Two women sitting in car, looking at map, elevated view, close up
Getty Images
Getty Images

Are You Road Trip-Ready?

Read this before loading up the car.

Few journeys are as satisfying as a road trip, especially over the holidays to visit family and friends. But you can’t just jump in the car and go when winter weather can be unpredictable. Without proper planning, it’s easy to waste time and money.  

Before you set out, prepare for a road trip with this list of tips and to-dos. 

1. Set a budget 
Spending on road trips can quickly get out of hand. So, create a travel budget and stick to it. You can manage costs by planning your route. Don’t waste money – and time – driving around looking for a place to eat or stay. Instead of eating every meal at a restaurant, bring along a cooler stocked with food. Then, replenish at local grocery stores along the way.  

2. Prepare the car 
If you’re taking your own car, it’s a good idea to bring it into your auto shop for an inspection to make sure it’s in good shape for a long drive. Have the mechanic check tires, lights, fluid levels, battery, belts, and hoses.  

You can also consider renting a car. This will save wear and tear on your own vehicle, while giving you the opportunity to drive a car that’s better suited for winter weather.  

Either way, put together an emergency roadside kit to store in the trunk. Be sure to include jumper cables, a spare tire, wheel wrench, jack, flares or reflective triangles, fire extinguisher, flashlight with extra batteries, basic tool kit, duct tape, first aid kit, drinking water, nonperishable food, and blankets. 

You should also have emergency numbers for your auto insurance company and roadside assistance readily available in your phone.  

3. Book in advance for the best rates 
Early reservations are a reliable way to enjoy savings – as well as the peace of mind that comes with knowing a car or hotel room will be available when you need it. If you wait until the last minute, you run the risk of being shut out by a convention occupying every hotel room in your destination, or a shortage of rental cars that leaves you without wheels.  

Tip: Take advantage of Budget’s Pay Now rates and you can save up to 35% off base rates. Plus, get a free upgrade, an additional driver at no cost, and earn a 3% credit to apply to your next rental – all with your AARP exclusive member benefits. 

Bonus tip: Join Budget Fastbreak today – it’s simple, smart, fast, and free. Fastbreak is a car-rental membership program that makes it quick and easy to pick up and drop off your Budget vehicle. 

Click here to save up to 35% off base rates on all vehicles with Pay Now from Budget. 

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