By Erin Condren, creator of the LifePlanner™ and expert organizer with Liberty Mutual Insurance
Whether you’re embarking on a weekend getaway or setting off on a week-long adventure, preparing for a road trip can be daunting. It can be stressful to make sure you’re not only packing the proper attire, but that you’re also stocking the car with proper emergency supplies. That doesn’t even cover the home preparation you should take in advance of your absence!
While some steps might seem obvious, there are a few simple tricks to take to ensure nothing is overlooked when preparing for a road trip. To help make the road trip process less stressful, I created a Road Trip Ready checklist with Liberty Mutual Insurance. I am always about putting pen to paper in my LifePlanner™ Stylized Organizer and that doesn’t change when I’m planning a road trip, especially when there's so many moving parts with my family. I keep this checklist in the back folder of my LifePlanner™ to make it easy to follow as you pack the car and lock up your home before hitting the road.
Give the Car a Quick Check and Stock With Supplies
According to a recent survey from Liberty Mutual Insurance, only 25% of Americans check their car for a first aid kit before going on a road trip. A first aid kit is an essential item that should be included in your overall emergency kit. Other things you should include are any necessary medications, bottled water, a flashlight, and a USB battery pack. If you couldn’t already guess, my two must-haves in case of an emergency are pen and paper. Although you have a battery pack to keep your phones and tablets charged, it’s still essential that you write down any emergency phone numbers and basic directions so they can be easily referenced. It's also handy to have during a worst case scenario to exchange information.
Along with your emergency kit, you want to make sure your car is operating properly and that you are equipped with car maintenance essentials. If you’re not running on a tight schedule, I like to get my car checked by a mechanic before traveling long distances. If you don’t have time for that, check your tire pressure in your current and spare tires, along with filling your wiper fluid and oil.
Along with your emergency kit, you want to make sure your car is operating properly and that you are equipped with car maintenance essentials. If you’re not running on a tight schedule, I like to get my car checked by a mechanic before traveling long distances. If you don’t have time, checking your tire pressure in your current and spare tire along with filling your wiper fluid are simple enough to do yourself. An easy car DIY project and one of my favorites is to turn your center console into a tech and organization station. Here you can place cell phone chargers, tissues and napkins, and water bottles, among other small necessities (where I keep my notebooks and pens too). This compact space is perfect and can be transformed into the go-to spot for passengers to grab things as needed so you can always keep your eyes on the road.
Don't Forget to Prepare Your Home
The same survey mentioned above also found that one-third of Americans find prepping their home for their absence the most stressful step of preparing for a road trip. The digital age we live in has made it somewhat easier to leave home, however, there are a few things people must watch out for. While it’s tempting to let your Facebook and Instagram followers know that you’re heading on a family road tip, I suggest using caution when posting pictures of the car packed up on social media or posting vacation photos. It's always fun to share these moments, but be aware that you aren’t tipping off others to the knowledge that your home is empty and unguarded to strangers.
The upside of the advanced technology we have at our disposal is the range of smart home devices to help keep our homes safe while on the road. Before smart phones, leaving for a road trip meant that you needed to ask neighbors to check on your house while you’re gone (which I still suggest!). However, now smart home devices allow us to monitor our homes and worry less about them while we’re away. Installing these devices is a quick and easy upgrade that anyone can make and some insurance companies even offer a discount, like the Smart Home Discount from Liberty Mutual, for having certain devices in your home. These could include a smart smoke alarm that sends an alert to your phone, a smart lock that helps you control who enters your home and when, or even a camera so you can keep an eye on things right from your smart phone. By being connected to your home even when away, you can relax knowing that you’ll be notified the instant something goes wrong.