What You Need to Know to be Road Trip Ready

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NATIONWIDE — As the country continues to pull itself out of a pandemic and more Americans get vaccinated, travelers are hitting the road this summer to make up for lost time.

AAA predicts millions of drivers will be returning to the roadways this year, a definite uptick compared to travel last year.

So what should you do before setting out on the open road for that cross-country trip with friends?

 1. Get your car inspected before hitting the road

Before any long road trip, AAA recommends a vehicle inspection to check key components such as battery, engine, tires, brakes and fluid levels.

What if you don’t know where to take your car?

AAA surveyed consumers and found that 21% do not have a trusted repair shop or mechanic. To help consumers with what could be an overwhelming decision, AAA created its Approved Auto Repair program. AAA-owned Car Care Centers and AAA Approved Auto Repair shops must meet and maintain specific criteria like technician certifications and training, facility cleanliness and outstanding customer service.

2. COVID-19 isn’t gone yet

Despite taking steps in the right direction, COVID-19 is still a very real part of the world. It’s important to travel safely and smartly. AAA created its own COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map to help people navigate local and state travel restrictions that may still be in place.

3. Be prepared in case your road trip-ready vehicle breaks down

Even a vehicle that passes inspection with flying colors could run into trouble on the road. Dead battery? Flat tire? Make sure you have the equipment to deal with it, such as jumper cables and bungee cords. For a list of items to keep in your car’s emergency kit, see this list from AAA. 

4. Map out your route before you go

Sometimes technology fails when it’s needed most. In case you lose connection with Google Maps or your GPS takes you down a sketchy road, have a physical road map just in case.

And don’t just go where the GPS takes you. Figure out which routes you want to take, either for the scenery or the abundant rest stops along the way. Knowing not only where you’re going but also how you’re getting there will make for a fun and stress-free trip.

For more tips and information on planning your road trip, visit AAA’s road trip planning page. 

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