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On The Road Again: The Ultimate Road Trip Guide

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Road trips are the ultimate way to grab summer by the horns, but getting out of town for the weekend can turn into a massive headache, leaving you wondering if it was even worth the effort to leave the house. Don’t let minor inconveniences keep you from experiencing life on the road; we’ve got some tried and tested advice for making your weekend road-trip a joy to experience.

<strong>Prep your vehicle</strong>

On The Road Again: The Ultimate Road Trip Guide

Prep your vehicle

This should go without saying but before you hit the open highway, you must always make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape. Know nothing about cars? Take yours in for a oil change and inspection a couple of days before you head out. If you’re a DIY-er, make sure that at the minimum, you check all the fluids, the tires, the wipers, and the headlights before you head out. Here’s some advice on what to look for.

Always be prepared

Roadside emergencies and problems are more common than you think so make sure you have a CAA membership (or something similar) before you head out. You should also have a roadside emergency kit handy, and verify that your trunk has a spare tire and jack in the event of a blow-out. You know, just in case.

Use technology to avoid traffic

You may like to rely on tried and tested routes, but when it comes to getting out of town on a long weekend, it’s often best to take the road less travelled. Plan a quick escape route out of the city that doesn’t involve major routes that are notorious for delays. Your mobile phone’s map can really help with this as many will show you where major traffic delays exist. It’s also a good idea to check online for road closures and construction on the highways ahead of time; often there’s an option to sign up for Twitter or Facebook notifications to keep you in the look.

Do it on the cheap

Gas prices may be through the roof, but make your road trip as economical as possible with these handy resources from Lifehacker. With a little planning, you can find the cheapest fuel and visit the best hidden gem restaurants on your journey.

Leave early

Beat the rush by getting the heck out of dodge before everyone else does. Savvy travellers often insist on hitting the road before 8 a.m. This may seem like a crazy feat but we promise it’ll save you lots of stress and time, on top of making the drive feel quicker.

Stay charged

Your phone is not just your connection to the outside world, it’s also your music hub and often times your map to a new city. Don’t let a low charge ruin the road trip -- make sure you have a car charger handy. If you’re camping, it might be worthwhile to invest in a solar charger so you don’t have to drain your car’s battery.

Nip hunger in the bud

You may only be heading a few hours out of town, but that short trip could be made a whole lot better with a steady supply of cold beverages and fresh snacks. Prepare a cooler of ice-cold water, crisp veggies and homemade sandwiches to keep you sated and alert during the journey.

Get ready to be entertained

Road trips can be boring, especially for kids, so make sure you’ve got some fun distractions on hand. Learn some road trip games ahead of time, invest in some DVDs for the kids, or borrow some books on tape from the library (sounds boring, we know, but they really help pass the time.) Come up with a music playlist beforehand if you have time -- it’s a good idea to let everyone in the car have their say on what they want to hear.

Stop!

Yes, powering through the road trip with no stops will get you to your destination quicker, but guess what? Life’s about the journey, not the destination. Take some time to stretch your legs, take photos of the new, and see the sights. You could even implement a mandatory hacky sack break every two hours to break it up and make the drive more bearable.

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