1. Vehicle CareKeeping your SUV in optimum condition ensures it handles the rigors of a long trip. If you plan to have an oil change done before leaving, also request a vehicle inspection. This is where a certified technician inspects the major components of your SUV to ensure everything is working well. If the technician finds a small issue, they can fix it right away, which could prevent a breakdown from occurring. Even if they find nothing, the inspection gives you peace of mind your vehicle will handle the demands of a long trip. If you don’t need to take your SUV in, it’s still a great idea to check fluid levels, belt conditions, and tires. For tires, you should inspect them for signs of fraying or cracks. Many newer SUVs have built-in tire pressure monitoring you can access on your vehicle’s information center. For proper care, be sure to keep the SUV’s tires at the right PSI levels as specified in your vehicle owner’s manual.
2. Become Acclimated with Your Co-pilotMany SUVs possess excellent technological features to aid you in your drives. From voice on command systems, where you can control everything from audio to phone functions, to more sophisticated offerings such as real-time traffic alerts and voice-guided directions, these tools ease the stress of driving in new areas. If you plan to use these features and don’t have much experience with them, now is an excellent time to practice. Moreover, if you have these tools but don’t have the services activated—such as roadside assistance—now is a great time to purchase them on the off chance you’ll need them during the trip.
3. Entertaining Your GuestsSome SUV models include rear entertainment systems. These come in handy if you have children you plan to travel with, as it will keep them engaged during your long trips. If you have an SUV with this feature, be sure to pack plenty of DVDs and/or audio books to accommodate them. If your SUV doesn’t have this feature, you can pack cards, books, a tablet and travel games. This will keep your kids from becoming restless on the trips. In addition, you’ll want to bring a music device such as an iPod or your phone with playlists set up. Not only will this make drives more enjoyable, but you won’t have to worry about toggling to find the music you want.
4. Maximize Your SUV’s CapabilitiesMany SUVs have functional interiors, perfect for storing your luggage, golf bags or other items accompanying you on your trip. Furthermore, they possess powerful torque output, which is perfect if you need to haul items like jet skis or a small trailer. Overall, your SUV has amazing interior functionality and capability, so make it work for you.
5. Prepare for ContingenciesIt’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit packed in your SUV. You can buy these at many department and local grocery stores. As part of your kit, you should include at least a few bottles of water, a blanket and any medication you and/or your passengers are taking. Next, you need to have a contingency plan in case your SUV breaks down. This should include a roadside emergency kit. Along with this, it is ideal to have roadside assistance, as it provides much-needed help if a breakdown occurs. It’s also important to pack toiletries such as tissues, paper towels for spills and toilet paper, just on the off chance the restrooms you visit are low on supplies. Last, but not least, keep a spare set of keys on you at all times. This prevents you from becoming locked out of your SUV which can be an expensive and time-consuming error.
6. Stay on CourseThere are many excellent apps available to plan your route well such as Waze and Google Maps, which you can download on your smartphone and sync with your SUV’s infotainment system—if available. A current road Atlas is a great buy just on the off chance you become lost and your mapping app is down.
7. Keeping ChargedInstead of stopping for questionable food choices at gas stations or rest stops, consider packing a cooler instead with fresh fruit, vegetables, and bottled water. This will reduce the stops you’ll have to take, and it will keep you and your passengers hydrated and energized on your trip. Moreover, use your SUV to your advantage by packing a portable grill. Since most come with plug-in connectivity, it gives your family a fun way to enjoy great food and beautiful views on the go.
8. Camp OutIf you plan to travel with your spouse only, consider camping out in your SUV. You can fold down the seats to create enough space to sleep, using a sleeping bag or air mattress. This creates an intimate setting where you can enjoy the breathtaking views of nature together. Ultimately, SUVs deliver the technological tools and interior space needed to make them the best vehicles for your road trips. By planning ahead, you’re likely to encounter fewer issues on the road. Moreover, you’ll have everything you need to ensure your trip is exhilarating and memorable.
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