Over its 7,821km length, the Trans-Canada Highway crosses through all 10 provinces, making it the fourth-longest highway in the world. With that as a starting point, it’s no wonder Canadians love road trips. Driving is a rewarding way to explore your home province or places farther afield. Unlike the Point-A to Point-B travel you get on a train or a plane, a road trip gives you the flexibility to make side trips to unique roadside attractions: Who’s up for seeing the world’s largest paperclip in Kipling, Sask.? So, buckle up and start planning an epic summer adventure!
The Long Haul
How to pack your vehicle to keep passengers comfortable and luggage safely stowed.
Maximize your space inside the vehicle with a cargo box on long road trips. Before you start, check that you have the right roof rack and know the box’s weight limit. Pack heavy suitcases first, followed by sports equipment. Fill any gaps with blankets or sleeping bags.
Stow napkins, tissues and hand sanitizer in the centre console or glove box. Check that insurance and ownership docs are also handy. If your car doesn’t have USB chargers, buy an adapter for the auxiliary power outlet.
Stash colouring books, magazines or novels in seat-back pockets. Pack a tablet with downloaded videos and music playlists. Tuck items like extra shoes and fuzzy socks beneath the front seats. If kids are in car seats, use the space below their feet for extra storage space.
Heavy items on the bottom; lighter or crushable stuff on top. Avoid stacking items in the back so high that they obstruct your vision in the rear-view mirror. Use a vacuum-seal bag to shrink down bulky things like bedding and pillows. Keep your first aid kit, roadside emergency kit and any medication easily accessible.
Five steps to ensure your vehicle is up for the task.
1. Engine check
Due for service soon? Get a tune-up before your road trip. If not, check and top up oil and coolant.
2. Exterior inspection
Inspect tires—including the spare—for wear and proper inflation. Ensure lights are functional, including low-beam, high-beam, fog and brake lights.
Verify that all drivers have up-to-date licences. Store the vehicle’s owner’s manual, ownership and insurance documents in the glove box. You should also check your CAA Membership to ensure it’s renewed. Always carry your membership card in your wallet or download the CAA Mobile App to keep it handy.
4. Safe seating
Adjust the driver’s seat so you can see clearly out of all mirrors. The seat should be at least 10 inches back from the steering wheel to avoid injury if airbags deploy. All headrests should be adjusted so the centre is at ear height for each passenger. And make sure everyone is buckled up and car seats are installed correctly.
5. Hauling and storage
If you’re hauling gear on roof racks or a rooftop storage box, make sure all anchors are secured. Once you hit the road, periodically check all nuts, bolts and tie-down straps as driving may jostle them loose. When hauling a trailer, check tires and brake lights, and properly fasten the hitch and safety chain.
Because everyone knows the secret to any successful road trip is an epic playlist! Set your list before hitting the gas pedal to avoid distracted driving.
- “All I Wanna Do” – Sheryl Crow
- “Running on Empty” – Jackson Browne
- “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen
- “Ray of Light” – Madonna
- “Beyond” – Leon Bridges
- “Alberta Bound” – Paul Brandt
- “Stomp” – Serena Ryder
- “Keep the Car Running” – Arcade Fire
- “Little Bones” – The Tragically Hip
- “Stuck in the Middle with You” – Stealers Wheel
Nothing beats an RV for the ultimate in road trip comfort. But before heading out, do all the standard checks you’d make on your regular vehicle (tune-up, top-up fluids, check tires for wear and proper inflation, etc.), plus a few RV extras.
- Reinstall any dry cell batteries (topping them up with distilled water) and other equipment you removed for winter storage.
- Test all mechanical and electrical systems, including the heater, air conditioner and all appliances.
- Check the seals on the top of the unit and around the windows and door; re-caulk as necessary.
- Test the smoke, carbon monoxide and gas-leak detectors. Ensure the fire extinguisher is fully charged. Replace any missing items in your first-aid and emergency roadside kits.
- If you do run into problems along the way, CAA’s Plus RV and Premier RV memberships include fuel delivery, towing and battery boost—along with travel and trip interruption insurance. In case of a breakdown, Premier RV includes a rental car as well.
Brush up on some basics to ensure you’re covered from coast to coast.
Purchase travel insurance
It’s not just for international travel! Manitoba Health may not cover all costs when you leave the province. Speak to an insurance expert about Canadian plans.
Is your rental car covered?
Some credit cards have coverage for rental vehicles, but it might not be enough. Ask one of our Autopac Specialists about Rental Vehicle Insurance.
Check your RV coverage
From fifth wheels and motorhomes to trailers, get a policy tailored to your RV. Coverage typically includes physical damage, contents, travel expenses and personal liability. Some policies also cover portable and permanent structures, and trailer accessories.
Keep a hardcopy
Though digital auto insurance pink cards are accepted in many provinces, including Alberta, Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, they’re not accepted everywhere. If you’re crossing provincial borders, carry your paper copy as well.
Never leave without your CAA Membership.
One of the most essential things to pack for any road trip is your CAA Membership. Elizabeth Dow-Coombs, CAA Manitoba’s Membership Marketing Specialist, shares a few insider tips about finding the right membership and saving money along the way.
Which CAA Membership is right for me?
The best way to find the right CAA Membership is to assess your needs. Are you driving mainly in the city? A Classic Membership is a great option for commuters. If you’re travelling back and forth to the cabin, consider a Plus or Premier Membership for extended towing kilometres, which even covers you on your motorcycle.
Are there add-ons for summer road tripping?
Plus and Premier Members can extend their roadside coverage to include their RV, with an RV add-on. You can also add Associate Memberships (at a reduced rate) for other family members who might be driving during road trips.
How can I save money on my membership fees?
There are so many ways! You can save $15 on your renewal by signing up for Automatic Renewal. You can also use CAA Dollars towards your membership renewal. Earn CAA Dollars by shopping online through our eStore at CAA Rewards partners such as Walmart, Indigo, Staples, Joe Fresh and Home Hardware.