Summer roadtrip checklist: Everything you need to know to have the best roadtrip ever

·6-min read

Camping and roadtrips are a Canadian rite of passage — and being prepared will help make it the most enjoyable experience possible. When it comes to tackling your summer plans with confidence, Everything Awaits you at Canadian Tire. From roadtrip checklists to out-of-the-box camping meal ideas, we’ve got you covered as you count down to the weekends.

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

A carefree summer roadtrip with friends or family can be a great time filled with memories that will last a lifetime. But it can also be frustrating and stress-inducing if done wrong.

While a roadtrip sounds like something you might do completely sporadically, that can quickly become a decision you regret. A cramped and unorganized vehicle, a bored kid and a phone that conks out halfway into your journey doesn’t sound ideal.

However, if you take some extra time to prepare and ensure your vehicle is well equipped, comfortable and ready for the road, you’re in for a real treat. Think the first class flight experience — but in your car. With so many incredible sights available across Canada (many in your own backyard!) here's everything you need to know to make it the best roadtrip ever.

Vehicle maintenance

Photo via Getty Images
Photo via Getty Images

If you don’t have a functional vehicle, you don’t have a roadtrip. Simple as that.

Before you head out, make sure your vehicle is well maintained and everything is in good working order. That means your battery, tires, brakes, exterior lights and you’ll also want to top up all your fluids. There’s nothing worse than a flat tire or an unexpected breakdown so get ahead of the game to ensure there are no hiccups on your roadtrip.

Safety first

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

Safety goes hand in hand with vehicle maintenance. A lengthy roadtrip can be unpredictable so you’ll want to ensure safety is a priority. Small children should always travel in the appropriate car seat and be belted in correctly. A first-aid kit should also be ready available and a no-brainer when packing.

Since a car is essentially your life raft when you’re on the road, you don’t want it to sink or have no way of patching up a hole. An emergency auto kit is absolutely necessary for short or long roadtrips. Jumper cables, a flashlight, flares and blankets could save you from a potentially dangerous situation if your vehicle breaks down.

Ensure your eyes are always on the road by getting yourself organized before putting the car in drive and that means mounting your phone at eye level so that you can easily glance at directions. The Bluehive 3-in-1 Universal Phone Mount features a suction and an adjustable gooseneck design so you can position it to your liking.

Organize

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

A disorganized and cluttered car is going to make for an uncomfortable roadtrip. If you have larger pieces of luggage or clunky bags, you may want to consider storing them in a trailer hitched to your vehicle.

Doing this will free up a lot of legroom so you can stretch out comfortably in your car for much needed shut eye. The Stirling Galvanized Utility Trailer is a great size for hauling all your excess roadtrip luggage and sporting equipment that may not fit in your trunk.

Even if you don't opt for a trailer, there are still many organization and storage solutions to make your trip more comfortable and organized. Canadian Tire has a variety of interior car organizers that will keep everything you're bringing on your trip exactly where you need it to be. 

The AutoTrends Trunk Organizer, features double bin capacity with the option of reducing to a single bin, and also features mesh dividers that can be used to divide large storage bin or cover contents. Plus, it features the TESTED badge, which means it's been put to the test and approved by real Canadians. 

A collapsable trash can is another great thing to have on hand for roadtrips, especially long ones. Avoid trash, cups and food scraps piling up with this Collapsible Auto Trash Can that features a magnetic lid to keep garbage out of sight and also features a hook and loop system that keeps the trash can secured to the vehicle's floor. If you don't have much floor space, you can also utilize a hanging trash can. The Auto Trends Backseat Organizer with Tissue Holder is also a great way to keep smaller items, like travel documents, glasses or phones, safe and organized. 

Entertainment for you and the kids

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

Entertainment is absolutely essential for an enjoyable roadtrip. Who wants to drive across the country with no music, snacks and restless children in the back?

There’s no shame in wanting a few moments of quiet, which can be difficult with kids in tow. If you’re bringing a tablet with you, mount it to the As Seen On TV Pillow Pad. The foamy tablet stands makes it easy for multiple people to view the screen and sits comfortably in your lap for long-haul trips.

To keep you and your passengers comfortable, a travel pillow like the Maple Leaf Double Comfort Pillow may become the most coveted car accessory. We suggest purchasing a few!

Plan your route

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

We always recommend planning your route ahead of time but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a GPS at the ready. The Garmin Drive 51LM Car GPS offers more than just directions. It warns of impending dangerous curves and speed changes on the road and even acts as a tour guide.

If you prefer to use your phone and a GPS app as your guiding light, you certainly don’t want it to run out of battery before you reach your destination. Make sure you always have a portable phone charging kit for this reason. The Mophie Power Boost XL Portable Charger, 10,400-mAh is travel friendly and provides up to 48 hours of extra battery life.

Snacks and staying hydrated

Photo via Getty Images
Photo via Getty Images

Last, but certainly not least, what’s a roadtrip without snacks? Pack a goodie bag with sweet and savory treats to keep you energized. A bag or two of FRANKS BBQ Ripple Chips and a box of classic Girl Guide Sandwich Cookies might earn you roadtrip MVP status amongst your travel companions.

Get comfortable

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

Roadtrips are fun — but they can also involve long days in the same position, which can lead to aches and pains. Luckily, Canadian Tire has a wide assortment of car accessories that can make your in-vehicle experience as comfortable as possible. 

A seat cushion is an easy way to make your vehicle more comfy and inviting, especially if you suffer from back pain. A removable gel seat cushion is one option that's great if you're moving from place to place — it can also double as a makeshift seat in a park or on a patio as you travel. If you're looking for something a bit different, you can even get a massage cushion with heat — perfect for long drives. 

As much as roadtrips beg for time spent in the sun, sun shining in your eyes and heating up your car can get annoying when you're on the open road. A car shade or visor will keep the brightness in your vehicle to a manageable level, and will also keep it cooler. 

If you have sensitive skin, the seatbelt chafing against your neck can be painful, especially when in the vehicle for an extended period of time. A seatbelt extender or a plush seatbelt pad are both great ways to keep your seatbelt from rubbing directly on your skin without preventing it from doing its job.

Summer is finally here — and Canadian Tire and Yahoo are helping you take advantage of every single moment. From weekend camping and roadtrip must-haves to tips on how to make your backyard the ultimate oasis, Everything Awaits you at Canadian Tire.