Smart Tips for Your Next Family Road Trip

family-932245_1280Airline costs have skyrocketed over the years. It seems they even charge you extra money for the air that you breathe on a flight, so getting from Miami to Texas or California can turn into a massive financial blow. If you’re ditching the plane for a traditional road trip with the family, you’ll want to follow these smart tips.

Take Your Car in for a Tune-up

Before you begin your trip, you’ll want to take your vehicle in for a tune-up. If you have an older model, it could prevent it from breaking down while traveling. For those with a newer make, get an oil change and have the car’s battery, belts, air conditioner, tires and fluids tested. Alert your mechanic to your destination. In hotter climates like in Florida you might need a higher viscosity motor oil.

Use Good Judgment

Driving is a privilege. To avoid getting in a car accident, you need to use good judgment when you’re behind the wheel. Cell phones can make great navigational tools. But you want to leave the texting, internet surfing and phone calls to your passengers. If you feel tired any time while driving, you should pull over and take a break or let someone else drive.

Study Road Safety Rules

Depending on where you’ll be traveling, you’ll find different road safety rules along your route. Before leaving on your trip, you want to study the speed limits where you’ll be driving. You also want to bone up on state road laws such as passing vehicles, space between vehicles, parking and stoplights. A little investigation before you travel can save you money on citation fees. You also want to have the proper vehicle documentation while road tripping. This includes a proof of insurance certificate, current driver’s license and updated vehicle stickers.

If you’re traveling to bigger cities like New York or Miami, having the name of a car accident attorney can come in handy in case you’re involved in an auto accident. Local professionals will know a lot more about their local traffic laws than your lawyer at home, so it’s good to find contact information for legal help wherever you’re going.

Packing for the Trip

Although you may want to carry everything but the kitchen sink, you need to set packing limits. Allow each person one suitcase. For little ones, they could probably share a bag. Depending on where you’ll be going, you may need beach chairs and snacks. You’ll also have passengers and booster or car seats if you have small children. Instead of bringing bikes and other equipment, assess the costs to rent the items. If you’re bringing heavy gear, place the items down low to prevent them from becoming a road projectile. Do a test run before you leave. This will help determine if you can see clearly out of the front, side and rear vehicle windows.

Emergency Road Kit

Road trips with the family can be a great way to bond and see the world. But you’ll also need to prepare for an emergency. A road emergency kit can come in handy in case your car breaks down or you get into a car accident. Important items include bottled water, blankets, jumper cables, tools to change a tire, flares, fully charged smart phone, first-aid kit and a flashlight. You may also want to consider a roadside assistance membership.

Sun Block Smart

The sun’s rays can do damage inside your vehicle. Equip the members of your family with a pair of sunglasses and sunblock along the way. A sunshade for the backseat can help protect infants and toddlers. It can also make it easier for them to get some sleep. If you leave the vehicle for the shortest amount of time, never leave children or pets inside. Although the temperature outside may read 80, it can prove deadly inside a locked car.