If you are going on a long journey, you need to put in a number of sensible checks before you leave. These checks depend on whether you plan to travel by car, bus, train, motorcycle or a combination of all of these. Below are organized 35 things that will help you prepare for long journeys, no matter what mode of travel you choose.
Traveling By Car: General Tips
- Use satellite navigation along with manual maps and landmarks for navigation.
- Plan your car journey in such a way as to ensure you don’t pass through busy locations during peak traffic times. This will only add stress to your journey.
- You have to depend on the conditions of roads, so be prepared to encounter road works and constructions en route. Plan for such delays.
- Take a break every two hours to avoid tiredness and loss of concentration. If you are traveling with family or partners, take turns driving.
- Stop your car every few hours on the wayside, open the doors and the trunk and let it air out. This will keep it from stinking up inside.
- If you have young children, plan on driving through the night as they are more likely to be asleep.
- Distribute the luggage evenly to prevent listing in the car. Listing on one side or the other can be dangerous if you are traveling steep roads.
- Make sure that if you have a flat tire, you’re quickly able to retrieve the spare tire. Don’t pile up your entire luggage on the spare tire.
Traveling By Car: Traveling With Kids
- Ensure that your child seats are securely fastened; fix booster seats children under 12.
- Turn off the airbag if a baby is traveling in the front in a baby seat, or else put the baby in the back.
- Don’t forget the entertainment; carry DVDs, plenty of music, headsets, a few card games, puzzle games and handheld game stations for your kids.
Traveling By Car: Prepare Your Car
- Before traveling, check your car for the proper tire pressures, any tire damage and check if you have a spare tire on board. Maintain tire pressure for the number of people traveling with you.
- Check if you have your jack and basic car-servicing tools in your trunk.
- Check the state of your windscreen wipers and carry sufficient screen wash.
- Checking the tires pressure helps improve the car’s maneuverability.
- Make sure your tire tread is at least 1.6 mm, which is the legal requirement. Worn tires expand in wet weather, which changes your handling and increases your stopping distance.
- Check your engine and keep an eye on the water and oil levels to avoid overheating or a breakdown.
- Test your windscreen; your windscreen wiper reservoir should be full and the wipers should not be damaged.
Traveling By Bus Or Train
- Some trains and buses have luggage restrictions, so always make sure to check. Generally, you can take as many bags and pillows as you want, as long as you don’t encroach on other travelers’ space.
- Pack sufficient books, toys, music and games to keep young ones occupied, as there’s nothing much to do on bus journeys.
- Long bus journeys can be hard on your back, so take support pillows for your neck and back.
- Your feet may swell, so take relaxed rubber footwear and warm socks for bus travel.
- Carry blankets and sweaters for night travel, since not all buses come with internal heating.
- Get up from your seat, stretch your legs and move your arms and down when traveling by bus. This will keep your blood circulation going and keep your feet from swelling and cramping.
Research Your Destination
- Create a map of your route and clearly mark the various temporary destinations on the way.
- Print out the addresses, phone numbers and names of contact persons of places where you want to stay on the way.
- If you have friends and contacts on your route, make sure you carry their addresses and phone numbers.
- Don’t forget to thoroughly research your travel destinations before you set off. You need to know about emergency services, hospitals, recommended and safe accommodations and costs, and other things.
- Before you leave, look up Google Maps and map gas stations, eateries, rest house points, pubs, and camping spots on your route. Print out the maps you need and mark necessary points clearly using different color pens.
Things To Carry
- Mobile phone, hands free kit and mobile phone charger
- Warm clothing, extra blankets, pillows and a rug
- A couple of torches and torch batteries
- Vehicle breakdown service telephone number and your membership number
Fight The Fear Factor
- Many people are scared of taking off on long journeys. Things such as crime, theft, the need for travel immunizations, bad food and traveling alone put them off. Remember that the excitement of the unknown more than makes up for the fear of the unknown.
Don’t Buy Too Much!
- New travelers tend to over-organize and buy expensive, unnecessary items for their impending trips. Take only necessities. Don’t load up on luggage or else you’ll be left lugging it everywhere and ruin your trip.
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