by Caitlin O’Donnell

Planning a road trip can be fun! Many people love looking at new activities to do, sights to see or cool places to stay. In the midst of daydreaming about the great family memories you’ll create, it’s easy to forget the less fun parts of planning a road trip. However, a small hiccup, like a flat tire or losing cell phone service, could put a damper on your trip. Here are some simple preparations that can help ensure a smooth road trip.

  • Have your vehicle inspected. Ensure the oil will not need to be changed during the trip. Make sure the tires are in good condition and have enough air. Check fluid levels.
  • Don’t forget to fill up on gas before leaving town. Refill the tank when it gets below half full. There is no way to know when you will be stuck in standstill traffic or the GPS will take you through back roads.
  • Bring snacks and drinks, even if you plan to stop for a meal. The GPS may use a route with few restaurants on it. You could also be stranded due to standstill traffic or car trouble.
  • Download your music, podcasts and other entertainment. Doing so will ensure access when service is scarce and save data if you don’t have an unlimited plan. It is imperative to download maps, as well.
  • Pack an emergency kit. Even if you had your car inspected before setting out, you never know what could happen. A car that runs perfectly could still run over something sharp that punctures the tire. Someone could accidentally leave the light on and drain the car’s battery. The kit should include a spare tire and tools to change it, jumper cables, a first aid kit, flashlights, extra phone chargers, seatbelt cutters, an air compressor and anything else you want to include. Including medicines for headaches and car sickness is also a good idea.
  • Plan some stops in your itinerary. Driving for too long or while tired is dangerous. It is also healthy to stretch and move every two hours. The stops can be a simple and quick, like stopping for food, or you could find fun activities or attractions along the route.