A road trip is undeniably one of the best ways in which you can traverse the vast and diverse geography of a country like India. From eye-catching roadside attractions to enchanting animal reserves, the national highways offer you a feast for your eyes. Road trips have also been rated by most travel bugs as one of the best ways to bond with family and imbibe new experiences.
A road trip involves a lot of planning and is not something you do on an impulse. Here, we list out the most important things you need to have in place before you head out on that perfect trip.
Trip Planning And Execution
Chalking out a plan for the trip should ideally start well ahead of the date of the journey.
- Plan the route - You should have an idea of the places you will be hitting and how you will be getting there. Just because two places look close to each other on the map, they need not be in close proximity. Ensure that you have a clear idea of the distance you will be travelling and the number of hours you can realistically drive each day. Remember, driving for 9 hours a day for 5 days in a row will just make you exhausted, far from a perfect ending to your road trip saga.
- Plan a few meals - Ensure you have an idea of the places you will be stopping at to dine. Try to keep this schedule loose; if you need to grab a bite before you reach the planned takeaway joint you can do so. Decide if you will be cooking anytime during the journey. You will certainly end up saving a lot of money this way, but check the feasibility of this option.
- Make hotel reservations in advance - You should remember that you will not be able to find the best or cheapest hotels if you don’t plan ahead. You have to book your lodging months in advance, so that you do not struggle to find affordable hotels at the last minute.
Gearing Up Your Car
It is essential to have your car in top condition before you embark on a long drive.
- Get your vehicle checked - You should ensure that your car is in good working condition. Getting it inspected just before the trip will ensure that everything is functioning properly. Make an appointment at a service centre 3 weeks before the trip so that there is enough time to get it ready.
- Carry all relevant documents - Make sure you carry your driving license, car insurance papers, and Pollution Under Control certificate with you at all times during the journey. This will help you stay on the safe side of the law so that you can drive worry-free.
- Get roadside assistance cover - It is advisable to get a roadside assistance add-on cover under your car insurance, if this coverage is not already a part of your motor insurance policy. This coverage helps you to receive emergency assistance from a nearby garage if you happen to be stranded in a remote location with a flat tyre, car breakdown, etc. This is particularly useful when you are travelling with family.
- Take GPS/navigation system - An important part of the road trip, the GPS system helps you traverse unfamiliar paths. If this is already a part of your smartphone, you can use the same. Remember to get a car charger and a dashboard mount for your phone, though.
Packing The Essentials
- Pack according to the weather - Get an idea of the weather at the places you will be visiting, so that you can pack clothes appropriately. Try to limit your luggage to a minimum; you can pack clothes that can be layered, mix and match pieces that can be worn together, and casual and comfortable clothes for the journey.
- Pack lots of snacks - Have a lot of snacks on hand so that you will not starve if you can’t find a meal as planned. Crackers, chips, popcorn, and cookies are popular choices of snacks for road trips. Also pack lots of drinking water and blankets to make yourself comfortable throughout the journey.
- Store perishable food in a cooler - A snack like flavoured yoghurt needs refrigeration to stay fresh. Carrying a cooler is hence a great idea. This also happens to be the best way in which you can enjoy cold beverages on the go. However, you should remember to replenish the supply of ice in the cooler for it to function as expected.
Carrying Emergency Supplies
It is essential to carry emergency supplies on the trip so that there are no hiccups along the way.
- First-aid kit - You should ensure that you pack a first-aid kit with some basic medicines and bandages. If you are suffering from some specific ailments, you should carry the necessary medications with you.
- Emergency supplies for the car - The basics you should have in your trunk are radiator fluid, motor oil, flashlights, jumper cables, spare tyre, and fire extinguisher.
- Learn basic repair work - You should ensure that you are capable of changing a flat tyre and checking fluid/oil levels. This will reduce your dependency on service stations and save you a lot of time as well.
- Carry cash and credit/debit cards - It is crucial to carry a lot of cash with you when you travel. You may end up at a hotel or food joint that only accepts cash. If you are travelling to remote areas, there may be limited access to ATMs as well. So, it is vital to have enough cash on hand. Credit/debit cards come in handy if you need some emergency repairs on the car.
Last, but not the least, remember that Indian roads pose a host of challenges to drivers. Vehicles cutting lanes and coming in the wrong direction are bad enough, but when this is combined with threatening potholes and drivers with no civic sense, you should be extra careful. Always obey traffic rules, avoid confrontations with other drivers, and stay safe.
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