Are we there yet? Yep. It's a local road trip.

If you came home covered in dirt and grass, it would be a little weird. A little concerning, right? But when you were a kid, it was the norm. You explored without question. Nothing stopped you. Not even walking across a creek that wasn’t even a creek at all, but just oily street runoff water. And now you’ve got your own funds. Making big adult moves. So why can’t you get out and explore whenever you want? We think you can.

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With spring right around the corner and road conditions improving, there is no better time to hit the open road. Road trips are the epitome of freedom: ravaging the food scene at every stop, taking in each breathtaking sight and making memories that will or will not stay on the road. There’s a little bit of nomad in all of us. And with every town having a local hidden gem, you really don’t have to go that far for some candid weekend vacation shots that are bound to make everyone you went to high school with jealous. There’s just as much adventure to be had when keeping the trip local. Since launching Toggle® Auto, we’ve been a little obsessed with helping drivers get the most out of the open road. So buckle up, we’re taking you from 0 to 60 with our weekend road trip planner.

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Keep your lookout local.

The road you travel doesn’t have to be a long one. As much as we’d like to suggest throwing a dart at an open U.S. map and being super free, unless you’re in a biker gang, it’s probably best to consider all your destination options first. We are all about safety and precaution here. And as we said previously, almost every town has a local hidden gem nearby. Take that Friday and Monday off, and make your weekend feel like a month. Who says you need to cash in all those vacation days at once? Short trips pack a strong stress-reducing punch too. One study found that a single short-term vacation has large, positive and immediate effects on perceived stress, recovery, strain and well-being. In other words, you don’t have to take a whole week off to avoid screaming into a pillow after each Zoom meeting. A weekend will do.

Once you hit the road, the key to maximizing your rest and relaxation, and those sweet, sweet PTO days, is to keep your travel time short. So preferably, you’ll focus on a getaway that is just 1-2 hours away. The adulting elite know how to be resourceful with their time. Are you a member? Also, if you’re looking to save money, keeping it close is fantastic for that too.

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Decide where the road takes you.

First, it’s important to decide what you’re hoping to pack into your weekend. Do you prefer a view from the top of a cliff or from your hotel’s rooftop infinity pool? Is strolling through hiking trails across mountain ranges more your style, or is wandering through the streets of an authentic Bavarian alpine re-creation village more on par? Once you narrow down your interests, you can narrow down your destination choices. It’s also important to consider accommodations at this point. Did you hope to sleep on nice pressed linen sheets all weekend or under the stars at a national park? Or both? Hey, glamping is a thing now too. Or maybe just a day trip will do for you. We never said it has to be an overnight stay. Once you figure these things out, you can move forward with booking those reservations, or no reservations.

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Choose the road, don’t let it choose you.

Much like Toggle Auto, the route you choose is customizable to your needs as well. Are you the type of road-tripper who likes to take a little longer on the scenic route or the one who holds off rest stops like you’re allergic to bathrooms? For this part, you’ll want to get a consensus from your travel partners on your points of interest, because cars do not cut through mid-trip tension well. Though it may be tempting to take the straight shot, sometimes taking the scenic route can add that level of spontaneity and escape you need. One could even say, spontaneity rules the road. So, maybe think about stopping at some of those natural hot springs you might see along the way. And when will you ever get the chance to see the world’s biggest ball of yarn again or the world-famous Carhenge? (It’s like Stonehenge but with cars.)

As a plus, some of the best nature views can be found on the scenic route. Ones that you don’t even have to walk up a steep hill for. Once you decide your route, map out your trip on your phone GPS. If you might have a spotty connection, it’s also smart to take screenshots for backup. And if you’re feeling nostalgic, you could even go all road maps USA with it. The OG GPS. Analog. Full paper. (Wait, maps used to be made out of paper? Weird.) Finally, when you’re ready for the trip, it’s best to share your itinerary with a trusted family member or friend after you apologize for not inviting them.

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Rev your engine, check your tires.

Now you’re all ready to go, but it’s important to know that your ride is ready to go too. While it’s always key to take your car in for a full inspection (every 12,000 miles or 12 months, preferably), it’s especially important that you do this when you know you’re going to be on the road for an extended period of time. When you take your car into the auto repair shop for a service appointment, they’ll likely check that the oil, fluids, tires and air filters are in top shape. You’ll also want to have them check that all the lights and blinkers are functioning properly and that your spare tire and jack are in good shape. And if you can do this on your own, more power to you. But if you can’t, visit our Toggle Perks page for great deals on things like parts and service. And maybe brush up on your tire-changing skills before hitting the road.

