10 Important Tips for Your Next Road Trip

With the wind in your hair, your favorite tunes pumping from the stereo, and the wide-open horizon ahead, there’s nothing like the freedom and adventure of a road trip. And with gas prices steady and new mobile entertainment technology ready to blast boredom before it starts, there’s never been a better time to gather up a special someone or small group of friends and hit the road. 

Whether you’re planning a road trip to a specific destination or just a highway tour to see the sights, it’s important to plan ahead—unexpected adventures are always welcome, but breakdowns, wrong turns, and inadequate snack supplies are not. Following these 10 important road trip tips will help ensure the good times will keep rolling all the way home:

1. Get your car in tip-top condition

The only thing worse than a breakdown is having one that happens hundreds (or thousands) of miles away from home. That’s why you should bring your car in for a full maintenance check far enough in advance to accommodate any repairs if needed. In addition to a tune up and oil change, makes sure all fluid levels are topped off and your tires are in good condition. And if your car has room for a full-size spare tire, replacing the smaller, temporary spare will save you money and time in the event of a flat tire during your trip.

2. Invest in car window tinting

car with window tint

Car maintenance checks before a road trip are essential, but it’s also a good time to make some upgrades that will enhance your comfort and safety during the trip. Car window film will help keep your car interior cool and reduce dangerous glare while driving. Plus, window film for vehicles blocks harmful UV rays that can damage your skin, upholstery, and dashboard. It also offers privacy for your belongings and souvenirs picked up along the way.

3. Stash an emergency kit

Preparing for worst-case scenarios will give you peace of mind during a road trip, so don’t forget to assemble a kit that will be useful in a variety of unforeseen emergencies. Items should include a first aid kit, a small flashlight, extra water bottles, protein bars, a phone charger, and emergency foil blankets. Toss it all in a small backpack or tote bag and stash it somewhere in the car that’s easy to reach if you need it.

4. Make a loose plan at the very least

Road trips usually last from a few days to a few weeks at most, so you’ll want to have an idea about where you’ll be sleeping each night. It’s not necessary to make reservations at a hotel, motel, or campground every single night, but at the very least have a nightly destination planned in places that will have several options available. As for your daily itinerary, plan for about eight hours of driving at most, leaving plenty of room for meal stops and nearby tourist destinations.

5. Keep someone updated on your whereabouts

Cell phone reception does not yet cover every inch of the country—not even close—so friends and family back home might not be able to count on consistent status updates from you. For safety’s sake, make sure someone knows which city or town you’re staying in each night and where you plan to be the next night. And because this might involve calling people on motel landlines, be sure to have important phone numbers written down instead of relying entirely on your phone’s contact list.

6. Bring cash for tolls

Toll road aren’t always clearly marked on maps. They can pop up in the most unexpected places, and most of them accept cash only. Stocking your center console with rolls of quarters, dimes and nickels (available at the bank) will ensure you’ll have the right toll amount every time—a few dollars in change is much preferable to a steep fine waiting for you when you get home.

7. Bring healthy, energizing snacks

Snacks are essential to any road trip, but not all snacks are created equal—spending most of your time in the car means you’ll need healthy, energizing snacks to sustain you until the next meal stop. So instead of chips, candy, sodas, and other unhealthy options, stock your snack bag with trail mix, granola bars, roasted nuts, peanut butter crackers, and dried fruit. And in the cooler, pack plenty of water along with cut-up veggies, string cheese, and yogurt. 

8. Vary your entertainment choices

Blasting music from your stereo for a group sing-along is a road trip rite of passage, but all music all the time can get boring over the course of several days. In addition to a variety of themed playlists, download some podcasts and audiobooks to help pass the time, and if you have a mobile DVD player and flip-down or behind-the-seat TV screens, be sure to bring movies in a wide selection of genres to accommodate everyone’s tastes. Of course, entertainment doesn’t have to be electronic—there are still several “travel-size” board games on the market to bring along.

9. Pack light to leave room for souvenirs

Long after you return from your road trip, you’ll always have your memories to enjoy later. And while your phone can store hundreds of selfies and landscape shots from the trip, your suitcase and trunk can only store so many souvenirs. So be sure to pack light to leave room for the T-shirts, shot glasses, and other kitschy reminders of all the places you visited during your fun-filled adventure.

10. Be adventurous

Being prepared and knowing where you plan to stop each day is a great guiding principle for road trips, but it’s also important to be flexible and open to fun opportunities. If your road trip is destination-based (such as a wedding or family reunion), build an extra day or two into the trip so you have time to make unexpected stops at exciting attractions along the way. If your road trip is simply a road trip, don’t be shy about trying new things or checking out attractions that don’t show up on Google maps. Some of the best, most memorable adventures are unplanned and full of uncertainty, so don’t be afraid to explore the world around you. 

Get your car ready for the open road with Superior Window Solutions

If you’re planning a road trip—especially during the summer months—one of the smartest things you can do to prepare is invest in automotive window tinting. High-quality window film from Superior Window Solutions will ensure your interior stays cool and your belongings stay private from point A to point B. Give us a call (877) 484-6886 or stop by our convenient San Diego location today.