Summer Road Trip Driving Tips
After the past year and a half, a longing to hit the road and see something besides the same four walls is perfectly understandable – and hard to resist. Whether you’re visiting the Indiana Dunes or planning a full cross-country road trip, here are some tips to follow this summer.
Check Your Chariot
It’s your trip, but your car is the one doing all of the work. Before embarking on your next adventure, check in with your road trip companion. Here are a few quick precautions you can take before hitting the road:
- Check Fluid: Check your oil levels, windshield wiper fluid, and coolant. Running low? Refill them before peeling out.
- Check Tires: Check all your tires (yes, even the spare) for proper inflation. Rotate your tires if you haven’t done so in approximately 7,500 miles.
- Basics: Test the battery and brakes.
- Breath of Fresh Air: Change your air filter if needed, and make sure your AC works.
- Emergency Kit: Make sure you’ve got a bag with a first aid kit, jumper cables, water bottles, blankets, duct tape, tool kit, and rope.
- Gas Up and Go: Fill up your tank before heading out.
Have a Destination
Regardless of if you’re stockpiling atlases or frantically untangling chargers, make sure to have an idea of where you’re going and how you are planning to get there. Ask yourself a few destination questions while planning your trip.
- Where am I going? Are you visiting a friend? Going to an Airbnb? Do you have a direction? Having at least a vague idea of where you’re hoping to end up is the first step of any summer road trip.
- How long is the drive? If you’re driving alone, make sure to have a few places to sleep planned out along your route just in case. If you’re driving with a group, check on everyone’s comfort levels with driving length and how they feel about driving at night, through construction, in heavy traffic, etc. Have a plan so you don’t end up tired and lost in a strange area.
- If you’re between 18 and 21: Check age-related state laws or hotel company policies. Most hotels rent to people over 18, but not all. Similarly, if you’re under 18, make sure you know which hotel chains are willing to give you a room.
- Who knows where you are? Make sure at least one person knows where you’re going and what time you expect to get there. You can share your location with your phone or check in with a designated person at a particular time or location.
The two constants of the road are gas and food. Do some research into gas prices and have a vague idea of how often you plan to refuel. If you’re looking to travel cheap, packing a cooler can cut down on impulse gas station purchases.
Pro-tip for groups: Make sure you have a plan to split costs fairly. Venmo is a great option.
The car is packed and you’re ready to go. Here’s a quick absolute-last-minute checklist to run through as you leave:
- Heading Out: eat something, use the bathroom, fill up water bottles, check the cooler. You’re getting in a car for a while – take advantage of the house while you have it.
- Phone charger
- Mask / Hand sanitizer
- Water bottle
- Say Goodbye: Leave a few lights on before locking up the house. A bathroom light is usually a good choice – anyone can be in the bathroom at any point in the day for any length of time. Whatever feels right to you.
And you’re off! Have a great trip.
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