No one wants their car to break down–least of all while on vacation. A holiday is something looked forward to by everyone, and wasting even a minute trying to fix a car or waiting for a tow truck by the roadside is definitely not ideal. It is, therefore, a good idea to consider the following tips as you prepare for your next car road trip.

Preventative Tips

Prevention is aways the best cure. The easiest way to safeguard your road trip is to let a mechanic perform a full safety inspection on your car a week or two before your trip. This allows you and the mechanic to make some repairs before the planned day in case any potential faults, and a week will hopefully be enough time to fix anything that’s not working properly. The mechanic can do a comprehensive check of the car, from the smallest details to the big issues. This would range from the fluid levels to the lights, tires, and brakes, just to ensure your car is ready for a long trip. Just like the popular saying, “a stitch in time, saves nine,” this check could save you the risk of spending a whole lot more on car repairs in the future.

Having a safety inspection generally doesn’t cost much, especially if you are a regular customer (otherwise, you might have to pay for a full hour of labour). Regardless of the amount spent, it is definitely worth investing in, as the safety of your family and enjoyment of your trip are top priorities.

Prepare for the Worst

Automobiles won’t stop being automobiles. No amount of maintenance or inspection can guarantee a trouble-free road trip. It’s good to get yourself prepared for the worst by keeping a roadside survival kit handy. The kit should consist of a copy of your car’s warranty and an emergency contact. Also, consider investing in an emergency roadside assistance plan, and scout out nearby mechanics along your travel route.

A car road trip can be fun and exciting because it allows you spend some quality time with friends and loved ones in a new place. But a car malfunction can ruin your care-free vacation, so you want to be sure you take all necessary precautions to have a fun-filled and memorable car road trip.

Sure, we could replay another road trip checklist that comes down to common sense. Instead, let’s look at ways to plan the Road Trip Experience, the in-between stuff, the way to get the most out of not only your destinations, but your journeys as well. There’s a lot to see in Ontario, as Ontario has close to 200,000 kilometres of road in the province. Let’s look at the top five ways to get the most from your Ontario Road Trip.

Plan Not to Road Trip Plan

If every second is accounted for, you’ll have no time to take impulsive turns and explore places you never knew existed. Ontario is wide, open and friendly and there are few places you can go where you put yourself at risk. While it takes some courage to head out without some sort of plan, overscheduling a trip leads to stress and disappointment when the unexpected happens. Count on 300 to 400 kilometers daily for a comfortable pace that allows unplanned stops.

Plan a Theme

With so many things to see, creating a theme may both give direction and introduce chance. How about “Roadside Attractions”? It’s broad and obvious, yet open for interpretation on the fly. You can find giant Muskoka chairs in Durham and Minden, Max the Moose in Dryden and Muddy the Mudcat in Dunnville. There’s the Sudbury Nickel, the Echo Bay Loonie and the Campbellford Toonie. Find whatever tickles your funny bone, take lots of selfies and you’ll have a ready-made vacation album of photos when you get home.

Burn a CD

Burn CD

Fill a CD with about 15 of your favourite songs, ones that you enjoy over and over. Stick that CD in the car stereo and play it through completely a few times each day. Guaranteed that those songs are attached to great memories from your vacation, taking you back with surprisingly detailed recollections. It’s a simple way to expand your road trip plan into the years to come.

Avoid the 400s

Highway 401 in Toronto is one of the widest and busiest highways in the world, in places up to 18 lanes across. It and the other 400-series highways are the arteries of the province and it’s difficult to avoid using them for many destinations. Though they can mean quick passage to your destinations, they can also mean traffic snarls and predictable scenery. Online maps and GPS are great tools, but nothing beats a road atlas and some highlighters. These let you hit the back roads with confidence and, when you highlight the roads you take, you build a custom souvenir to recall your adventures.

Channel Your Inner Extrovert

While Canadians can sometimes keep to themselves to politely avoid annoying others, we’re also friendly, gregarious and helpful by nature. Ask the people you meet about what to see and where to eat. Chances are, all the other road-trippers are heading to the same destinations you Googled before you set out. The hometown search engine is only activated face-to-face with those who know the area. Make new friends, say hi first. The best experiences are the ones that happen when you’re open for anything.

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