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Going on a long road-trip vacation is an exciting prospect because it’s a different kind of experience than your typical vacation. As such, preparing for this kind of trip might take a little bit more thought. Thinking through these various steps will help you get the most out of your road-trip. 

Make Sure You Have All Your Gear

One of the most important steps for having a great driving vacation is to make sure that you actuallypack everything you need and that you pack it into your car effectively. Think carefully about all the different activities you plan to do and try to think about all the things you might need. Make sure you do your research and read about what others brought for similar activities in order to make sure you get everything. 

Then, make sure you pack things strategically. Try to situate things like car snacks and car entertainment in the most accessible places in the car. Next, make sure your day bag with any changes of clothes, extra contact lenses, and other things like socks is easily accessible as well. 

Have a Backup Plan

Another major principle to live by when it comes to long road trips is that ofhaving a backup plan. Regardless of how set in stone you think your sleeping arrangements are, be prepared for the situation in which those plans fall through. 

This could mean doing some research on other hotels in the area or contacting other friends in the area to see if they happen to be free and available. Taking these precautions will help you be more prepared in the event something changes. You might also consider bringing things like a blow-up mattress and extra blankets in the event that a hotel room gets your reservation wrong and you need more sleeping arrangements. 

Ultimately, remember that things can and often do go wrong on road-trips. With so many moving parts, it’s almost impossible for every little thing to go smoothly. One of the best ways to really prepare for difficult unexpected situations is to simply readjust your expectations for your vacation—instead of thinking that the trip will go seamlessly, prepare yourself mentally to encounter various problems to be solved. 

Prepare Your Car

Preparing your car for a road trip can take a little extra effort than your normal maintenance. Think about the variety of different settings you might be in during the course of your road trip and figure out how to make sure your car is protected. 

For example, if you know you will have to park it outside for days on end, you might want to have different things done to protect the paint job. One of these options could be to get ceramic coating.Ceramic coating can help you keep your car looking nice, even as you are driving across the country. 

Get Your Car Serviced

Getting your car serviced before a long trip is a must. Taking it in for a general service a couple weeks in advance will allow the mechanics enough time to fix any major issues before you need your car. Make sure they perform routine maintenance like changing the oil, checking the oil, and potentially rotating the tires if needed. 

Making this service a priority item on your to-do list could save you so much hassle, stress, and money in the long-run. While it might seem unlikely for your car to break down if you haven’t been noticing any problems lately, taking this precaution could save you from a very difficult bind. If your car were to break down on your trip, it could be incredibly difficult to get it fixed at a reasonable price and in a timely manner, you could actually be put in danger if in a remote place, and you’d likely end up missing out on the bulk of your vacation time. 

Check the Weather

Checking the weather is paramount to your road trip vacation’s success—you need to know the different conditions you will be experiencing as you travel in your car. Having this knowledge will help you better gauge how long it will take you to do your route. For example, if you were driving from Utah all the way to Florida, you might have initially thought it would only take about eight hours to get through Colorado, but if it will be stormy or snowing, you could add on a few hours. 

Being aware of the weather will make it much easier for you to adjust your expectations, book hotels if necessary, and generally be more prepared and happier as you travel. 

Don’t Overestimate How Far You Can Drive Per Day

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make whenplanning a long road-trip vacation is to think that you can somehow drive hours on end each and every day. This is especially true when you are driving to one main destination. 

While it is possible to bust out long hours for a couple of days in order to spend more time at your destination, recognize that this method of doing a road-trip will be exhausting. When you finally arrive at your destination, you will likely be worn out and less able to fully enjoy the spot. Instead, focus on driving a little bit every day and stopping at unique destinations along the way. 

Plan in a couple days of full sightseeing in between longer driving days. This way, you’ll feel rejuvenated and refreshed when it’s time to drive and you’ll also be able to more fully enjoy the sites you see. 

As you prepare for your driving vacation, remember the purpose of your vacation: to have fun and relax. Try to adjust your mentality to simply enjoy the experience even if things don’t always go to plan. Sometimes the most inconvenient and annoying experiences can end up being the most funny and memorable down the line. Remembering this going into your trip will help you actually be rejuvenated from your time off work.

Read this next:How to Make Sure Your Next Vacation is Truly the Best


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