It’s the stuff of American legend—the cross-country road trip. Many people view it as a rite of passage or something they can put on their bucket list. But for those of us who are ready to take the plunge, there are a few points that must be kept in mind. Below, we’ll outline five things every wayfarer should have or have reviewed in order to have a safe, fun, memorable experience.

Tune Ups and Contingency Plans

If you’re taking your own vehicle, be sure to have it serviced, tuned, and ask your mechanic to perform distance readiness checks on all systems. When you set out your budget for the journey, be sure to include a slush fund for antifreeze, oil, and even tow-truck fees in case of an emergency. Belonging to an auto club that will provide roadside assistance is also a good idea, and usually quite inexpensive.

Plan Your Route

With such an epic adventure, planning should not be left to the last moment. Take time to decide which major highways you’ll follow, which cities you want to see, and even the roadside novelties along the way. Look into accommodations or camp sites along that path, and search out the best deals, so you can budget accordingly.

In Situ

One other way to venture across country is by renting an RV or more spacious automobile than you possess from places like Fretz RV. One of the biggest benefits to RVs is the ability to sleep in comfort at any campsite or rest stop. RVs can be compact, and often are, as opposed to what many of us envision from eras past. In fact, you may enjoy this mode of transport so much, with the freedom it provides from hotel reservations, that you may elect to purchase your own.

Itinerary and Contact Info

Many road trips involve stopping along the way to hike in the beautiful national parks along the way. If this is something you want to put on your agenda, it’s important that you log a general plan with someone close to you. That’s not to say that something will befall you, but it’s important to know where you were planning to go if something does.

Extra Stuff

If you take medications, be sure to carry a prescription, in case you lose your medication en route. Start packing about a week before you leave, and make a checklist to ensure that you don’t forget anything important. Have an emergency kit with water, blankets, batteries and other essentials for the trunk of your car in case you become stranded. And above all, remember to fill the washer fluid—highway bugs can be brutal.

A cross-country adventure is something everyone should undertake. It helps you to appreciate the legitimate scope of the country, meet people in real time, and discover yourself. Travel broadens our horizons and helps to deepen us via lived experience.