We love road trips at EverWash. The idea of spending hours driving through unknown cities or down rural highways, stopping at roadside attractions, and discovering new places is super exciting to us. Sure, it can also be stressful: There’s a lot to remember before leaving home and on the trip. But all the hassles and annoyances that usually come along with road-tripping are worth it when you — and your car — come back home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Before you go on your next road trip, here are 5 essential things to plan for and remember.
Plan your route and rest stops
If you’re tempted to totally wing it in the spirit of adventure, please do not. Take into consideration road closures, area events, and other unknown disruptions. Road trips require a lot of planning. Start with the obvious and plan your route! If you’re unfamiliar with the area you’ll be traveling through, do some research before getting on the road. There’s nothing worse than getting lost.
In the same vein, plan your stops in advance. Rest stops are plentiful in the United States — there are more than 7,000 throughout the country. These locations offer much more than just bathroom breaks: They often have restaurants, vending machines with food and drinks, gas pumps, and Wi-Fi areas. Here are some of the best rest stops you can find across the United States!
Keep yourself alert by stopping every few hours at rest stops or restaurants with clean bathrooms so that you can stretch out and take care of business while getting something healthy to eat and stocking up on snacks and fluids. You may be tempted to push through the night and make up for the lost time when you wake up but driving when you’re sleepy can be dangerous! That brings us to our second essential tip.
Never drive when you’re sleepy.
The most obvious tip for road trips is never getting behind the wheel when you are tired. If you’ve ever driven while sleepy, you know how dangerous it can be. According to Bankrate.com, AAA estimates that driving while drowsy causes 9.5% of crashes. Driving when you’re tired has been linked to:
● Higher rates of accidents and injury
● More traffic tickets (from falling asleep at intersections)
● Increased risk of being in an accident or collision
Our recommendations are to get a full night’s sleep for two consecutive nights before the road trip so that you’re not starting on a sleep deficit. The best time to drive is in the morning after a good night’s sleep, not after a long, tiring day at work (unless you intend to stop). Plan on taking regular breaks along the way to stay fresh and alert — roughly every 100 miles or two hours should do the trick.
Get your playlists ready in advance
Aside from friends and family, the perfect road trip companion is music! You probably have a favorite song list already built up on Spotify or Apple Music. However, be sure to get some feedback from your travel partners on their likes! Among our favorite road trip songs are “I Can’t Drive 55” by Sammy Hagar, “Little Red Corvette” by Prince, and “Drive My Car” by The Beatles. Check out these songs, and some of our other favorites, on our Perfect Road Trip Playlist!
If you can’t agree on a playlist, another road trip companion worth looking into is podcasts or audiobooks. Podcasts can be educational and entertaining, while audiobooks are great for long drives where you don’t want to get lost but still need something interesting to listen to.
The most convenient part about listening to playlists, podcasts, and audiobooks is that you can download them ahead of time. This is so that you don’t have any dead time waiting for downloads or streaming issues when on the road. Simply load up your devices in your car and press “play.”
Pack snacks and stay hydrated
You don’t have to be in a car for long before realizing how helpful snacks are. It’s easy to get hungry when you’re focused on the road and making stops to see the sights! Pack high-energy snacks like granola bars or beef jerky and plenty of water before setting off on your trip.
If you’re hitting the road with the kids, keep them hydrated! They’ll probably want an extra juice box or two along the way. Overall, we recommend packing two bottles of water per traveler.
Bonus packing tips: Don’t forget about first aid necessities! You need band-aids and ibuprofen (or whatever medication works best for you).
Get a car wash before you head out, and once you’re on your way home
You’re going to want to hit the road in style, so use your EverWash membership to remove dirt, bugs, tar, sap, bird droppings, and pollen — all of which are likely to be on your vehicle during the summer season. Also, make sure that your vehicle’s fuel tank is full and check tire pressure before setting off on your journey. Don’t forget your spare tire either; it’s not fun trying to drive after running over a nail on the highway.
Now get out there and have an awesome road trip!