Not to be a Debbie Downer, but road trips rarely go as planned.
Sometimes the plan deviates in minor ways like bad weather on your day at an amusement park.
Other times it can be extreme, like a car accident. In fact, you’re likely to experience a collision once every 17.9 years. The chances of this happening increases every extra minute you’re on the road.
When we’re talking a long road trip, well… you get the idea.
What other incidents could happen during a family road trip? How could you prepare for these possibilities so they won’t cause a major disruption or deviation of the plan?
What-if: Car Troubles
Car troubles are the most likely setbacks during any road trip. Events like flat tires, collisions, running out of gas, dead batteries, and overheating can and will happen if you’re on the road long enough or pushing the vehicle too hard.
Here’s what to do about those car troubles:
· Use gas location apps and GPS to make sure you fill up before long stretches.
· Stay the speed limit and keep your distance, especially around busses.
· Keep a spare, jack, and jumper cables in the back for the minor inconveniences.
· Pull well off the side of the road if you need to make an emergency stop.
· Check what’s plugged in to avoid draining the battery when not in use.
A tune-up and inspection before you head out will ensure everything is good to go. Otherwise, keep a few bucks on hand in the event you need a tow truck or rental car. Likewise, consider local transit, taxis, and rideshare programs when you’re at the destination to place less wear and tear on the car.
Nothing sticks out like a sore thumb more than a tourist. Unfortunately, lots of people prey on tourists which usually results in scams or theft. These problems are often curbed with common sense, research, and being inquisitive.
A few ways to avoid theft would be:
· Avoid touting valuable items (like a high-end camera) in public, so you’re not a target.
· Secure luggage inside the vehicle during extended stops, or bring it into the lodging.
· Keep a few bucks stuffed in your shoe as a monetary backup, if robbed.
· Don’t post on social media before the trip, so your place isn’t targeted while you’re away.
If you’re unfortunate and get robbed (or scammed) then take it to the local authorities. There are some chance cameras may have been recording the incident. Leave a report and your contact information – then hope for the best. Otherwise, it’s something you must grit your teeth and take the loss.
It sucks when you’re just about to head out and you come down with a cold. Worse is when you’re in transit and there’s a real medical emergency. Likewise, what happens if a family member back home is stricken with illness and you need to rush back?
Here are some things to do when illness strikes:
· Swing through an urgent care center to get stronger medications.
· Use apps to talk with doctors and get scripts if yours are lost.
· Get a quick loan or tap into credit cards to get home early.
Your credit card company can sometimes help you recoup losses due to cancellations. Customer service calls and a sob story works, too. An emergency fund is very important for the extreme.
An Open Mind on the Open Road
Don’t let these occurrences prevent you from taking a family road trip. Sure, these things do happen but it’s likely they won’t because the odds are with you.
You and the family deserve this big trip whether it’s seeing Mickey & friends at Disneyland or heading upstate to see the Northern Lights.
Keep these items in reference so you and family can get back on the road and have a blast!
Like they say: it’s better to be safe than sorry.