Want to head off on an epic adventure, but scared you’ll mess things up? Don’t be, as this blog has all the summer road trip tips and tricks you’ll need to not only pull it off but in spectacular fashion.
Let’s get into the details below.
1. Get rental car insurance
Many road trippers use their own vehicle to go on a road trip, but in today’s world, more people than ever have a driver’s license but don’t have a vehicle of their own. If you are in the latter camp, you’ll be getting yours from a rental car agency.
When you go to acquire your vehicle, you’ll be asked whether you want to get insurance or not. Assuming you might have your own beforehand, you have the option to decline their expensive in-house package, but know that this is illegal, as virtually every jurisdiction requires all drivers on the road to be insured.
Instead of getting press-ganged into accepting the insurance your rental agency offers you, get your own car rental damage insurance policy from an independent provider beforehand. This way, you’ll save gobs of money that you can spend on Twizzlers and chips instead.
2. Prepare a car survival kit
It’s not something that’s fun to think about, but sometimes, accidents happen. Cars break down, tires go flat, and bad driving decisions by others give us no time to react. Whether it happens to you or someone you come across on your travels, you need to be prepared to respond.
Make this easier by preparing a car survival kit before hitting the road. Within, include items like jumper cables (along with a card that explains how to use them safely), a first aid kit, emergency blanket, flares, and other items which can help one survive an emergency situation.
Even if nothing happens, having these supplies will give you the peace of mind that you will have the assets to handle a situation if you do come across one.
3. Stock a cooler with drinks and snacks
While it is inevitable that you will have to stop for meals and gas as you make your way across the country, having to stop every time someone is thirsty or hungry can hurt your ability to make miles on days where you need to do a lot of driving.
Remedy this problem by filling a cooler up with drinks and snacks that everyone loves. So long as it is stocked with ice at the beginning of the day or plugged into an outlet in the car, it will keep everything from pop to ice cream sandwiches frosty cold, allowing you to keep the rubber to the road longer.
4. Get several rolls of quarters from the bank
Our world is becoming an increasingly cashless place. Many toll booths across our nation are not among them, or they have transponder technology that is only useful to those who live in the immediate area.
To avoid a situation where you’re forced to drive through a toll gate and incur a pricey fine, head to the bank before your trip and take out $10 – $20 worth of quarters in rolls. Keep this stash at the front of the car, and you’ll have a supply of coins ready to throw into the hungry mouths of the toll collection devices as you come across them.
5. Download several road trip apps
As admirable as it is to eschew technology when getting away from it all, there’s no denying they have made every facet of our lives easier. This includes travel, as there are thousands of apps out there which make every step of the process run smoother.
When it comes to road trips, there are several we heartily recommend. Start by downloading Waze – an app developed by drivers for drivers, it clues you in on traffic congestion, construction zones, and the location of active speed traps.
Want to save mad money on gasoline? Gas Buddy is your hookup – all along the way, the prices of gas stations are updated by its army of volunteers, preventing you from paying way too much for a fill up when a cheaper alternative is just a mile further down the road.
Finally, make extensive use of Google Maps. It comes standard with most Android phones and is updated regularly, unlike the ratty 20-year old atlas you have stashed in the glove compartment of your car. If you don’t have data where you are headed, download offline maps before you leave the realm of wi-fi – trust us, it’s a lifesaver.
6. Load up a tablet with your kid’s favorite shows
Traveling as a family? While ‘I Spy’, the license plate game, and other backseat diversions will work for a while, it is inevitable your kids will start asking, ‘Are we there yet?’ as the day wears on.
Thankfully, mobile tablets have the ability to store many hours of cartoons and other family-friendly movies, and they can hold a charge for just as long. When they start to get restless, whip out this entertainment option and they’ll be kept occupied until you pull into grandma’s driveway.
7. Get a car phone charger with multiple ports
Heading out on a road trip adventure with your friends? Chances are very high everybody is packing their own mobile device. Unfortunately, as the day wears on, many of them will start to get critically low on juice.
Be the hero they need and deserve by getting a car phone charger with multiple ports. Plug one end into one of your car’s USB ports or the cigarette lighter and this energized hub will allow your friends to charge their phones via one of several plug points.
8. Ask locals where to eat and what to see
As fun as it is to stumble upon things by yourself, the key to enjoying any trip is to make use of the knowledge of locals. Whenever you are unsure of where to eat or what to do, ask a friendly stranger on the street, and you’ll be off on an adventure you could have never anticipated.