Now that fall is finally upon us, we can’t help but want to make the most of the warm weather before winter comes. One of the best ways to indulge in the crisp autumn air is by going on a road trip.
In fact, more than 100 million Americans planned some sort of vacation last year. While the COVID-19 pandemic put most of this year’s plans on hold, there’s still traveling by car. As long as you’re safe, follow social distancing guidelines, and get tested for COVID-19 regularly at your family doctor, you should have no problem going on a shorter road trip to ease your fear of missing out. Some studies show that as many as 28% of Americans typically search for autumn vacation ideas with the whole family during the cooler months of fall. Even though school is back in session, more than one in four Americans like to vacation between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
Road trips are among the most popular options to consider. Many people hope to check out the beautiful national parks nearby. Others hope to check out some of the beautiful sights that fall brings. Traveling in the northeast is particularly common since the leaves changing in New England are one of the most highly desired views for nature lovers and photographers. Since the weather is a bit cooler too, you can rest assured that there will be fewer tourists to get in your way. While shopping at flea markets and going to festivals might be out of the question, there are still plenty of activities to do when fall weather finally arrives. Searching for autumn vacation ideas and hopping into your car with the whole family just makes sense when cold weather starts to come around.
Are you ready to plan out your fall vacation ideas? Rely on these tips to ensure that you’re prepared for the ride to come.
Do you need a new car?
If you’ve had your heart set on a vacation for a while, it might be safer to opt for a new car. This makes sense if you’ve been hoping to trade in your old junker for a while now. Newer cars typically have better gas mileage than older models and they’re a lot safer too. This will enable you to travel safely and save money at the same time. They’re particularly good for road trips since many come with built-in GPS systems to help you navigate new areas. If you’re planning on going on a road trip, now is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to something nice.
Investing in a new car is a great idea for a number of reasons, but it’s especially good for parents. After all, buying a new car will help ensure that your kids are safer. It also means that you’ll be paying less in auto repair services. Many auto companies are also willing to stock up on newer parts than store older parts that just take up room. If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, investing in a new car could be key for your upcoming road trip.
There’s no problem with looking for newer used cars, too. As soon as a new car leaves the lot, its value starts to go down. A car could only have a few thousand miles on it but the dealership might mark it down considerably. The perfect “new” car for you might actually be a used model that works as good as a car that just rolled onto the lot.
However, not everyone has the funds or ability to invest in a new car right now, even if it’s a used one. If you’re planning on autumn vacation ideas with your older car, here are some more tips to ensure your safety out on the road.
Get your car’s oil changed
New and old cars alike need regular oil changes. If you don’t, then you could be putting your car’s safety at risk. The proper oil changes will keep your car running smoothly but it needs to be done every six months or so.
Why change your oil? Your car’s oil is essential for your engine to run. If you don’t clean out your oil regularly, all the dirt, sludge, and grime that accumulates in your engine will prevent your car from running smoothly. So long as you change the oil regularly, you’re also ensuring the longevity of your vehicle. A smoothly running vehicle is a clean vehicle. Since oil changes take a little while, getting this fix done before you leave for your vacation is well worth it.
Don’t let your autumn vacation ideas crash. Before you leave, be sure to get your oil changed, top up your fluids, and make any necessary repairs. This will save you countless headaches down the line. The last thing you want is to be stuck on the side of the road because of a preventative issue.
Make any necessary repairs
Is your car making any strange sounds? What about rust spots? Is there a crack in your windshield?
Though these issues sound small, they could actually be putting your car at risk. When you embark on a driving-heavy road trip, these small problems could balloon into larger setbacks. For example, even a small crack in your car’s windshield could spread if you hit a particularly large bump in the road or experience another impact. There are a lot of quality auto glass companies available, but it might be hard to find the best option when you’re on the road. Preventing emergencies like this can make all the difference when you’re embarking on your fall vacation.
These repairs will be essential when you’re encountering different terrains, weather conditions, and more. After all, the fall is known for cold rains, the occasional flurry of snow, and even tropical storms in the south. If your car isn’t prepared to take on these conditions, you could be in for a rude awakening. As such, it’s important to change your tires to take on the shifting weather, invest in windshield wiper fluid, and bring a car brush if necessary. Making the conscious decision to park your car in a garage will also help. You can hire a garage door company to make your car at home safer, but when you’re on the road you might not have this option. If the weather is bad, always park your car in a parking garage to keep it safe from the elements.
