Tired of the four walls? Pack the car and hit the road this spring. Whether it’s exploring Bluebonnet country in Texas, taking scenic U.S. Route 101 along California’s coast, cruising Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway or heading to Florida’s beautiful beaches, getting prepared for a road trip and making it fun can be a challenge.

MAKE FUN YOUR PRIORITY 

ThinkstockPhotos-512938613Plan ahead so you don’t miss all the must-sees, but keep an open mind on the road. Build extra time into your drive to enjoy the freedom and flexibility for exploration and adventure. Be sure to break away from your game plan to enjoy experiences you otherwise may have never thought of. If your trip will include taking in the natural beauty of national parks, save money and time by getting an annual National Parks pass. This covers day-use or entrance fees at most national and state parks.

PACK FOR FUN, BUT DON’T OVER DO IT

A great rule of thumb is to pack less. The extra space will offer more room in the car for things like those huge souvenirs you can’t do without. That being said, it is a great idea to create a check list prior to your trip. Things to take:200293248-001

  • Clothes―pack for the expected changes in weather. No matter where you travel, it’s always a good idea to keep umbrellas and coats handy. Weather can turn on a dime.
  • Beach gear―if heading to a beach, don’t forget swimsuits, flip-flops, sunscreen, insect repellent, beach towels, chairs, a beach umbrella and a bag for trash.
  • Sporting gear―whether it’s a golf bag, tennis racket or skis, pack whatever you plan to enjoy.
  • First-Aid Kit, a blanket and bottled water―in the event of injuries, bug bites or illness, keep these items in the car.
  • Prescription medications―be sure all your prescriptions are up to date, especially EpiPens for those who have severe allergic reactions.
  • Road atlas―in case you lose your GPS signal, actual maps are a great back-up plan.
  • Phone chargers, camera chargers―keep your electronic devices charged so you don’t miss a great photo op along the way.
  • Footballs, Frisbees and Whiffle bat and ball―bring for fun during downtime.

PREPARE THE CAR―MAKE IT SAFE

Get an all-point inspection. Items to have checked include: battery, oil and coolant levels, brakes, belts, hoses, spark plugs, tires, headlights and windshield wipers. Add a smartphone mount for safe navigation. Having a backup plan in the event of car problems will give you peace of mind. Keep an all-inclusive emergency road kit that has helpful items like jumper cables, extra motor oil, tire pump and tools. Get an auto club membership or upgrade your insurance plan to make sure you have roadside assistance.ThinkstockPhotos-174383791Since you will be spending hours in the car, make it as comfortable as possible. Install seat covers to protect seats and provide extra cushioning. Pack a cooler and a picnic basket full of your favorite goodies. Add in travel mugs for keeping drinks cool during the ride. Don’t forget your favorite music―what a great way to pass the time and get everyone singing.ThinkstockPhotos-469229552Treasure all the memories you create on the road. Have fun!

What road trips have you taken? Please share where you drove and any additional tips you may have below.