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Expert tips: Avoid these common road trip mistakes 

Embarking on a road trip can be one of the most exciting ways to explore new places, make new memories with friends and family and enjoy the journey as much as the destination. However, a successful road trip requires more than just a full tank of gas and a sense of adventure.  

To help you prepare for your next trip, Patricia Marques, Managing Director of Retail and Call Centre Sales and Operations at CAA North and East Ontario, shares her expert advice on common road trip mistakes you can easily avoid.  

Not having a plan before you leave

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Before you hit the road, Marques highly recommends ensuring you have a plan. While it may be fun to drive until you find your ideal destination, that could leave you in dangerous situations.   

“As with most things, it all begins with a plan,” said Marques.  

You’ll want to know where the gas stations and rest stops are along the way, especially if you are travelling on more remote roads.  

One road trip tip is to ensure you have your GPS set up and ready to go, but also have a hard copy map in case your phone dies, or you’re in an area with no service.  

“A GPS can help you find your way on unfamiliar roads, or use CAA TripTiks® online to plan your road trip,” explained Marques. “It allows you to get directions, explore maps, find gas stations, and information on places to stop and things to do all across Canada and the USA.” 

Skipping checking your vehicle

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Before you hit the open road, it’s essential to ensure your vehicle is in top-notch condition. Start with a fluid check to ensure your oil, coolant, brake fluid and windshield washer fluid are all at appropriate levels.  

Regular fluid maintenance can prevent engine overheating and keep everything running smoothly.  

Next, take a close look at your tires. Properly inflated tires improve fuel efficiency and reduce the risk of blowouts. Don’t overlook the spare tire-having a reliable backup is crucial.  

Follow these steps to reduce unexpected delays and keep your road trip full of fun and adventure.  

Not getting travel insurance

Do you need travel insurance when travelling within Canada?  

While OHIP may cover you in Ontario, not everything is covered once you leave the province. 

“Many travellers think their Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) will protect them, but the truth is it doesn’t cover everything,” Marques explained. “For example, if you get in an accident while driving in another province and need an ambulance to get to the hospital, you’d be on the hook to pay for it.”  

Travel insurance ensures you are covered on your next vacation. When planning a trip within Canada, whether a cross-country adventure or a weekend getaway to a neighbouring province, stay protected and worry-free on your vacation with CAA’s Canada plan 

Forgetting to bring an emergency kit

Interior of the trunk of the car in which there is a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, warning triangle, reflective vest, starter cables and tow rope
Tomasz Majchrowicz | iStock

You never know what could happen when you’re on holiday, so ensure you’re prepared for everything. “Be sure you have a first aid kit in your car,” said Marques. “Disinfectant, gauze, and bandages are always a good idea to have in the kit.” Remember to check you have jumper cables and a tool kit in case your car breaks down or you get a flat tire.  

Your insurance, registration, and emergency contact list should be in your glove box.  

When planning your trip, think about the weather. You might not need the same things for a summer trip as you would for a winter road trip.  

Failing to plan for fun and food

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For those long days on the road, it is a good idea to pack snacks and prepare a playlist. Picture yourself on a long drive through a national park; you’ll have the music up and the windows down.  

When you’ve finally finished with all the significant things on your road trip packing list, don’t forget the small things that may help make the trip smoother. You’ll want to ensure you have plenty of snacks and water.  

Don’t forget sometimes, when you’re on a long road trip, it may be easy to get bored, so pack some games and books for your co-pilots.  

Ready to hit the road?

CAA is here to help you get comprehensive coverage for your next trip. Go online to get a quote in a few simple steps, visit a CAA Store or call 1-800-267-8713. CAA Members save up to 20%1 on their policy with CAA Travel Insurance. 

CAA Travel Insurance, an Orion Travel Insurance product, is underwritten by Echelon Insurance. Certain exclusions, limitations and restrictions apply. Subject to change without notice. A Medical Questionnaire is required if you are 60 years of age and older. Quotes are valid for 30 days.  

  1. Applies to CAA Members in good standing (CAA Membership dues paid in full by Membership expiry date). Up to twenty percent (20%) savings applies to the total premium excluding applicable taxes. Minimum premium applies. Subject to change without notice. Excludes Visitors to Canada Insurance. CAA Everyday, Classic®, and Plus® Members save 10%. CAA Premier® Members save 20% at CAA Stores or by calling 1-800-267-8713. CAA Premier Members save 10% and earn 10% in CAA Dollars® when booking online. 

®CAA trademarks are owned by, and use is authorized by, the Canadian Automobile Association.    

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