Road trip essentials

14 minute read Published on Feb 3, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

Kids laughing in the back seat of a car

Whether it’s your first RV trip across the country or a weekend getaway, road trips are exciting ventures that offer Canadians the freedom of the open road. That said, planning a smooth journey takes planning, which is why the team at BrokerLink is here to help lighten the load with our comprehensive road trip checklist.

Road trip checklist – what to add to your road trip packing list

Planning a road trip can be daunting, especially if you've never taken a trip across the country before. So, in an effort to prevent you from forgetting essential items, we've put together a checklist of things you need to consider bringing with you. Here is a closer look below at what you should include on your road trip checklist:

1. Phone charger

A phone charger is a must if you want to maintain communication and navigation during the journey. It ensures that your electronic devices are charged, enabling you to use the internet, Google Maps, make calls, and take pictures of the memories you make. It's also essential to have in case of an emergency.

2. Cozy blanket

A blanket adds comfort during breaks or when taking a nap in the car, making your road trip more enjoyable and providing warmth during chilly nights. Again, this is an excellent addition in case of an emergency in the event your car breaks down in an area where temperatures are cold.

3. Stove, gas, lighter, and cookset pack

Cooking, when travelling, reduces costs and gives your trip a cozy feel. You can make easy meals on the fly with a cook set bag, picnic blanket, cooler bag, gas stove, lighter, and small stove. This item is especially important if you're choosing to camp at your destination.

4. Dashboard cell phone holder

With a dashboard cell phone holder, you can keep your long-distance drive safe and convenient while driving by keeping your hands free and keeping your phone handy for directions.

5. Coffee thermos

This one’s for our coffee and tea lovers out there. Drinking lukewarm drinks that are meant to be hot can be frustrating. With a thermos, you can keep your favourite hot beverages warm, making your early morning drives more enjoyable.

6. Car battery jumper cables

Be ready for unforeseen battery problems. If your car battery starts to act up, jumper cables can come in handy and keep you from becoming stuck in the middle of nowhere.

7. Licence and registration

Keep your driver's licence and car insurance registration on you at all times. Not only is it required by law, but it can also speed up any unforeseen interactions along the way.

8. Water bottle and picnic gear

Pack some compact, portable picnic supplies so you're ready for last-minute get-togethers. This includes items like forks, spoons, knives, plateware, garbage bags, and napkins. And don’t forget to stay hydrated with a reusable water bottle you can fill up along the way at any rest stop.

9. Tire inflator (for flat tires)

If one of your tires suddenly flattens, a portable tire inflator is essential for getting you back on the open road fast and without the need for emergency assistance. Consider putting a tire pressure gauge in your car as well.

10. Waterproof rain jacket

The weather across Canada can be unpredictable. In the event of an unforeseen downpour, a waterproof rain jacket or poncho guarantees your comfort and dryness.

11. First aid kit

Having a well-filled first aid kit on your road trip is crucial for managing minor wounds or medical issues that you can deal with without the help of emergency services if you run into any road hazards.

12. Offline Google maps

In remote locations, internet connectivity can occasionally be undependable. To ensure navigation even in places with spotty or nonexistent network access where Google Maps may not work, download an offline map or carry a physical one with you. Trust us, there's nothing worse than getting lost in the middle of your family road trip, especially if you lose service constantly throughout the trip.

13. Hand sanitizer

Use hand sanitizer to stay hygienic while on the trip, particularly during rest breaks and after handling objects in public areas. You may also want to bring wet wipes in your day pack as well. Wet wipes are a great way to sanitize public benches, picnic tables, etc.

14. Cooler

Use a cooler to keep cold drinks and snacks fresh. When travelling, it's a helpful feature to have as it eliminates the need for multiple stops at convenience stores or gas stations along the way, which can save you time and money.

