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Road Tripping in Autumn: Tips for Comfort and Safety

When you think about road trips, you might imagine zooming along the highway with the windows down. The wind blowing in your hair and the sun is shining high in the sky. Road trips have and will always be one of the most popular getaways in the summertime. They’re cheap, adventurous, and cool, and the warm summer sun is the perfect backdrop for an adventure.

But, that certainly doesn’t mean that summer is the only time to pack the car up and hit the open road. Autumn and Winter are just around the corner and a time to take road trips too! And this is exactly what I had on my agenda in September when I had to pack up my son for college. We drove from Phoenix, Arizona to Washington DC for his cross the country move to go to Johns Hopkins to work on his master’s degree in International Global Securities! I thought it would be fun to go with him and do that one last hurrah before he launches himself into a wife and a family (eventually). Just a boy and his Mom out on the open road!

Road Tripping in Winter, Road Trip Safety, #roadtrip

Of course, the colder weather might be starting to arrive, but the benefits of a road trip don’t stop when the weather turns. If anything, colder temperatures can be more comfortable when you are cooped up in a car, and driving to the other side of the country, chasing the sun can be a great way to get the last few rays of the year. So that is what we did, chased the sun from Phoenix, and honestly, we found it the entire way!

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Tips to Stay Safe on a Winter (or Autumn) Road Trip:

Prepare Your Car

Road Tripping in Winter, Road Trip Safety, #roadtrip

Whenever you are going on a road trip, it’s crucial that you take the time to prepare your car. If you want to add something special for your road trip, look at number plates for sale and cool car accessories. You might also want to get your car cleaned inside and out so that it’s more comfortable and looks smarter for your trip. 

Road Tripping in Winter, Road Trip Safety, #roadtrip

But, more importantly, you need to make sure it’s in good working order so that it can keep you safe on the road. The last thing that you want is to end up breaking down somewhere unfamiliar on a cold day. So, take your car in for a full service before a big trip, and spend some time doing some basic car safety checks yourself. 

Mark Some Possible Stops on Your Map App

Road Tripping in Winter, Road Trip Safety, #roadtrip

It might actually be easier to drive long distances on a cooler day when it’s not sticky and hot. But, you might still want to stop a few times on the way to your destination. Look at a map before you start your drive and research a few possible stops along the way. Book some hotels if you’d like to, but either way, mark a few stops on the map so that you’ve got something to aim for if you need it. We marked a few ourselves: Painted Desert in Arizona, Santa Fe in New Mexico, Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX were just a few of the ones we marked off. We couldn’t go everywhere, as we did have a deadline to get him moved in, but we did pick a few fun pit stops.

Road Tripping in Winter, Road Trip Safety, #roadtrip

Pack Layers of Clothes

While you are in the car, you should have a heating system. But, this isn’t always comfortable, and at some point, you might want to leave your vehicle. At this time of year, the weather can be unpredictable. When the sun comes out, it can still be warm, but there can be a fresh breeze and spontaneous showers. And it’s only going to get worse. 

So, make sure you pack lots of light layers that are easy to add and remove and don’t take up too much room in the car. You should also have a bigger coat, gloves and a hat to hand, in case you find yourself out of the vehicle for any period.

Road Tripping in Winter, Road Trip Safety, #roadtrip

Don’t Forget Waterproof Rainboots

Waterproof rain boots are another must if it rains. You might not be comfortable driving in rainboots or wellies and a big waterproof coat, but you should keep them nearby just in case there’s a wet day. A light waterproof jacket and waterproof boots are ideal. You should also have a bag to put them in when you remove them, to keep your car and luggage dry, we stored them in a plastic kitchen bag and ended up never having to use them!

Road Tripping in Winter, Road Trip Safety, #roadtrip

Pack Sensibly

Packing layers and waterproof jackets are great. But, only if you can get to them. They are no good at the bottom of your suitcase or underneath all of your other luggage. Pack sensibly, thinking about what you need for the journey and making sure that anything that you could possibly need on your trip is easy to reach, you’ve got a small overnight bag for any stops, and that everything that you need for the first night is at the top of your bag so that you don’t have to unpack straight away. 

Keep Snacks and Drinks in the Cabin

Snacks and drinks are always a must on a long trip. Keep some supplies in the cabin so that you’ve got them when you need them. Pack some healthy options, as well as treats and try to avoid anything too sticky, smelly, or messy. Then, make sure you’ve got a bag for rubbish. 

Add an Emergency Bag 

There’s no reason to think that anything will go wrong on your road trip, but it can’t hurt to prepare just in case. Pack an emergency bag with a blanket, torch, power supply, and anything else that could keep you safe.

Road Tripping in Winter, Road Trip Safety, #roadtrip

Interested in even more road trips?

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Disclosure: This article was sponsored and contains affiliate links.


Friday 20th of September 2019

Great post! Thanks for sharing..

Cacinda Maloney

Saturday 21st of September 2019

You are welcome!

Stephen Boock

Friday 13th of September 2019

Thanks for sharing such an amazing and useful articles with us. I try to learn from you as much as I can. Thanks again 🙂

Cacinda Maloney

Saturday 14th of September 2019

Thanks for the comment!

Richard Hadlee

Thursday 12th of September 2019

This is a great article. Very insightful with a great level of detail.

Cacinda Maloney

Thursday 12th of September 2019

Richard, so glad you like it!

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