With many summer activities being postponed for the past couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems like Canadians can finally enjoy some safe travel as restrictions start to lift. According to a recent study for Toyota Canada, 91% of Canadians say they are ready to reinstate activities that they had set aside during the pandemic.
A great way to ease back into travel and explore new areas is to enjoy a road trip. Here is our guide to preparing for the ultimate post-pandemic road trip in Canada.
What you'll learn in this stress-free post-pandemic road trip guide:
- Plan ahead: 3 considerations for planning your post-pandemic road trip
- Vehicle safety checks to do before hitting the road
- How to be ready for road emergencies
- Other helpful tips for long road trips (i.e.: electronics, snacks, games, etc.)
Plan ahead: 3 considerations for planning your post-pandemic road trip
Before you hit the road, it is a good idea to decide on places you want to visit, accommodations you may need, and activities that you want to do. If you’re unsure about where you want to go, social media sites, like Reddit, can provide you with insider tips about the best travel destinations.
Another thing to consider is whether the places that you want to visit have any travel restrictions, or vaccine and mask mandates. Travel restrictions still exist to a certain degree, and they can quickly change based on the recommendations of health authorities. There may also be restrictions on where you can go depending on your vaccination status, and you may need to show proof of vaccination to enter different areas. We recommend that you always pack a mask with you as some provinces have different mandates.
Here are some useful tips and links depending on where you are road tripping this summer:
1. Travel restrictions for road trips within Ontario
As of June 2022, there are currently no restrictions on domestic travel in Ontario. However, you should always check the provincial travel guidelines and provincial health measures before and during your trip in case guidelines were to change.
2. Travel restrictions for crossing Canadian provincial borders
As of June 2022, there are different restrictions for travelling between and within Canadian provinces. Make sure you check the current restrictions of all the provinces that you plan on visiting throughout your road trip.
3. Travel restrictions for crossing the USA/Canada border
Currently, there are some restrictions in place for entering the USA and Canada. When travelling to the USA, it is recommended that travelers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Be sure to review the current restrictions before and during your road trip to ensure that you are always prepared.
As of June 2022, it is mandatory that you fill out a declaration on the ArriveCAN app when entering Canada by air, land, and sea. We recommend downloading the app ahead of time to ensure you can gather the required information for entering Canada.
If your Canadian passport expired recently, you can now renew it rather than applying for a new one. According to the official website of the government of Canada, you can now renew your passport even if it’s expired, damaged, lost or stolen if it was issued within 15 years of the date you apply and you meet all the other requirements.
Vehicle safety checks to do before hitting the road
There’s nothing worse than a breakdown putting the brakes on your road trip plans. We highly recommend that before you set out for your next road trip, you ensure that your vehicle is up to date with maintenance. If you’re not comfortable doing these checks on your own, take your vehicle into a local maintenance shop for an inspection.
Check out our FREE maintenance guide: Car Maintenance Checklist: Routine car maintenance every driver should do
How to be ready for road emergencies
Even when your vehicle is up to date with maintenance, emergencies can happen when you’re on the road. It’s good to know what you would do in case of an emergency, so you don’t feel helpless if it happens to you.
When a breakdown happens on the road, a convenient way to get help is by using roadside assistance. Roadside assistance refers to a list of services you can call upon when your car is having trouble or has broken down. These services include help with jumpstarting, emergency fuel delivery, towing, and more.
Make sure you know who to call in case you need roadside assistance. Check in advance if your vehicle is still covered by your manufacturer or dealership. If your car is older, there are plenty of roadside assistance providers available in Ontario to help you 24/7.
You can also receive roadside assistance through some third-party providers, like GuardTree. GuardTree is Canada’s first subscription-based online used car warranty. On top of an extended car warranty, GuardTree subscribers also receive roadside assistance at no extra cost. GuardTree’s roadside assistance is available throughout Canada and the United States, excluding Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Read more: Is an extended auto warranty worth it?
Costs can quickly add up when your car breaks down on a road trip, like expenses for additional lodging, car rentals, meals, and more.
When you’re planning your road trip, make sure to account for emergency costs, so a surprise breakdown won’t break your bank. Or, with a provider like GuardTree, you can receive trip interruption benefits as part of your extended car warranty plan. If a breakdown occurs more than 150 kilometers from your residence and your vehicle requires overnight repairs, GuardTree will reimburse up to $150 per day for accommodation and meal expenses.
You never know what could happen on the road, so it is always a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle.
The Canadian government recommends the following items for a basic car kit:
- Food that won't spoil (e.g., energy bars)
- Water in plastic bottles (glass will break if the water freezes) that are replaced every six months
- Extra clothing and shoes or boots
- First aid kit with seatbelt cutter
- Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush (if you’re travelling in colder climates)
- Candle in a deep can and matches
- Wind‑up flashlight
- Whistle—in case you need to attract attention
- Copy of your emergency plan
If you’d like to make sure you’re even better prepared, here are some additional items to keep in your trunk:
- Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping), (if you’re travelling in colder climates)
- Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid (if you’re travelling in colder climates)
- Tow rope
- Jumper cables
- Fire extinguisher
- Warning light or road flares
Check the contents of your car’s emergency kit every few months and update it based on the seasons. For example, you don’t need to carry a snow shovel and bag of cat litter around during summer. Just be sure to add them back into your car kit at the end of fall.
Other helpful tips for long road trips
No doubt you will be packing some technology with you on your trip. A helpful tip to help you conserve your data is to download everything you’ll need before taking off. Here are some things you should consider downloading:
- Offline maps to ensure you don’t get lost
- Your favourite music playlists
- Audio books to keep you entertained
- Movies or TV shows to watch when you’re parked for the night
- Maps for hiking trails, so you know where to go if you don’t have access to cellular data
Road trip snacks
Don’t rely on restaurants and drive thrus for all your meals. In some rural areas, there are not many restaurants around, and you don’t want to drive hungry. It is a good idea to pack a cooler with your favourite snacks to keep you energized throughout the trip. Here are some ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while you’re on the road.
Fun road trip games for families
If you’ve travelled with children before, you know that it is important to be ready to keep them entertained. Here are some fun, tech-free games to play on a road trip that will keep your kids busy and create fun family memories.
Get more for your money. Get GuardTree.
Don’t let unexpected repair and breakdown costs put a stop on your summer adventure. As Canada’s first subscription-based online used car warranty, you are protected from surprise repair bills, allowing you to make the most out of your road trips.
With pricing plans as low as $49.95 per month, you’re never locked into a long-term contract. In addition to protection from most major electrical and mechanical repairs, subscriptions include additional benefits like roadside assistance, car rental, and trip interruption costs.
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