Consider your choices for a family road trip. Of all the options out there, driving your car on a road trip is, in most cases, the most affordable. With the plus side being the money you save, the state of your car’s interiors generally tell another story by the tail end of the trip!
tips on how to avoid a messy car on a road trip
Two weeks before your road trip, have the oil changed and the battery tested. A minor tune-up would be a good idea. Have your spare tire checked and see that there is a tire jack in your vehicle. Two weeks is the ideal time because if there is a mechanical problem, it can be detected and repaired at very little cost.
You will also need to remove daily clutter from your vehicle. It is not necessary to take a large tool-box with you. Place a small hammer, pliers, two screwdrivers (flat and round), small and medium wrenches, a small ratchet set, roll of duct tape, utility knife, and a pair of cotton gloves in a pouch that will fit in the spare tire well. This is also a good place to put your car owner’s manual and warranty information.
Remove the clutter from your glove compartment and sun visors. Place a copy of your vehicle registration and insurance card in both the glove compartment and the sun visor over the driver’s seat. There should also be a pair of polarized sunglasses available for the driver whether they are framed or clip onto glass frames. Put a small first aid kit in the glove compartment. Invest in a small insulated tote that will fit in the glove compartment to store medication and make sure it contains ibuprofen and acetaminophen for pain and fever and some anti-acid tablets. Save room in the glove compartment to lock up small valuables.
Buy a small compact file that will fit under the front passenger seat of your vehicle. If you plan on taking a small laptop computer, it should fit in the file too. Inside the file, put identification information for each passenger, medical insurance cards, tourist coupons and tickets, and reservation confirmations for hotels and concerts. You can also put duplicate maps in the folder and an emergency cell phone and telephone numbers for automobile road service.
Consider the special gear that you may be taking with you like sleeping bags and hiking packs. If you don’t plan to use it until you reach your designation, pack it in the back of the trunk. If you plan to use the sleeping bags in your hotel room, place them in the trunk last and on top. You don’t need to take pillows but you need to take pillowcases which you can stuff with laundry or towels to make a pillow. That will save room in your car.
Buy some plastic bags or small garment bags that will hold one suit of clothing, shorts/pants, shirt, socks and underwear. Pack each person a daily clothing bag for each day. For young children and babies pack three to four bags for each day. Place the garment bags in that person’s travel bag along with a bag filled with their hygiene products. This saves time not having to look through the bag for a pair of socks or a toothbrush and keeps clothing organized. Also, place an empty trash bag in the travel bags for dirty clothes. You can also put extra shoes in plastic bags stored in travel bags.
Each person in the car should have a small personal carry on. The floor space should be kept free for the comfort of the passengers and air flow circulation. Bottled water is sufficient for travel except for babies and toddlers who may need formula. There will be comfort stations about every 60 miles and travel experts suggest that you take a break from travel approximately every two to three hours. They also advise you to take a sleep break after twelve hours of travel. Your passengers also need a lengthy break from car motion.
A few days before your departure, check all the engine fluids and fill the gas tank. You are better organized if you have fewer errands on the day that you leave.
You may feel more comfortable packing emergency food storage but you need not worry about taking food and eating inside the car. There are plenty of restaurants where you can stop and eat and you are always about forty miles to the next grocery store. A cooler under the trunk with bottled water is what you need. If you want to buy groceries for a picnic, do it on your trip and only buy for one meal. Do not buy snacks, candy, and soda when you stop for gasoline or to use the restroom.
If you or your passengers step in mud or animal feces, put your shoes in a plastic bag and use your second pair of shoes. You can clean them on your next sleep break.
Before you begin your journey home, remove your personal items from the car and wipe the seats with cleaner and use a car wash to vacuum the floors and wash the car. You should also check all the engine fluids before driving home.
If you plan on shopping during your trip, take a plastic tote with a lid that will fit under the trunk of your car. Anything that will not fit in the tote can be shipped home through the postal service or private mail service, like UPS or Fed-EX. It’s a small price to pay to keep your car from becoming cluttered and messy.
If you’re in the market for a new or pre-owned vehicle in the Downers Grove, IL area, visit the Zeigler Chrysler Dodge dealership, our partners for this feature. You know the success of a smooth drive always lies with the reliability of the vehicle you own.