Before you make your way to one of the many Outer Banks vacation rentals, however, you'll want to take note of this sage advice. Not only can these 10 tips help you arrive in one piece, but they can also save you money and ensure all have a pleasant trip.
1. Conduct a Pre-Vacation Auto Checkup - Safety first is the best rule when traveling whether it is to the next town or across country. Before you load yourself and your family into the vehicle and take off to the Outer Banks, make sure:
- the oil levels are sufficiently high
- the tire pressure is optimal
- you have plenty of tread for the trip
- any mechanical problems have been fixed
- your windshield washer fluid reservoir is filled
- you have a jack and roadside safety kit in your trunk
2. Pack a Cooler - Snacks and meals on the road often turn into junk food feasts because fast food and gas station snacks are the most convenient. However, they are also expensive and usually have little to no nutritious value.The alternative is to pack your family's favorite snacks in a small cooler that can fit within easy reach (think backseat, floorboard, etc.). Go one step further and create a picnic lunch that you can all share at a rest stop along the way.3. Keep the Kids Busy - The Kids Activities Blog offers a huge list (40+) of car-friendly things to do. One favorite is to create a map from your home to your vacation rental and have the kids fill in the sights/signposts as they go along.4. Collect Car Chargers/Adapters - In today's electronic world, it's crucial that all our tools and gizmos are available and ready for use. Make sure you pack phones, tablets, GPSs, laptops, car DVD players and others, including their chargers. It might also be worth your while to invest in some car adapters (USB to car charger, AC to car charger, etc.), which can usually be picked up online for just a few dollars each.5. Download Newest Updates for GPS - If you're relying on a standalone GPS to get you to your Outer Banks vacation rental, take time to download the latest updates. It can take up to an hour depending on how many updates are available, but once the process is started, it can usually run without supervision.6. Pack Clothes for All Climates - When driving from one climate to another (from the Midwest to the Outer Banks, for instance), be sure to keep appropriate clothing handy. Pull a sweater, shorts or whatever you and the kids/pets will need from your suitcases and pack them in a separate bag that you keep in the car within easy reach.7. Stop at Mini-Destinations - Long trips can be made extra fun by incorporating planned stops at interesting destinations along the way. Especially if you're traveling a great distance, plan short breaks of a couple of hours to stretch your legs at interesting, local sights.Produce stands and farms give the opportunity for kids to learn, for everyone to get a delicious snack and for any pets you're traveling with to get out of their kennels for a bit.8. Check All the Spares - Nothing can put a damper on a road trip like a spare tire. That can only be topped by locking yourself out of the car. While you're at it, packing some extra batteries for cameras and toys is never a bad idea.9. Don't Push Too Hard - Even if your goal is to get to your destination in one day, follow the cues from your body. If you feel tired, sleepy or cooped up, change your schedule to allow time for a break or a good night's sleep. Having an accident or grumbling with everyone in the car isn't the best way to start your vacation.10. Care for Pets - The ASPCA offers excellent tips for traveling with your K-9 kids. Most importantly, confine your pet while the car is in motion. As the association points out, "A large dog in your lap or a small one bouncing around the accelerator pedal can be distracting and dangerous—and should you have an accident, your unrestrained dog might be thrown about the cab."Driving to vacation can be an adventure all its own. Taking these tips to heart can give everyone involved a joyful journey, as you travel to one of our Outer Banks vacation rentals and home again.If you enjoyed this then check out How to Avoid the Traffic on Your Drive to the Outer Banks.