With the weather now tolerable across most of the country, it means summer road trip season is upon us. Before you hit the road, there is a good amount of planning you’ll want to take care of to avoid a potential Griswold situation.

Here are four quick tips to keep in mind before you get rolling across the U.S. this summer.

Pick a Destination

The biggest decision you’ll make before you hit the road is where you will end up when you’re done driving. One of the best things about the U.S. is there is an abundance of unique corners for you to visit, which can make picking one a challenge.

Also, if picking your final destination is the most important choice you’ll make when planning your road trip, the second most important decision might be where you’ll stop along the way. To help ease the pain, use a route planner to optimize your route and save time.

Prepare Your Vehicle

You can’t have a road trip without an actual vessel to haul around you and the family, and you’ll want to make sure it’s in tip-top condition before you head out. You can bring your car in for a tune-up, or you can give it a 14-point check on your own.

Things you’ll want to look for include an adequate level of fluids, a clean air filter, correct air pressure in your tires and fully functional lights. This includes headlights, high beams, brake lights and turn signals.

Avoid Excess Spending

Taking a road trip is all about the experiences you enjoy along the way, so it’s nice to have a bit of cash on hand when you come across an attraction you’d like to visit. More spending money obviously means more options, so you’ll want to avoid falling into one of several traps that could end up costing you more upfront.

Part of this ties into the previous tip — make sure your vehicle is in top condition to avoid a potential breakdown that could have been avoided in the first place. Consider renting a car with better fuel efficiency than the one you own. It could save you gas money, and it will help you avoid wear and tear on your own vehicle.

Pack Efficiently

Space in your vehicle is limited, so while you want to make sure you don’t forget any essentials, you also don’t want to over-pack. Check out a road trip packing checklist before you head out to make sure you and your travel companions have everything you need.

This will include essentials such as a car charger for your phone and a mini cooler for snacks, entertainment options for everyone on the trip, quick and easy snacks that can help limit food stops and safety items in case of emergency.

Road trips are great, but they can turn sour quickly if you don’t take time to prepare before you leave. Follow these four tips before you head out, and you’ll have a solid foundation for a road trip to remember.

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Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington and is an automotive journalist who has written for dozens of auto sites, including Yahoo Autos, Hooniverse, GT Spirit, The Mustang Source, and more. Scott's website, www.OffTheThrottle.com, and YouTube channel are popular automotive destinations.

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