Driving cross country is a big commitment, and it is good to prepare well in advance of your trip to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch. You want your trip to be safe, efficient, and enjoyable. Therefore, planning ahead is key so that things go smoothly.

Here are some tips to make the best of your trip.

Plan out your route and have a GPS ready

Prepare your trip itinerary well in advance of your trip. You will also want guidance from a GPS or app such as Google Maps, which can help alert you to things like traffic issues. Also consider things like events that could affect your travels, such as inclement weather or a big event like Mardi Gras.

Prepare entertainment, and something to listen to

Driving many hours in the car can get boring, so you will want some ways to keep yourself entertained (even if you have other people in the car with you). This can be anything from music to podcasts to recorded books. Make sure that you have a good setup with your phone so that it is hands free and you can safely listen to things (it is not safe to drive with headphones or earbuds).

It is also a good idea for any passengers in the car to be entertained, especially if you have kids. Be sure that you have a plan for surviving a road trip with kids.

Make sure your vehicle is in good working condition

Before you leave, make sure that your vehicle is in top working condition. You will likely need an oil change. Check the condition of your tires, as you may need a tire change before heading out. Be sure that things like your wiper fluid is full. And it is always a good idea to clean out your car before any major trip so you can feel better about spending so much time in your vehicle.

Budget

Planning ahead for most things will allow you to save money, and road trips are no exception. Things like food and other supplies can add up quickly when you aren’t prepared. Pack the essentials, including plenty of snacks, first aid and roadside kit, beverages and water, etc. You can also save money by doing other things like booking hotels ahead of time.

Use space wisely

There are many different reasons for driving cross country, from a big move to simply doing a road trip. Regardless of your reason, you’ll want to make the most of the space you have in the car. Have trash bags on hand to keep clutter to a minimum. Use packing cubes and bags that are versatile. For example, when I travel, I use a variety of hard cases as well as soft duffels, so that if I use up things on the way, or accumulate things, I can adjust my luggage accordingly.