Shell out the extra money for car garages and parking lots with parking lot security, too. While your car breaking down on the road is stressful, getting robbed is downright exhausting. No one wants to get their stuff stolen from their car, especially if you’re on a road trip. Worse yet, losing your car on a trip like this can put your safety at risk. Between car repairs and keeping your car safe for the future, there’s a lot to consider as you ponder autumn vacation ideas.
Bring a spare key
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but if you only bring one key on your autumn road trip, you might be asking for a disaster.
At least one other person in your car should have a spare key in the event you’re locked out of your room, lose your primary key, or have your bag stolen where the key was stored. Just about anything can happen on vacation. Of course, that includes both the good and the bad. Allowing a responsible person to hold onto another key will ensure that you’re never stranded. Luckily, if you happen to lock your key in your car, you can always rely on a car locksmith to help you get back in. But if your car key is stolen or missing, you might have another big problem on your hands. Before you invest in your autumn vacation ideas, make sure your car will be prepared for the ride.
If you’re able to find a safe spot for your car, relying on Uber or car rental services can be a great way to keep your car safe as you navigate a new city. Exotic car rentals might seem like a lot, but you can ride in style without putting more miles on your car. Since these new car rentals often have built-in GPS features and other new gadgets, it would be easier than ever to make your way around a new area. Consider this as a viable option to keep your own car safer when you’re investing in autumn vacation ideas.
Practice social distancing
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across the United States, smart travel is essential. Follow social distancing guidelines by reviewing them on the CDC website. Some states have travel restrictions that you should consider before heading out. For example, if you’re a citizen of New York State, you might not be able to travel to California and make it back without agreeing to quarantine yourself for a couple of weeks when you arrive. It’s important that you’re keeping yourself — and the people around you — safe from this virus.
As such, you should also pack plenty of clean masks, hand sanitizers, and wet wipes to keep your family safe.
Pack nutritious food for the road
Most people might think that road trips are full of gas station snacks and other unhealthy foods. While this is the case for some folks going on their first road trip, hardened veterans know that you don’t have to sacrifice nutrition for convenience.
When you’re packing your bags for your trip, be sure to bring a cooler or another form of insulated container. This can help keep nonperishable items cold, like oranges, apples, water bottles, and other snacks. You might want to forgo foods that go bad easily since the heat of your car can cause yogurts and other dairy products to spoil quickly. You can also bring foods that embody the complete nutrition system, like protein shakes with vitamins and other forms of all-in-one foods. It can be hard to eat healthy on the road, but it’s possible as long as you plan beforehand.
Here are some of the best foods you can bring on the road with you:
- Hard boiled eggs pack a powerful protein punch without taking up a lot of space. Boil them in advance and keep them in your cooler for a healthy snack.
- Hummus with a yummy vegetable like celery or carrot sticks. These veggies are low in calories and the zip from a great hummus can fuel your body with the nutrition you need to keep driving into the night.
- Popcorn is a great source of fiber. This is vital since you’re not getting to move around much in the car. Keeping yourself regular will help boost your energy while preventing stomach issues from ruining your trip.
- Wrapped protein bars are another great way to get a lot of vitamins and minerals without your food taking up too much space. Get individually wrapped snacks to store in your bag, purse, or in the car for easy access.
- Peanut butter sandwiches are packed with protein and healthy fats. If you happen to have any bananas, this is a great way to add some sweetness without slathering on the grape jelly. Bring some whole wheat bread that’s packed with fiber to keep your body regular.
Your autumn vacation ideas have to include healthy snacks to keep your bodies healthy. Consider these foods when you want to make the most of your trip.
Autumn vacation ideas
Going on a road trip is among the most popular autumn vacation ideas. You just need to ensure you’re packing right, preparing your car, and making smart decisions along the way. Before you have to call an automobile locksmith to save you in the middle of the road, be sure to rely on these tips. These considerations will help you make the most of your next autumnal vacation.