A lot of people will be taking vacations across the country or moving this summer and if you have never done it there are a few tips that you really need to understand before you get started.
Don’t bring the world with you on a long trip
The first thing is you want to make your trip as easy as possible so you don’t want to overload your vehicle with stuff. If you are on a vacation then pack very light. You can normally get way with one nice outfit for a nice restaurant or event and then just bring some shorts and a few tshirts and pack as if you are staying over the weekend and not like you are moving..
However if you are moving you really need to consider the fact that the items you bring will normally load down your vehicle and take up space that will make life aggravating. Never pack suit cases or bags and expect the kids to live with them in their seating area it just won’t work on a long trip where you need leg room. It is better to get rid of your stuff and buy new stuff when you arrive at your new home. Only bring sentimental items and your bed is not sentimental.
You will find that you can buy things at stores where you are traveling to.. you don’t need to bring all of your old ratty tshirts when you can hit a Supermart and buy a bag of them for $15.. same goes for jeans and shoes and basically all the crap you have that you keep because its part of your life.. now if the wife has a $500 pair of shoes then either auction them online or bring them but if you have 25 pairs of $9 superless shoes just don’t…
So you get the idea pack lighter than you would even think you would.. just act like you are hopping in the car and driving across town to a friends.
Like I said you can get Air Beds for $20 for the first few nights when you get there, you can get new clothes and you can pickup furniture, lawn mowers, and other items off KragList or something pretty fast and cheap.
Should you Tune Up your Car before a Road Trip?
There is actually some debate about this.. If your vehicle is running really great then you probably will be better off just changing your air filter, filling your fluids and hitting the road.
If you know of any real problems then address them but you don’t want to do this the night before you leave.
ALWAYS PERFORM A TUNEUP AT LEAST 3 WEEKS BEFORE YOU LEAVE
This gives you time to drive the vehicle and make sure everything is still working correctly and to bring it back if there are problems. If you are 500 miles down the road and that new spark plug wire or battery craps out then you are stuck and you will have to call a tow truck.
If you give your tune up a few weeks to set in then you will know that it has been performed correctly. This is very important for Ignition system components, Batteries, Tires and things more intrusive like a Timing Belt Replacement or alternator or air conditioning belts or service.
You don’t want someone servicing your Air Conditioner the week before you leave and then you are stuck in Arizona in 125F heat in the middle of nowhere and it dies.
For Gasoline you should try to find a discount card online for any gas stations on your route often you can buy them for 10% off face value on an auction site. If you have a Gas Credit Card then mark locations of places to buy gas. If you have a Warehouse Club Membership then find all of those on your route.
Never buy gas or food at or near a highway exit. The prices will always be less 2 miles off the road into a local town. Use a Gas Station Price Website to find lower cost places on your route.
And buy food at a supermarket.. you can get a whole chicken hot and ready or you can just pickup some canned chicken salad and a loaf of bread.. or grab a frozen pizza..
Most of all act like you are just visiting friends or relatives down the road .. pack light.. buy stuff on the way or when you get there.. and give yourself a break because a loaded up car is no fun on a long trip.
My first word of advice was to pack light and no matter how light you think you are packing I am betting any sane person could walk up to your vehicle and throw about half of it out and you would be no worse off.
Like I said .. no matter where you are moving.. they have stores out there..
If you are only going on a 2 week vacation then you don’t need 3 pairs of shoes just bring what you are wearing like sneakers for the car and maybe one nice set of shoes ONLY if you know you need them for an event.
Give yourself and your vehicle a break..
Personally when I go cross country I bring one bag of clothes which includes 2 changes at most. I bring my laptop and a small cooler to put some drinks and fruit in for the ride.
There are supermarts on every corner if I need something its the same there as it is where I live.