15. Toiletry bag

Having all of your personal hygiene items in one location such as a toiletry bag makes it simple to freshen yourself when travelling. Keep your toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, deodorant, pain relieving medications or balms and any other hygiene products you may need in your own bag. It can also help you save money and the annoyance of having to buy these items at a gas station.

16. Hiking boots/shoes/flip-flops

Bring appropriate shoes for the range of activities you plan on doing. Think about flip-flops, cozy shoes, and hiking boots for the various terrain you might encounter. If you're not going near water, ditch the flip flops to save room.

17. Portable power bank

Invest in a portable power bank to extend the life of your electronics. When there is restricted access to a power source, it's a practical solution that can give you peace of mind in case of an emergency.

18. Flashlight

A dependable flashlight adds an extra degree of security and practicality to your road trip and is essential for checking your car, setting up camp, and navigating in the dark. Keep this in your roadside emergency kit.

19. Bug Spray

Heading into the woods? Don't forget your bug spray. You never know what kind of creepy crawlies are hanging around in the bushes and there's nothing worse than feeling itchy and irritated while you're out in nature.

20. Car manual

Remember to bring your car manual in case something goes wrong with your vehicle while you're on the road. This is something you can keep in your glove box for convenience.

Bringing these road trip items along for the ride not only makes sure you're ready for anything unanticipated but will also make the trip more comfortable and enjoyable overall. Just remember that packing light can help you save space in your vehicle.

Fun things to bring on your road trip

Long-distance driving can be draining, not to mention boring, which is why keeping things fun and exciting can help pass the time. Now that we've got the essentials out of the way take a look at some of the fun things you can do during your travels:

Road trip playlist

Your road trip can become an unforgettable experience with a thoughtfully selected playlist or a collection of road trip podcasts or audiobooks. Music improves the experience, sets the tone, and makes memories last a lifetime. An intentionally created road trip playlist adds a customized touch, transforming kilometres of highway into the soundtrack of your journey. What songs are a must on your soundtrack?

Playing cards and games

Games for a road trip are also a must. A road trip provides lots of downtime beyond the beautiful landscapes and rest stations. Bringing along travel-sized road trip games or a deck of cards is a great way to pass the time and make memories with other passengers. Whether it's a fast round of trivia, a traditional game of Go Fish, 20 questions, or Uno, these activities can keep things interesting and give you and your passengers a well-needed break. Who doesn't love road trip games?

A long car ride can get boring, but with these fun road trip car essentials we promise time will fly by!

Car maintenance tips for your next trip

A successful road trip is also contingent on you having a reliable vehicle. Before you hit the road, take into account these crucial car maintenance for road trip tips:

Check your fluid levels

Make sure that the levels of your coolant, brake fluid, oil, transmission fluid, and windshield washer fluid are filled to their recommended levels. Top them up as needed.

Inspect your car tires

Check the pressure and tread depth of all tires, including the spare tire. A flat tire or bald tires can reduce fuel efficiency and provide safety hazards, especially while driving on icy roads.

Conduct a brake inspection

Inspect the condition of your brake pads. Grinding or squeaking noises may indicate that your brakes need to be serviced.

Verify your battery levels

Make sure the connections on your car's battery are tight and free of corrosion. If your battery is older, think about getting it checked out or replaced before you go. If your car battery dies on the open road, you'll luckily have your car charger already handy from your road trip essentials list!

Test your lights and signals

Check the functionality of all exterior lights, including the turn signals, brake lights, hazard lights, and headlights. Change any burned-out light bulbs if needed.

Change the air filter

Engine performance and fuel efficiency can both be impacted by dirty air filters. If necessary, replace the air filter in the car's cabin in addition to the engine air filter.

Make sure your wiper blades work

Make sure the wiper blades on your car are functional and in good shape. If they get worn out or leave streaks, replace them.

Check the spare tire

Make sure you have the tools needed to fix a flat tire and that your spare tire is well-inflated.

