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The black dashboard of a new Ford SUV.

Your Holiday Road Trip Checklist

Posted at Tue, Sep 28, 2021 8:00 AM

Are you planning on taking a holiday road trip soon? If so, you know how much there is to plan before you go. There's so much, in fact, that it can often become overwhelming. What was supposed to be a fun trip is now turning into something hectic. To help alleviate some of your stress and make your holiday road trip more enjoyable, here is a simple checklist you can use to help you plan it out.

Pack the Basics

The black dashboard of a new Ford SUV.

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You'll want to start with packing the basics. These are the things you'll need every day and while you're spending all those hours in the car. Start by thinking about what food you might want. You likely won't want to stop every time you're hungry, as this only takes more time and can become expensive. Instead, pack yourself some snacks and some lunches before you go. Grab yourself a cooler with some ice packs, that way you can keep everything fresh and even pack some drinks.

After food, think about the clothes you'll need. Make sure you bring enough clothes so that you don't have to do laundry right away, without having to wear your dirty clothes for several days in a row. Also, be sure to pack clothes that you'll be comfortable wearing for hours on end during the drive.

Next, it's a good idea to pack a special overnight bag. Unless you're doing the road trip in one day, you'll likely be making some stops along the way. Wherever you stop, you'll want to have your essentials with you. For example, your overnight bag may include your toothbrush, toothpaste, some shower supplies, a phone charger, etc. These are the everyday items that you won't want to dig through your suitcase to find each night of the trip.

Finally, it's a good idea to pack yourself an emergency kit for the car. An emergency kit contains not only things for you and your passengers but also for the car itself. For example, you could build a kit that contains some Band-Aids, a flashlight, some backup batteries, a few bottles of water, and some basic tools. You never know what you might experience on the road so it's a good idea to prepare for any eventuality. 

Pack Special Items

Once you have the basics down, you'll then want to start packing the special items that are specific to your type of trip. For instance, you'll need to bring different things for a road trip to the beach than you would a road trip to a ski resort. If you're heading away for the Fourth of July, you may want to pack some beach chairs or sand toys for your kids. If you're heading home to spend the winter holidays with your family, you may need to pack some warmer clothing or the presents you bought them. Think about the things you'll need for this specific type of trip, then be sure you pack them away before you go.

Plan Your Route

Before you depart, it's a good idea to plan out your route. While it can be fun and exciting to hit the road without a plan, this can also lead to some problems. You should have an idea of where you're going and how you're going to get there. This way, if your phone's GPS decides to stop working while you're driving, you still have an idea of where you're going.

Planning out your route can also help you decide where and when to stop. For example, if you have a twelve-hour drive to your destination, you can decide if you want to do two six-hour days or three four-hour days, then decide where you're going to stop depending on what you picked.

Finally, when you plan out your route, you can find fun things to do along the way. You can look up different attractions in those areas and learn more about how to visit them. For instance, you can find the hours that an attraction is open or what it costs to get in. This ensures you get to see some great things along the way and you don't miss out on anything fun.

Book Accommodations

It's a good idea to book any accommodations before you leave. You don't want to arrive at a hotel or motel after a long day of driving only to discover that there are no available rooms. After a long day spent in the car, you'll likely want to simplify the check-in process as much as possible and booking ahead of time is the best way to do this. Go through the route you planned and look for accommodations in the areas you plan to stop. Doing this ahead of time can also help you save money, as you can look for the best deals before you go.

Perform a Car Inspection

Finally,  perform a car inspection. This means ensuring your car is in good enough condition to survive the long drive. While you can do this yourself, we recommend taking your vehicle to a trusted service center. For example, when you schedule an appointment with our service center, we can give your vehicle a complete inspection. We'll tell you if there is anything you need to worry about before your trip and help you take care of any issues. This will help to ensure your car doesn't break down along the way and give you some more peace of mind while you're driving.

Prepare for Your Road Trip Ahead of Time

One of the best ways to give yourself a successful road trip is by planning out as much as you can before you go. You'll have a much better time if you don't leave any essential items at home, if you don't have to stress about finding a place to stay and if your car performs well throughout the drive. The above list will make your planning process a little easier and you'll be able to have a fun holiday road trip regardless of your destination.

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