Whether you're traveling a long distance or just going to the next town over, the best way to prepare for an enjoyable road trip is to make sure that both your home and vehicle are ready. Looking forward to all the fun you’ll have on your adventure is exciting, but consider what you need to do before you head out for a stress-free journey.
“Preparing your car and home before hitting the open road is important step when planning your road trip,” said Kevin Quinn, Vice President of Claims and Customer Experience at Mercury Insurance. “Proper vehicle maintenance can help reduce the chances of a breakdown, while keeping your home secure can give you peace of mind while you're away.”
Mercury offers the following tips to make sure you are set for your next adventure.
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Secure your home
Before driving off, make sure to lock all doors and windows, including those located on the second floor and higher and activate your alarm system. Consider notifying a trusted neighbor that you’ll be away so they can keep an eye on things while you’re gone. Make sure your homeowners insurance is up to date to protect your home and belongings in case of a burglary or unanticipated loss.
Don’t advertise your plans
Most people love social media, and we can’t wait to post comments and pictures of the exciting things we’re doing, especially when we go on vacation. It’s not just our friends and family who take notice, however.
Social media is a perfect way for burglars to select their next target. Those shots of you posing in front of the world’s largest ball of twine not only makes for interesting dinner conversation, they also let the world know your house is empty, which is an ideal target. While you may want to show the world your awesome summer activities, think about waiting until you’re home to post.
Have an Emergency Kit
“An emergency kit is essential for ever vehicle and can help with unexpected situations, such as a breakdown or accident,” said Quinn. “It's important to have an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times, but even more so when going on a road trip.”
Your auto emergency kit should include road flares, jumper cables, a quart of motor oil, a gallon of coolant, first-aid kit, blankets, drinkable water, flashlight and basic tools like a screwdriver, pliers, an adjustable wrench, a spare tire, jack and lug nut wrench, and nonperishable food.
Get your car road-ready
You never know what you’ll experience while on a road trip, so prep your car ahead of time. Check your brakes for damage or wear by looking at your brake pads through the spaces between the wheel’s spokes. Remember, oil is the lifeblood of your engine. Make sure to check your levels and monitor how many miles you’ve driven since your last oil change, while keeping in mind that older vehicles may need more frequent oil changes.
Beat the summer heat by ensuring your air conditioner works before leaving on a road trip. Be sure all of your lights work properly, including headlights, tail lights, brake lights and turn signals. Don’t forget to check your high beams as you may need them on the road at night. Top off your engine coolant to prevent overheating and your washer fluid to clean off the numerous bugs that will undoubtedly meet their end on your windshield.
Check your tire tread, alignment and pressure to increase your fuel economy and protect against preventable blowouts. If possible, carry a spare tire as sometimes the occasional nail in the road or pothole will still prevail.
Create a Plan
Preparation is vital for all forms of travel, but especially for long road trips. On top of your vehicle checklist, do your homework and plan ahead for the journey. What’s the weather forecast on your intended route, and is there a chance of any dangerous weather conditions? Are there any road closures or planned maintenance?
When it comes to fueling up, are you aware of gas stations along your route? For those driving in EVs, have you mapped out charging station locations? While you may not need to have every step of the journey planned to the minute, conducting a road trip fuel check prior to hitting the highway can help make sure you enjoy an epic excursion.
Speak with your local insurance agent before you leave to make sure your car and home are fully covered while you’re off on your adventure. Then prepare your favorite road trip playlists and games, and enjoy your trip. Safe travels!