If you are planning for a self driven long journey than you may like to keep in mind these points:
- Condition of car: Have petrol tank full (you do not get petrol pumps for long distance especially extra mile/premium or speed), Tyre pressure checked (including stepney), wheel balancing, water level in radiator etc
- Have car papers ready, like, RC book, insurance, emission certificate, driving license etc. If you are crossing state than it will be checked on border and you might need to bribe if you do not have any such documents, also it wastes time and deteriorates mood.
- First aid kit: Band-aid, Soframycin, brufane, combiflame, savlon, Eno pouches, cotton, Move spray etc
- Get some snacks, like, Biscuits, Idlis (good for health), Namkins, easy to prepare cuppa noodles, hot water in thermos, etc. It will save time on travel as one need not to halt plus one can survive longer if lands in trouble.
- Take plenty of water, at least 5-6 litres. It saves money, time and health.
- Special care if traveling with kids: like, diapers, crocin, Ibugesic plus, colimex syrup, Econorm (4-5 pouches), Lactogen, Cerelac, Citrizine, extra water (as they tend to do potty anywhere), relent (these were the medicines which we took, you may get better advice from your pediatrician).
- Sleep for drivers at least: Drivers should have min 4 hrs sleep
- Maps: get detailed maps of route using http://maps.google.com/ or http://maps.live.com/ . If you are traveling for more than 500 Kms than its recommended that you take a detailed map of each 100 km. Sometimes you miss any road than alternate route comes handy. Sometimes people misguide you or you miss any road than you can cross check with villages shown in the maps. Note all diversions, national / state highway numbers, distance between 2 major towns etc.
- Read about condition of roads online. Some good links are: http://www.team-bhp.com . Search online for specific route you are planning to travel. If possible, take print-outs of road conditions. It will help if you need to change your route. Read travelogues, if available. Try to get latest information because road condition in India changes every month.
- Avoid driving in nights even if you have a driver. Major problem is Indian road conditions, like, potholes, speed breakers, not enough signages, darkness and high beam vehicles. If you are driving at high speed, say, > 80 Kmph than you might get your vehicle down due to sudden appearances of potholes, speed breakers etc. If you cannot avoid driving in night than keep your speed in limit and be extra cautious.
- Ask for directions in doubt and double check with available maps and printouts of available information (you may take printout of few travelogues). Its better to ask for direction on each bifurcations or cross-roads as it saves time. Few people do tell wrong route instead of saying “don’t know” hence be careful to have it double checked if in doubt.
- Have music arranged especially Songs: have stocks of songs of your liking, take mp3 player or iPod or mobile with good songs or CD player and have either pen drive or CD with songs
- Don’t forget to take camera and ensure that they are fully charged, have enough reels or space in memory sticks
- Don’t forget your mobile chargers
- Take some old newspapers and polythene bags. It helps in cleaning car (if required in moist weather) and to keep wet clothes, waste in polythene bags.
- Have some money in hand. Credit card does not work everywhere. Mostly highway petrol pumps do not accept credit cards.
- It is recommended that you take some ID proof (like driving license) for each traveler because due to high security nowadays, it might come handy if you land in trouble.
- Pack swimming costumes if going to beaches.