Tips For First Time Road Trips

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When going on a road trip, there are a few things that are important to remember. 

Road Trip Tip 1#: The Beginning

Firstly, make sure to have your gas tank filled and money set aside for when you may need to stop by the gas station for a refill. Calculating the distance you will be driving for is extremely important when driving for long periods of time. Especially for new drivers not accustomed to driving such long distances at a time.

Another good thing to remember is a map, but not just the one on your phone or your Google Maps.

The globetrotting teacher‘s article on What to Bring on a Road Trip: Basic Must-Haves gives us some great insight on carrying a map on a road trip: 

“Every successful road trip includes a paper map… Smartphone apps like Google Maps and are great, but when you lose service in remote places, the ability to get step-by-step directions disappears, too. Absolutely use the apps, but have a paper map, too.

Get a map with roads, landmarks, and information for an entire region instead of just 1 area. It’s perfect for those spontaneous whims along the way!”

As said above, technology cannot always be depended on so remember that paper map for your road trip travels.

Road Trip Tip 2#: Road Trip Essentials and a Little Bit of Extras

Considering just gas and a map is just the basics. When thinking about what a new driver might want to have for the comfort and convenience of their passengers, it’s good to have the following:

  • Phone charger that is compatible for your car; having a cable to plug in your phone is important for checking with other road trip attendees that may be travelling in another vehicle, or even booking a reservation for a restaurant you may want to eat at later. It is always a convenience to have extra chargers.
  • Power inverters, for AC outlets and USB ports. In case your vehicle does not have a port that works with your charger, it is good to bring power inverters for the convenience of charging on the go without worries. It can even be a lightning power inverter to charge your phone faster and keep those road trip tunes going for the long drive ahead!
  • Hands-free phone mounts are great to have to see your Google Maps destinations and for the driver to glance at where they need to be on track without having to take their hands off the wheel. 
  • A portable charger is always good to have, especially if the power inverters do not offer more than one port for your cables. When there are a lot of devices in your car make sure to have that portable charger.
  • A garbage bag, for any snacks wrappers or other trash that may come along the way of your travels. It’ll be easier for quick disposal at a pit stop!
  • Roll of Toilet Paper; yes, this may sound absurd, but in case of a public washroom not having toilet paper, it is good to carry some handy in your vehicle.
  • Hand sanitizer; with COVID-19 around, you always want to keep your hands clean.
  • Tissues, napkins or wipes are always good for general cleaning up in the car.
  • For summer trips, remember bug spray and sunscreen.
  • For winter trips, remember extra sweaters and blankets for the ride there and for potential road trip naps.
  • Toll passes, or extra change for the tolls you may encounter. It is not common that driving across borders may mean having to pay a toll or two, and the last thing you want is to be stuck in line without money to pay when the attendant isn’t there.

Road Trip Tip 3#: The Car Prep before the Trip.

Last, but not least. Before leaving for your exciting trip, you may think you have all your essentials for you and your passengers, but does your car?

It’s always a good idea to check with your mechanic and have them triple-check the state of your car. You can stop by your nearest dealership, Canadian Tire, Costco, or Mr. Lube for a tune up. Ask questions like how are my car lights? My signal lights? Is the air pressure good for my tires? Are my windshield wipers working? Is my oil changed in my car?

Speaking of fluids, have they all been topped up?

Fluids to check:

  • Windshield
  • Brake fluid
  • Transmission fluid

When wanting to check for your road trip needs, you need to prepare your car’s needs first. After that trip to the mechanic, make sure to have:

  • A Flashlight: to check your car’s condition if anything seems off when driving there.
  • Booster Cable: For not only yourself, but others in need of a lift.
  • Tool Kit: In case some handy work needs to get done in your car or a tire needs to be changed.
  • Spare Tire: Along with that tool kit and extra items needed for a tire change, be sure to have a spare in case of a puncture or tire set back along the way there or back. It can save you from being stranded out on your road trip. 

There are many things to know as a learner driver going on a road trip, but hopefully, this guide can make it easier to pack for where the road may take you on your long journeys.

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