Oh, the winter blahs. You feel sluggish, you’re starting to hate your winter coat and you absolutely can’t face that snow shovel one more time. Don’t wait for the snow to melt to hop in the car for a getaway—trade in the winter doldrums for an exciting (and warmer) locale with a winter road trip.

Plans A and B

Jumping in the car and driving until you can’t drive any more might sound like the fastest route to escaping the winter blues. But, spontaneity is best saved for summer, when roads are less hazardous and tourist attractions offer more predictable hours. A successful winter road trip depends on a well thought-out plan and the flexibility to ditch that plan when needed. Visit DriveTheNation.com to get destination suggestions, find hotels along the way and discover the best roadside attractions.

Give Your Car a Checkup

Don’t get stranded on the side of the road in the cold thanks to engine trouble or a blowout. Before hitting the trail, perform a quick road-worthiness checkup. Test the headlights, blinkers and brake lights. Check all fluid levels including oil, antifreeze and wiper fluids. Give your tires a thorough inspection, and if there is any doubt about their health, replace them. This is not the time to quibble over tread depth or hope those bald spots won’t lead to trouble just yet. New all-season general tires start at $54 each on TireBuyer.com.

Of course, some car problems are unpredictable. Consider signing up for roadside assistance from AAA or another provider before you take off.

Stock up on Emergency Supplies

Though you are hoping to trade in freezing temps for sunny skies, a trunk full of shorts, bikinis and flip flops won’t be very helpful if disaster strikes. While loading your suitcases into the car, make sure to leave a little room for emergency supplies. In addition to the usual jumper cables and first aid supplies, your winter road kit should include a blanket, flashlight, hand warmers, shovel and an ice scraper. These supplies are easily rounded up, or you can grab a ready-made kit from WindandWeather.com for $70.

You’ll also need a 24-hour supply worth of food, such as protein bars and nuts, and water for each traveler. In the event that you become stuck in snow or ice, a bag of kitty litter or sand can help increase traction. Load all of your emergency supplies in a plastic bin and stash them on top of your luggage, so you don’t have to paw through piles of suitcases to find them.

Author Bio: Marissa Turner is a freelance writer with a passion for politics and antique toys.