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Whether you have a cross-country trek in mind or you plan on taking the family to your old stomping grounds, coming up with a plan before you’re all buckled in is an easy way to ensure a safe and fun-filled trip for all.

In fact, according to Rand McNally, planning for a successful road trip begins at home. The company offers the following tips to consider so that you’re ready to go when departure day finally arrives:

1. To ensure that no one feels left out, put everyone to work as you begin your initial planning. Even if you’ve already decided where you’re going, there are still plenty of things to see and do along the way. As you prepare your final itinerary, be sure that everyone’s suggestions are taken into consideration.

2. Take some time to research a few new and exciting places that’ll serve as great locations to stop and visit on your route. Be sure to pick up magazines and guidebooks as you’re planning, as they’ll undoubtedly be full of things you may not have considered. Also scope out the internet and talk to friends and family for even more suggestions.

3. Map out the entire trip on an atlas, map or even your GPS to get a true sense as to where you’re going, as well as how long you should plan to be in the car. By mapping out your route, you can easily determine good places to stop along the way.

4. Nothing can take the fun out of a road trip as quickly as an unexpected car problem. If you’re planning on putting some serious miles on the car during your trip, be sure that it can handle the extra wear and tear. In addition to bringing your car in for a quick tune-up, make sure it’s stocked with a first-aid kit and anything else you may need should you run into a problem. Don’t forget extra food, water and blankets.

5. Before you take off, make sure your home is secure. Whether it’s setting timers for lights, arranging for mail pickup, cleaning out the refrigerator or making sure your pets will be cared for, it’s crucial to take care of these things before you go. Don’t forget to leave your itinerary with a family member in case of an emergency.

If you do some proper planning before getting into the car, your road trip is bound to be more enjoyable for the whole family.

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