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summer road trip essentials

Summer Road Trip | Essentials For Your Next Car Adventure

Families all over the world have had to make some drastic changes to their summer holiday plans because of COVID-19. While this is a total bummer, there are still lots of great ways to enjoy the summer and still have a blast with your family or friends. A close-to-home summer road trip is the perfect way to get away, maintain social distancing and still get the much needed break you need from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

But before you hit the road with the fam jam, there are a few road trip essentials that you need to have, to not only make your road trip that much more fun, but to ensure safety as well. 

We’ve put together a list of your 2020 summer road trip essentials here:

Give Your Vehicle a Bumper-to-Bumper Checkup

While this first one isn’t really something to bring with you, it’s the first road trip essential for anyone. Having your car checked over before hitting the road is essential to ensure you get to your destination and back, safe and sound, without any headaches. Make sure your tires have lots of life left (and air), get the oil changed, top up all the fluids and fix any issues it may have (yeah, stop putting that off). Have you ever broken down on the side of a very quiet country road with no sign of life for miles and a weak cell signal? We’re not sure about you, but personally it’s not our idea of a good time. 

It takes almost no time and can save you a whole lot of headaches later, so just make sure your ride is in tip top shape before hitting the pavement. 

Pack a Proper Emergency Kit

No, we’re not safety crazy but we do think everyone needs to put a bit of safety first sometimes. There is no way of knowing what you might get into on a summer road trip, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Ensure you’ve got a kit in the car with jumper cables, a tow rope, a first aid kit, batteries, a flashlight and some basic tools. Double check the condition of your spare tire and make sure you’ve got the jack in the vehicle as well. Depending on where you plan to go, packing some extra non-perishable foods, a lighter and an extra blanket might not be a bad idea either. It’s always better to pack it and not need it than to need it and not have it. 

A Good Road Trip App and A Paper Map

Sometimes getting lost is just part of the adventure and makes your trip that much more exciting. But it’s also nice to know how to find your way back if you do get lost. We live in a digital age where everyone has a cell phone and those phones all come equipped with a map app of some kind. However, on a summer road trip you may still encounter areas where you have no cell signal and the GPS stops working. This is where having an offline app like or carrying along a good ol’ paper map is handy. 

A Cooler With Snacks and Cold Drinks

Let’s be honest, is it even a road trip if there are no snacks? Even on a short trip, most people will pack a few things to munch on along the way. If you’re heading further though and plan to take the scenic route, be sure to pack enough to eat and drink to get you from point to point. There are many Canadian highways and backroads that have nothing for several hundred kilometers at a time. This also brings us to our next essential…gas. 

Fill Up and Bring a Spare Tank

Before you hit the road and at each stop, fill your tank completely. Don’t try to make it from point A to point B without a full tank. There are many things that could go wrong and you could end up stranded. Oftentimes, small roadside gas stations have been shut down, so while the sign says “gas in 300 kms”…it could be a lot further of a distance if that station doesn’t exist anymore. So fill up each time you stop and bring along an extra gas can if you have the space. 

Just Some Extras To Remember

Road trips are such a fun way to travel and they allow you to experience so much more than you would if you were flying. When it’s time to hit the road, be sure to pack some of these other road trip essentials:

  • Movies or Ipad for the kids
  • Your favourite playlists
  • Sunglasses
  • A small backpack in case you stop for a small hike along the way
  • A roll of toilet paper for…well…you know
  • A garbage bag
  • Hand-sanitizer
  • Bug spray
  • Books or a list of car game ideas
  • Some kibble and extra water if you’re travelling with a pet
  • Cash for the odd roadside stop that might not take debit
  • Your insurance slips, driver’s license and CAA or roadside assistance card
  • Extra cell phone charger

The pandemic doesn’t need to completely ruin your much-needed summer break. This isn’t the time to go on an extensive cross-country road trip, but an opportunity to explore your home province in ways you might not have before! Alberta is home to some really great road trips, so get out this summer and explore. Remember to stay safe, maintain social distancing, and HAVE FUN!