UA-76843172-1

Pack your bags: road trip tips

Anne Shaffer
Features Writer

Summer is just about one week away, and probably a good portion of the student population is seeking a way to spend their upcoming seasonlong break. One enjoyable vacation you can take for a week or so is to make a road trip, whether it is only within the state or across the entire country.
For many, the possibility of a summer road trip could be exciting but also frightening. How do you go about preparing for a trip that could take weeks?
In order to have all your bases covered, you must have your car and your luggage properly prepared. As you pack, keep these tips in mind.

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind”- Senecan proverb.
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind”- Senecan proverb.

For your car: When you are heading on a big trip, make sure to check your tires; all five of them. Your owner’s manual should tell you what the tire pressure should be, so make sure that all five of your tires (on the car and the spare) are at the appropriate level. Check for damage and also for the tread level.
According to the Chicago Tribune, a trick to make sure you have enough tread on your tires is to place a quarter in the tread with Washington’s head facing out towards you and the top of his head down.
If you are able to see the area above his head, replace the tires to prevent them from blowing out. Also make sure that you know how to change a tire, in case the tires should blow out.
Other parts of your car should also be checked out before going on a long trip, including your hoses and belts, fluids, air conditioning and brakes. Having these checked by a professional may save you time and money later, especially if they prevent a disaster on the road, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Packing it in: Packing is extremely important for a road trip, both in your suitcase and in the car itself. Make sure that you have a first aid kit in the car and that it is easily accessible.
CNN says that a first aid kit should include standards such as bandages, pain relief and allergy medications as well as an antiseptic. It also says that starter kits can be purchased at pharmacies, and things can be added depending on the needs of each individual family.
A few other useful things to make sure you have included in your trunk, according to the Travel Channel, are: a tire iron, bottles of water, a fire extinguisher and reflectors or flares. Also make sure to include jumper cables and learn how to use them.
CNN suggests including basic tools such as screwdrivers,a hammer, an adjustable wrench, pliers and other such standards. You never know what you may need. Also make sure to include a cell phone somewhere in your packing. In the technology age, it may seem silly to mention, but it is important that you be able to call for help if something should happen.
However, Independenttraveler.com suggests also purchasing a phone card in the event that you end up somewhere that your phone plan does not work.
Make sure to pack maps or a GPS system. Both are useful, and maps might work where a GPS may not. If you have paper maps, make sure you know how to read them, because they will do you no good if they make no sense! Real Simple says to “Highlight your route and keep it in the passenger’s lap. Turn it in the direction you’re going. That way, the driver can glance down and take it in.”
Last but not least, when packing your suitcase, the Travel Channel says to treat the road trip as if you are traveling by plane, so the room is just as limited. You do not need to pack every pair of jeans you own or all of your socks; stop in at a Laundromat whenever you run out of clean things to wear.
They also say to pack using duffel bags or backpacks, which can be stuffed into trunks as opposed to stacked like hard suitcases.
When you have finally prepared your car and your luggage, purchased the maps and restocked your first aid kit, you are ready to go. Grab the keys, hop in the car and enjoy the summer trip!