Winter provides opportunities for road trips through beautiful landscape and scenery. Whether you’re visiting family for the holidays or heading to your favorite ski resort, use this winter road trip checklist to make sure your vehicle, route and entertainment are on point.
Check Over Your Vehicle
Start with a general inspection of your vehicle done at home or your local maintenance shop. This checkup should be conducted every time you receive an oil change and before you leave on a long road trip. Check fluid levels — oil, coolant and brake fluid — and replace or refill when necessary. With less daily sunlight in the winter, make sure your headlights, brake lights and turn signals are all in good, working condition. If you find they’re not up to standard, replace any dim lights or those that look like they’re on their last leg.
Additionally, be sure to check your tires’ tread depth using the “coin test,” and always have snow chains ready in case they’re needed. You may also want to replace your everyday tires with a winter set. If you don’t have snow tires — or your current tires need replacing — consider a new set of touring tires, which will provide you balanced handling, along with a comfortable ride and good tread wear.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
When traveling great distances by car, bring along some winter must-haves, including ice scrapers, extra wiper fluid, windshield washer fluid and jumper cables. You’ll always want to have an emergency kit on hand in worst-case scenarios, like when you get snowed in somewhere with no supplies other than what’s in your vehicle. Your emergency kit should include a shovel, first-aid kit, warm blankets, bottled water and packaged food and snacks.
Plan Your Route and Pitstops
You might be okay to drive for four hours at a time, but it’s important — and safe — to plan your stops around fueling up. Experts recommend keeping your gas tank at least half full in the winter to prevent your gas line from freezing. But they don’t call them rest stops for nothing.
When pulling off the open highway or interstate, take opportunities to use the restroom, stretch your legs, and grab a bite to eat. Plan your route for the entire trip, but be flexible because weather will be a big factor. Before leaving every morning, check for road closures that could affect your planned route and recalculate as necessary.
Find Worthwhile Accommodations
To find affordable and convenient accommodations at your destination, search websites like HotelCoupons.com. Not only will they provide you a variety of discounted hotels to choose from, but you’ll find
Lists of free nearby activities
Inexpensive places to eat
Nearby festivals and events
You’re guaranteed not to miss out on anything!
Be Prepared with Entertainment
If you’ll be traveling for a long time period, especially with children, bringing along adequate entertainment is a must. Come prepared with a variety of things to keep them occupied, including electronics, books, games and music. Tablets, iPads and portable DVD players keep kids entertained with movies and educational games.
You might also want to pack coloring and activity books. If you’re traveling with friends, try out some road trip games tailored for adults. In the meantime, some family-friendly games include “I Spy” and “Road Trip Bingo.”