Last week we talked about prepping your car before a big road trip. Now we are going to talk about the things that need to be done about a week before your trip.

So it’s one week before the trip. You have taken your car in or DIY’d all the maintenance. Your just ready to hit the road right? Well, not so fast, we still have some things to get dialed in.

Get your route in order

If the trip is one that you don’t make often, you will need to get the route down. I don’t mean you need to know it by heart, but an overview of the trip is important. Here are the things that I do when I plan out a driving route.

  • “Map Quest” the route. To be honest, I don’t even know if you can Map Quest anything. 🙂 I generally use Google maps. I will print out the 2 main routes for my trip. This way, you have a back up if your GPS fails.
  • Make sure the GPS is up to date.
  • If you have a smart phone, you can save the route to the phone. I am pretty sure that there are a lots of route guidance apps out there.

I know that might seem like overkill, but a few minutes of work can help if your GPS dies.

Share your plans

I remember being a kid and taking road trips to Missouri. My grandparents would always have the neighbors keep an eye on their house. They lived in a really cool court with great neighbors. It was strange that there was a really old, like early 1900s, cemetery right behind their house.

Today we still do the same with our neighbors. With all the cool technology, we can take it a few steps further. I will be emailing the route to the neighbors, and to my family. It’s just like sharing where you are going when you take a really long wilderness hike.

Now, don’t be foolish and advertise that you are not going to be home. THAT would be silly.

Get some entertainment

I generally do most of my road trips solo. I can be boring. I am kinda nerdy, so I survive the drive on podcasts! To me, podcasts and talk radio seem to make time fly. I also dig audio books. The first audio book I listen to was some strange “doomsday 2012” book. It talked about the Mayas coming from outer space and stealing your children, or whatever it was. HA, the book was awful.

This time, I get to road trip it with my wife. She is a podcast pro! We will be enjoying The Nerdest, Stop Podcasting Yourself, and Doug Loves Movies. I am sure if there was a Dr Who podcast, we would be listening to that too.

Loading up the Ipod with music, podcasts, and audio books will help avoid skimming radio stations trying to find something tolerable.

Make a backup plan

By the end of this post, you might just think I am crazy, OCD, or just plain nuts. The truth is, I try to make sure that I am prepped for things, especially when it comes to a road trip. Let’s face it, things can go wrong when you are on a 900 mile trip. So here are a few other things that I will be doing before a trip.

  • Print out a list of important phone numbers. Family, friends, anyone that you might need to contact in case of emergency.
  • Get a list of a few hotels along the way. If you get tired, you will have information on a place to stay. It beats the heck out of some sleazy roadside motel, or paying $300 for a night.
  • Make sure you have all your auto insurance information. If something bad happens you can’t just run home and get it.
  • Same goes for your bank account information and phone numbers.
  • CASH! Having some extra cash is always a great idea. On a road trip it is crucial. It be as simple as paying cash for the bag of Chex mix.
  • Make sure you have your car registration! Why would it not be in the car in the first place?

The cool thing about most of this stuff is, it’s one and done. Once you do it, you have the information. You can keep it in a safe place in the car.

Now that you have your car ready, and your mind ready, it’s just about time to hit the road. We will have one more set of checks before we leave. For that, you will have to wait until part 3! In part 3 we talk a couple of last minute car inspection, and my personal favorite, snacks and drinks.

I realized I forgot to tell you guys about the trip.(thanks Garrett) My wife and I will be traveling to Chicago for 4 days, 2 of which will be spent in the car. We will be visiting family and friends. We will also be visiting a few beer breweries. It will be nice to visit the city, see some friends and family, and enjoy some Chicago beer.

I also want to do something cool while we are on the road. I need some ideas. Post pictures to Facebook? Instagram, Twitter? How can we make this really fun? I did set up a ZELLO channel. It works like a walkie talkie for your smart phone. I will have it turned on the entire trip. Feel free to download it, and check out Humble Mechanic channel.

5 replies
  1. Ken
    Ken says:

    Is there anything extra you might add to your in car tool kit when preparing for a long drive? Or do you pretty much consider your in-car kit already perfect? 🙂

    Reply
  2. Charles
    Charles says:

    Good question Ken. I don’t really think I will be adding anything extra to my tool kit. It is not perfect, but its pretty good. The sad part is, you generally wont know what you are missing until you need it.

    I didn’t talk much about having extra belts for the car, extra wiper blades, a liter of engine oil, extra coolant and so on. Some of that might be a good idea. You never know what can fail and when.

    The key with having extra fluids for your car is keeping the UNOPENED. Coolant can explode if you open it. That makes a huge mess. I just keep a few bottles of water in my car. I can drink it, and in a pinch, it is fine to add to the coolant tank.

    I will be going through my car bag this afternoon, so I am sure I will find that I am missing a few things.

    Reply
  3. marty
    marty says:

    For some cars, there are those special little items that you just can’t find anywhere on the road when you need them. As a B5 Passat owner, I never leave home without a spare coil pack even though they fail infrequently these days.

    Reply
  4. Charles
    Charles says:

    @Marty,
    HAHA, you have a really good point. I have a few spare coils in my car too. The newer ones have been really good, but I don’t want to have the first one to fail.

    Reply

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