In all their various forms, the fluids that run through your car are like blood running through our bodies - they are essential to keep the car operational. You can maintain fluids yourself or take your car to a mechanic and let him take care of your vehicle. Regardless of who services your vehicle, you must keep fluids in good condition and at proper levels or you will have car trouble.
Generally, oil should be changed every 3,000 miles or three months, which ever comes first. When changing oil, it's important to check the oil filter at the same time to see if it also needs to be changed. You don't want a dirty filter contaminating the new oil.
For your information: Coolant and antifreeze are the same fluid. Regardless of what you call it, this fluid should be changed about once a year and the system should be flushed to remove any built-up deposits. Check your owner's manual for details.
Brake and steering fluids are both critical in the operation of your vehicle. Having the right amount of these fluids is vital for adequate braking and steering power. Check your owner's manual for a maintenance schedule regarding these fluids. Although it may be bright and sunny when you leave for your trip, rain (or snow) will likely come down at least once on your vacation. Make sure you have plenty of washer fluid so you can see clearly through your windshield.