Many people don’t realize that Jacksonville is Florida’s most populous city. With around twice as many people as Miami, this modern urban center rests along the Atlantic coast of northeastern Florida. Interestingly, at 747 square miles, Jacksonville is also the largest city by area in the continental U.S.
All the people and space mean a lot is going on here. From professional sporting events to numerous recreational activities, residents and visitors can find a lot to enjoy. Car auctions in Jacksonville, FL, open to the public are also popular.
Whether you’re heading to Duval County (where Jacksonville is located) or are just passing through this vibrant area of Florida, there are some steps you can take to organize your car trip.
Planning Your Road Trip
The most effective way to enjoy a successful road trip is by planning the outing in advance. This includes:
- Determining a preferred route: Research ahead of time if there’s any road construction along the way. If so, plan an alternate route to avoid bottlenecks. In addition to entering the destination into a GPS system, having a paper map or printed-out directions can be helpful, as technology isn’t foolproof.
- Considering the season and weather: Given its locale, Jacksonville can have varied weather, ranging from hot and humid in the summer to cold and chilly (in the mid-40s) during wintertime.
- Having lodging options in mind: For longer distances, staying at a hotel is necessary. And depending on the season, finding available lodging can be challenging. With a planned route in mind, research what hotels are available along the way and make reservations as needed.
Staying Safe on the Road
Above all else, staying safe behind the wheel is paramount. Understanding this helps protect your fellow passengers and other motorists. Here are some essential safety tips that serve as reminders to even the most seasoned driver:
Wear seatbelts: According to the NHTSA, these fundamental safety devices saved almost 15,000 lives in 2017. Yet, in 2022, only 91.6% of vehicle occupants buckled up.
Take a break: Set a rest-stop schedule to take a break every two hours. A few minutes out of the car can go a long way in keeping you refreshed and alert when behind the wheel.
Don’t drive tired:
- If you are tired or groggy, roll down the window to get fresh air and find the first safe spot to pull over.
- If needed, take a cat nap.
- Consider quitting driving for the day and getting a fresh start the next day.
Organizing the Car Interior
One often-overlooked area when it comes to trip planning is ensuring a car’s interior is in excellent shape. A clean and organized cabin helps set the tone for the journey ahead. And anything you can do to increase comfort and reduce stress will be a bonus.
This is an opportunity to remove accumulated coffee cups, food wrappers, and other trash. At the same time, vacuum the floor, wipe down the dashboard, and clean the windows. If there are any foul odors, now’s the time to tackle the source of the smell or get an air freshener.
Packing Essentials for the Road Trip
Unless you’re driving a massive SUV or are a light packer, being strategic about what to pack is vital. Compile a list of essentials like clothing, toiletries, and other personal items. And be sure to bring along proper footwear for your destination.
Your packing should also include the following:
Electronics: a cell phone (with charger), tablet, and laptop. Bringing along an external cell phone battery can be a lifesaver if you can’t charge the phone in the car.
Emergency kit: jumper cables, emergency flares/flashers, first aid kit, flashlight, gloves, blankets, and basic tools.
Drinks and snacks:
- Water and other beverages.
- Easy-to-eat foods that won’t spoil.
- Supplies for any pets that are coming along.
Keeping the Car Maintained and Clean
Keeping your car well-maintained is vital before hitting the road.
Whether you’re the DIY type or prefer a mechanic to handle it, ensure all the fluids are topped off (especially the oil, coolant, and transmission fluid). You should also make sure that the tires are in a safe condition and properly inflated. Inspect the exterior lights and wipers, too.
Ideally, you can schedule a regular maintenance visit right before your trip so that most of these tasks can be handled as part of the service. Mention to the mechanic that you’ll be driving a long distance so that they know to give the car a thorough once-over.
Enjoying Your Time on the Road
One of the most enjoyable things about a road trip is bonding with your travel companions and enjoying quality time together. Before you leave, make a plan for your entertainment options. Let your co-pilot serve as DJ and be responsible for what to play. This may involve favorite tunes, some interesting podcasts, or even audiobooks.
Importantly, this “entertainment director” should make a point of getting everyone’s preferences prior to leaving the driveway. Adding a mix of games and other activities can also help the time fly by.
Final Words: How to Organize Your Car Trip in Jacksonville, FL
Whether your Jacksonville, FL, trip involves car auctions or other interesting activities, some advance planning can make for a smoother journey from charting your route to coming up with entertainment options.
© 2023 The Havok Journal