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Road Trip

Photo: Erik Odiin

You hear that? Life is calling you for an adventure. The time has come to put the pedal to the metal, grab your best friends and family, and go on a road trip. You have the snacks, the songs, and the good vibes. You’re just missing the car. There are so many questions to answer and it could get a little stressful. No need to worry. We are here for you! We are going to guide you into the best vehicle for your needs.

Know your gas mileage

First things first, you should establish your gas mileage. It’s never a good idea to just guess how much your gas will cost, especially since gas prices can fluctuate. Go ahead and start with figuring out what your total miles could be. Be sure to add a few extra miles for stopping, going off route, and eating. Once you have a rough estimate, go to a gas mileage calculator to figure out just how much you’re looking to spend. Now that you have an idea, you can seek a vehicle based off of gas mileage.

Look into extra features

Make sure that you keep convenience in mind for the road trip. The first thing I look for is cruise control. This is a great way to not tire out your foot keeping it on the gas for hundreds of miles. A few other popular ones are child lock, rear view camera, Bluetooth, and those luxurious heated seats.

If you have a newer model Android or iPhone, you should look out for Android Auto or Apple Car Play. Personally, I use Android Auto every time I hop in my car. This allows me to say the magic words “OK Google” and ask for music, directions, notifications, and calls. It is very convenient and safe to know your command is being placed easily without taking your eyes off the road or fumbling with a smart phone. The GPS will also use Google Maps or Waze. The best part is that when Android Auto is active, your phone cannot be used. Don’t worry though, you will still receive all notifications and calls through your car!

Find storage space

Storage space is the most overlooked category when looking for an awesome car. It is important to note how many people will be traveling with you. If you have more than two, you will probably need a bigger storage area. You’ll also want to bring a cooler for snacks and drinks to be accommodating. If you’re bringing the kids, don’t forget the toys, and room for pets that might tag along.

Leave room for comfort

Nothing is worse than sitting in the same spot for hours and not being able to stretch your legs out. Make sure your car has a lot of room to avoid cranky passengers. Also, check out the seats to make sure they are comfortable to sit in. This is essential for the driver. If the seats are white, make sure that you don’t wear blue jeans. You don’t want to be charged for not being able to get the stain out.

Don’t undervalue reliability

Saving money is important to everyone. So is safety. That’s why it is very important that your car is road trip ready. You should consider looking up a reliability report. I like to head to Kelley Blue Book and research the vehicle I am about to drive. This goes from anywhere to airbags and car accident safety ratings.

Make sure to ask the car rental place to see if the car is in excellent shape and whether or not it is road trip ready. If you are bringing car seats, find out how compatible your car seats are for the vehicle. If you are taking a friend’s vehicle, make sure they have recently got an oil change and their car has been inspected.

For worst case scenarios, you are going to want protection. A good idea would be to buy any insurance you can for your car because you never know what might go wrong. If you get caught in a jam and your car breaks down, you will want to find a company that will help you 24/7. That’s why I always check and see if my AAA membership is up to date. Also, AAA offers awesome catalogs for states that you are driving to and visiting. That way, you will have a lot of fun and know you are going to be safe!

Final thoughts

Great! The bags are packed, you have a destination in mind, and now you know that your road trip will go smooth with the perfect car that accommodates your needs. Double check yourselves by going through a road trip checklist to make sure nobody forgets anything. Now that wasn’t too stressful, was it? Be safe and have fun on your road trip!

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