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Before You Hit the Road: Essential Pre-Trip Checks Every Driver Needs

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Plan, plan, plan! Before leaving for a trip drivers should check these things and be prepared for anything.

Ready to hit the road, darling? After years of holding down the fort, the travel bug is probably biting you something fierce if you are a woman over 50. Not to mention coming out of the gray cocoon of winter. Whether you’re planning a romantic escape with your husband, a fun-filled adventure with the grandkids, or a liberating solo journey, hitting the open road promises a world of discovery and rejuvenation. But before you throw your bags in the car and crank up the tunes, a little pre-trip prep goes a long way in ensuring a smooth and safe adventure.

That said, before you go driving off into the great unknown, you should probably do a little planning. Spontaneity is great until you find yourself on the road, looking in vain for a “vacancy” sign because you forgot to make reservations. Or until you take a wrong turn and find yourself out in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire because you hit a pothole you didn’t see until it was too late.

The point is, a little preparation can go a long way, and it’s important to stay safe when you’re away from home. Read on for how to do just that.

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Essential Pre-Trip Checks for the Savvy Woman on the Go

Be Weather Wise When Traveling

Don’t underestimate Mother Nature’s power! Pack your detective skills and become a weather sleuth. Use a reliable weather app to check conditions 10-14 days beforehand for your destination and any potential stopovers. While the forecast can shift, having a rough idea can help you pack accordingly. Flash floods, summer storms, or scorching desert heat can seriously impact your trip. Remember, packing for unexpected downpours or a surprise heatwave can make all the difference between a delightful detour and a travel disaster.

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Join my private Facebook groups for women over 50!

Come find your supportive community of like-minded women! Join these private Facebook groups:

🌻 Women over 50: Celebrate Visibility

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Pre-Trip Essentials Drivers Shouldn’t Skip

Best Tips on Packing for the Elements

Speaking of heat, staying hydrated is crucial. Pack plenty of water – aim for 2-4 glasses an hour. Skip sugary drinks and alcohol, and opt for light meals like salads or sandwiches. Sun protection is key, so pack sunscreen (get my tips of shopping for sunscreen as a skin cancer survivor here), light-colored, breathable clothing (cotton is your friend!), sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat. Remember, overheating is no joke, so prioritize cool comfort. Read my ultimate list of packing tips here.

For your car, consider bringing extra coolant in case things get toasty under the hood. Bonus tip: Pack a small travel cooler to keep your water bottles and snacks refreshingly chilled, especially on long stretches of road.

Before Leaving for a Trip, What Drivers Should Check

Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection:

 Now, let’s talk about your trusty chariot (car, SUV – you get the picture!). Give it a thorough once-over before you leave. Consider an oil change, even if it’s not quite due. Imagine the stress of a flashing “check oil” light in the middle of nowhere! Have your mechanic check the oil, tires (look for worn tread, bulging sidewalls, and uneven wear), and brakes. Rotate your tires if needed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your mechanic is there to ensure your safety, so don’t hesitate to inquire about any potential issues or upcoming maintenance needs.

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Be Ready for Anything

It’s always a good idea to be a pro at preparedness. Pack a well-stocked car emergency kit that includes a spare tire, jack, lug wrench, jumper cables, a flashlight, and a tow strap. Consider roadside assistance for added peace of mind.

Knowing what to do in case of an accident is also essential. Take pictures of the scene (including any damage to your car and the other vehicles involved), exchange information with other drivers involved, and contact your insurance company. Remember to stay calm and collected – you’ve got this!

Embrace Your Inner MacGyver

Pack a small toolbox with some basic tools – a screwdriver, pliers, and a roll of duct tape can be lifesavers for minor roadside fixes. You never know when a loose screw or a popped fuse might need a quick fix. Plus, there’s a certain sense of empowerment that comes from being able to handle minor car troubles yourself.

Safe Travels Start Here — Essential Tips for Women Over 50

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I hope you’ll join me on this exciting group travel experience! Click here to learn more!

Don’t Neglect Your Health on the Road

Good hygiene habits are essential, no matter where you travel. Pack disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer to combat germs. If you’re tackling winding roads, motion sickness pills can be your savior. A first-aid kit with essentials like antiseptic wipes, bandages, and medications you use regularly is always a good idea. Check with the Red Cross for a complete list.

Packing for Comfort and Fun

Now, let’s talk about the fun stuff! Pack comfortable shoes that can handle sightseeing adventures and maybe even a light hike. Don’t forget a cozy wrap or sweater for chilly evenings, and a swimsuit if you plan on visiting any beaches, pools, or hot springs. Get more travel packing tips here.


Solo Travelers

Ladies hitting the road solo, here’s to you! Pack a personal safety alarm for peace of mind. Consider letting trusted friends or family know your travel itinerary and check in with them periodically. Explore apps designed for solo female travelers – they can offer valuable tips and resources.

Traveling with Grandkids

Pack a small duffel bag filled with entertainment for the little ones – coloring books, crayons, travel games, and maybe even a few small toys. Snacks are key for keeping everyone happy, so pack a variety of healthy and energy-boosting snacks like fruits, nuts, and veggie sticks. Surprise them with a new book or small travel game to keep them occupied during longer stretches of the drive. Remember, a little planning goes a long way in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable road trip for everyone.

Be a Globetrotting Grandma: Travel with Grandchildren

Tech Savvy Travel

In today’s digital world, staying connected is a must. Pack a car charger or a portable power bank to keep your phone juiced up. Download audiobooks, podcasts, or playlists for some on-the-road entertainment. Consider investing in a portable GPS system, especially if you’re unfamiliar with your destination. Many GPS systems offer helpful features like traffic updates and points of interest.

Hit the Road with Confidence

Now that you’re prepped and prepared, it’s time to hit the open road with confidence! Buckle up, turn up the tunes (or your favorite audiobooks!), and embrace the adventure that awaits. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination, so savor the sights, sounds, and experiences along the way.

Happy and Safe Travels!

Do you have any pre-trip essentials you swear by? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments below!

Did you like this story? Please consider subscribing to my newsletter for ongoing inspiration for women over 50.


Come find your supportive community of like-minded women! Join these private Facebook groups:

🌻 Women over 50: Celebrate Visibility

🌼Sisters in Widowhood: Life Transition

🌷 Estranged Mothers and Grandmothers: Millions Strong

*This story contains links that when purchased, Honey Good receives a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

March 12, 2024

Family Travel, Packing Tips, Solo travel, Travel, Traveling with Friends, Traveling with Grandkids

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