The euphoria of going on a road trip with family or friends is incomparable. A road trip allows you to travel leisurely, enjoy the journey, and choose remote locations to visit if that’s what you prefer. However, the success of the trip is largely reliant on adequate planning and preparation. You can comfortably travel in any season if you are well prepared and suitably equipped for the trip.
Basic Steps to Planning Your Road Trip
- Confirm your destination: If you’re traveling with young kids or it’s your first road trip, it’s preferable to avoid traveling to remote areas or where hiking is required. Prepare for traffic blocks, road work, and poor weather conditions.
- Select a route: Once you choose your route, start budgeting and saving money for your trip. Look for off-season deals and discounts.
- Schedule pit stops: Decide where you will take your gas, food, and bathroom breaks. Look for RV campsites where parking is available if you choose to rent an RV.
- Pack your bags: Make a list of essential things to carry and what to avoid. List things to keep handy: gadgets, medicines and protective gear.
- Miscellaneous checks pre-travel: Ensure your travel insurance, health insurance, accommodation, and other bookings are in order. Store important contact numbers and download related apps to your phone.
Checking Your Vehicle Before Your Trip
You should always conduct a complete vehicle audit before you embark on your road trip. This includes checking the wheels, tire pressure, brakes, water levels, and oil.
- Tire pressure: Ensure the tires of your outdoor vehicle are inflated to the ideal pressure level. For guidance on the suggested pressure level, check the sticker on the driver’s side door or the inner end of the fuel filler.
- Tread depth: All modern “P,” “LT” and medium commercial tires have integral wear indicators built into the tread. These indicators are molded into several locations around the tread grooves. When the tread ribs become worn to the point where they’re adjacent to an indicator, it’s time for a new tire.
- Engine oil: The dipstick test will protect you against engine breakdowns due to low oil levels.
- Coolant levels: If your coolant level is low, you could have a leak so be sure to check all radiator and heater hoses. To add coolant, if needed, be sure to check your owners manual to ensure it is done correctly.
- Window washer fluid: For an unobstructed view while driving, ensure the washer fluid of your vehicle is at a good level. Use fluid specifically designed for cold weather to prevent the fluid from freezing if your road trip is during the winter.
- Vehicle lights: Make sure all your vehicle lights, including turn signals, are working well, to avoid confusing or blinding other drivers and creating mishaps.
- Roadside assistance: You should always be prepared for the unexpected. A Coach-Net membership helps to ensure you have help if your RV suffers a breakdown during your trip.
Essential Items to Include in Your Packing
- Important documents and vehicle papers: These include your vehicle registration documents and manual, roadside assistance info and relevant contact number, your driver’s license and travel insurance.
- Navigator and battery pack: GPS can guide your direction and help check you are within the required speed limit. It can also help you find the nearest gas and service stations. A battery pack can meet the re-charging needs of your phone, music player, and camera.
- First-aid kit and torch: A basic first-aid kit should always be in your vehicle during your road trip. Minor wounds and small medical needs can be immediately met with a stash of bandages and antiseptic creams. A quality flashlight or lantern is important to have handy, especially for when your vehicle stalls in the dark and you need to inspect your engine.
- Miscellaneous vehicle necessities: Items needed for maximum comfort and efficiency during your road trip include hands-free phone packs, wheel wedges, windscreen covers, travel pillow, and sunglasses. Keep loose coins in your vehicle’s glove box to accommodate road toll and parking fees.
- Entertainment: Build a fun music playlist that is enjoyable for all on the road trip. Travel games like I-Spy work well for long road trips with kids.
Author: Tim Setterfield
Karl P. UT ~ “Kurt from Quality Tire was exceptional. He came and pulled both sets of back tires. The inside tires on both sides of our motor home had 0 pressure. Both Valve stems had been damaged for some reason. He replaced the valve stems on both tires, checked and filled all 6 tires to correct pressure. He was a pleasant and pleasurable person to work with. We were called by Coach-Net several times to make sure everything went as it was supposed to. Thank you to all the Coach-Net Representatives and to Kurt from Quality tire. It took something that was a pain and made it a pleasure.”