5 Ways to Avoid Road Trip Disasters

| October 11, 2012

car trouble at sunsetUnlike flying, traveling by car can count as part of a vacation if you stop at attractions on the way to your ultimate destination and hotel. Like flying, though, unexpected delays can happen. Plan ahead with the help of DexKnows to avoid common road trip disasters.

Prep Your Vehicle

Before hitting the road, take your vehicle in for a checkup. Let the mechanic know your plans and ask for an inspection of tires, belts and hoses, brakes, and filters. Get your oil changed as well and have any recommended service done to help prevent your vehicle from breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Also, confirm that your roadside assistance membership remains valid. If you don’t have such a membership, get one.

Prep Your Money

Call your bank and request an account alert regarding your travel plans. That way, when your bank’s fraud department sees unusual activity on your account, such as debits made at businesses far from home, it will not delay transactions at hotels and lodging or access to funds.

Plan Your Road Trip Route

While wandering off course proves part of the fun of a road trip, planning your general route helps you get to your final destination without significant delay. Bring along a GPS system, as well as paper maps covering your route as a backup. Do not rely only on phone map apps, as dead zones can leave you without the direction you need.

Plan Your Hotels and Lodging

Make reservations at quality hotels and lodging along the way to avoid accommodation disasters while on the road. Along certain stretches, hotel and motel options may be slim. If you decide to wing it, you might not like — or feel safe in — your choice of rooms.

Plan for Emergencies

It also doesn’t hurt to note emergency facilities along your route, such as hospitals and animal hospitals if traveling with pets. Being prepared can make all the difference in the case of an emergency. Also make sure you bring along mobile chargers and alternate the phones plugged in to ensure everyone has power.

Expert Tip for Road Trips

Bring along an extra set of keys to your vehicle. Roadside assistance can help you unlock your car if you leave the keys inside, but it can’t provide replacement keys if you accidentally drop them down the side of a mountain during a stop at a scenic overlook. Place the keys in a hidden magnetic box on the car, but take the box into your hotel room for safety’s sake.

DexKnows can connect you with the best options along your route, and other DexKnows categories, including auto repair and general travel services, can help you find providers of other services for preventing road trip disasters.

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Category: Travel

About the Author ()

Pamela Mitchell spent more than 15 years at daily newspapers such as the Hartford Courant and Houston Chronicle before becoming a full-time freelancer. She now writes about a variety of topics, from dining and entertainment to pets and travel.