(Image source: Pixabay)

The best way to travel is with peace of mind, knowing that everything has been taken care of, that all the essential pieces are in place. There’s nothing worse than setting out on a trip only to realize once you’re out of town and on the interstate that you forgot to get the oil changed or didn’t make reservations at the motel. So to help you enjoy your trip and travel with peace of mind, here are 5 essential road travel tips.

1. Get Your Car Ready

On a long trip, you’ll spend many hours in your car – and you will depend on it to get you there and back again. So do, at least a month before your planned trip, make sure it’s in tip-top shape. Go over it with a fine-toothed comb, at a minimum checking:

  • Oil and coolant levels
  • Tire pressure (including spare)
  • Belts and hoses
  • Brakes
  • Lights
  • Wiper blades and washer fluid

Of course, your best bet is to have your mechanic check it out for you and probably change the oil, filter, and spark plugs.

2. Get Yourself Ready

(Image source: Pixabay)

In addition to preparing your car, you also have to get yourself ready. First, let friends and/or relatives know your planned route and stops, and make sure to check your cell phone range and ability to reach emergency operators. And don’t neglect to put together an emergency roadside kit, which should include jumper cables, extra coolant and motor oil, water, food, flashlight, and phone number for a towing service (at least).

3. Plan Ahead for Accommodations

And when you arrive at your planned stops, you will definitely want a good meal, a shower, and a comfortable bed. But you’ll have to plan ahead to ensure that these are available. So make reservations well ahead of time. Or if you’re not exactly sure where you’ll stop, at least check out motels and availability in the areas you’re traveling to and through.

4. Think About Gas Consumption

It never hurts to be mindful of your gas consumption – you don’t want to burn more than you have to, and you want to be able to get more when you need it. So ease off on the acceleration, keep windows up on the highway, jettison excess weight, and purchase gas during the coolest part of the day. And do be sure to locate refueling stops before the gas gauge hits “Empty.”

5. Drive Safely and Take it Easy

Driving safely should be a given, but we all get complacent or negligent at times. So, as you drive, scan the road ahead for hazards, watch out for tailgaters and aggressive drivers, and plan your refueling stops so you don’t get stranded on the side of the road. Also, be sure to take breaks to stretch you legs and to ensure you stay alert while driving.

And finally just . . . relax and enjoy yourself. You’ve made sure that everything has been prepared, so now it’s time to unwind and have some fun. Remember, the trip – the journey itself – is just as important as and can even be more enjoyable than reaching the destination.