Summer is here, and that means adventure awaits! Some of the most memorable vacations and many of life’s most precious moments happen when you and your friends take a trip across our great nation. That said, it’s important to be prepared. If you don’t take the time to properly plan your next road trip, it may end up being memorable for all the wrong reasons.


At Carman Ford, we want to make sure that your next experience is as safe, fun, and exciting as possible. Before you hit the road, check out these seven expertly-backed tips and pieces of advice for the perfect summer road trip.

Stock Up on Snacks

As any experienced road-tripper will tell you, snacks can make or break a road trip. It can be incredibly common to feel a bit peckish a few hours into your ride. When this happens, you’ll want to make sure that you have access to a slew of delicious, satisfying, and sustainable snacks.


It’s ok to grab a few chips or candy bars here and there, but don’t go overboard on the junk food. Sticking to a balanced diet even while on the road will keep you energized, alert, and ready for action.


As a professional road-trip connoisseur and the founder of NorthOutdoors, Paul Johnson has this to say about keeping your eating habits in check during long car rides:


“We see people often throw their healthy eating habits out the window just because they are road tripping. A secret weapon is to stop at a grocery store ? even tiny towns have them ? to get your lunch, rather than the roadside burger joint.”


It’s generally a smarter idea to center most of your snacking around fruits, veggies, and protein bars. Additionally, regular water consumption is important as well.

Carry Some Cash

In today’s economy, many of us have become all-too-familiar with electronic purchases, especially in the big city. 


Nevertheless, in many corners of rural America, the ability to make any purchase with the swipe of a card or a digital transfer via smart device isn’t always available.


At small town businesses like independent gas stations, national parks, and other road-side stops, the use of cash may be required. Even if it isn’t, sometimes paying with cash at these locations is faster, easier, and more convenient, so you should always be sure to carry some on hand.

Notify Your Bank Ahead of Time

Carrying cash is definitely a good idea, but at national restaurant chains, gas stations, and retail stores, it’s usually still possible to make purchases using electronic means.


That said, banks take great care to monitor your credit card purchases for possible fraudulent charges. Sometimes, your bank will flag suspicious transactions that occur significantly outside of your local address area. 


Although this feature is designed to protect customers, you never want to get stuck with a frozen bank account while traveling. That’s why it’s important to notify your bank that you’ll be taking an extended trip before you head out.


“Alert your bank and credit card company of your trip with the cities you plan to visit,” said professional personal finance expert Andrea Woroch. “This will help the company monitor [for] fraud, but also ensure you have access to funds when you need them.”

Put Together the Perfect Playlist Beforehand

At its heart, a great American road trip is all about having fun and connecting with friends on a deeper level. Speaking of connection, there’s few things on Earth that can bring people together better than music, and that’s why a well-balanced road-trip playlist is absolutely essential.


Make sure to put together a playlist of all your favorite music, but also take care to ask your fellow passengers what type of music they’re interested in as well. When done right, this can even spark great discussion and a shared sense of adventure.


“Include as many upbeat, fun songs as you can,” said experienced traveler Angella Jensen of Angie’s Awesome Adventures. “This will keep the energy level high and in a good place if you find yourself in a situation where nothing else is available.” 


It’s also extremely important that your ideal playlist is completed and ready to go before you leave, as fumbling with your phone while driving is not only unsafe, but it can also kill good, relaxing vibes.


In addition, streaming music using a data plan can be a challenge, as you’re bound to encounter several areas where the cell service and radio coverage is spotty at best.

Have Access to Backup Directions

Speaking of shotty cell service; these days, most of us are all too reliant on mobile GPS technology to find our way around. This is usually fine (and super convenient), but in the more remote areas of the map, you can experience delays, unfortunate re-routes, or a loss of navigation altogether.


To rectify this problem, it’s always a smart idea to have access to backup directions. These can take the form of previously printed directions from reliable navigation sites, or even a good-old fashioned road atlas to help you out when you’re really in a pinch.


Jake McKenzie, a writer at Lifehack, content manager of Auto Accessories Garage, and certified car nut, also agrees.


“Without the ability to check your GPS or call anyone for assistance, you can end up getting very lost very quickly,” McKenzie advises. “Having a few maps in your glove box and even a compass can save you a lot of time should you get lost without a cell signal.”

Learn How to Change a Tire

Spending extended periods of time on the road can inevitably lead to an increased risk of encountering emergency scenarios. Among the most common of these scenarios is a flat tire.

Knowing how to change a tire is an incredibly useful skill, especially if you’re traveling through areas that are pretty far off the beaten path. 


To decrease potential headaches as much as possible, you should not only be familiar with the tire-changing process, but also the tire-changing process of the specific vehicle you’ll be taking along.


Be sure to run through the whole process at least once prior to your trip. Be sure to make note of where the spare is located, the proper air pressure it requires, and all the steps that’ll get you back on the road safely, quickly, and efficiently.  

Pre-Plan with Every Passenger

While you could take a road trip by yourself, it’s always better with friends or family. Even so, sharing confined spaces for a long period of time with others isn’t always the most comfortable experience.


Even best friends can get fed up with one another by the end of a long, uncomfortable journey, and that’s why you and your passengers should always get on the same page about boundaries and personal space. This way, you’ll be less likely to get on each other's nerves.


It’s also important to pre-plan your road trip itinerary. This way, everyone can begin the trip knowing that enough time has been set aside to properly experience whatever landmark, city, or special attraction they’re most looking forward to.


“Get some agreement upfront on what you are trying to do,” recommends Johnson. “Are you trying to get somewhere as fast as you can? Or is this an exploring, meandering trip where the goal is to get lost and see new places?”


Now that you have a ton of handy tips for how to make the most out of your next summer road trip, all you’ll need is a high-quality, super-comfortable vehicle to take the trip in! Lucky for you, Carman Ford has a vast selection of amazing new and pre-owned vehicles right here on our lot!

To browse our current inventory from the comfort of your own home, click here. Want to take a test drive or see a vehicle in person? Feel free to stop into our New Castle, Delaware dealership as soon as possible! We look forward to serving you.
Categories: Tips