Summer time is road tripping time. But before you hit the road to see the country and make new memories, make sure you’re ready for the trip!
Check, check, and double check your vehicle.
Your vehicle is your lifeline on a road trip, so make sure it’s in tip-top shape to get you back home safely. Have your mechanic perform a tune up, oil change and tire rotation if those services haven’t been done in a while. And make sure you have a spare tire (and that the spare tire isn’t deflated) as well as a car jack just in case you snag a flat on your trip.
Grab an old-school paper map.
GPS is a wonderful thing, but there are still a few spots throughout the country where GPS just stops working (we’re looking at you, Rocky Mountains). Or perhaps your phone battery is dying or dead. In situations like these, it’s helpful to have a paper map on hand to keep your road trip on the right track.
Load up your phone with entertainment.
You are going to spend a lot—I repeat, A LOT—of time driving, possibly through long stretches of countryside with little variation and not much to keep your attention. That said, this is the perfect time to catch up on audio books and podcasts you may have been neglecting. And a road trip isn’t complete without a killer playlist to jam out to.
Roadside rescue services are your friend.
Despite your best efforts, sometimes you can’t prevent an accident. It’s helpful to be a member of a roadside assistance service like AAA Roadside Assistance to help get you out of a bad situation, no matter where you’ve traveled.
Have a (loose) plan.
For the Type A’s amongst us, writing up a meticulously detailed travel itinerary may be par for the course, and there are probably some Type B’s who would happily start driving in no particular direction and with no plan to speak of just to see where they’ll end up. For most of us, a happy medium between these two scenarios is best. You definitely should have a loose plan of where you want to travel and what dates and times you plan to get to certain destinations, but stay flexible enough to change plans on a whim if something comes up, for example an opportunity to see a show, an unexpected detour, an extra night camping under the stars, etc. That said, you should DEFINITELY plan your restroom stops! You will not regret it.
Take care of issues regarding your driver’s license, insurance, or any traffic citations.
Had a birthday recently? If you haven’t checked it in a while, you may not have realized your driver’s license is expired and needs to be renewed. Also make sure you have at least two copies of your vehicle insurance, preferably one you carry with you and an extra one in the glove compartment of your vehicle. And if you have any pending speeding, parking, or other traffic citations, you’ll want to take care of those before you head out on a long trip.
It’s becoming less and less common for people to carry cash on them, but you may want to have some nearby for toll roads. You can also buy a toll road tag to pay all of your toll road fees online later. Cash is also handy to have nearby for any markets or gas stations you visit that may only accept cash payments.
Remember to pack an ice chest for snacks on the go.
Like we mentioned before, you’re going to be doing a lot of driving. You might as well have healthy snacks and drinks within arm’s reach on the trip! You’ll cut down on the number of times you have to stop for food too. A quick stop to the local grocery store to pick up ice, fruit, water, etc. is all you need to stock up for the trip.
Are you raring to hit the road now? Just in case you’re in the market for a sleek new road tripping vehicle, new Generations auto loans are competitive, come with optional vehicle protection, and won’t require a payment for up to 90 days*. That’s right—you may not have to make a payment all summer vacation! Discover more or start your application today!
*Conditions do apply in order for an auto loan to receive the 90-day deferral option, and not all loans will qualify. Refinances of existing GFCU auto loans are not eligible for the 90-day first payment deferral.
Samantha Salazar is a University of Texas at Austin alum who has worked in the finance and marketing industry since 2011. She has a background as a CUNA Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor and is a Class II graduate of the Latina Leadership Institute (LLI). True to her millennial nature, Samantha loves coffee, covers her home in hanging plants, lives a frugal lifestyle, and works hard so that her dog, Olive, can have the backyard she deserves.