How to Prepare for a Road Trip

Here are 10 tips for how to prepare for a stress free road trip.

1. Top up the fluids in your car

e.g., water for your window wipers.

2. Make sure your tires are at the correct pressure.

This helps with fuel efficiency.

3. Familiarize yourself with the Google Maps app for turn by turn navigation with voice prompts. Sometimes the voice prompts can require a bit of fiddling to get working. I think my issue was that I normally use headphones with my phone. The phone defaults to not playing sound if headphones have been recently pulled out while something is playing and I think this was causing the voice prompts not to work at first. Make sure you have the latest version of the app i.e., check there aren’t any updates of the app (click the app store icon on your phone to check).

4. Get a stand to mount your phone to your dashboard.

Using your phone for navigation is cheaper, and typically just as good, as dropping $100 on a dedicated GPS. If you think you will be going places that don’t help cell reception then you might look at an app that where you download the maps in advance for offline use. There are some free ones.

5. Get a car charger for your phone.

If your car doesn’t have a USB port, get a charge that plugs into your cigarette lighter. You can get these with double slots so you can charge both your iphone and ipad.

6. Familiarize yourself with the routes your going to take.

I like to do this on my laptop and then check to make sure those same routes are showing up on the phone. Sometimes Google maps for desktop shows different route options vs. Google maps for phones. Usually the desktop version gives you the most logical routings. The phone excels at adjusting your route based on live traffic data.

7. Practice driving using the Maps app.

It can take a few runs to get accustomed to using the Google maps app if normally you don’t use a GPS or navigation app when driving in your home town or city.

Use the maps app for a week or so at home, before your trip. You might be surprised and discover some more efficient routes around your own neighborhood.

8. Gas Buddy

Get the Gas Buddy app if you are doing a road trip in the US. This will show you the cheapest gas prices in your current vicinity. It is brilliant and has saved me a lot of money.

9. Parking

Check out parking options if you think you’ll be driving anywhere where parking will be difficult or expensive. The site can be quite useful, although it doesn’t typically show the free street parking options or store/mall parking lots you can park in for free.

Try and find a supermarket or mall near where you going for parking purposes.

10. Plan to keep hydrated.

Make sure you have a water bottle and/or coffee cup that will sit nicely in your cup holder. You might also want to pack a small cooler (one that will fit inside the car rather than the trunk) so that you can keep drinks and snacks cold.

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