Summer is officially here! Chances are, you are planning a much needed vacation in the sixteen week period between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. According to a survey done by AAA, 66% of Americans plan to take a least one trip during the summer travel season, with many planning to travel more than once. The Bureau of Transportation states that 91% of summer trips are in family vehicles. So, if you are like the majority of Americans you are probably planning at least one road trip this summer.
In order to get the most out of your vacation, you need to take the necessary precautions to keep your family and possessions safe. We have outlined a few steps that you can take prior to your vacation to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
How to Prepare your Home:
You want to avoid your house looking empty. These precautions can help:
- Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway
- Stop the newspaper and mail (or ask a friend/neighbor to collect them)
- Make sure your lawn will continue to be mowed
- Install a motion-activated outdoor floodlight
- Put one of your indoor lights on a timer
- Make sure your smoke detectors are working properly
- Take out the trash, and throw away any food that could get smelly
- Unplug small appliances and electronic devices
- Turn your thermostat to a less comfortable temperature, but one that will still protect plants, pets, and other belongings
- Leave your emergency contact information with a neighbor
- Put the water heater in vacation mode
- Have a plan for pet and/or plant care with a friend or neighbor
TIP: Even when you take the necessary precautions, theft can still occur. Mountain West suggests that you take an account of all valuable possessions before leaving on vacation. A home inventory can help catalog belongings in case of theft.
How to Prepare your Vehicle:
These prepping tips will help you to get your vehicle road ready:
- 2-4 weeks before the trip, have any major repairs done by an auto technician
- Check your oil
- Inspect your tires and brakes, and make sure you have a spare tire
- Inspect your battery and all your lights
- Fill your washer fluid and inspect your wiper blades
- Make sure your air conditioning is working properly
- Clean out your car
- Buy a road atlas if you don’t already have one
- Call and check your auto insurance policy to verify what is covered in case of emergency. Are you covered for roadside assistance, towing, or a rental car?
- Make sure you have an emergency kit in your car, with items such as a blanket, first-aid kit, flashlight, non-perishable food items, and toilet paper.
- Prepare for unexpected incidents – illnesses, medical emergency, etc.
- Consider travel insurance
- Contact your bank/credit card company and let them know where you will be traveling
- HAVE FUN! RoadTripWise has a list of fun road trip games