Whether you’re heading out on a weekend getaway or you’re planning an epic cross-country adventure, choosing the right car is essential for having a good road trip experience. If you’ll be setting out on the open road soon, use these tips to help you pick the right vehicle.
1. Consider the Size of the Car
The size of your vehicle is one of the most important considerations during a road trip. On one hand, you don’t want to drive something that guzzles gas and is difficult to park if it’s just you a friend or two. On the other hand, a too-small vehicle will be a cramped and uncomfortable trip even if you are traveling with six of your besties.
Look for something that provides plenty of leg room and room for your gear without going overboard. For example, if it’s just you and one other person, a two-seater with a large trunk is probably fine. If it’s you and three other people, consider a five- or six-seater so that everybody has some room to move around.
2. Think About How Much You’ll Spend on Gas
A sweet little sports car or luxury SUV might be fun and flashy for a road trip, but these cars come with a price. Sports cars and large SUVs aren’t made with fuel economy in mind. They usually don’t get as many miles to the gallon, meaning you’ll spend plenty of money, not to mention time, stopping to refuel. Choose to drive a fuel-friendly, family-style sedan instead. It may not be as flashy, but you’ll save more money to spend on your fun adventures along the way.
3. Make Sure It Has Some Bells and Whistles
Above all else, choose a car that has a built-in GPS system, especially if your road trip is on the longer side or taking you into unfamiliar territory. You’ll also want a vehicle that can easily charge multiple phones, tablets, or handheld gaming systems, although you can “stretch” the ports by purchasing a splitting cord that allows you to charge multiple devices from the same main port. If your road trip will involve little ones in the backseat, consider taking a car that has built-in DVD players to keep them occupied while you drive.
4. Research the Vehicle’s Safety Ratings
Choosing a vehicle that is just the right size or uses just the right amount of fuel won’t mean anything if it’s not safe. With a new recall on the news what feels like daily, researching a car’s safety rating before taking it on a road trip is a must. Look into any recalls, how it held up against crash tests, whether it’s easy to turn on sharp corners, whether it handles well on various types of terrains, and so on. If you’re renting a road trip car or using a friend’s and haven’t driven it before, take it for a few test drives first to ensure you’re comfortable on the road.
5. Make the Ride More Comfortable
The truth is that no matter how hard you work at finding the right car for a road trip, none of them will be 100 percent perfect. Find the best car you can but take extra steps to ensure comfort as well. This might mean purchasing seat cushions to keep your back and tailbone comfortable while driving, grabbing a couple of blankets in case people can’t agree on the air conditioning temperature, or choosing a ride with seats that recline so that everybody can be comfortable during a rest stop nap.
Regardless of how far you’re going on what you plan to do on your road trip, research your vehicle choices far in advance. Doing so ensures you have plenty of time to choose the one that is right for your trip and that you don’t end up settling for something uncomfortable or too costly to benefit your trip.