So it’s no secret that I love road trips. Seriously. Love.
My old man (Drewster Drew, father time, old spice, popita) taught me how to drive a standard when I was 13. He used to make obstacle courses in the parking lot of Mountain View Mall in my hometown out of light poles, shopping carts and empty pop bottles. That’s where my love for driving originated, I’m sure of it. Since then I have travelled by car from Edmonton to Coachella, Edmonton to Chicago, Edmonton to Toronto, Toronto to Florida and from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye to name a few. If it is physically possible for me to drive somewhere, I will. A couple weeks on the road, a weekend or even a day trip. I love it all.
I actually have a day trip planned for this weekend, and I am just a wee bit excited for it! MVK and I will be heading to Canmore to get our wedding bands (eeekkkkk) and then over to Bragg Creek to explore. Road trips take a little bit of planning so in this post I will talk about how I get myself ‘Road Trip Ready’.
If you’re embarking on a road trip you will undoubtedly need a vehicle.
- Make sure that vehicle is up to date with it’s scheduled maintenance. You do not want the unthinkable to happen when you are far from home trying to have a good time. Broken timing belt, blown head gasket (those are the only car injuries I know). Be pre-emptive. You’ll thank yourself later for this one.
- Check to see that your tires are in good shape. Check your tire pressure and fill them up to the correct PSI if necessary. Tires are a part of my scheduled maintenance but if yours aren’t don’t be afraid to check them yourself. It’s super easy. Flat tires are a bitch.
- Double check your windshield. If you have any chips or cracks (which, let’s be real, if you live in Alberta you probably have) get them fixed!!!!!! I cannot stress this one enough. I got a teeny tiny rock chip coming home from the mountains, no big deal right? Wrong. That little chip slowly but surely cracked it’s way the entire width of my windshield. However it wasn’t in my line of vision so I didn’t think twice about it. Until my next road trip down to the mountains and a mini van kicked up some small rocks on the highway and BAM! Glass shards came flying into the car! If whatever hit the windshield would have come through it was perfectly in line with MVK’s forehead……… Scary stuff! This also set us back a few hours and a few hundred bucks…. not ideal. So be safe out there, check your windshields!
- Clean your baby. Inside and out. I will spend a few hours prior to departure to do a quick interior and exterior clean. Get rid of any trash, wipe down the doors and console, you can even vacuum if you’re feeling ambitious. Then head to your nearest car wash. I always feel better starting a road trip in a clean vehicle. It sets the tone.
- Tank up. This should also be a no-brainer. You don’t want to have to stop an hour in to fuel up. Gas up before you leave to ensure you will be on the road uninterrupted for a few hours.
A road trip can be made or broken in my opinion based on the extras. Snacks and entertainment. Having a good scenery helps make a road trip epic, but if the scenery is lacking you can still have a good time if the snacks and entertainment are on point.
- Snacks. Food. I love food. While you’re gassing up get some snacks. Or you can be healthy and pack your own snacks. Carrot sticks, snap peas, water and trail mix are some popular choices. If you’re like me….. Beef jerky, more beef jerky, energy drinks, chocolate and chips are more your style. Whatever you like pack it. I often munch when I am bored so having lots of snack at hand can keep you occupied. My tip is bring snacks that are easy to eat and relatively mess free. Ramen for example… bad idea.
- Entertainment/Music is a must. The best entertainment is a passenger! A good road trip passenger will keep you alert and keep you company. I also swear by satellite radio. It came free with my car when we got it and we continued our subscription because I could not live without it. There are hundreds of channels to choose from so if you get bored of a genre you have a plethora of other options at your finger tips. If you don’t have anyone riding with you talk radio is a nice substitute. On my drive from Toronto to Edmonton, somewhere in northern Ontario after what seemed like 12 hours of driving I could feel myself getting bored. That’s when I discovered talk radio. I think it was actually a tv program ‘Forensic files’ which seriously kept me occupied for an entire day. It also made me crazy paranoid when I thought it was a good idea to sleep in my car on the side of the road. Talk radio is good but chose your channel wisely!
- Pack some just in case items. You never know what could happen so try your best to be prepared. I like to keep some extra water and energy bars in my trunk along with a blanket, booster cables and a spare tire. I also like to keep some cleaning supplies in my trunk just in case I spill a drink or something.
- Thule/Yakima or other overhead bin. If you are packing a fair amount of stuff think about using an overhead bin so you don’t have to stuff your car like a sardine. We used one on our trip down to California for Coachella and it was awesome. We packed all of our camping gear up top and saved a ton of room in the car!
Also consider a road trip mascot.
So this is how I prepare myself for a road trip big or small. Do you have any tips on getting road trip ready? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!