How to Prepare for a Long Car Journey Across the States

Few things compare to the thrill and excitement you’ll feel after you hit the open road, but your heart will surely skip a beat if you get stranded if your car breaks down. To avoid the stress and potential hit to your finances, you should prepare for your road trip across the states.

10 Tips That Will Help you Prepare for Your Road Trip

Even if you’re sticking to big city centers and main roads, it still pays to prepare for your next exciting road trip. Here are some tips for preparing for a long car journey across the states.

1. Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

There’s nothing wrong with taking a casual approach to your road trip, but prior planning can ensure you see everything you want. Determine the most efficient route to your destination and consider factors such as traffic and road conditions when planning your way across the US. Sounds simple, but planning makes a big difference.

2. Don’t Forget Important Documents

Make sure you have your driver’s license, registration, and insurance documents with you before you hit the open road. Insurance slips are especially easy to go out of date since most companies generally issue a new certificate each year, delivered a couple of months by mail before the old one expires. Simple put the new one in your folder of documents as soon as you get a new insurance slip, but keep the old one in place for the time being because the new one is not yet valid. Keep in mind that you can save a fortune on car insurance and find competitive SR22 insurance rates by shopping on comparison sites like Cheap Insurance.

3. Check Your Car Out With a Mechanic 

Before you set off, make an appointment with a mechanic to check if your vehicle is in good condition. This includes checking the oil, brakes, tires, and other essential systems. If you’re good with cars, you can certainly change the battery, spark plugs, air filters, and brake pads by yourself, but a once-over by a trusted pro is always a good idea.

4. Bring Entertainment (for Passengers)

Consider bringing books, games, or activities that keep you and your passengers entertained during the journey. With that said, distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2020, so don’t join in on the fun if you think you’ll lose focus. However, drivers can legally and safely listen to music or read audiobooks.

5. Make Sure You’re Comfortable

Pack loose clothing and bring along bedding, like pillows and blankets, to stay comfortable during the trip. These items could really come in handy if you need to sleep overnight in your vehicle, but you can still use them at a hotel if you want to remember the comforts of home. 

6. Pack Essentials for Your Trip

Pack necessities for your trip, such as medication, a first aid kit, and emergency supplies. You’ll also need snacks and drinks that aren’t temperature sensitive, such as water and granola bars. Be sure to keep a car jack and a spare tire in the trunk, so you can quickly change a flat.Most people never try out their jack ahead of time, but you should. Find out where it is in your vehicle, see if it works, and learn where to place the jack under your car. There are specific places for this on every vehicle. Your owner’s manual will show you where.

7. Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated

Although it’s tempting to drink less water on your road trip (because you’ll need to make fewer stops), it’s very important to stay hydrated. Drinking the right amount of fluids can help you stay focused and alert while driving. Not only that, but water is also vital for your health and happiness. You’re far better off drinking water than sugary drinks, especially since you’re just sitting in the car doing nothing all day.

8. Plan Plenty of Stretch Breaks

It’s bad to sit in one spot for an extended period. In fact, research has linked long-term sitting to various conditions, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. Plan to take regular breaks to stretch your legs, use the bathroom, and grab a snack.

9. Stay Safe By Following Traffic Laws

Did you know that different states have their own driving laws? For example, in Washington, a yellow light means you can enter the intersection, but in Oregon, you can only do so if you can’t stop safely behind the intersection. Be sure to look up all traffic laws before entering a state. 

10. Stay Connected to Your Friends and Family

You should have a way to stay connected to your friends and family in case of emergencies or unexpected changes to your plans. Bring a phone charger and a portable WiFi signal (or upgrade your data package), so you can make calls when there isn’t a cell phone signal.