There’s nothing like embarking on a long-awaited road trip during the summer. And whether you’re planning to cruise down Route 66 on your cross-country trip or stop at all the National Parks en route to Yellowstone, preparation is key.
Before you hit the road, be sure to cross these items off your checklist to ensure a smooth and fun-filled trip.
Secure Your Home
Your car may feel like a second home during your road trip, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about the one you’re leaving behind. Whether you’ll be gone for a few days or an extended vacation, follow these steps to make sure your home is protected:
Install a few Indoor and Outdoor Security Camerasfor an even closer look at what’s happening from afar. You’ll be able to use the Ring App to see real-time footage via Live View, and you can even use Two-Way Talk to say hi to your house sitter when they arrive.
If you want extra peace of mind that your home is safe and sound, add a few optional sensors to your Ring Alarm. Smoke and CO Listeners will trigger your Alarm if your detectors go off, and you’ll get notifications to your phone with a Ring Protect subscription, sold separately. You can also place Flood & Freeze Sensors under sinks, washing machines, and other appliances to trigger the Alarm if water is detected.
Consider enrolling in professional monitoring with a Ring Protect Pro subscription. If your Alarm gets triggered while you’re on the road, and you can’t check notifications, the professional monitoring company will review the alert, call to see if you want assistance, and request help on your behalf.
Make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked. If a friend or family member will be around to check on the house and take care of pets, consider replacing your traditional locks with smart lock alternatives. You’ll be able to see if the door is locked from your phone, and you can even unlock it for a friend from across the country.
To make it seem like you’re home when you’re not, you can add smart LED bulbs. You can control the bulbs from your phone or create automations to turn lights on and off at set times.
Pack an Emergency Kit
No matter what kind of car you drive and how well-maintained it is, you can’t always prevent surprises on the road. In case you end up with a flat tire or dead battery, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends packing these items in an emergency roadside kit:
Cell phone charger
First-aid kit and medicine
Flares and a white flag to alert other drivers and signal that you need assistance
Tire pressure gauge and supplies to change a tire (jack, ground mat, spare, and work gloves)
Repair tools to temporarily fix a hose leak and paper towels for cleanup
Water and nonperishable food, like trail mix, tuna pouches, and jerky
Windshield wiper fluid
Emergency blankets and towels
Get Your Car Ready
To ensure your car is in the best condition possible before you spend hours on the highway, follow these tips from the NHTSA:
Check for recalls with the NHTSA’s recall tool, which uses your vehicle identification number (VIN) to show safety recalls from the past 15 years.
Test the air conditioning to ensure your car will stay cool in the summer heat.
Take your vehicle to a mechanic to examine belts and hoses, inspect tires, test the battery level, check fluid levels, and change the oil if needed.
Ensure all lights, including headlights, brake lights, interior lights, turn signals, and emergency flashers, are working properly.
Inspect your windshield wipers for wear and tear and replace them if necessary.
Plan Your Route and Accommodations
You may be tempted to plug your destination into an app a few minutes before you’re due to leave, pick the fastest route, and follow it to a T. But you could miss some breathtaking views and hidden gems along the way. If you’d like the road trip itself to be its own mini-vacation, keep an eye out for the most scenic route and a few must-see spots ahead of time.
While you’re scouring lists of must-see roadside oddities and scenic lookouts, start searching for places to stay. The last thing you’ll want to do after a long day of driving is pull up to a hotel and realize the accommodations aren’t up to par, so be sure to read the online reviews.
Once you’re ready to leave, check the traffic and weather conditions along your route to ensure you’re prepared for what lies ahead. You may need to pack a few umbrellas or grab an extra game to entertain everyone during rush-hour traffic.
Drive Safely and Enjoy the Ride!
Once you have an itinerary, a locked and secured home, and a trusty car ready to hit the highway, it’s time to start your adventure. Turn on your favorite playlist, take out the snacks, and have a safe trip!
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