Road trips are the best ways to travel. They’re budget-friendly and give you the freedom and flexibility to just go with the flow and really experience the place you’re headed to. It may be a bit daunting to figure out exactly what you need to do for a road trip but fear not! The auto experts at McDowells have put together the ultimate guide to an Idaho road trip.

Vacations Within Driving Distance

Searching for a relatively close vacation destination? Look no further than some of Idaho’s natural treasures! Every place on this list is under 4 hours away and boasts amazing scenery and experiences. They’re perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway.

Craters of the Moon

While space travel might not be perfectly feasible just yet, it doesn’t mean you can’t set foot on the alien terrain of the moon. Welcome to Craters of the Moon, a vast ocean of lava-coated terrain located on the northern rim of the Snake River Plain. Explore the wonderfully weird landscape or camp out under the stars as you admire the 750,000 acres of 15-million-year-old lava fields, cinder cones, and fissures. Don’t miss hiking to the top of the Inferno Cone for the best view of the entire park.

Bruneau Sand Dunes

Discover the mysteries of the desert at Bruneau Sand Dunes! With a peak 470 feet above the desert floor, Bruneau Sand Dunes boasts the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America. During the day you can explore the dunes on foot or horseback, fish in the lakes at the foot of the dunes, and sand surf to your heart’s content. At night, check out Idaho’s largest Observatory and view the midnight sky through their collection of telescopes.

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

Plunging 7,913 feet into the riverbed below, Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America. Take a hike through the Seven Devils Mountains, raft the Snake River, watch for abundant wildlife, and explore rustic remains of early miners and settlers all in one trip! Be sure to take a jet boat tour through the canyon’s towering walls of green and black basalt. One thing is for sure, no matter who you are, Hells Canyon has something for you.

Yellowstone Bear World

Have a once in a lifetime experience at Idaho’s #1 wildlife attraction, Bear World. Come face to face (from the comfort of your personal vehicle) with free-roaming elk, bison, white-tail deer, Rocky Mountain goats, moose, grey wolves, and the American black bear and grizzly bear. Interact with hundreds of exotic butterflies at the new Butterfly Haven. You can also go behind the scenes with the keepers and bottle feed bear cubs!

Ways to Improve Your Gas Mileage

With your destination set, you need to focus on keeping your expenses in budget. That means paying close attention to gas mileage. Make sure your vehicle has properly inflated tires and good alignment, try driving at slower speeds, go easy on gas and brake pedals, and properly use your cruise control to achieve better fuel efficiency. There are also a number of additional vehicle modifications that can help you drive more cost-effectively.

Weight Reduction

For every additional 100 pounds in a vehicle, fuel consumption experiences a 1% to 2% increase. This may not seem like much to begin with, but in the face of rising gas prices it can be the tipping point of an affordable trip. Plus, the smaller your vehicle is, the more it is impacted by the excess weight. When packing for your road trip, consider your luggage and leave behind anything you don’t actually need.
Can’t narrow down what you’re bringing? No problem. You can also remove or replace parts of your vehicle, for example, removing unused roof racks, taking out unused seats, or replacing your spare tire with a can of tire sealant.

Pickup Truck Caps

Pickup trucks are perfect, sturdy road trip vehicles. Sadly, their open bed functions as a wind trap, reducing the truck’s aerodynamics and causing substantial drag, resulting in reduced fuel efficiency. Consider investing in a truck cap or tonneau cover to allow air to flow smoothly over the back of the truck.

Fluid Modifications

Using low viscosity engine, transmission, and differential oils can help improve gas mileage. You can also reduce resistance by purchasing synthetic oils, as they have a more stable viscosity in changing temperatures. The synthetic oils are a bit more expensive, but they don’t break down as quickly as conventional oils. Make sure to consult your car’s manufacturer’s recommendations before purchasing any fluids for your vehicle.

What to Keep in Your Car for a Road Trip

The last step to your trip is deciding what to pack. Besides your playlist, luggage, and a thirst for adventure, there are a few road trip essentials you need to bring along on your journey. Use this list as a checklist to make sure you don’t leave anything behind!

First Aid Kit

From minor scrapes and scratches to wound dressings for more serious injury, a first aid kit should absolutely be in every traveler’s repertoire. Having a first aid kit can be a lifesaver during a road trip, as being prepared is the key to surviving an emergency.

Extra Water

Water is necessary for survival, but it can also serve multiple other purposes in your car. If necessary, it can be used as coolant, and it can also be used in the windshield wiper tank. If you become stranded, having extra water can quite literally be the difference between life and death. Keep at least one gallon of extra water in your vehicle during your travels.

Jumper Cables

You don’t want to get stranded on the side of the road due to a dead battery, so make sure to pack some jumper cables. Your cables should be at least 10 feet long and coated with no less than 8 gauge rubber.

Non Perishable Snacks

One of the best things about road trips are the snacks! Be sure to stock up on snacks like dried fruits, nuts, granola, crackers, jerky, and cookies. These cost effective foods will save you money, keep you full, and give you that sweet and salty fix we all crave while driving. As an added benefit, nonperishable foods are extremely handy just in case an emergency makes your vehicle immobile.

No matter where you’re journeying this summer, make sure your car is comfortable and road trip ready with a redone interior or exterior from the experts at McDowells! Leaving additional vehicles at home during your road trip? You can conveniently leave them with us and let us take care of any needed repairs while you’re not using them! For auto and recreational repairs contact us today!

(208) 378-1530