What to Prepare for When Driving Cross Country

Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash

The small amount of travelling I’ve done around America has always been taken via my good ol’ vehicle. The main reason is because of my fear of flying (I know, it’s safer then driving, I get it) but I also just really love packing everything up and driving across the country. There is something so incredibly spontaneous and freeing about the experience. You can literally change plans in a second and just drive somewhere else. Not to mention the view is unbeatable!

Before you get into your car and spend countless hours driving, make sure you are plenty prepared for the trip! While spontaneity is a huge part of road trips that also means you need to keep yourself prepared for anything that could happen (good or bad).

Make sure your vehicle is reliable
I mean REALLY reliable! Putting that many miles on a car is not for the faint of heart (or engine). Before your trip go to professionals and get all fluids filled and checked, tires aired and new, and make sure there are no significant problems! Your car is about to be (besides a hotel room) your home away from home; you don’t want it breaking down in the middle of nowhere.

Tip: keep a spare tire and different fluids in your trunk JUST in case (including gas!). I’ve had tires randomly pop on the side of the road as well as my car having an overheating problem mid trip. Don’t let these things halt your fun adventure!

Stock your car efficiently
On top of your luggage for a vacation (i.e. clothes, makeup, shoes, etc.) you also need to stock your car appropriately for the trip. This means having plenty of fluids, snacks, and cords for technology. We usually bring a large cooler filled with water and ‘road snacks’ while we drive as well as plenty of chargers for our phones and GPS technology. If you do for some reason get stuck on the side of the road you always want to make sure that 1. You have a fully charged phone to make calls and 2. To make sure you are properly hydrated in case you are stuck in this situation for a prolonged period of time.

Tip: make sure to have CD’s or things that don’t require a signal. There is nothing more eerie then driving in the dark in the middle of Nevada’s deserts with absolutely no reception or noise. Believe me; you get paranoid fast in these situations! A little noise can save your sanity.
Photo by adrian on Unsplash

Keep a friend or family member in the loop
I’m a disaster planner; always have been. I think of the worst possible thing that could happen and I plan for it just in case. Getting lost or, hopefully this won’t happen but it could, kidnapped on the road is definitely a disaster no one wants to happen. However it CAN happen when you are in unfamiliar areas. I always text where I’m staying and where we are periodically throughout the day to my brother just in case something were to happen. Maybe I’ve seen one too many scary movies but it never hurts to have a safety net!

Take stops often
Not only for you, but for your car! Sometimes we get a little too focused on the destination that we push our bodies and our vehicles to extremes (I’m definitely guilty of this). A huge part of road tripping is not the destination but the journey! Make sure to take a 15 minute break at least every 2 to 3 hours. This gives you a chance to stretch your legs, rest your eyes, see the scenery, and give your car a much needed break. The longer you drive the thing the higher your chances are of having issues (like overheating in my case!).

If possible, bring a buddy
Road trips are never as much fun without a human companion. Obviously in some situations you just can’t bring someone but, if you have the choice, always choose a friend. Not only can they help take turns in the driving department but having someone with you can help keep you sane! Driving for long periods of time is draining and can make our minds a little weak. Having someone to talk to and to tell you to take a break is much needed!

Tip: utilize your buddy when it comes to getting snacks from the back and for helping the GPS navigation. There are some situations where you are a little stressed out, there are 20 different lanes, and you don’t have enough time to figure out what Google is spouting off.



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