When most people think about a road trip, a fun family vacation or adventure with friends probably comes to mind. There’s nothing quite like getting in the car to go camping, hiking out in nature, and experiencing new and exciting places with the people you care about.
But it’s important to be prepared for anything and everything when you’re headed out on a road trip. When you’re away from the creature comforts of your own home, just about anything can happen. You already know the importance of preparedness when it comes to day-to-day living. Those factors become even more important when you’re away from the things you’re familiar with.
Going on a road trip is a great way to experience an adventure. But, in order to keep you, your family, and/or your friends safe, you have to plan ahead.
Make a Checklist Before You Go
Checklists should already be your best friend! They help to keep things organized and ensure you won’t forget anything. They’re even more essential for a road trip since it’s unlikely you’ll be able to swing back home if you forgot an important item.
Your pre-travel checklist should include everything you want to bring with you in order to stay safe. This includes things like:
- Important phone numbers (in case of emergency)
- First aid kit
- Charging devices
- Non-perishable food items
- Extra clothes
- Bottles of water
Of course, your checklist should include more than just tangible items to take with you. You’ll want to check off things you need to take care of at home before you leave, including paying bills, making sure your house will be watched, and hiring a pet sitter if needed. Organizing your home before you leave will give you peace of mind, and it will allow you to come back from your road trip knowing everything is in its place and you don’t have to stress.
Know the Rules of the Road (and Stops!)
Another thing that should be on your checklist before you go is researching the places where you plan to stop. Every state has different laws and rules that need to be followed in order for you to stay safe. The last thing you want on a road trip is to have to deal with law enforcement. An unexpected ticket can put a huge damper on an otherwise exciting road trip.
If you or anyone on your trip use marijuana or CBD products, be sure to learn which states allow it. Regular use might not be a big deal where you’re from, but you don’t want anyone to end up with a fine or spending a night in jail for something they didn’t even realize was illegal.
It doesn’t take long to learn some basic laws and rules when you’re already planning out a specific driving route. Spending a few minutes doing your research can help you to avoid some major headaches when you’re on the road.
Be Prepared for Anything
It can’t be overstated that you need to be prepared for anything and everything on a road trip. Even the best laid out plans can sometimes take a turn, and you have to be adaptable to any changes or unexpected circumstances that might occur.
Driving in an older vehicle? Make sure you have a spare tire in the trunk and some basic knowledge of how to fix some common car problems.
Camping in the woods? Make sure you have an adequate survival knife or protection kit on hand. The right protective gear can help you to deal with weather elements and wild animals, and a survival knife can help you with things like cooking, digging, and building shelter. It can also be used for defense if needed.
If something unexpected happens on your trip and you have to extend it, or if the trip was put together in a hurry (you had to leave due to a natural disaster, etc.), ensure you have the basic essential survival items that will keep you safe for a long period of time. Money, medical supplies, up-to-date identification, and emergency supplies should be with you at all times on your trip. If you end up stranded, having these items on hand will make it easier to get home or to your next destination.
Road trips are designed to be fun, exploratory, and adventurous, and there’s no reason you can’t enjoy every second of a well-planned trip. But don’t let it be an opportunity to go lax on your preparedness. When you’re away from home, being prepared for anything is more important than ever. Follow some of the suggestions listed here, and you can enjoy your trip knowing you’re keeping yourself and your fellow travelers safe.
About the Author:
Adrian Johansen loves to write, teach, and create. She believes in that a combination self-sufficiency and teamwork can help anyone live an intentional, meaningful life. Check out more of her writing on twitter!