After all, there is food to bring, stuff to pack and a car to get ready. Let’s take a look at the important preparation steps to take before you leave on your next road trip.
1. Take the time off. You will be heading out and spending time with those you love. That is, if you are able to get the time off from work in the first place. As soon as your plans begin forming, put in for your days off. Plan to get your work done, especially those significant projects you must complete, in time for your trip. Your spouse needs to do likewise and your children’s schedules should align accordingly. Promise yourself that you will avoid doing any work while you are away and if you must check your email, do so just once daily.
2. Get your car ready. Your automobile will take you safely where you are going provided you have prepped it first. This may be a good time to rotate the tires, change the oil, replace the wiper blades and check the battery. Replenish the fluids, change the air filter and check the emergency kit to make sure that your supplies are fresh and filled. Lastly, verify that your roadside assistance plan is up to date. Bring along a fully charged cell phone, a charger and a backup battery, if necessary.
3. Plan your agenda. Vacations are supposed to encourage downtime, right? Well, if you are staying at the same house or hotel, then you have a good idea what you will be doing most of the time. In any case, you may want to come up with some things to do on those days everyone is bored of the beach or when the weather is simply uncooperative. Look for day trip excursions in the area including theme parks, rides, museums, movie houses, petting zoos and more. Find coupons, look for specials and save money. Use a travel guide to help you. You need not be rigid with an agenda — flexibility matters.
4. Get your home ready. Given that you will be away from home for a week or two, you will want to have your house watched by your neighbors. Either stop the mail with the postal service or ask a neighbor to collect it. Newspaper service can be stopped as well. Arrange to have someone cut your grass while you are gone and another individual to maintain your flower bed and vegetable garden. If you have pets, a pet sitter can come in handy. Make sure that all doors and windows are locked, give the house key to a trusted friend and share your emergency contact number with those that need it. If you have an alarm system, then set it. Show the person watching your house how to work it too.
5. Obtain enough money. How much money should you bring with you? That depends largely on how long you will be away and where you are going. Carry enough spending money, but consider relying on debit and credit cards while you are on the road. You don’t need to carry much cash if ATMs are in the area and you do not want to lose money to thieves if you are robbed. Debit and credit card transactions are easy to track: monitor your transactions from your smartphone in live time.
Consider the needs of every family member when planning your trip. If you have a family ranging from teens to toddlers, you may find diverse desires at play while away. A theme park can be fun for all as your teens will like the neck-twisting rides and your youngest will be satisfied with the pony rides. Mom and Dad need a break too, so plan to get a few hours alone if possible.