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Have a soundtrack for your main character moment.

There’s nothing better than a therapeutic sesh of highway karaoke. A time to really sing your heart out with no inhibitions. Sometimes it’s nice to just scroll through some radio stations and let the highway gods bring the songs to you. But if you’re really serious about your music, take control of the road. Download your favorite road trip playlist ahead of time for some no-interruptions belting. Start playing it through the car Bluetooth radio. If you’re working with a classic car stereo, you can always get a Bluetooth transmitter and play music that way as well. And back to customization, because we are obsessed with it at Toggle Auto. You can always curate your very own road trip playlist. Plus, most music streaming services actually allow for shared music playlists for maximum road trip customization too. This way, you can add all those songs from your deepest and darkest music desires to the queue without ever admitting that they’re yours. When your angelic singing voice needs a break, go ahead and throw on a podcast or play a few of these classic road trip games.

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Master the art of packing.

One trick to a successful road trip is to never pack like you’re an heiress embarking on a transatlantic voyage. Rather, you should pack with intention. For many, that is easier said than done, as it is notoriously easy to overpack. Becoming a master packer takes years of trials and tribulations, but we think with these tips, you can get it done. First, check the weather forecast for your destination as your trip date nears and decide how many layers of clothing you will need to bring. Also think of packing some snacks and drinks, especially if you have little passengers, and paper towels of course.

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If pets are part of the family too, always make sure you leave room for them, their tail wags, a supply of their food and a water bowl for stops. They also love road trips. So if your dog, or cat, or hedgehog, or parakeet, or bearded dragon lizard likes to ride shotgun, Toggle on Pet Passenger™, and they have coverage. Once you have all your items together, it is best to lay them out and load the heaviest and largest items first. After you get those packed, you can then start with the smaller items, adding them to the nooks and crannies.

Emergency trunk junk.

We get it, it’s not the first thing that always comes to mind. But when going on a road trip, even a weekend road trip, it’s always important to carry around that emergency trunk junk. We actually recommend that you always carry around emergency trunk junk, just in case. As we said before, tires are important. So a properly inflated spare tire, lug wrench and tripod jack are essential trunk junk. We also suggest you have a toolkit, a flashlight (with backup batteries), a first aid kit and jumper cables in case you or someone else needs a kick start.

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Glove box goodies.

There’s nothing worse than getting pulled over without your glove box goodies. You know, those loose documents that you keep shoved behind the box of tissues and expired antacids: up-to-date copies of your registration documents and proof of insurance. And with Toggle Auto, you’ll get a nifty little virtual insurance card that you'll be able to add to your digital wallet or print out at home. No more standing out by the mailbox all day while you wait for your proof of insurance to arrive. Now there’s instant proof that you have customizable and on-demand auto insurance coverage that sits right next to you in the passenger seat.

Accidents happen.

Sometimes accidents happen. The road is unpredictable in that way. That’s why we advise that you always drive safely, pay attention and follow the rules of the road. If an accident does happen, caused by you or someone else, don’t worry. We’re here to help. And if you ever wonder, “Is affordable car insurance legit?”—you bet it is. Maybe you also wonder, “What will car insurance cover?” Well, we offer Comprehensive & Collision Coverage, Liability Insurance, Temporary Ride Coverage, New Car Replacement, Roadside Assistance, Side Hustle® Auto, even coverage for your Pet Passenger. You also have people to chat with when you need them and top-notch service when it comes to handling claims. And we’re backed by Farmers®, who has been covering cars and drivers since like forever. 

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You’re in the driver's seat.

We thought the way some auto insurance companies did auto insurance felt a little old school. So, we decided, just like we did with renters insurance, that it was time to modernize it for a new generation. Why not make the whole thing smarter, more streamlined, easier, more convenient and more customizable to your needs and your life? You’re in charge of making choices about your coverage because no one knows you like you do. And quoting our auto insurance is quick and easy. Because who doesn’t like instant gratification? Just pop onto GetToggle.com to get an auto insurance quote. We’ll have you on the road to getting the coverage you want in minutes. 

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Links to third party websites are provided for your convenience only. Toggle has not independently verified any of the information provided therein and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of such information or any content.

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