Tips to Prepare for Your Road Trip to Colorado
Road trips to Colorado are awesome for many reasons:
- You choose which amazing sights to see along the way.
- It's just you and your travel companions during the drive to share the experience with.
- You can follow your own itinerary. Pick your lodging or campsite.
- Winter road trips can be dangerous. Make sure you have your Colorado winter driving survival kit in place.
Get Ready to Drive in Colorado
Preparation is key. When you’re getting ready for your next road trip. Besides identifying all the scenic, fun places that you want to visit. Traveling Colorado's highways and passes can be dangerous. Check local weather and view webcams for driving conditions. It's also a good idea to check Colorado's wildfire map. Make sure you have all-season clothing with you. Weather conditions at lower elevations can be really pleasant and warm. However, high-elevation conditions are often extreme even during the warmest months of summer.
In the event you breakdown at high elevation, make sure you have:
- Warm clothing, hats, gloves, warm socks, and shoes (even in the summer).
- Extra blankets or sleeping bags.
- A camp kit that includes: a stove (plus fuel), cups & plates, utensils...
- Extra food and water.
- A first aid kit.
- Bring maps in addition to your phone. Cell reception can be limited in the mountains.
Create a Plan for Your Trip
There is a lot to do in Colorado and with 26 mountain towns, thousands of miles of trails for hiking and biking, and amazing sights, it will be easy to plan a route with things that interest you as you drive around the state. You don’t need an hour-by-hour itinerary, but a general plan will help your road trip go more smoothly. Staying aware is key. Check Colorado's Trip Map to see road construction, closures, and conditions. Or, download the app to stay up to date. However, due to the remote nature of Colorado's roads, cell reception is limited. It's best to bring along maps.
Of course, the perennial scout’s motto “be prepared” doesn’t just apply to traffic and road conditions.
- Check out attractions, landmarks, restaurants, and other points of interest.
- Look for the many resources online
- Trust locals when it comes to “must-see” attractions or places to visit or avoid
- Don’t forget to map your route and locate gas stations, rest stops, hotels, and other essential spots before you hit the road.
Check your Auto Insurance Policy
Before you get into the driver’s seat, it’s also wise to review your auto insurance policy. U.S. News outlines insurance coverage requirements for each state, so you may want to compare your existing policy against these mandated minimums. If you’re still paying on an auto loan, you’ll need comprehensive and collision in addition to liability coverage.
Depending on your jurisdiction, you may also be subject to specific rules for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. But even if your state doesn’t require it, it’s strongly recommended that you include it with your policy. Other items to consider are roadside assistance and rental reimbursement. If you find your current coverage and insurer lacking, you may want to search “auto insurance near me” and explore your options.
Make Sure Your Vehicle is Ready
For obvious reasons, your vehicle should be in great shape before venturing onto the road. If you haven’t recently had a vehicle inspection, you need to do so in plenty of time before your departure. A standard maintenance checkup will include checking oil and coolant levels. NerdWallet explains that they may also include checking hoses, air filters, belts, and battery levels along with tire tread depth and inflation pressure. Depending on your vehicle’s maintenance benchmarks, you may need an oil and filter change or a tire rotation. Don’t forget about major maintenance services, especially for your brakes!
Have Your Proof of Insurance and Registration Handy
Unexpected events can be thrilling on a road trip, but they can also include breakdowns, collisions, or being stopped by law enforcement. Again, the saying “be prepared” applies. If you’re a responsible driver, you probably already have a copy of your vehicle’s registration in your glove box. Most states accept both paper and electronic insurance cards: New Mexico is the only state that doesn’t, so don’t forget to obtain your ID card before leaving for your trip.
Don’t Forget Your Device Chargers
This tip may seem incredibly obvious, but it bears repeating. After all, you don’t want to be stuck on a backcountry road at night with a dead smartphone. Many restaurants and truck stops now have accessible plugs for charging devices, but it’s a good idea to fully charge yours before you leave. While you’re at it, establish a trusted friend that you’ll periodically check in with via voice or text if you’re traveling alone.
There are many more ways to prepare for a road trip, but safety is the most essential. Ensuring that your vehicle’s in good shape, bringing all-season clothing and emergency gear, having a plan, keeping important documents nearby, and charging your devices can save you headaches on the road.
By Mikkie Mills