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Long road trip essentials: Heading out on a road trip is a great way to see the world. This is because it’s less restrictive than other vacations, as you get to tick off multiple destinations from your travel bucket list in one trip.
However, they also require a lot more forward planning than other holidays. For example, you must figure out the best routes and roads to travel down ahead of time instead of just hopping in your car and hoping for the best.
Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash
With that in mind, here are five things you should always do before heading out on the open road!
long road trip essentials
Set a strict budget
Learning how to properly budget your money is useful in all areas of your life, especially if your savings are currently non-existent. As a result, if you’re looking to finance your travel dreams, it’s time to get serious about budgeting. To begin with, write down everything you’ll need to pay for during your road trip, alongside how much they cost (on average). This could include:
- Car hire
- Travel insurance
- Food & Drink
- Attraction/Entry fees
- Road tolls
Once you’ve got an idea of how much your trip can cost, it’s time to set yourself a strict budget. Remember that these fees will also vary depending on the length of your trip, meaning you can make adjustments if necessary. For example, if you’ve found that you can’t travel for as long as you’d like to on your current budget, could you make adjustments in regards to accommodation? Swapping a hotel for a hostel could save you hundreds – therefore allowing you to travel for longer. The sooner you have a budget in place the better, as it gives you time to sign up.
Refer to your budget regularly throughout your trip, using budgeting apps to ensure you aren’t overspending.
Pack to be prepared
According to a recent study, “65% of adults admit to having real difficulty when it comes to packing for a trip”. While forgetting the odd item here and there may not matter on a traditional vacation, it becomes problematic when you’re away from home for a long time and have to keep buying new things every few days. As a result, you must pack up your car carefully, ensuring you have everything you need.
When it comes to traveling, packing light is always beneficial. However, when you’ve got your whole car to double as a suitcase, this gives you a little more freedom, meaning it’s easier than ever to dress to impress while you travel. Nevertheless, you should also ensure that you’re prepared for any emergency situations you may encounter when on your road trip. For example, you should also pack:
- Medication. Feeling unwell while traveling will quickly drain the fun out of the experience. As a result, you should ensure you bring some medication along with you to deal with any issues that arise. If you’re on a prescription, speak to your doctor ahead of time so that you don’t run out of tablets while traveling.
- Spare batteries. Whether you’ve packed a flashlight to bring along on early-morning hikes, or portable speakers and lights, having spare batteries to hand is a great way to ensure you’re never caught in a tricky situation when traveling. Ideally, you should also bring along batteries that are rechargeable, as they’re much better for the environment. For example, you could pack a 18650 battery and charger.
- First Aid Kit. Whether you’re hiking or white-water rafting, there are various minor injuries you could encounter during your trip. As a result, it’s worthwhile to have a first-aid kit to hand to deal with these issues quickly and without stress.
Do your research
As mentioned in the other long road trip essentials above, road trips tend to require more planning than other forms of vacation – but this doesn’t only apply to figuring out which route you’re taking or where you’ll be sleeping at night. For example, you should also research the different driving laws and regulations for the different places you will be visiting. While they likely won’t vary too much from place to place, being aware of them is the easiest way to avoid getting pulled over during a road trip. It’s also a great way to stay safe when traveling.
Take care of your car
When on a road trip, your car is your lifeline. After all, the last thing you want to do is to get stuck in the middle of nowhere with no practical solution in place regarding what to do next. As a result, you should ensure you take good care of your car. Typically, this involves taking certain steps to get your car ready for a long road trip ahead of time. For example, you might want to pop by your local garage ahead of time so a mechanic can give your car a quick once-over, to identify any issue you may face. You should also keep on top of general maintenance throughout, such as by checking your tire pressure daily.
Ensure your home is safe
Home break-ins or robberies are more likely to occur when a property is empty – meaning you should take some extra precautions to keep your home safe when heading out on a long road trip. For example, you could hand over keys to a trusted friend or neighbor so they can pop in and remove your mail from your entryway. This stops it from piling up by your door in a way that reveals your absence and can help you to prevent a burglary.
You could also ask them to care for your pets, which could save you money as you won’t need to pay for things such as doggy daycare. You may also want to invest in home security software or alarms so that you are immediately notified when things go wrong. This allows you to respond quickly by contacting the relevant authorities.
Knowing that your home is safe will give you much greater peace of mind when traveling so that you can truly relax and live in the moment. What other long road trip essentials can you think of?
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