10 easy steps to prepare for a road trip

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

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Canada is a paradise for road-trippers. It has 16 UNESCO world heritage sites, enough roadways to circle the globe 22 times and long stretches of scenic coastal or prairie drives. There’s a lot of beauty to see! If it’s your first time to go on a road trip in your new country, here are a few tips to make it a memorable one this summer:

10 steps to a safe and enjoyable road trip:

  1. Look-up travel advisories

    Travel restrictions to some parts of Manitoba and other provinces may still be in force. Make sure to check the latest advisories about your route and destination when planning your trip. Go to Restoring Safe Services for guidelines in Manitoba. If you’re travelling outside of Manitoba, check provincial border restrictions and other advisories for the particular province you’re going to or passing through. Choose your destination wisely. Avoid places with high traffic at this time to limit the risk.

  2. Know the way

    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. Activate your GPS and bring a good map. A paper map is a reliable back-up should your GPS or cellphone conk out. Check out printable maps 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.

    Limit your stops along the way. The less you need to leave your vehicle, the better for you and those you’ll come in contact with. Bring enough supplies for every need so that you won’t have to stop to buy things.

  3. Make a checklist

    List down everything for easier packing. Remember to include: a map, emergency kit, spare tires and tools, medications, child seats, pillows and sleeping bags, food and snacks, aluminum foil, cooler, ice, garbage bags, etc. Optional: Electric power converter and two extra car keys.


    How to prepare for a road trip, Howcast

  4. Bring Personal Protective Gear

    Bring sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, hand soap as well as face masks for your protection. Make sure to bring enough for the entire trip. These items are in demand and you may not be able to find them in stores along the road.

  5. Fine tune your car

    Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Visit a mechanic if you don’t know how to check your car. The most important thing to remember is to do this weeks before your trip. In case you discover that intensive repair is needed, you’ll have time to do it (or have it done). For DIY fine tuning, follow this video:


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

    Other online guides: Road trip prep: 10 things to check before you hit the road (Mike Monticello, Consumer Reports) and 14 ways to get your car ready for a road trip from Canadian Living.

    Also bring a spare tire, or a spare donut tire and a tire repair kit. Have your jack and iron on hand as well as 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.

  6. Be prepared for emergencies

    Pack emergency supplies such as blankets, flares, a first aid kit, energy bars, drinking water and a flashlight with extra batteries. Bring a spare car key and leave one with a friend who can send it to you in case of an emergency.

  7. Charge it

    Bring at least one credit card to cover any unexpected expenses. Also consider carrying a bit of cash on hand for small purchases or for stores that may not be equipped for card transactions.

  8. Bathroom breaks and snooze time

    Space out your bathroom breaks if it’s possible. Always remember to wash your hands for at least for 20 seconds before you go back inside your vehicle. If you need to rest or take a nap, have some pillows and a sleeping bag ready in the backseat. Always make sure that your parking spot is safe and legal.

  9. Food/Snacks

    Prepare and pre-pack snacks and meals that you can eat on-the-go. Bring a collapsible cooler for your food and drinks to keep them fresh. Consider bringing easy-to-cook items if you intend to camp. You may also be able to microwave them at certain stops.

  10. Get real about driving

    Always be realistic about how much driving you can handle. It is never a good idea to drive when you’re sleepy or tired. Include time for rest stops in your plan. If you’re going with your partner or with a group of friends, take turns driving so that you’ll all have the chance to kick back and just enjoy the scenery.

Drive safe and enjoy the trip!
 
Article updated May 22, 2020.

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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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