The term road trip might conjure up one of two images for you: A car full of your best friends on the adventure of a lifetime, or a car full of bored kids asking, "Are we there yet?" Ensure a fun-filled, stress-free ride down America's highways and byways by doing the following:
- Do a full-system check: A long distance trip is different from your daily commute. Ensure your car is up to the challenge, and avoid an unplanned tow to the nearest auto garage by checking the fluids, changing the oil, and checking your tire pressure before you start your adventure.
- Take turns at the helm: Don't be a hero. You may like to be the one behind the wheel, but it's best to give over the controls every few hours and get some rest. We're sure you're an excellent co-pilot, too.
- Pack bags of fun: Nothing will distract a driver more than a wrestling match in the back seat. Fill a paper lunch bag with small games, toys and healthy snacks for each child. You may want to make up several bags per child, and hand them out as needed to enjoy the serenity.
- Buckle up in all 50: Make sure everyone stays buckled up at all times, regardless of the seat belt laws in each state.
- Don't play beat-the-gauge: You were certain you had another 10 miles worth of gas … until your car sputtered to a stop. Don't wait for the empty light to go on. Stop and fill up when you have a quarter tank left. Your passengers will thank you.
- Plan for the unexpected: Being organized is great. Keeping a schedule is fine. But leave some wiggle room in your itinerary to check out the World’s Largest Ball of Twine or the three-story ice cream cone. Some of the best adventures are unplanned.
- Pack a map: No, we don't mean a GPS. Computers can make mistakes, too. Find a good old fashioned paper map and use it to double-check your route.