Road trip season is here, and if you're anything like us here at Castle Car Company, you've been thinking about it since last summer ended! Before you go on that big road trip, we've got a list of things to keep in mind to take care of before you depart. The last thing anyone wants to go through is a vacation disaster story, so let us help you avoid being at the center of one. No matter where you're planning a road trip to, let us give you a little list of tips for long road trips that should keep you safe, comfortable, and excited for the next stop of the journey.
Here in Pennsylvania, there's a ton of good road trip destinations, but before you get out on the road, make sure you're ready by doing the following:
1. Clean your car out!
As Americans, we spend more time in our vehicles than almost anyone else in the world, on average. Garbage is bound to accumulate if you ever eat in the car, not to mention the little bits of dust and dirt that come with the regular use of a car. It will make both yourself and your passengers more comfortable in the long run if you make sure that you get all the dirt and junk out, plus it means that any mess that occurs during the course of the road trip will be a lot more manageable at your next stop, or whenever you return home. Don't be afraid of getting in there and really scrubbing it out, if it's been to long since your last cleaning, the sense of accomplishment from just getting things clean again can be a great incentive to do so. Your passengers will thank you for it! Grab a new air freshener while you're at it, let the whole road trip smell fresh and clean!
2. Take a look over your entire vehicle!
Given that, more than likely, you use your vehicle every day to get to work or school, it's easy to miss little details about your car. Noises can develop slowly, you can lose acceleration power over the course of weeks to months, brakes and tires wear down, there's lots of little things that need to be managed. It's bad enough when you have to leave your vehicle at the shop for a day or two when you're in your home neighborhood, but when you're a few hundred miles from everyone you could call for a ride, the situation can be a lot worse. Give your entire car a look-over, check the brakes, tires, make sure your car isn't making any strange noises, and if you find any of these things out of order, go ahead and take your car to your local mechanic. Take a look at your windshield wipers as well, you don't want to get caught in the rain with no visibility if it can be prevented. If you do need repairs before you leave, at least you'll get to be home while your car gets fixed, and you've still got a road trip to look forward to!
3. Plan ahead!
While we're sure you've got a destination and some friends/family in mind, it makes things go smoother when you've got the whole trip planned out. There's a lot more to the trip than just point A and point B. Where are you going to stop for gas and snacks? Are you going to have to pay for tolls, and do you have the cash available to do so? Make sure you have all the details sorted out in advance to avoid further headaches. Detours aren't that big of a deal, but make sure you have an itinerary and an ETA of when you'll be arriving at the places you're expected to be.
4. Have an emergency kit!
There's a couple things to keep on hand in your car, road trip or not, but on a road trip they can be particularly important! A first aid kit and a basic car repair kit, even just a handful of tools like screwdrivers and a socket set with a ratchet, can do wonders when push comes to shove, and if one of you gets hurt or if something happens to the car, you can significantly change the course of a disaster just by having the right supplies on hand. Make sure you know how to jack up the car to change a tire, should the need arise, and the know-how to change the tire itself. It's not a bad idea to keep a full spare gas can in the car, but make sure to keep it in the trunk/bed/cargo bay, keeping gas in the cabin of the car itself can be dangerous for a multitude of reasons, plus even a dropped of spilled gasoline can stink up the entire car for a lot longer than you might think.
5. Make sure your paperwork is in order!
The United States, as a whole, requires your vehicle to be registered, plus you need car insurance and a driver's license. While it's unlikely that any of these things will expire while you're on your trip, the worst way to find out is by a police officer who's going to cite you with a ticket for forgetting. Most states also require your vehicle to be inspected, and even if you're in a state that doesn't have insurance, officers are often allowed to cite you based on the laws of the state your license is registered to, not the state you're currently driving in. Nothing puts a damper on a good time like a sudden large expense like that, so be sure to get all your paperwork squared away before you leave.
6. Get ready the day before!
Any supplies you need, including clothes, snacks, phone chargers, flashlight, blankets, extra sheets, pillows, toiletries, hair supplies, etc. should be packed into the car the night before you leave, or at the very least, before you go to sleep prior to leaving. The last thing you want to do is wake up late and realize you're not ready to go! Stress is the enemy of a good road trip, so when you're planning a road trip, make sure that all you have to do to get started is getting in the car and driving away.
With all these in mind, you should be done planning a road trip, and be on the way to your destination in no time! If you're fantasizing about planning a road trip but don't have a car available, check out our inventory and see if any of them is what you picture yourself and your friends headed off to the perfect road trip destination in! We offer financing, and we pay top-dollar for trade-ins, bring your old car and drive off in something far more reliable!