It’s the time of year when college students head back to their campuses and classrooms and begin planning their social calendars for the next few months. For many of them this will include road trips to follow their football team to away games in other states or going away for a weekend road trip with friends before mid-terms. A few who are in long distance relationships will travel many, many miles to visit a boyfriend or girlfriend who is attending a faraway school. In all these cases students need to keep a few things in mind when planning their road trip.

While college students are usually focused on having a good time, they need to take steps to ensure their safety and to try to anticipate problems. This may be as simple as carrying a few road maps in case their GPS app fails or making sure they have a spare tire in their trunk. They should also make sure they have a tire repair kit (and know how to use it), extra water and snacks, and see if their insurance includes roadside assistance.

It is usually a good idea to do some routine maintenance before going on longer road trips. This includes making sure the oil has been changed recently and that the appropriate fluids have been topped off. Rotating or balancing their tires is another precaution that doesn’t take too much time. As the weather changes, they may want to switch out their touring tires for winter tires if they will be traveling on icy or snowy roads.

Once the safety checklists have been completed, students can plan for the truly important things: what food, music, and technology to take along. They may also want to take some time to investigate interesting attractions along the way and decide whether to take the most direct route or figure out if they have the time to meander along the scenic bypasses. One thing is for sure, they will be taking lots of pictures and videos to upload to their favorite social media sites.

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