By Jamie Wheeler, Intent.com
The American Road Trip: it's a staple of summer, celebrated in story and song. You probably have memories of family road trips: playing Old Maid with your sister in the backseat of the station wagon, stopping at Stuckey's for a "Pecan Log" or an "All-Day Sucker," and waiting anxiously for the sight your hotel and the promise of a swimming pool. Even though gas prices are high, a road trip is still the most cost-effective vacation you can have. Make it easier, more affordable, and more enjoyable with these helpful tips:
- Check Your tire pressure, Including the spare. Your Owner's Manual will tell you the proper amount of pressure. - Check the tread depth. Insert a penny with Lincoln's head down. If the tread covers his head halfway, you're good to go
- Check the walls of the tires for any cracks or bulges.
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Check Hoses, Fluids, Brakes and Air Conditioning
- Look under the hood and inspect hoses for any signs of threads or rough spots. Squeeze them to make sure they are firm. Spongy hoses probably need to be replaced.
- Get an oil change and have your mechanic check fluid levels.
- Replace wiper blades, if necessary.
- Check brake fluid. Listen for sounds of squeaking or grinding. If you hear either, ask a mechanic to inspect your brake pads and rotors.
- Ask the mechanic to check the cabin air filter for your air conditioner and replace if necessary. A system flush is probably a good idea as well.
Cell Phone Car Charger In addition to making sure you pack your regular chargers, purchase in a car charger as well. An operational cell phone can be the best safety tool you have! Read More: 9 Easy Tips For Looking Beautiful After Your Long Plane Flight
GPS (Global Positioning System) for Cars Invest in a GPS, now available for under a $100 . Not only will you relieve the stress of getting lost, most GPS systems will also alert you to on-the-road features like food, gas, and points of interest. Travel First Aid Kit Make sure you purchase or inspect your existing first aid kit. Bumps, bruises, bug bites and headaches happen, but you can make it better by being prepared. Your kit should include bandages, antibiotic ointment, pain reliever such as ibuprofen, sunscreen, gauze, motion sickness relief, anti-diarrheal medicine, anti-histamine, and a small pair of scissors.
Keep the Kids Entertained Even in our age of iPods, portable DVD players and handheld videogame systems, kids will want something to do on a long trip that doesn't involve staring at a screen. Encourage them to actually see the surrounding they are passing through with some classic games for the road:
- License Plate Bingo: To play this game you'll need to bring along a few writing utensils and have paper to use for game cards. If you'd like, you can print out game cards ahead of time here. There are a few variations of this game, so you can either write down the names of states as your bingo squares or random letters and numbers. As players see the states or letters and numbers on passing license plates they cross them off. First player to get 5 in a row wins, and it might be a good idea to keep a few prizes on hand for the lucky winner.
- I Spy: For kids, run through the alphabet, such as "I spy something that begins with the letter A." For adults, up the challenge with a line like "I spy something German."
- Travel Scavenger Hunt: Keep children occupied with a travel scavenger hunt. Compile a list of objects for each child to find along the road. For example, you could have things like "brown cow" or "water tower". Anything that comes to mind that you might be passing will work, or you can use prepared lists like this. You can also turn this game into a form of bingo with a game card like this. The winner is the first one to find everything on his or her list.
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