8 easy steps to prepare for a road trip

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

Image  by Simon.  CC0

Skip to:

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 going 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. 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 battery power run 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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. If 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Bathroom breaks and snooze time

    Space out your bathroom breaks if it’s possible. Always remember to wash your hands for at least 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 enjoy the scenery.

Drive safe and enjoy the trip!
Article updated May 23, 2024.

Back to top

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

Back to top


Back to top

We'd love to hear from you!

Please login to tell us what you think.

Related Learning Activities

What to do if you have a car accident in Manitoba

graphic of car collision at a stop

Having a car accident can be very distressing. Knowing exactly what to if this happens is of utmost importance. Attend… Read more »

WorkCom_Before you begin

A woman giving a presentation at work

Thinking about your knowledge and skills is an independent learning strategy. When you think about what you can do and what… Read more »

WorkCom_Week 4

A woman giving a presentation at work

This is our last week of Workplace Communications. This time you are in the driver’s seat. We look forward to your presentation… Read more »

WorkCom_Week 3

A woman giving a presentation at work

We have now reached week 3 of Workplace Communications! This week, we are engaging in a number of activities that allow… Read more »

Back to top

CC BY-NC-SAText of this page is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA, unless otherwise marked. Please attribute to English Online Inc. and link back to this page where possible. For images and videos, check the source for licensing information.