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The summer months are here and for our family that means lots of road trips for day trips and vacations. We choose to drive most of the time because it’s less expensive than buying plane tickets for a family of 7+. I am a list maker by nature, but then on top of that, I am also a multi-tasker, and when preparing for a summer road trip of any kind, I must plan, plan, plan. Here are a few ways to prepare for a summer road trip for you and your family.
Make a list, check it twice. Make lists of all the things you need to do before you leave and all the things you want to bring with you. Your list for before you leave can include things like calling the dog sitter, making an appointment for an oil change, contacting a neighbor to get the mail, verifying the hotel reservations, cleaning out the car, packing and what to pack. Making lists, and checking each item off as it is complete, will ensure that nothing is left unattended or forgotten before you leave.
Secure the house. This is a pretty broad area, and is going to differ for each family. If you have a cat, it might mean putting out a little extra food and water so you don’t have to hire a pet sitter. It might mean finding a neighbor who can retrieve your mail while you are gone or grab your newspaper so that nobody knows you aren’t home. Before we leave town, even for a night, we place at least three lights on small timer devices. We set them to come on and turn off at very random times. It is nothing more than a security measure, but that’s the key. You want to secure your house. Don’t forget to clean out the fridge or take the trash out or you could come home to some pretty foul odors or messes.
Map Out Your Trip. Plan Your Stops. Even if you plan to use your GPS, it is a very smart idea to print out directions or at least an Itinerary of sorts about where you are headed and when you plan to stop for gas, eat and sleep. As we all know, while technology has made our lives SO much easier, it also can fail. GPS signals will sometimes drop in low or no signal areas, and then what? If you haven’t mapped anything out, you might not be sure where to go. Also, be sure to update your GPS or other devices before heading out, so they have the most up to date information for road closures, detours and other things that could affect your trip.
Mapping out gas stops ahead of time is also very smart, because it keeps you from either running low or out of gas, and having trouble finding the next gas station, plus, it will give you an idea ahead of time of possible costs for fuel. We usually make up a gas budget, food budget and hotel budget. Create an itinerary, and then also print out map directions to where ever we are headed. We keep all this in a folder next to the front seat, and its at our fingertips. We also include any tickets, information or passes we need to anything, as well as coupons and information about anywhere we might be stopping.
Check your tires. This is one of the smartest things you can do before you leave. Make sure there aren’t any leaks, wear and that they are properly inflated. Don’t wait until the last minute to do this either, make sure you do it at least a few days in advance, so that if there are any problems, they can be taken care of before your setting out point.
Service Your Car. Check your fluids. – I probably should have put this one at the top of the list. Maintaining your car, and its health, is one of the best things you can do for it. Before every road trip, we head to Walmart’s Automotive Care Center and get our oil changed. My van is a high mileage vehicle, at over 100,000+ miles and Walmart uses Pennzoil which has a specially formulated oil change just for my high mileage vehicle. Pennzoil® High Mileage Vehicle® motor oil helps clean out the sludge lesser oils leave behind, while helping to reduce leaks and oil consumption in worn or higher mileage engines. It’s a motor oil specifically designed for new or late model vehicles with over 75,000 miles, with the mission of keeping engines running clean and going strong. That is all great news for me and all my planned road trips!
Walmart is my preferred choice for oil changes because I can save time and money and I can get my oil changed while I shop for the things I need for my road trip. I have a need to multi-task and getting my shopping done right there in the store while I wait, saves me both time and money. Neither I like to waste! PLUS Pennzoil High mileage oil is on Rollback ($39.88 on Rollback to $35.88) from June 15 – September 28, 2016!
Don’t forget to take your shopping list with you, so you can grab the things you need, while waiting for your oil change.
Does your Walmart have an Automative Care Center? Have you tried their wonderful Pennzoil Oil Changes?
Nicole Cook is the owner/editor of Daily Dish Recipes, a lifestyle blog with an emphasis on food/cooking/cocktails and much more.
She calls the Midwest home – Missouri to be exact. Coffee is her go-to drink, music is her vice and she is endlessly tethered with devices to her online world. She loves all things planner, lives for her great big family and loves her pets endlessly!
Her motto in life: Live Simply, Dream Big, Be Grateful, Give Love, Laugh Lots. Always, always laugh lots.