Although we travel a lot in our car to cities in the UK, I can honestly say I've never done a proper road trip. A road trip where we're travelling for several days at a time in the car, taking in different cities and sites. I remember a few months after me and my boyfriend first me, we were deciding whether to save up for a mortgage or a road trip in America. We chose the mortgage, however I do have regrets about not taking that travel opportunity because now I have too many commitments to be able to go road tripping for 3 months in foreign lands! What will be will be...!
I thought I'd do an essentials list for anyone that may be going on a road trip this summer, short or long. Road trips are a completely different experience to a basic hotel holiday and there's a few more safety aspects to consider than meets the eye!
1. Make sure your car is in tip-top condition. Apart from the obvious legal requirements (i.e. insurance, tax etc), ensure your oil, water, fluid etc is topped up. Its handy to have a spare bottle of water, and oil in your boot with you at all times. There's nothing worse than running out of oil then forgetting which type of oil your car requires. In the hotter months we all use our A/C a lot more, which means the car is using more water, so ensure you have a back-up just in case. Hydration for both the car and ourselves is vital. Another massive aspect of car safety is ensuring your tyres are pumped up with the correct tread requirement. Not having either of these can result in numerous things and can put you in dangerous situations. I've had my fair share of car breakdowns, one including a tyre fault - I was so close to having a bad accident on a motorway so never put things off for tomorrow what you can do today! If you don't have a male on hand, there are so many places that offer free tyre checks/fitting. Point S* allows you to find the correct tyre for your car (just by simply inputting your car reg) and offers to fit it for you too at the nearest centre.. so no worrying about having to get that car jack out! I'm useless when it comes to my car, and my boyfriend isn't much better either so I prefer to leave these kinda things to the pro's! (Point S are currently running a competition to win seat Ibiza so go check this out! (I do love a good competition as many of you may probably know!).
2. Chargers. Most cars can charge phone devices these days, and there is lots of cheap contraptions on Amazon that enable you to do this. There's nothing worse than being lost with a dead battery.
3. Loose change. You just never know when you're going to need a bit of spare change, especially when travelling abroad and constantly hitting tolls. I'm going to Florida next month and I must remember to have lose cents with me or we ain't going no where!
4. Map/Sat Nav of some sort. Theres some great sat navs to choose from here. I have a bit of a phobia about getting lost, even more so if I'm driving alone. I had a bad experience several years ago at night and it put me off for life. I had a similar experience only a few days ago - I listened to someone's instructions and I think they'd directed me wrong because I ended up half an hour away from where I need to be. Luckily my phone sat nav came to the rescue, however if it wasn't for that, I would have probably ran out of petrol.. which brings me onto my next point...
5. Ensure you have a full tank of petrol/gas. If you are road-tripping for several days, maybe locate petrol stations before you set off on your trip. In the middle of no where with no phone reception and no petrol is not somewhere I'd want to be.
6. Ensure you have a small stock of liquids, snacks and blankets in your boot. These aren't to be eaten for the sake of it, but in case of emergencies, so its best to buy food that keeps (i.e. not chocolate that would melt!). I tend to keep a blanket in my boot all year round. They're great in the colder months when temperatures drop and cars are more liable to break down. Keeping warm is essential. In the summer, this blanket can double up as a picnic blanket. You can discover so many gorgeous spots on road trips where you may just want to set up camp for a few hours!
7. Have a notebook and pen - if you get lost, the sat nav fails and your map skills aren't great, you may be stopping a stranger in the street. Being able to write instructions down may help.
8. A camera. Being on road trips means you can come across some beautiful scenery. You can pull over (providing its safe) and snap to your hearts content. Make sure you capture this moment in time.
9. A competent driver + a competent navigator. These 2 things always mix well. We don't want any arguments on a long road trip. Recipe for disaster!
10. Last but not least - have your wits about you. If theres a bunch of girls going on a road trip in America and you encounter a hitch hiker, put safety first over guilt. In my opinion, its too bigger risk.
Are you going on any road trips this summer? Let me know in the comments!