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2022 Summer Road Trip Essentials Checklist

Looking to get away before the summer’s over and take a road trip? Breathing the fresh air, feeling the wind in your hair and leaving your cares behind can do wonders for the mind and body. But before you set out on your adventures, you’ll need a road trip essentials checklist.

Brian Moody, Executive Editor of Autotrader shared invaluable tips on YurView’s Creative Living show on how to prepare for a fun-filled road trip. Check out the interview by host Jane Clauss in the video above, or read the full transcription below (lightly edited for clarity)

road trip essentials

Proper Car Maintenance

Jane Clauss, Host of Creative Living (00:03) – Before you set out on your adventures this summer, we’ve got a summer road trip checklist just for you. Autotrader’s Executive Editor Brian Moody is here to get us ready for our road trip. Hey, Brian.

Brian Moody, Executive Editor for Autotrader (00:15) – Hey, thank you for having me. Yeah, people are going to take road trips. I think people want to take road trips, because, honestly, they want to just get out. Gas is expensive, of course, but I think people just want to be away. With that in mind, there are a few things to keep in mind when you are on that road trip.

(00:31) – The first thing is make sure that your car is properly maintained, that you’ve been servicing it. And if you need help doing that, there’s actually a Kelley Blue Book tool that will help you find what service your car needs, at what miles, how much it should cost. That’s kind of a cool one, and where you can get that done. In addition, they have a little page that says… here’s where all the warning lights mean. So if your warning light’s on, it will tell you… oh, it means this, this and this. So that’s the first thing I would do when setting out on a long road trip.

road trip essentials checklist

Road Trip Emergency Preparation

JC (00:57) – So that’s the first thing on our checklist. But you also say we should be prepared for emergencies. Correct?

BM (01:03) – Yeah, so depending on where you live, they might call it something different. The bottom line is just having an emergency road trip kit, an emergency kit in your car. And that might include things like snacks, water. If you live where it’s snowy or cold, you might want to include an extra pair of shoes, because remember, even in the summertime, it can get really cold in the mountains or in the desert.

(01:25) – I would include an extra cell phone charger, those detachable kind, but remember to bring a cable for each type of of phone. Also bring one of those rechargeable cell phone battery bricks, you know, like that can be portable because today having a cell phone, it’s not just a luxury anymore. It’s kind of necessary.

road trip essentials checklist

Check for Recalls

JC (01:43) – Smart. Okay, you’re also saying that we need to look for recalls. What does that mean?

BM (01:49) – So every car has, you know, the government has a system whereby if there are enough defects or enough complaints about a certain car or a feature in a car, the government will issue a recall. Or they’ll force the manufacturer to issue a recall. Most of them are voluntary. You can go online and you can look up recalls for your car by the vin. You can also just call your local dealership. And remember, recall repairs are always free.

Best Time to Drive

JC (02:15) – Alright, now people who love to take road trips have a lot of different opinions on this next question. And that is what is the best time to drive?

BM (02:26) – So the best time to drive for a variety of reasons is whenever it’s not the busiest, for example. So when there’s a lot of traffic, when it’s really crowded, then it’s gonna be harder on the driver. It’s gonna be more stressful. But a lot of people also say they want to drive at night. And that would fit that right. There’s going to be less people out at night.

(02:48) – It kind of depends on the individual person, but we tell people not to drive overnight. So if it’s starting to get dark, that’s probably okay. But look for the least popular times to go. So I would say for example, early morning is a great time to set out. Don’t wait till 10 or 11am. Get up if you can, be on the road by 7am. You’re going to be happier as a result.

JC (03:07) – Brian, great advice. Thank you so much. Alright. If you want more information, just head to Autotrader’s website.

Brian Moody is also a monthly contributor to YurView’s Creative Living show, airing Sundays at 8:30pm, Mondays at 7:30pm, Thursdays at 8pm and Saturdays at 10pm.