No matter your age or income, heed our advice and grab the fam or a couple close friends this summer, and get out there on the best trip of your life. And, because gobs of lists already exist to help you to know exactly what to do and where to go on your next road trip… Here’s a list of what not to do (hey, this stuff ’s important too)!

DON’T SKIP PREEMPTIVE CAR MAINTENANCE

Properly inflated tires? How’s your tire tread? Engine topped off with fresh oil? Brake system, blinkers, and windshield wipers functioning properly and fully operational (with windshield wiper fluids galore)?

You never know when the road’s going to hand you a twisty turn or a large bug is going to commit suicide on your windshield. So, don’t forget to check those before you go! And, while you’re at it, also check Old Nellie’s battery life, transmission and differential fluids, hoses, belts, and coolant.

Take the time to check off your car maintenance items checklist before you leave, because if your car acts up later, it could ruin your entire vacation.

DON’T PASS ON CHEAP GAS

It pays to shop around for the best prices – especially if you’re filling up a larger recreational vehicle, like a motorhome or RV, or a seemingly endless caravan of vehicles on your group trip. Taking the time to check out local gas prices along the way pays. Shop the best deals around at GasBuddy.com.

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DON’T SKIMP ON SNACKS

As the acting mother of two under 10, I can’t stress how important it is to pack an assortment of snacks, y’all. Whether you’re hitting the road for a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks, you’re going to need sustenance when you’re stuck in your car.

Despite fast food and gas station food and treats being the traditional go-tos for the American road warrior’s diet, just because something’s become normalized doesn’t mean you have to compromise the healthy eating habits of your family. Save your waistband and silence your fam’s growling tummies with nutritious, packable snacks like mozzarella string cheese and apple slices, beef jerky, carrot sticks or grapes, and hummus with sliced bell peppers.

If you forget to plan your snacks ahead, flip to this month’s health section for tips from Campbell County Health Wellness Services Technician and Phlebotomist Rachel Wilde on how to eat healthy at a quick shop.

DON’T ‘WING IT’ AT MEALTIME

Plan out your meal stops ahead of time… Because hangry happens, people. Everyone needs a break from the road, especially when traveling with young kiddos. Know where to go (and stop) along the way… before hunger strikes.

By planning which eateries to hit up along your journey, you can also avoid walking into overpriced and overcrowded, crumby eats… And, ensure everybody is fed and happy!

For me, food is pretty much the most important part of any (road) trip. You can take my word for it — or just ask any of my closest friends or member of my family. For this reason, I’m considered a bit of a foodie guru and a credible source for those looking to find the best restaurants and food stops along their route, wherever it may be. If I’m not already familiar with the establishments along the way to your destination, I know someone else who is — or at least how to learn more about an area’s restaurant offerings.

For your next road trip, you’re welcome to take me along with (I’ll gladly do the snack and meal-planning legwork for you in exchange for complimentary 5-star accommodations at any of the top Kimpton hotels of your desired destination location). Or… you could simply give my trusty go-tos a try: Roadfood and TVFoodMaps.

DON’T NOT STOP (AND SCORE DEALS) AT VISITOR’S CENTERS

If you think visitor’s centers are just outdated thoroughfares for picking up printed, fold-out area roadmaps and taking pottie breaks, you’re flat out mistaken.

Visitor’s centers can also be great places to snag coupon books and brochures chock-full with local deals and discounted venue tickets. You know what else is always free at a visitor’s center? Advice from staffers! In my experience, these often talkative, outdoorsy, and retired/volunteer-types, are the same guys and gals who dole out some of the best insights into which attractions are actually worthwhile and which lackluster, touristy ones are best to pass on.

DON’T BE SHY

When you prep for your next road trip, don’t forget to take your time to take care, take initiative, be adventurous, and, perhaps most importantly, drive safely.

I’ll see you out there — on the open road — this summer! If you see me, in my bright yellow 2015 Honda Fit: the one with the sexy roof rack and two too adorable littles in tow [you really can’t miss (me in) it], be sure to wave and say hello!

FYI, not being kind and friendly is totally on the ‘What Not To-Do on a Road Trip’ list!

By: Stephanie L. Scarcliff for 82717

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