Wherever your trip takes you during the rest of summer, be sure to follow these 5 Tips for a Safe Cross-Country Adventure:

Tune Up – In addition to regularly scheduled maintenance, it’s always a good idea to get your car tuned up right before the big trip. Fill and rotate your tires, get an oil change and top ‘er off with a tank of gas. Then, be sure to do a thorough walk-around inspection to make sure everything looks and sounds normal.

Bring Cash  – Easily overlooked in this age of plastic, keep some emergency cash (including quarters) in your glove box for tolls, air for your tires or other unforeseen expenses. Keep this stash separate from your food money, so that you won’t be tempted to spend it along the way.

Have a Loose Plan – Imagine this: You have a quarter tank of gas and you haven’t seen an exit in over one hundred miles. Your cell phone has lost signal and you suddenly have visions of your family walking along the side of the road in 100-degree heat. Don’t let that happen to you.  You don’t have to have an itinerary locked in stone, but it is a good idea to have a rough plan as to where you’re going and where you’ll stop along the way.

Pack a Phone Card  – In emergency situations, many Americans typically rely on their cell phone. But what happens if your battery dies, or worse, you have a fully charged cell phone that can’t receive any signal? Some major cellular providers don’t even work in certain areas, so it’s a good idea to have a prepaid phone card packed away for emergencies.

Have Your Documents Ready  – I don’t know about you, but it sometimes seems to take days or weeks for my insurance card to to make its way into my glove box. If you are traveling without current documentation of license, registration or insurance, you’re asking for trouble. Play on the safe side and make sure you have it with you before you leave.

Do you follow these general guidelines? What tip would you add to the list?