While a cross-country road trip can be an exciting adventure, it’s never something you should do spontaneously. Taking the time to plan your trip will help you prepare for any emergencies that occur on the road. Whether you’re faced with the unexpected onset of an illness or a sudden vehicle breakdown, finding yourself on the road without the proper supplies and equipment can be a nightmare. This guide will help you prepare to ensure that you’re able to handle any emergency without panicking.
Inspect Your Vehicle
Your first step in planning your cross-country road trip should be to thoroughly inspect your vehicle. Begin by looking at the tires to ensure the tread is in good condition and the tires are properly inflated. You should also inspect the headlights, belts and hoses, and fluid levels. This is a good time to bring your car or truck in for an oil change even if you haven’t reached the mileage mark since your last chance. While your vehicle is being serviced, it can’t hurt to have your mechanic give it a tune-up. You should let the mechanic know that you’re taking the vehicle on a long road trip, and ask that he notify you about any issues that grab his attention.
Stock Your Vehicle
Even after you have had your vehicle serviced and prepared for a long road trip, you should assume anything can still go wrong on the road. For that reason, you should be sure to pack a basic tool kit, flashlights with extra batteries, jumper cables, and road flares. Even though you may have a cell phone with you, it’s a good idea to pack a paper map that includes all of the roads you’ll be taking on your trip. Additionally, be sure to pack enough first aid supplies for everyone going on your journey. Along with the basics, be sure to bring pain relievers, anti-itch spray, hydrogen peroxide, prescription medication, and other medical care necessities you think you may need.
Plan Your Route
You should spend some time making a detailed route for your trip so you can plan ahead for every contingency. Once you have the route outlined, you can use Google Maps and other online tools to help you find necessary resources along your route. For instance, if you’ll be traveling through northern Illinois, you might want to note which service centers offer auto repair in Elgin IL. You should also research the location of gas stations along your route, making a note of the fuel prices at each stop. This can help you plan where you’ll stop for fuel and food.
Pack a Cooler
Spending can get out of control on a cross-country road trip so it’s important to save where you can. For example, stopping at a fast food restaurant for every meal can cause you to bleed through your cash supply in a very short time. Instead, stop once or twice along the way. The rest of the time, you and your companions should be finding snacks and sandwich fixings in your cooler. Stock it with plenty of ice, bottled water, fresh and dried fruit, veggies, and packaged lunch meat. You can also bring along dried goods, such as bread, crackers, chips, and cookies. Bringing a fully stocked cooler can help you save most of your money for your destination.
Have an Emergency Plan in Place
Before you leave, you should make a copy of your travel times and leave it with a friend or relative. The plans should include approximate arrival and departure times to ensure your emergency contact will know where you will be at any given time. You should also make plans to call them at predetermined times throughout your getaway to ensure they know you and your companions are safe. While your road trip will likely be safe and uneventful, preparing for an emergency in this way will ensure you do get help if you may need it.
As long you have a detailed plan, any road trip can be an enjoyable experience. Just be sure you have enough supplies and resources for everyone coming along on the journey. No matter how far you’re going, having the right equipment with you will help you get to your destination safely and happily. A properly planned trip will help you and your companions have a joyous time on the road.