The allure of the Great American Road trip seems to be stronger than ever. Whether you’re checking National Parks off your list or you’re visiting relatives a few states over, having a plan in place before you leave will help ensure your trip is a safe and memorable one.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you hit the open road this summer.
1. DO YOU HAVE YOUR MAPS?
Turn-by-turn navigation on smart devices has revolutionized how we travel in cars. It’s easier than ever to figure out where you are and how to get where you’re going. But it’s also easy to take it for granted. If you find yourself in a corner of the country with limited cell reception, you’ll be thankful you downloaded your maps for offline use ahead of time. And in the off chance your phone is lost or broken, bring along paper maps as well.
AAA members can download maps to any smart device. You can also request paper maps of all 50 states, National Parks, major cities, and other points of interest across North America.
2. USE THE AAA TRIPTIK APP TO PLAN YOUR ROUTE.
AAA TripTik helps you plan every step along the way. Find popular points of interest along the way, gas stations and charging stations, restaurants, lodging, and more. TripTik can make planning a breeze and will help you focus on what really matters: enjoying the drive.
3. ADD A SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR ROAD TRIP.
Nothing quite solidifies a road trip like music. But once you hit those more remote areas, you’ll be lucky to get a cell phone signal let alone a radio signal. So don’t forget to download your favorite roadtripping playlists and podcasts to your devices for offline listening. Mix it up so there’s something for everyone in the car. (Or go for a vintage sound and bring some CDs—remember those?)
4. MAXIMIZE YOUR FOOD AND DRINK STRATEGY.
Driving across the country can quickly remind you just how big this country is. You’ll be thankful you packed plenty of snacks and drinks when you hit some of those more remote stretches of road. Make sure you pack along more than enough shelf-stable foods that won’t go bad any time soon. And it’s a good idea to bring more water than you think you’ll need.
5. BE PREPARED WITH SOME EMERGENCY SUPPLIES.
Some things—like the weather, natural disasters, or car accidents—are out of your control. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep an emergency car kit with you. You can buy a ready-made kit or put your own together. A basic one might include a first aid kit, some battery chargers, a toolkit, and anything else you think might help keep a minor setback on the road from becoming a major problem.
Of course, don’t forget to keep the phone number for AAA roadside assistance in your phone and in your glovebox. Should you need help with a flat, an empty gas tank, a locked car door, or any other roadside help, AAA will be there for you.
A road trip may be one of the most memorable adventures you’ll have. And modern conveniences and well-built cars have made road trips more accessible than ever. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a good plan in place. So have fun on your trip, but be safe out there and make the most of the resources available to you.
*This information is not intended to take the place of regular medical care or advice. Please check with your doctor before using this information or beginning any self-care program.