10 easy steps to prepare for a road trip

An RV/motorhome stopped on the side of the highway.

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With enough roadways to circle the globe 22 times, 16 UNESCO world heritage sites, long stretches of scenic coastal drives or the prairies’ living skies, Canada is a paradise for road-trippers. Not only is there a lot to see. Road-tripping is also one of the most affordable and exciting ways to get to know your new country. Experience the “land of endless horizons” this summer by planning your own road trip. We’ve listed down some tips to help you plan your first one.

10 steps to a safe and enjoyable road trip:

  1. Make a checklist. List down everything you need for easier packing and to prevent missing important things. Your list should include: a map, emergency kit, spare tires and tools, pillows and sleeping bags, food and snacks, aluminum foil, cooler, ice. Optional: Electric power converter and two extra car keys.

  3. Fine tune your car. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. You can go to a mechanic if you don’t know how to check your car. You can also follow online guides like Road trip prep: 10 things to check before you hit the road (Mike Monticello, Consumer Reports) or 14 ways to get your car ready for a road trip from Canadian Living, or this video:

  4. Tips for a car check before a road trip, Smead Organomics

  5. Know the way. Bring a good map (and make sure that your destination is on it!). A paper map is a reliable back-up should your GPS or cellphone conk out (by the way, don’t forget your phone charger!). For a printable map, you might find what you need at Manitoba.ca’s Maps page. Prior to the trip, plan out your route by asking the help of someone who knows the way, or use an online route planner like Google Maps or Mapquest. You may be the type who thinks that getting lost is part of the adventure, which is fine. But if you are travelling with young kids (or an impatient adult), winging it might not be a good idea.

  7. Bring spare tires and tools. Make sure you have a good spare tire, or a spare donut tire, and a tire repair kit. Make sure you have your jack and iron on hand. You should also bring jumper cables. Invest in an electric power converter (and an adapter) which you can conveniently plug in your cigarette lighter. This can power many of your gadgets.

  9. Be prepared for emergencies. Pack emergency supplies such as blankets, flares, a first aid kit, energy bars, drinking water, working flashlight (test it before you leave) with extra batteries.

  11. Two keys. Bring a spare car key and leave one with a friend who can send it to you in case of an emergency.

  13. Charge it. Bring at least one credit card to cover any unexpected expenses.

  15. Snooze time. If you need to rest and stop, have some pillows and a sleeping bag ready in the backseat. Always make sure that your parking spot is safe.

  17. Food/Snacks. Prepare and pre-pack easy-to-cook snacks and meals. Bring a collapsible cooler for your food and drinks to keep them fresh and cool.

  19. Plan and get real. Always be realistic about how much driving you can handle. Take into account rest stops in your plan. Never drive when sleepy or tired.

Drive safe and enjoy the ride!

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Community Resources

Also read the article Preparing for a summer vacation: safety and security tips and Quick tips to remember when staying outdoors in summer.

Need suggestions on where to go? Here are Top 10 Manitoba day trips suggested by the Spectator Tribune and Road Trips in Canada from Keep Exploring Canada

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