Travel Tips to Help Road Trippers Hit the Ground Running

Perhaps no other time of year is more anticipated than spring. After a cold winter, many people await the arrival of spring like a child awaits the arrival of Christmas morning.

Among the more popular annual rites of spring is the road trip. A chance to tackle the great outdoors with the spring wind in your hair, spring road trips have come to define a season beloved by outdoor enthusiasts. For those planning their own road trip this season, consider the following tips to ensure yours goes off without a hitch.

* Give your car a thorough wash. While it might seem obvious to get your car washed once spring arrives, few might be aware that a thorough car wash pays practical as well as aesthetic dividends. Over the course of a typical winter, vehicles are exposed to all sorts of harmful elements, including salt used to improve icy road conditions and slush and grime leftover over from winter snowstorms. These elements can create deposits that make it difficult for a car to run smoothly, resulting in poor fuel efficiency and possibly harming the vehicle even further. So while a freshly cleaned car might look the part of the perfect vehicle on a spring road trip, there's also substance behind that image, as a clean car is guaranteed to run more smoothly.

* Don't forget the first aid kit, but pack it last. Road trips, especially those with active kids along for the ride, often include a few cuts or scrapes. That's why it's always wise to take inventory of the first aid kit before heading out on the road. Make sure the first aid kit is fully stocked since the last time you hit the road. Also, be sure to pack the first aid last, after all the luggage and snacks. In case of a legitimate emergency, you will want the first aid kit readily available and won't want to waste time digging it out from under everything else in the trunk of the car.

* Give a passenger a spare set of car keys. No one plans on losing their car keys; it just happens from time to time. At home, this can be a nuisance. On a road trip, particularly one to a remote area, this can be a disaster. While you don't have to plan on losing your keys, you can plan on what you'll do if you lose them by making a spare set for a passenger along for the trip. That way, if your travels take you on a hike in some isolated woodlands or to soak up some rays at the beach, you'll have a spare set of keys readily available should yours end up missing.

* Bring along a cooler for snacks and beverages. Many a road trip has been bogged down by pitstops at roadside eateries or convenience stores for things as simple as a snack or a bottle water. However, road trippers can make great time and save a little money by packing a cooler filled with snacks and beverages. For those short on space, consider a collapsible cooler. Unlike traditional bulky coolers made of hard plastic, collapsible coolers fold up easily when not in use, creating valuable storage space as a result.

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