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It’s Time to Plan Your Road Trip

Golden Retriever With Head Outside of Car

You’re in your car with the windows rolled down. The wind is blowing your hair and the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams comes on the radio. You start singing and thinking about how amazing a road trip would be with some friends.

You begin to plan your road trip by figuring out your destination and the best route for you and your friends. Now you need to get your vehicle in shape for your trip by making sure to attend to the following items:

  • Fluids: check the oil and coolant and top them off before your trip.
  • Lights/Horn/Wipers: test them all to make sure they work properly.
  • Wheels and Tires: make sure you have enough tread. Bald tires could blow on you.
  • Brake Pads: ask your mechanic if you have enough padding on your brakes.
  • Leaks: check for leaks by backing up your vehicle in your driveway and checking the ground for oil stains on the ground.
  • Drive Belts: examine the belts for any cracks.
  • Air Filters: keeping your air filters up to date will improve your fuel efficiency.
  • Battery: remove any corrosion on the battery/terminals.
  • Emergency Kit: assemble a kit that includes a phone charger, first aid supplies, jumper cables, road flares, and a flashlight.
  • Roadside Assistance/Mechanical Breakdown Insurance: make sure you’re protected while you’re on the road.


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When you’re on your road trip, you will want to schedule some planned stops along the way for stretching out, bathroom breaks, gas fill-up and restaurants. I have the app iExit on my phone. It is very helpful with finding local prices, UBE chargers for your electric car, directions to nearby restaurants, and more. You will find with this app that if you need a hotel for the night, it will list nearby hotels along with their phone number. If you are staying longer in that that area, you can use the app to find attractions and stores that might be of interest to you. This app is a must for all road trippers, as it is full of information that will make your trip easier and more fun.

While you’re getting ready to pack your car, don’t exceed the weight limit of your vehicle. Weight limits are listed on the driver’s door and in the owner’s manual. Also, make sure you don’t place heavier items on top. If you stop quickly, heavy items could come crashing onto someone in the car and cause harm. Strap items down to be on the cautious side.


You don’t want to get bored while you are in the car, so having some road trip games is a must.

  • Categories:One person picks a category. For example, types of soda, states that begin with the letter “I”, songs that Pharrell Williams sings, etc. Everyone takes turns naming something in that category until a person offers an incorrect response or can’t come up with a new response.
  • What Song Is That?:Turn on a music radio station. The first person to guess the song is the winner.
  • Questions:Ask questions like “Where did you grow up?” “What is your favorite ice cream?” or “If you could do something fun today, what would it be?” This is a great way to learn more about your friend(s).
  • I Spy:This is a game I am sure everyone has played. Someone starts off by choosing an object. Without sharing the identity of the object, they offer a hint as to what the object is so that the other people in the car can guess. They may say “I spy with my little eye, something blue.” Then everyone takes a turn asking yes or no questions until they can guess what the object is.
  • Story:One person says a word that begins a story. Then everyone in the car takes turns adding one word to the story. It’s fun to see where the story will end up!
  • The License Plate Game:I have fun with this game. One way to play is to point out a vanity license plate and try to guess what the plate represents. You can also play the alphabet license plate game, where the first person who finds all 26 letters from the alphabet wins!
  • Rhyme:With this game, one person starts off with a word like “bike” and everyone must come up with a word that rhymes with bike. So, it would sound like “bike,” “like,” “Mike,” and so on.
  • The Movie Game:One person says the name of an actor and the next person must name a movie that actor has been in. Keep the game going until someone can’t think of a movie.


A few additional quick trip tips:

  • If you are driving into remote areas, ALWAYS keep your fuel tank full and let your friends and family know the route you are traveling.
  • Take breaks along the way so when you do get to your destination, you will feel relaxed.
  • If you are driving on a highway, use “cruise control.” Staying at one speed will help conserve fuel.
  • Start out early. Not many people will be on the road so traffic will be light.

Make this an enjoyable one!


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About Christine Davidson

Christine Davidson is a former employee of VSECU. She has two children and lives with her husband in Northfield.
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