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How to Plan Your Perfect Road Trip: Six Useful Tips

Deidre Plotnick July 19, 2021
Two girls sitting on the ledge of an open trunk

There’s no better way to celebrate summer than by taking a road trip. But you’ll want to make sure your long-awaited-for vacation goes smoothly. Here’s a list of useful tips to help you plan your perfect road trip.

1. Choose your road-trip destination.

Whether you fancy a local trip, exploring another province or a road trip through the US once the borders open, you’ll need a destination to plan your route. Figure out how long you want to be away, how far your end point is and how much distance you want to cover each day. Is your goal to get to your destination as quickly as possible? Or do you prefer to explore along the way? Remember, getting there can be half the fun. If you’re a CAA Member, you can create your own TripTik® online.

Two girls sitting in the back of a van staring at the sunset over the lake

2. Create your road-trip budget.

Determine your overall budget, then consider whether you’ll rent through Airbnb or Vrbo, camp in an Ontario Park or stay in a hotel. Remember, CAA Members enjoy discounts and perks at many partner hotels so this option may be more affordable than you think. Whatever you decide, make a reservation to avoid disappointment. Next, decide how much to allot for food each day – picnics can be part of the adventure and help keep your costs down. Earmark funds for attractions, shopping and gas. If your budget is feeling stretched, consider shortening your trip by a few days.

Mom watching three kids run towards the open minivan

3. Book your car rental.

Save on the wear and tear of your car by using a rental car for your road trip. CAA Members come out ahead here too, with savings and perks from a great choice of car rental companies.

4. Plan your stops en route.

Make the drive more manageable by planning different stops along the way. CAA TourBooks® and CAA Travel Guides list all kinds of CAA-recommended attractions and restaurants to explore on the way to your final destination.

5. Organize your travel documents.

Use this handy checklist to gather all your documents before your departure:

  • Car registration/ownership
  • Car rental confirmation
  • Credit card
  • Driver’s licence
  • Passport (if US borders are open)
  • CAA Membership card

Travel Insurance. It’s wise to get travel insurance even if you’re staying in Canada since OHIP doesn’t always cover out of province medical costs. To get a quote on a plan that includes up to $5 million CAD in coverage for any COVID-19 related illnesses that may occur while travelling during a Level 3 (avoid non-essential ) travel advisory, click here. CAA Members save 10%.1

Car Insurance. If you adjusted your car insurance for your decreased driving habits, you may want to review your coverage before you leave on your road trip. CAA Auto Insurance provides complimentary policy reviews, even if your policy is with another provider. You don't have to be a CAA Member to get CAA Auto Insurance, but your savings could cover your membership fee. Plus, you could enjoy additional savings and perks all year long.


Three happy kids in the back of the car

6. Start packing.

Sometimes it’s easier to tackle a little packing at a time. Start putting aside clothes, travel guides and documents, gear and snacks. Find out which nine essentials every smart road tripper should pack. Travelling with young kids? These 10 awesome road trip games can help keep boredom at bay.

One last tip: Before you hit the open road, remember to put your CAA Membership card in your wallet. It's not only handy for roadside assistance, it also will help you save money at partner locations, leaving you with a little more to spend. Happy travels!