As a seasoned traveler, both as a mom towing kids to hockey tournaments and now a snowbird that travels regularly from Minnesota to Florida, I have learned several ways to make the trip easier, safer and more enjoyable.

Below is a list of the top FIVE things to do to prepare for your trip

  1. Check Your Vehicle
    About a week before you leave for a long road trip, have your mechanic check your car’s fluid levels, brakes, tires and anything else that could cause problems. Be sure your spare tire is fully inflated and that you have jumper cables and extra wiper fluid on hand.
  2. Clean Out the Clutter and Restock Your Vehicle
    Clean out the interior of your car and then grab a medium sized storage box and fill it with a box of tissues, handy wipes, a first aid kit, road maps (don’t rely totally on your GPS), flashlight, extra car charger and garbage bags to use on your trip to keep the car clean. You may also want to bring along some healthy snacks and lots of water. (nuts and boiled eggs are a great protein that are easy to eat on the road) instead of relying on gas station fare or fast food joints.
  3. Have a plan, but be flexible
    When driving, plan your route and unless you have a specific and strict schedule, don’t be in a hurry to get to your destination. There is little point in hitting the road to see the country if you don’t spend some time on the back roads. Most U.S. road maps have some indicator of whether a “back road” is an interesting one. Otherwise search for a mobile road trip app to help you decide a route that gets you off the highway.
  4. Time your trip to avoid Rush Hours and Parades
    When planning your trip, check over your route before you leave in order to avoid finding yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time – like going through Chicago at rush hour or driving the long bridges to Key West on the Friday afternoon on a Holiday weekend.
  5. Bring your documents and a clean record.
    Make sure you have a current driver license, car registration and proof of insurance. You may want to clear up any old traffic and parking tickets before you go; under the right (or perhaps wrong, in this case) circumstances, your car can be impounded for your past mistakes.

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