I am all about taking road trips. It makes a lot of sense when you consider the U.S. is where car manufacturing got off the ground and thousands of miles of highway connect the Lower 48.
You can make amazing memories cruising from one destination to the next, but the reality is mishaps can happen at home while you’re away. With a little bit of pre-trip preparation, you can avoid problems that distract you from having fun on the road.
#1 Set Up Your Home Security
One of the few problems with taking a trip is it leaves your home more susceptible to a break in. The majority of burglars wait until they know a home is empty before they force their way in and start stealing.
Look for an authorized dealer of ADT home security for 24-hour monitoring and comprehensive coverage. Today over 6 million people trust ADT to protect their home and family.
Their experts suggest travelers take the following home security measures before heading out the door:
- Checking all locks to ensure they work, including the garage door.
- Locking the garage door with a padlock.
- Installing a monitored home security system.
- Setting up wireless connected security cameras you can check from your phone.
- Putting motion sensor alarms on all doors and windows.
- Installing motion sensor lights outside.
- Using app controlled lights inside.
Before you head out, take one last walk around the house to make sure each door and window are locked before setting the alarm system. The Bureau of Justice Statistics has found that 40% of burglars gain unlawful entry of unoccupied homes through unlocked doors and windows.
#2 Get Your Car Serviced
The last thing you want on a road trip is a breakdown. It’s the perfect time to give your vehicle a full servicing to minimize the risk of a problem while you’re on the road. Schedule an inspection with your mechanic to check the:
- Oil levels and oil filter
- Water level
- Transmission fluid
- AC system
- Turn signals
- Brake pads
- Emergency parking brake
- Windshield wipers
- Windshield clean fluid
- Steering mechanism
- Exhaust system
Also, don’t forget to check your spare tire. It doesn’t have to be the best tire in the world, but it does need to be in good enough condition to get you to a shop.
#3 Check Your Car Insurance
Now is a good time to review your auto insurance policy and make sure everything is up to date. All but two states require drivers to have a minimum amount of auto insurance. Things you’ll want to check on include:
- The type of coverage you currently have.
- The amount of liability and comprehensive coverage you have.
- Which drivers are covered.
- Whether you have perks like free roadside assistance.
Make a copy of your insurance policy and write down the contact information just in case you need it when you don’t have access to your online account.
#4 Make Adjustments for the Weather
There’s less to worry about when you take spring or autumn road trips. But in the summer and winter, you have to take a few extra precautions so there’s less chance of Mother Nature doing damage while you’re gone.
During the winter in many regions freezing is a possibility. One night of freezing temperature can burst a pipe and cause a torrential flood. It’s best to turn the water supply off to avoid leaks and pipe bursts if your home isn’t protected by a fire sprinkler system. You’ll also need to drain the pipes to avoid a break. If you don’t turn the water off the temperature inside will need to be kept at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the summer you’ll want to adjust your thermostat so your AC doesn’t waste energy cooling the house when no one’s there. Keep it at 85 degrees Fahrenheit if no pets will be at home.
#5 Map Out the Destination
An essential part of any road trip is mapping out the path to the final destination. GPS makes getting places almost foolproof, but the benefit of a road trip is being able to stop along the way.
Apps like Roadtrippers can help you find the best route from point A to point B as well as a number of interesting attractions along the way. If you’re taking a multi-day road trip you can also look for lodging and restaurants.
There’s one more things to look for along your chosen route. No matter how good your gas mileage is, you’ll have to make a few stops at gas stations. An app like Gas Buddy can tell you, which gas stations are on a route, the types of fuel that each one sells and the current price per gallon. Some trips, like driving across the Mojave Desert, can get hairy if you don’t have enough gas to get where you need to go.