Ultimately, you can guarantee a safer and more enjoyable drive by taking the time to complete these vehicle service checks. This will also lower the likelihood of roadside breakdowns that can put a damper on your experience. Remember, a dependable and effective road trip experience depends on routine maintenance.

Long-distance safety tips for drivers

Driving long distances comes with a load of safety hazards that drivers need to prepare for. Here are some long-distance safety tips to keep in mind next time you're behind the wheel:

Plan ahead of time

Plan your itinerary ahead of time, taking into account rest areas, food breaks, and overnight stays.

Prioritize resting

Make sure you get a good sleep before hitting the road. Decision-making and reaction time are severely limited by fatigue.

Schedule your breaks

Schedule two-hour pauses to prevent fatigue. During breaks, stay hydrated, stretch, and take short walks to keep yourself alert.

Share your driving responsibility

If possible, split the driving responsibilities between passengers.

Be mindful of weather conditions

Check the weather along your path and be ready for any changes. Bring necessities such as blankets, ice scrapers, and additional clothes in case of unanticipated weather.

Keep your distance from other drivers

Maintain a safe distance behind the car in front of you, especially in bad weather.

Wear your seatbelt at all times

Make sure that everyone is always buckled up in their seat belts.

Don't hesitate to pull over

If you start to feel sleepy, stop for a power nap in a secure area. Caffeine should not be your only source of energy and should not replace your shut eye.

Follow the speed limit

Respect designated speed limits and modify your speed according to the state of the road. Speeding shortens your reaction time and can make a car accident more severe.

Safety is a must at all times

For a long-distance journey to be enjoyable, safety must come first. By following this advice, you can reduce the possibility of accidents and guarantee a safer and more comfortable travel experience for yourself and your passengers!

Where should I plan my next road trip?

If you’re undecided about where to go, visit these gems on your Canadian road trip:

Thunder Cove Beach

Known for its breathtaking coastline glory, Thunder Cove Beach is a hidden treasure on Canada's north shore of Prince Edward Island. A remote stretch of beach on Darnley Shore, it's well-known for its distinctive red sandstone cliffs, immaculate white sands, and the sea stack nicknamed: Teacup Rock. If you love the boom of crashing waves during storm season, this destination should be at the top of your list.

Emerald Lake

Located in British Columbia's Yoho National Park, Emerald Lake is a magnificent natural beauty. Renowned for its breathtaking blue waters, the lake is encircled by towering mountain peaks and thick forests. By taking a leisurely stroll along the well-kept lakeside trail, which offers amazing views at every bend, you'll appreciate the beauty this place offers. You can also rent canoes nearby or take a dip in the chilly glacier water; just remember to bring your swimsuit!

Port Stanley

Recognized for its sandy beaches, lively environment, and historical attraction, Port Stanley is a picturesque seaside town located on the banks of Lake Erie in Ontario, Canada. The scenic Port Stanley Beach, which offers days full of sunshine and beautiful sunsets, is the major attraction. Port Stanley provides cultural experiences with its collection of galleries, boutique stores, and neighbourhood restaurants beyond its sandy coastline. In the harbour, fishing, sailing, and water sports are common recreational activities that offer lots of chances for thrill and relaxation.

Types of auto insurance to consider for your road trips

As you may already know, there are numerous types of auto insurance policies available for you to purchase. However, there are some specific policies that may benefit you if you’re planning on going on an epic road trip soon:

RV insurance

From travel trailers to campers, toy haulers, tents, and more, RV insurance is key to protecting your interests and physical belongings while on your road trip. So, what exactly does RV insurance cover? Let’s take a closer look below:


Insurance for everything inside of your trailer, including furnishings, appliances, electronic devices, personal items, and whatever else is kept within it.


Protect necessities like frozen meals from harm and get paid for items that are damaged in accidents or by damage to trailers.


In the event that a replacement trailer is needed, replacement fees will cover the worth of your trailer unit based on its current condition and age.

