A trip to the cottage or a weekend camping getaway is a must for any Canadian, and as summer is winding down, a family road trip is the perfect way to wrap up your summer with just a little more fun in the sun. There is nothing quite like hopping in your car, putting on some tunes and rolling down the window to feel the breeze while driving down the highway.
We just returned from our last family camping trip of the year at Restoule Provincial Park, just south of North Bay. We had an incredible time at one of my favourite camping spots, worth the long drive from Hamilton. Of course, the key to making it worthwhile is planning for the road-trip every bit as much as you plan the rest of your trip.
Let’s be honest, the last thing you want to deal with on your last epic summer road trip is something going wrong. Before you hit the road, save yourself some headaches and make sure your car and family are road-trip ready with these great tips.
5 Tips to Get Your Car Road-Trip Ready
1. Pack an Emergency Kit
You never leave the house thinking you will end up stranded on the side of the road. The fact is that it can and does happen, so make sure you have an emergency kit handy just in case. This kit should include extra washer fluid, jack and tool kit, jumper cables, non-perishable food and bottled water, candles and matches, first-aid supplies, a flashlight, as well as a spare tire. Having all these things in your car could save the day if emergency strikes.
2. Take care of preventative maintenance
Before you head out, be sure that everything in your vehicle is in working order so you can worry less and focus more on the fun memories you are about to make. A preventative maintenance check, including fluid levels, alignment, suspension and brake checks, will give you peace of mind as you head out on your family getaway.
3. Stock up on snacks & entertainment
For any family getaway, always stock up on snacks before hitting the road. We like to bring along healthy grab and go items like granola bars, water and fruit in a container to take care of any hunger we may feel between rest stops. Just make sure you have a garbage bag to manage the mess.
Don’t forget to stock up on entertainment for the kids either – pick up some small toys and surprise your kids throughout the drive. Prepare some family road trip games. Bring along tablets or mount televisions for when your kids start to melt down after being in the car for a long time.
4. Have the right documentation
To avoid any unpleasant surprises, have your documentation handy. This should include your licence and registration, as well as any insurance and warranty info. OK Tire’s 12 months/20,000-kilometre North American warranty program has you covered on most auto services and repairs performed at any store across Canada (even if you’re on a road trip in the United States!). In the unlikely event that something unexpected occurs, just call the helpline and they will direct you to the closest authorized repair facility anywhere in North America. Visit OK Tire online for more information. Renting a car? Make sure you have your rental agreement as well as your license nearby.
5. Clean your car
Even if you’ve stayed on top of maintenance, a dirty car is unpleasant to drive. Add restless kids into the mix and you’ve got a challenging road trip ahead of you. Get your car squeaky clean: inside and out. For the outside, a thorough wash and wax will get rid of any dust, dirt and rust that could scratch its surface. Don’t forget to give the inside a little TLC as well by vacuuming the seats and wiping down surfaces, including the air vents. Finally make sure your cabin air filter doesn’t need replacing. A dusty interior makes for an uncomfortable ride, distracting from all the fun.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by OK Tire, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!