Summer is great for hopping in the car and venturing off with friends. As you load the car up with snacks and plenty of music for the long haul, make sure you add these things into your checklist as well.
This is a very simple process, and only takes a couple of minutes. Tire pressure gauges are cheap to buy, and gas stations also have them at the air pumps. Learn how to check your basic fluids. This basic car maintenance is even more important if you're going to be traveling long distances without many rest stops in between. It's better to double check that everything in your car is okay than to have it break down with the next closest town 50 miles away.
Whether you're programming it in your GPS or printing out maps (get with the times, people), it's always better to have every stop already planned out so you can become familiar with the route. Prep your car accordingly for all weather conditions. Make sure you have water, snow chains, jumper cables, etc. Additionally, check any major bridges or mountain passes for road and weather conditions and possible delays due to construction. You will know, for the most part, what to expect out there and your driving will be less stressful.
Make sure your car is fully equipped for basic road trouble. Some common items include: Car Jack, spare tire, jumper cables, water, flashlights, and a first aid kit. Having these basic things in your car not only give you peace of mind, but also provide the necessary tools to deal with 80% of common car troubles.
Sometimes a cross-country road trip can take a lot out of you mentally, and all you want to do is push through the last 300 miles without stopping. Don't do this! Not only will your passengers' bladders hate you, but so will your legs. Restless legs are one of the most common symptoms of being cramped up in a car for too long. Wearing soft cotton compression socks helps keep the circulation going in your legs, and will make a big difference in how achy you feel after getting out of the car. Additionally, make sure to make use of your bathroom breaks to really stretch out and get a breath of fresh air.
Planning trips can be hectic enough, and adding other factors to complicate things only makes it less enjoyable. But equipping yourself properly is really all it takes to avoid those things. By being on top of your plan, you are taking away most of the worry, thus enjoying the scenery and drive! Be safe out there on the roads this summer!