Here we are again, sliding sideways into the end of the year. Before we bank that last turn into the new year and the nondenominational holidays together though, as a country, we all pull into the proverbial pits to fuel up with Turkey and Aunt Janine’s homemade wine (no one has gone blind yet!).
For many people, Thanksgiving means a road trip. Some people fly, and for them, I have no tips other than to fly the Monday after and the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. For you car folks, I have lots of advice, and it’s totally worth what you are paying for it.
1. Change your oil and check all of your fluids before you leave. This seems like an easy thing that you would do anyway, but in reality, most people don’t. Obviously if you just changed your oil, you don’t need to change it again, but you do need to check your windshield washer fluid, and your antifreeze, and everything that goes along with the car. The guy in the picture above? He is standing with the car because he doesn’t want to hear his wife and kids complain about his lack of preparedness.
2. Make sure you have your Insurance ID card with you. See that guy up there? He’s making that face because he is trying to decide if you actually have insurance, or if you are just a dirty liar who drives without insurance and just says he has insurance. Here’s a tip – you are getting a ticket either way. Before you leave, make sure you have your ID, your insurance card, and any other relevant papers you might need.
3. Call your insurance agent and see if you have roadside assistance. Most insurance policies now offer roadside assistance coverage that covers a breakdown, running out of gas, or even locking yourself out of your car when you have to race in to the gas station restroom. If you don’t have roadside assistance on your policy, you should ask what it costs – in most cases it’s less than $20 a year. As long as you are on the phone to the agent, make sure you have all of the claims reporting numbers and you know what to do in the event of an accident.
4. Bring a paper map and/ or write down any directions you may need. As a species, we have embraced new technology, and are actually evolving so that we can no longer function without having a cell phone in our hand. This is a double edged sword, however. Sure, I can ignore your text quicker than ever, but I have also forgotten how to figure out where I am going without my phone. This is where a paper atlas or at least the relevant exits written on a piece of paper come in. There are vast stretches of this great land where there is no cellular reception. Don’t end up lost for lack of a piece of paper.
5. Bring some games and stuff for the kids. Remember the days before cell phones and in car DVD players? I sure do. You know what we did on road trips? We played car bingo and plenty of I Spy. I have provided one link, but go out and look for some other games to keep your kids busy. They can only watch “Fern Gully” so many times. Activate their brains a little, and show them some of the world.
I could keep giving you tips all day – take your own snacks, fill up before you are empty, and so on. Instead, I’m going to give you one final tip, then I’ll let you get on your way. My final tip? Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.