By now, we’ve got the vehicle physically ready and we prepared ourselves for the journey. There are some things that you still need to do in order to help with the journey itself. Some of these things may seem like common sense while others I’m sharing from experience. Regardless, before you pack item one it would be a good idea to get the inside of the car all ready.
- Give the car a very good cleaning. Take some time to really vacuum the inside well. If needed, use some carpet cleaner to clean any stains or dirt that might have collected over the winter months. Clean the upholstery as well. Afterwards, relish in a fresh smelling vehicle!
- Dust everything! The dash, the instrument cluster, and the console are all traps for dust. Use some fine microfiber cloths to really get into the crevices to dig up all that is hiding.
- Clean the windows well! Clean them till they are super clear and streak free. It will help you see and help reduce eye strain.
- Make sure you have all the important documents in the glove box. This includes things like registration papers, insurance cards, and other important documents related to vehicle ownership. Now would be a good time to remove all the junk in there that you don’t need.
- Check to see that you have a working phone charger. Its a long drive. You will need to recharge. Its even a good idea to have a spare charger or two stored in that glove box that you just cleaned out.
- Check to see that all outlets in the vehicle works so that other passengers can use their chargers or other adapters for things like DVD players, etc.
- Test out those “other” adapters as well. I learned the hard way one year when one of the DVD player adapters seem to have burnt out the night before we were supposed to leave.
- Check to see that other on-board electronics works such as factory DVD players and headphones, etc. work properly. Last thing you want is to be 20 miles out to find out that the vehicle wont be the rolling movie theater that you thought it would be.
- Pack garbage bags for the trip. Keeping things clean will be more of a help than you would think. We have a seat-back garbage bag that we empty out at the end of every day. Keep a bag separate for recyclables such as plastic bottles and aluminum cans. Many rest areas have separate bins for recyclables.
- Pack tissues and a roll of paper towel. (We tend to take a partially-used roll of paper towel so its not so bulky.) Some wet-wipes can come in handy as well. Hand sanitize is also a good item to pack. Stain removal wipes can also be a life saver.
- Pack your favorite music. Kids may have their headphones but the driver depends on the onboard tunes!
- Set up the GPS. This can be your phone, a standalone unit, or even an on-board device. Set it up with addresses of your destinations before you leave and set them as your favorites. The preset addresses will save you time right before you leave.
- Print out the addresses and phone numbers of where you are going. Even in the age of technology, nothing beats having things in writing on paper.
- Have an extra pair of sunglasses stored. Seem like an odd item on the list? Lets just say that on more than one occasion, this has paid off for me. I just get a couple cheap pairs from the local mega-store and store them. Fashion need not apply – I just want some shades.
- Figure out your packing attack before you start putting things in the vehicle. Think of packing up the car as a game of Tetris. If you give this some thought, it will help save a lot of shuffling around of items.
- At the same time, include where you are going to pack snacks and drinks. They will need to be easily accessible but yet not in the way.
- Have some dollars and extra change set aside just in case there are any toll roads on your journey.
I know this is part 3 of this series and this is a lot of information. Don’t let it overwhelm you as doing the family road trip gets easier every time. Being prepared and set up for a road trip helps more than I think people realize.
If you have a favorite tip or trick for your road trip, please leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading and please share with your friends!