The summer driving season is coming quick, and it’s time to start thinking about a summer road trip. Before you hit the highway, make sure your vehicle is well prepared. Here’s some advice to help you and your loved ones stay safe, save money, and have fun on the road this summer.
Think again about your destination.
If you’re just looking to get away, but don’t have a specific destination in mind, think about where most people go during the summer months, then plan to go elsewhere that’s less crowded and cheaper.
According to Travel Magazine’s travel study, “The Most Expensive Summer Destinations in the USA,” the five most expensive U.S. cities for summer leisure travel, based on the hotel room price was Montauk, NY, Saratoga Springs, NY, Martha’s Vinyard, MA, Nantucket, MA and East Hampton, NY.
Get your car serviced.
The last thing you want to happen when you’re on the road is a breakdown on the side of it. Starting a few weeks before your departure, bring your car to a mechanic and have them check the following:
- Make sure braking system is in good condition and working properly
- Battery connections are clean, tight and corrosion-free
- Check all filters and fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
- Check hoses and belts that can become brittle and crack. They are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, cooling system/AC, and power steering.
- Check tire pressure and tread, and check for bulges and bald spots.
- Make sure the gas cap is not damaged, loose or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.
Pack early and wisely.
Start packing early so you’re not rushed the night before your trip. Pack the vehicle the night before—preferably in daylight—so you can wake early and leave. Keep a bag and/or cooler of snacks and water up front where you can conveniently reach and access it. Check the weather for your area, but also where you’ll be driving to. Program your destination address into your GPS, and print out hard copy directions in case your GPS has a technical glitch, and stops working.
Bring plenty of water and healthy snacks.
Eating junk when you travel is way too easy with fast food chains every few miles. Pack smart and bring some healthy snacks for for your road trip. “Watermelon and cucumbers are very hydrating and cooling. Oranges are always a good choice because the smell is a proven mood lifter and helps to relieve stress of annoying highway traffic. Cherries and blueberries are also great summer snacks because it’s their peak season,” according to the beauty travel authors, Kate Duff and Alexi Mintz.
Leave early to avoid the rush.
It may not be fun waking the family at 4:00 am, but it will be worth it to get on the road before everyone else does. Plan your leave time strategically so you’re out of the metropolitan area before the morning rush hour starts clogging up the roads. If you need to stop and spend the night at a hotel, pull off the road around 4:00 pm before the evening rush, get a good night’s sleep, and then leave before sunrise again.
Be sure to stay hydrated.
Drinking enough water is always important, even more so when traveling. In the summer, buy and carry liter bottles of water and try to drink 3 to 4 liters per day. It may cause increased pit stops, but staying hydrated helps general fatigue, and also keeps your body functioning properly through unavoidable changes in climate and diet.