You've mapped out your destinations, packed plenty of delicious snacks and charged your camera battery, but have you really prepared everything you need to have the best road trip ever? Most of us don't think twice about hopping in our vehicles and speeding off to a new adventure, but more often than not vacations and road trips are interrupted by automobile breakdowns, making you wait for roadside assistance. Here are three easy ways to ensure your road trip doesn't turn into a complete disaster.

Pre-Trip Checkup
While you should regularly maintain your vehicle, it is all too easy to let it slip when things are running smoothly. Before you leave on your next road trip, take your car to your local service station and have them do a safety check. If you're car savvy, or just want to check things out yourself, you can save a little bit of money and go over a safety checklist.

Start by checking your fluids, including the oil, coolant, power steering and washer fluid. Getting an oil change is always recommended before leaving on a long trip and can save you some stress. While you're under the hood, take a look at the belts and hoses. If you notice any fraying or cracks, you should have them replaced before your trip.

Next, check your tires for uneven wear or low pressure. Tires are more susceptible to having problems during the summer as they are in constant contact with hot asphalt, so be sure that you have them inflated to the recommended pressure levels, not just the maximum pressure. Check to make sure your spare tire is inflated correctly and that you have the necessary tire jack equipment as well.

Emergency Kit
It is a smart idea to have an emergency kit with some essentials to keep you safe and alive in case you cannot get assistance within a few hours. Some of the most important items to take with you on any road trip include drinking water, matches, blankets, a pocketknife, jumper cables and some non-perishable food such as granola or jerky. Having an emergency kit could save your life, so be sure to check often to make sure you have the right tools and items in your vehicle at all times.

Emergency Roadside Assistance Plan
One of the best ways to have confidence on your road trip is to be a member of an emergency roadside assistance plan. These companies provide breakdown services such as flat tire changes, jumping a dead battery and towing you to a nearby service station. They can help you open your door if you lock your keys in and even bring you a couple gallons of gas in case you run out. While having a roadside assistance plan can give you peace of mind, they can also save you money. The best roadside assistance services offer discounts on lodging, car rental, food and more. These benefits can help make your road trips more affordable and enjoyable.

Road trips are one of the great joys of vehicle ownership and nothing can spoil a road trip faster than car problems. Be prepared as you traverse the highways this year; apply these three suggestions and make your road trip or vacation the best one yet.

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