Winter is almost here. And with it, snow and the holidays! What better way to spend the holidays than to go on a road trip? Most of the world has been locked down at home for the past year. Why not enjoy a winter road trip and, once again, enjoy the outdoors?
What stops people from going on road trips is the preparation it requires. There’s so much to prepare for, from making sure your engine will not fail you to equip your vehicle with necessities. And that’s why it’s overwhelming just thinking about it. This shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the winter holidays, though. All you need is a checklist.
In creating a winter road trip checklist, you need to separate the essentials into different groups. You should have a list of vehicle readiness, necessities and health, and safety. You’ll need plenty of time to prepare all of these, so now is the best time to start.
Preparing your engine is of the utmost importance of a road trip. If you don’t typically use your vehicle daily, you will once you start this trip. Depending on your destination, you may be driving off for a day or two, nonstop. Your vehicle, therefore, should be ready.
Your first task for this trip is to check your engine. You can easily determine serious problems beforehand with a simple engine check. There should be no moisture in the engine. It should have new and sufficient oil. Don’t forget to change the oil filter. All of its moving parts should be working properly.
Test your battery if it’s still charging properly. Check all your lights if they are working, too. USA Today recommends replacing burned-out bulbs the soonest.
It’s also important to check your tires. Any long journey will require good working tires that don’t show any signs of damage. Ensure that the tires have sufficient tread. In case of emergency, you should prepare spare tires, too. If you have an off-road diversion in your itinerary, make sure you have the appropriate tires ready.
The best approach to vehicle readiness is to take your vehicle to a mechanic. Book a service at your local garage now and another one a week or days before your departure. You’ll need one now to see if your vehicle has underlying issues. If you have it checked as early as now, there’ll be plenty of time to do any repairs. And then you’ll need another service before you leave to ensure everything is right.
An essentials kit is necessary in case of emergency. It also means having the right gear and equipment.
For emergencies, you should have a flashlight, a first aid kit, multipurpose tools, an insulating blanket, flares, a whistle, and sleeping gear. Camping gear can be helpful for trips like this. You’ll have accommodation if you’re stuck somewhere.
Prepare some food, water, and portable cooking gear, too. To avoid leaving plastic reusable cups, CondeNast Traveler suggests bringing an insulated travel mug.
For your vehicle, prepare spares like jump cables, wires, and light bulbs. Make sure that your car toolbox is complete. And since it’ll snow when you go, bring a winch and snowplow.
It’s also essential to equip your vehicle with a GPS (global positioning system) device. It’ll be helpful in navigating areas that you’ve never been to. Just make sure that all maps are updated before you leave. As a precaution, bring extra batteries for your GPS device, a compass, and a printed map. You should also have your personal locating beacon (PLB) or GPS tracker in case you get lost, and people don’t know how to reach you.
Put safety first. Check if all seat belts in your vehicle are working. Test its brakes, too. It’ll be best to protect your car inside and out by installing a bull bar, a roof rack, and all-weather floor mats.
A bull bar can protect your car against light collisions, which is expected if you go off-road. On the other hand, a roof rack can provide more space for your stuff, gear, and baggage. You’ll have more room inside your car if you have a roof rack. Meanwhile, custom rubber floor mats can help protect the flooring against snow from your footwear.
The best safety precaution you can take, however, is preparing yourself for the long drive. It can be tiring to drive in places unfamiliar to you. You’ll always be on the lookout for danger and safety risks. To be prepared for this kind of situation, have a good night’s sleep before your trip.
It’s also important to get plenty of rest while driving. Make a list of rest stops along your way. If you’re traveling with family, make sure that you take turns driving every few hours.
Getting everything ready for your road trip doesn’t end when your journey starts. It’s still important to check your vehicle every day while you’re on the trip and ensure that you still have all the supplies you need. Be proactive in ensuring that everything is ready and stocked.
Now, you’re all set. Follow these tips to enjoy your winter holiday road trip.