How to plan a safe road trip across the country
A road trip across America can produce memories that will last a lifetime, but whether those memories will be good or bad might depend on how well you planned the trip. A long road trip means you will be confined to tight sitting quarters in a vehicle for long stretches of time with other people. There is much more to consider than just plotting a route from point A to point B and what sights to see along the way.
Always remember. Safety first! Before you begin any trip across country you need to take your vehicle in to be inspected. Tell the mechanic that you plan on driving across country. Your mechanic will perform all of the required safety checks needed (brakes, lubricants, oil, belts, lights, tire pressure, etc.) to ensure your vehicle performs well. For your own personal safety you might ask the mechanic to check the interior as well (seat belts, steering, and other hazards). Don't forget your mobile phone. And be sure that your mobile plan has a wide coverage area in case you need to call for emergency assistance. It may save your life.
First you should decide what's more important, getting to your destination as quickly as possible with as few stops as possible, or seeing some sights along the way. If everyone on board differs, it could cause problems. Finding agreement before you begin your trip, might be a good idea to head off any routing/scheduling arguments that could arise.
Stop at state welcome centers and rest areas rather than whizzing past them to the next exit. Many welcome centers have staff on hand to answer questions and give travel advice, and rest areas often have travel brochures and maps to help you on your journey.
Bring a cooler stocked with perishable food and beverages. You'll be glad you did if you get stuck on the side of the interstate or a back road, and it helps to reduce costs on meals. Instead of stopping for fast food take advantage of the picnic grounds at rest areas.
Join AAA, or some other road side assistance program, before you leave. If your vehicle breaks down, the organization will send someone to pick you up and tow your vehicle to a repair shop. You can opt for other perks as well, such as free repairs and travel insurance.
What will you do if your GPS goes on the blink? It happened to me on a cross country road trip once. Acquire an up-to-date road atlas. AAA might give you one. This will help you plan before and during the trip. Don't depend solely on GPS. While GPS is a wonderful device, it's an electronic device that can malfunction, unlike a paper map.