Extra living costs

Any additional living costs due to relocation brought on by vandalism, theft, or severe weather.

Interim attachments

This includes any accessories, such as a towing hitch, that are required in emergency situations.

Travel insurance

Beyond auto insurance, travel insurance is designed to protect people against monetary losses and unforeseen circumstances that can occur when they are on the road. Usually, it offers protection against a variety of unanticipated circumstances that can interfere with or affect a journey. The following are some typical policies included in travel insurance plans:

Trip cancellation or interruption

In the event that you have to postpone or shorten your trip for recognized reasons within your policy, this coverage reimburses you for your pre-paid, non-refundable charges.

Medical costs

Emergency medical care, hospital stays, and, in certain situations, medical transportation to a better-suited facility can all be covered by travel insurance.

Lost or delayed baggage

Travel insurance can cover the expense of replacing necessary things and, in certain situations, reimbursement for the hassle if your luggage goes missing, stolen, or postponed.

Travel delay

This coverage pays for extra costs, like food, sleep accommodation, and transportation, that you spend as a result of a covered travel delay.

24/7 assistance

Many travel insurance policies have 24/7 assistance services included in the terms and conditions, which include support for medical referrals, emergency circumstances, and travel-related details.

Rental car

Coverage for rental cars is the last type of travel insurance. In the event that an automobile you rent gets stolen or damaged, rental car coverage covers the expense of replacement or repair.

Think about the reason for your trip, the hazards involved, and the extent of coverage you might need before obtaining travel insurance. Insurance isn’t something you can pass up on. You need insurance for a road trip to get from one destination to the other safely.

Contact BrokerLink today

Do you have any questions about your Toronto car insurance, RV insurance, or travel insurance before your next road trip? If so, the professional and experienced team at BrokerLink is here to help walk you through the process of choosing a policy that works for your needs and budget while answering any questions or concerns you may have.

Get in touch with us to speak with one of our brokers directly. You are welcome to stop by any of our many offices spread out across Canada if you would rather talk to us in person! Do you need an estimate right now? Use our free online estimate tool to get tailored insurance quotes while lounging in the comfort of your own home!

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Road Trip Essentials FAQs

Do I need insurance for a road trip?

Yes, it is highly recommended that you acquire insurance when going on a road trip. Any car used on the road must have a car insurance policy, which protects against liabilities, damages, and accidents. Take into account travel insurance as well, as it can offer protection against unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage, medical problems, or trip cancellations.

Coverage for roadside assistance is useful in case of an emergency but isn't always automatically included in your policy. Make sure your insurance is current and that it will cover the length and distance of your road trip. To fully understand the limits of coverage and exclusions, always go over the specifics of your insurance with your provider before embarking on your journey.

Is it better to buy an RV or a travel trailer?

Are you considering buying an RV or trailer? The decision between an RV and a travel trailer is based on your budget, travel preferences, and trip itinerary. An RV provides comfort with a combined driving and living area, but it can be more costly and need greater maintenance.

A travel trailer, on the other hand, offers you flexibility since you can remove it from your car and travel without hauling the whole house with you. When choosing a choice, take into account your travel requirements, your financial situation, and whether you like the elevated design of an RV or the simplicity of a travel trailer.

Does insurance cover off-roading?

If you’re planning on embracing the rugged terrain Canada’s landscape offers during your road trip, you’re probably wondering, does insurance cover off-roading? Driving off-road is usually not covered by standard motor insurance. Off-road activities are regarded as high-risk, and damages sustained during off-road excursions may not be covered by standard insurance policies.

Off-road vehicles such as ATVs, dirt motorcycles, or modified trucks can be covered by specialized insurance policies, which often offer liability coverage as well as protection against potential losses, injuries, and damages. Therefore, we recommend reaching out to your insurance provider to learn about the options available to you that you can add to the specific policies you already have.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.