Like many Canadians with family in other provinces, I grew up taking road trips. My parents would pack the car with all the essentials (snacks and colouring books included) and we’d hit the highway. Cruising through the great Canadian Rockies into to the vast golden plains was a yearly event, and one I remember fondly.
Back then, I was a passenger, so road trips were a breeze. But now I’m in the driver’s seat and find myself in charge of planning.
Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:
Get travel insurance
Most people assume they only need travel insurance if they’re crossing the border. But you’re not completely covered by your provincial healthcare plan if you’re travelling in another province. Purchasing travel medical insurance before you go will let you travel with peace of mind.
If you frequently leave the province, you might want to consider a Multi Trip Annual plan. This way, you’re covered each and every time you cross the line, whether it’s to the next province or the US.
Get your vehicle serviced.
Your car is your most valuable travel companion, so make sure it’s up for the ride. There’s nothing worse than an avoidable breakdown on the road, so make sure your vehicle is in tip top shape.
Get your tires checked (including your spare), your fluids topped up, and make sure your battery is fully charged. Throw some jumper cables in the trunk, and pack an emergency roadside kit with cones and a safety vest.
Get a membership to an auto association
like the Canadian Auto Association (CAA). This way, you’ll be covered if you need emergency roadside assistance regardless of where you are in Canada.
Plan your route (loosely).
I’m a firm believer in some spontaneity while road tripping, but it never hurts to have an idea of local points of interest. This way, you won’t cruise by any giant spaceships, dinosaurs, or swimming holes.
Websites like Trans Canada Highway’s Trip Planner are great places to start.
Book overnight stays in advance,
whether you’re camping in one of Canada’s fine provincial or national campgrounds, or staying in a hotel. Choose accommodations with flexible cancellation policies, so you can be spontaneous.
In addition to the essentials like a great road trip playlist, bring a first-aid kit, an extra set of keys (so you don’t get locked out) and lots of snacks. This Reader’s Digest article has a great list of things to bring!