Maybe it’s the slight chill in the fall air, or strolling down the street in new Keds; but there is something magical about fall that makes Californian’s realize, they need to travel and take off for a week before the holidays hit. While plane trips are the easiest ways to travel and my personal preference, there is something to the finesse and nostalgia to a road trip that can’t be beaten.
A few weeks ago we decided to take a little road trip from the cool fog of San Francisco to the sun-kissed beaches of Los Angeles. However, after hasty preparation, we decided there are five essentials to make any road trip go smoothly.
1. Get your car checked out.
DO NOT skip this step, even if you don’t manage to take your car to a local express shop (Jiffy Lube), make sure to do a self-check to ensure everything is in great condition. Pop the hood and take a peek inside,
Engine Battery: The terminals on the cables for you batter tend to carry extensive corrosion, with a simple cleaning regularly, you will extend the life of your expensive battery, alternator, and starter.
Tires: Check how worn down your tires are, this is so important especially if you are driving long distance, but also should just be regular maintenance on your car. One way to do this is a penny test, just take a penny and with Lincoln’s head upside down, put it between the treat blocks of your tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s definitely time to go tire shopping.
Window Washing Fluid and Oil: Levels should remain full, if possible take your car in to get a quick oil change if you are able to top off the oil and window washing fluid before you head out.
Most of the time you are aware of your car and when it seems like it’s driving funny or making weird sounds. I always trust my instincts and just double check if I’m ever unsure. You may find that something is amiss that you have been putting off. Always better to just check, there is nothing worse than driving in the middle of a town you are unfamiliar with in the middle of a rainstorm to find out your windshield wipers are useless.
2. Pump up the jams.
I am such a huge fan of Apple Music if you don’t have a subscription you definitely should. However, for the cool folks out there who have other smartphones, I recommend having a few music apps downloaded on your phone, a few playlists created, and some backup CD’s! Especially if you are taking a super long road trip, make sure to have a really good variety. Also remember, reception can be spotty which is why saving music directly to your phone, downloading podcasts ahead of time, or reliving the days of your youth with some CD mixes are a sure-fire way of ensuring you have access to music.
Here are a few of my top faves to get bring along to your next trip…
3. Gather all “the things.”
I love all “the things,” especially when I’m in a car for too long. For some reason whenever I’ve been on a road trip I turn into this weird person who must have hand sanitizer near them at all times and random things like exfoliant and nail files and what not.
However, if you are more normal, make sure to have a car charger for your phone, snacks, bottled water, jumper cables, AAA card, paper towels, hand sanitizer, flashlight, pocketknife (so handy at the most random times).
Also, impromptu wine and beer nights call for the corkscrew and bottle opener from that pocketknife. I also wanna say, depending on how casual you are about this road trip it can always be a good idea to bring some folding chairs and a tent, you can never be too prepared for those perfect spots along the beach or forest that are too picturesque to pass up!
4. Be positive.
There is nothing worse than starting a trip with people already annoyed with being on a road trip. Hours and hours of people sleep deprived in a car will toss you some of the worst shade ever. Attitude is everything, and there’s nothing better than people that work well together, and consider the feelings of others in each and every situation that will ensure a good trip.
Never be afraid to speak up if you want a song change or are too sleepy to drive.
5. Be open.
Maybe it’s being cramped in a car for so long, but there is something really special about being able to open up and talk that a road trip sorta brings. It could possibly be because the person listening can’t leave, but it also means you can really share your heart, dreams, and passions as well as learning more about each other. Sometimes car rides are the best times to just talk and enjoy delirious laughter and heartfeltconnections.
Bon Voyage, take tons of photos/videos, and cherish the new sights and memories!