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Tips to get ready for Long Drive
Long Driving rather than flying or taking a train can often be more convenient .
1. Make lists a week or two before the trip
List what will go in your suitcase and make another list of things you need to do before the trip. This can include getting a car tune up, or washing/waxing/cleaning the car. This will help you be less stressed since everything is written on paper, and you will be less likely to forget something
2. Pack your suitcase a few days before the trip
This gives you time to think about adding things in or taking things out and will generally make you less stressed before the trip.
3. Pack an additional carry on bag
This could include some books, electronic entertainment (handheld games, mp3 players, laptops, DVDs if the car has a DVD player, etc.), non-perishable snacks (such as granola bars and cookies), and drinks if you have a cooler. Remember that if you bring carbonated drinks, they may go flat.
4. Choose the right car
Ensure your car is serviceable before you depart. This means that your car should be within its servicing period, and the oil and filter should have been changed recently. All of the water reservoirs should also be full. Check your tyres to ensure they will remain within their wear limits during your trip and purchase and install new tyres if required.If you will be driving a long distance also consider getting your wheels aligned before you go as this will save on tyre wear later on. If you drive on any unsealed roads while you travel you should also plan to get the wheels aligned again after you return (lesson learnt from our road trip last year we did not do this step and had to replace all four relatively new tyres within 12 months).If you will be hiring a vehicle have a close look at the quality of vehicle that they offer and support they will provide.
5. Route Plan
The biggest killers on the road are fatigue and alcohol. Before you depart you should quickly research a rough plan of your route including the driving times and distances. If you will be stopping to sightsee en route you should plan a maximum of four hours of driving in a day. If you have a long distance driving day you should plan to have a non-driving day afterwards to recover. Make sure you do not drink alcohol and drive.Allow an extra day or two so you can be flexible if you decide to stay longer in a place or decide to break a longer drive into two shorter driving days, or if something unexpected occurs. Also do some initial research into sightseeing options along the way so you know where you are interested to visit and can build these into your plan.Online tools such as Google Maps enable you to quickly put together a route plan.
If you are using a GPS ensure you have the latest map update before you depart. It is also worthwhile to purchase a large hardcopy map to enable a bigger picture view of your trip.
7. What Ifs
Ensure you plan for What Ifs while you are on your road trip. What will you do if your car breaks down? Have you got suitable roadside assistance for your destination? Will your vehicle hire company provide roadside assistance? What will you do if you have a car accident? Do you have suitable car insurance or travel insurance for your destination? Have you purchased insurance which will reduce your hire car excess? If you have a problem in a remote area how will you communicate? Will you have mobile phone coverage on your planned route, or is it a major road with a lot of traffic who should be able to help you? Should you take additional communications equipment such as a satellite phone, a two way radio or an EPIRB? Have you got a current first aid kit in your car and do you know how to use it? Should you pack some additional bottled water and food in case of break down or traffic stoppages, particularly if you are travelling in remote areas and the weather will be hot? If you will be travelling in a very cold environment do you have appropriate safety gear?
Long boring roads require entertainment. If you have children in the car consider if you have a DVD player or other handheld electronic games which the children can use in the car. Ensure you can recharge or power the equipment using the car engine and battery, which may require the purchase of additional equipment. Consider how many items you will want to plug in at once and purchase additional equipment such as double adapters etc.Think about whether you like to listen to music as you travel. Ensure you have the equipment to play your own music through your car radio. Pre-purchase some new music prior to departure to enjoy along the way.Also be prepared to play some car games with children so they do actually look out the window sometimes!
9. Enjoy Your Road Trip
Once you have gone through these road trip preparation tips you will be ready to go. Have a great road trip Subscribe via Email to ensure you receive future Pretraveller articles. You can also follow Pretraveller via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and RSS Feeds. Have you got any additional road trip preparation tips or road trip experiences to share? Please share your experience in the comments below.
10. Create a list of things to bring
such as Fill car with gas, bring money for food and more gas, clean out car, put towels over seats in case of accidental spilling, find a portable DVD player, buy food, etc.
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