Looking to hit the open road after months of COVID 19 lockdown, Canadians are expected to embark on more road trips than ever before. With popular cottage and camping hotspots booked out early this year, there’s still plenty of time to pull out the map and plan for day destinations to have mini-vacations close to home.
Ahead of embarking on a road trip, however, there are a few things that should be considered.
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First and foremost, be prepared. While still in a shifting state of COVID-19 restrictions, it is important to prepare both yourself and your car for the journey ahead.
Smart road trip planning includes awareness of restrictions for your destination and planning a safe route that maximizes enjoyment while considering limitations.
Pack extra meals and water, as well as a change of clothes and personal hygiene products that include hand sanitizers and masks. Ensure the vehicle is stocked with portable chargers, emergency contact numbers (think CAA) and route printouts or handheld maps – yes those still exist, and work without cell service!
A week before you embark, consider having your vehicle serviced or at the very least, check that your tires are properly inflated and fluid levels yourself. One important tip: don’t overlook the spare tire when conducting check-ups. There is nothing worse than blowing a tire and then realizing your spare is also flat.
Essentially, you want to prepare yourself for the best-case scenario, but also be prepared for the worst. This will ensure a smooth ride, no matter what lies ahead.
Once prepared, it’s time for the fun part: planning the route and finding ways to elevate your road trip. While your end destination will be set, the route itself provides a limitless opportunity to explore and take in new adventures along the way. It also allows breaking up longer road trips with smaller pitstops to engage young passengers.
We firmly believe that the journey can be just as exciting and interesting as the end destination. To help bring the passion and joy back to driving we recommend a few considerations:
First, put away your phone, or at the very least silence its notifications. This will allow you to unplug, be in the moment, and focus on the world around you.
Second, when planning your route, do some research into the different ways in which you can get from point A to point B. GPS devices will usually pre-select the fastest, most efficient route. This often happens to coincide with the highway. Instead of taking the suggested route, seek out alternatives that add unique stops along the way. Maybe it’s a picturesque break at the Albion Falls in Hamilton or the Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto or even a visit to Metcalfe Rock in the Blue Mountains.
If restrictions allow, pepper the journey with stops at hidden cafes, galleries filled with Canadian artists, and scenic lookouts that provide breathtaking vistas. If time permits, use apps like All Trails to bake in a short trail walk or a swim at one of Ontario’s many beaches.
The scenic route is likely to reap many rewards including the discovery of hidden local gems and reaching the pinnacle of driving zen.
So, while there might be a number of considerations (new and old) to keep top of mind when planning a road trip amidst the current COVID pandemic, it’s all worth it to be able to put the top-down, throw your hands up and take a drive through the countryside. Canada awaits!
Written by: Jonathan Klinger, Vice President of Car Culture, Hagerty