these car travel tips, you’ll arrive with smiles to spare for your crazy Aunt Fran or for that cute lifeguard at the beach.

Get a clean bill of health for your car.

Some of you have friends or family who will look over the car before your road trip, and if you’re confident in their abilities, great. For those of you who don’t have that luxury, however, ask yourself some questions: When is the last time I got my oil changed? Have I checked the tread and air pressure of my tires recently? Is the “check engine” light on?

Perhaps most importantly, address anything car-related that you’ve been procrastinating. For example, I scrubbed the road grime off of my headlights in preparation for my recent cross-country road trip. I did it myself with a $15 headlight restoration kit, but if DIY isn’t your style, ask your mechanic. Sometimes the little things make the biggest difference, and believe me, it was nice to have good headlights driving through the mountains after dark.

Bring plenty of things to do.

Listening to the music is a great option, but don’t overestimate its entertainment value. Consider borrowing an audiobook from your local library, compiling a list of road trip games, or stopping at tourists attractions along the way. Doing so will not only prevent cabin fever, but will also help you to remain a safe and alert driver.

Be careful, however, that you don’t rely on snack food to keep you going on your road trip. Salty foods like chips and nuts increase water retention, which will make your legs more uncomfortable on that long drive. And anyway, why consume the extra calories when the only exercise you’ll get is playing with the power locks?

Expect the unexpected.

Although your car may be in good condition and your passengers may be entertained, parts of our great country are still rather sparsely populated. So, a good rule of thumb is to never let your gas tank get below the one-quarter mark. Also, carry some cash and make a list of friends and family members you know along the way. They can be your first line of defense if anything goes unexpectedly wrong.

However, people are most willing to help those who choose to help themselves. So, put together an emergency kit to keep in your car. This typically includes a blanket, water and snacks, a flashlight with batteries, first aid supplies, booster cables, a basic tool set, and the ever-useful duct tape. You can find more comprehensive lists online if you want to build your own, or you can purchase one. These range anywhere from $30 to $120, so consider your needs and price range ahead of time.

With these car travel tips – car maintenance, entertainment, and planning for emergencies – your upcoming trip will go much more smoothly. One final bit of advice, though,  based on my recent excursion: get a car air freshener. Unless, of course, the smell of fast food and grumpy people is your thing. Happy travels.

If you didn’t know your claim on how far you travel to work can affect your car insurance. Make sure you compare auto insurance rates to find a company that will give you the insurance plan from teenage car insurance to car insurance for seniors.

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