Road trip planner: 4 tips for your car
It’s not like you’ll be camping in the middle of the Rocky Mountains in a blizzard. But you still need to be prepared to take a comfortable, safe and efficient road trip.
Here are four ways to prepare your car for a road trip:
1. First and most importantly: make sure your car is ready.
If you’re not auto proficient, that may mean a quick trip to the auto shop for an all-over check. Obviously, if your car needs any repairs (tail lights out, squishy brakes), get those done well in advance.
Other details to check include: coolant levels, tire pressure (check the proper pressure for your speed and distance), oil, wiper fluid and air filter.
2. Prepare for emergencies.
Make sure your spare tire is in working order. Your trunk should always have a wrench, jack, tire-changing equipment, a blanket and a First Aid kit.
Bring an atlas, too. Yes, even in today’s world where everyone’s phone is GPS-equipped, remember: Phones die and service can fail. Think about how many times your phone has let you down. Yeah. Back it up with paper.
Also, if your insurance company doesn’t offer reliable and easy-to-figure-out roadside assistance, join AAA.
3. Organize your space.
Clean your car; you’re going to be stuck in this small space for quite some time, so make it pleasant. Also leave at home everything you won’t need. Pack your belongings carefully and strategically. Think about your car in terms of A, B and C space.
The A space is the most easily accessible, like your console, glove box and purse. It should only contain the most important items that you need regular and easy access to.
The B space should be the things you will need occasionally, like a book to read at rest stops or a pillow when it’s your time to nap. These items should be in the trunk, but on the top of the stack.
Finally, the C space should be the things you won’t need until arrival, like your swimming suit, extra shoes and shampoo. Store these on the bottom, deepest layer.
You’d be surprised how often a B- or C-space item drifts into A space, if you’re not careful; and that’s what can make you suddenly feel overwhelmed and crowded in the car. When this happens, reorganize and re-prioritize.
To best organize your space, invest in a car organizer, like the Eddie Bauer Car Organizer for $17.99 at Target.com. Also check out the trunk organizer ($22.29) and a back seat pocketed organizer; for less than $10, this is probably the best investment you can make for an organized trip. Save money on Target purchases by checking Target’s deals and coupons.
4. Relax and enjoy yourself.
If you forget something, don’t panic. Unless you’re driving through a particularly deserted part of the desert, you can most likely find what you’re looking for at an upcoming truck stop.
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