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Hitting the Road: 5 Tips to Keep in Mind Before Taking a Road Trip

Created on: Friday Jul 08, 2016

Road trips are a great way to explore new areas. You are in control of where you go, what you want to see, and how long you will stay at each location. Whether you are with family or friends, the time spent on the road is sometimes the most enjoyable part of your trip. However, road trips can have some potential bumps in the road. You can ensure a smooth trip with these 5 helpful tips:

1. Remember to bring all of your car related documents.
Whether you are driving across Canada or taking a trip through the United States, make sure to bring the necessary documents. These usually include your driver’s licence, ownership, registration, insurance pink slips, and your roadside emergency service contact information. You should keep these handy at all times, but especially while traveling. You don’t want to have to try and find copies of these documents when you’re on the road, so check that you have them before you hit the road.

2. Buy an emergency roadside kit.
Emergency roadside kits can be a real lifesaver, and they are easy to throw in the car and forget about until you need it. Good kits will usually include things such as a first-aid kit, flashlights with extra batteries, snacks, bottled water, emergency flares, a backup cell phone battery charger, jumper cables, a spare tire, and fire extinguisher.

3. Protect your home while you are away.
You can protect your home while you are away by making it look occupied as it normally is. This may include setting automatic timers for your lighting, suspending delivery of your newspaper or other delivery services, and asking a neighbor or friend to collect your mail, put out your garbage, or parking in your driveway. If you are going to be away for over 30 days, you may be required by your home insurance company to have someone check in on your house to keep your insurance coverage active.

4. Get travel insurance.
If you are going for a road trip to the United States, travel insurance is a must. You should not only ensure you have a policy in place before getting on the road, but also be sure to have your policy documents with you. Foreign hospitals can be very expensive and may require immediate payment for their services. Also, your Canadian health insurance policy is almost certainly not valid outside of Canada, and your provincial health plan may only cover a small portion of the costs of medical care abroad, and never up front.

5. Plan ahead, have a budget - especially for gas.
It is always a good idea to have a budget prepared so you are prepared for the inevitable expenses of a road trip. People often keep in mind the cost of food and accommodations on their road trip, but often fail to include the cost of gas. Gasoline can be expensive, especially if you are going for a long trip. Gas prices vary, so it is best to pre plan for your route. You can use websites or apps which track average fuel prices such as to plan ahead.

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