Build a Better Summer Road Trip

Regular car care (and a little bit of planning) equals a stress-free break.

It’s Wednesday. It’s been a long week. But the sun is shining, the forecast looks sunny and mild, and the road is calling. Can you be prepped and driving by Friday afternoon?

Yes! You can if you follow our to-do’s for an (almost) carefree weekend (or longer) getaway. It starts by staying on top of car maintenance — all the time — and includes some travel-savvy tips to keep your time on the road and in your VW memorable and fun. Here’s what to do.

Geek out on good maintenance

It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway): Car prep and care is a year-round task. Make sure you:

  • Have the necessary emergency gear in your trunk. Try the Alltrack Survival Kit with a 12-hour light stick, a whistle, a rain poncho, a first aid quick guide, and more.
  • Regularly re-check car seats to ensure they’re secured properly.
  • Thinking weeks — or even months — ahead can help your impromptu or planned trips go off without a hitch. Follow your owner’s manual recommendations for checking tires, exterior lights, and fluids and scheduling oil changes.

Stop, breathe, and plan (just a little)

Don’t step foot into the car until you’ve completed these tasks:

  • Think about your littles (if you have them). A back-seat basket of goodies —  crayons, books, and small toys — makes it easier to pass the time on the road. To make your life easier, corral it all in a convenient, portable folding box.
  • Charge away — your electronics, that is. While you’re at it, set up a playlist for music or podcasts to entertain you on the road. (And keep charging cords in the car so you can fuel your devices while you’re traveling, too.)
  • Stash your snacks. Load up a Big Cooler with easy-to-grab options such as mixed nuts or fruit. Keep a trash bag handy for all your throw-aways.
  • Stay prepared for weather with the right gear, such as an inverted umbrella that you keep in the car.
  • Make sure that your available VW Car-Net® is updated and tuned to your preferences. That includes App-Connect1 (perfect for keeping your maps and directions in order), Guide & Inform2 (just in case the weather doesn’t listen to the forecast), and Security & Service3 (if you need to call for help or simply misplaced your car).
  • Fuel up! It goes without saying. And did we mention that VW Car-Net® can check fuel stations and prices so you get the best deal?2

And away we go — relish the journey

Your car is ready. You’re ready. What more can we say? Oh, right: Practice good driving habits.

  • Keep distractions, such as smart devices, out of reach.
  • Switch drivers (if possible) at regular intervals to prevent fatigue.
  • Stop every few hours to stretch, empty your trash bag, rest, and relax. For good measure, keep a handy picnic blanket in your car.
  • Pack a collapsible water bowl and pet pickup bags for four-legged friends who need a rest area.
  • Never leave kids or animals unattended in your vehicle.

On the road (back home) again…

Congratulations! You’ve made it there and back again. Don’t forget to:

  • Toss and recycle the last bits of road-trip papers, cups, and more.
  • Restock any supplies (think coloring books) you may have used on the trip.
  • Make an appointment with your local VW dealer for any regularly scheduled maintenance.

Remember: The best stories and unforgettable memories don’t come from the trips that went off without some detours. When you’re caught in a misadventure that becomes part of the adventure, try to roll with it.

The only thing left? Planning your next trip, of course.