A few skills and some well-chosen supplies are all it takes to turn your ride into a home away from home.
Step 1: Make sure car is in working order Make sure your car is in good working order. No sense spending half your trip stuck in some two-bit town waiting for a new camshaft.
Step 2: Get a good map Invest in a good map. And make sure your destination is on it.
Step 3: Pack emergency supplies Pack emergency supplies, including blanket(s), flares, a first aid kit, energy bars, plenty of drinking water, and a working flashlight with extra batteries.
TIP: Invest in an electricity power converter. For about $50, you’ll be able to charge up your laptop, cell phone, electric razor and a lot of other gizmos, just by plugging them into your cigarette lighter. You can even buy an adapter that accommodates two electric devices at once.
Step 4: Bring spare tire Make sure you have a good spare tire or a donut in your trunk. Or, at the very least, one of those 'tire-in-a-can' flat repair kits. And while you’re at it, make sure your jack and tire iron are where they should be. Jumper cables are a good idea, too.
TIP: Take along a spare car key, and leave another one with a friend who could overnight it to you in an emergency.
Step 5: Bring pillows & sleeping bags Throw some pillows and sleeping bags into the back seat so you can snooze in the car or take advantage of camping sites. Super-store parking lots are also a popular place to crash overnight.
Step 6: Bring credit card Have at least one credit card with you for emergencies.
Step 7: Bring snacks & meals Stock up on snacks, and meals to cook on your car engine while you drive. The Internet is full of easy recipes you can download. Basically, all you need is some nice chicken, fish or chops, some vegetables, a little seasoning, lots of aluminum foil, and a hot engine.
TIP: If you’re driving in hot and sunny weather, bake cookies on your dashboard with slice-and-bake dough and aluminum foil.
Step 8: Take collapsible cooler Take along a collapsible cooler or two filled with ice to keep your beverages cold and food fresh.
Step 9: Be realistic Always be realistic about how much driving you can handle. When you’ve had enough, pull over and call it a day – or night.
FACT: Ellen DeGeneres was voted the celebrity Americans would most want to take a road trip with in a 2007 survey.