Subaru of Niagara couldn't be happier to announce that school is almost done again for the kids and its time for plenty of family fun in the sun! Wether you are going camping or to the beach for the day, family road trips are going to happen and you should make sure your Subaru and family are ready for those short and long drives.
Have a Destination, Not a Plan
Get together with everyone you will be travelling with and brainstorm ideas for your trip. Have an end location, but pick places you want to stop along the way like shopping malls or attractions (who wouldn't want to see the largest ball of yarn?). Study maps before you leave to know the route you are taking as well as any possilbe detours. Don't get too caught up in the details though, just get a general idea about how long your trip will be and when you should arrive where.
Make sure you set a budget and (try to) stick to it. Keep in mind that anything can happen so you should keep a credit card on you, just in case.
Driving long hours in the car might sound easy in the planning stage, but it can get difficult after a while. Share the driving time, if you can, and plan for stops every few hours to take a break and stretch your legs. Don't forget to bring along plenty of music, podcasts and / or books on tape. Reception to your favourite station could eventually be lost and it isn't fun listening to static or music you don't like.
Remember, if you're driving outside of Canada, it's a good idea to have traveller's insurance to protect you and your family in the event of sickness or injury. As we said before, anything can happen, so be prepared!
Everyone can get restless when riding in a car for a while and the last thing a driver wants to hear is "Are we there yet?". To avoid this, make sure you pack right by bringing (non-distracting) toys and games along. If you are travelling with children, keep them close so you can easily reach them. You can always play the classic road trip games like I Spy, License Plates and 20 Questions. These games can keep kids busy for hours and are pretty effective for passing the time with adults as well!
Snacks are a very important thing to bring on any road trip. So pack a cooler and fill it with whatever you and your passengers will want to eat. Common things are water and juice crystals, crackers and cheese, peanut butter and jam or lunch meat with bread, chips, fruit and candy. Remember you don't need to bring every food item with you, there are rest stops along the way and local diners that are usually amazing.
Service your Vehicle
Before you leave on any road trips, especially long ones, make sure you have your car serviced. There is nothing worse then getting stuck somewhere and having to wait days for parts to come in. You should make sure the following are checked:
-Tire tread and pressure
-Headlights and brake lights
-Belts and hoses
-Spare tire and jack
Most of these checks come standard when you are getting an oil change, but let your service rep know you're heading out on a road trip, so they can make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip. Your car should also be cleaned, inside and out, before you leave, especially your windows, to ensure full visibility.
You should make sure you carry an emergency kit in your vehicle that has jumper cables, a tool kit, a flashlight and batteries, flares, a blanket, a first aid kit and bottled water. Make sure someone else is carrying a second set of car keys, just in case you lose yours or they get locked in the car. Be sure to pack your maps as well. A GPS is a great tool, but you shouldn't solely rely on it to reach your destination.
If you have made any reservations, ensure they are packed in a safe place so you can easily access them when you get to your destination. You should also keep a list of emergency contacts outside of your phone that includes any hotel or campground numbers, roadside assistance and especially, your emergency contacts. Phones can be stolen or their battery dies, so having a written list in a notebook that is left in your car helps in any unexpected situations. Also, don't forget your hands-free devices, in case your vehicle does not include such a feature.
If you are one of those people who is always forgetting something, make a packing list to help reduce the likelihood of missing anything. It wouldn't be fun getting to a campground to find out you don't have a sleeping bag. Try to pack light and compact though so nothing is blocking the rear view window from the driver's view and so that you have a chance to purchase things along the way.
Bring a camera and its charger or tons of extra batteries. Whether it's you behind the lens or you hand it off to a friend, kid or stranger to take photos for you, take them! No two trips are ever the same and you want to be able to look back and say "Here we are at the beautiful beach we stumbled upon" or "This is the moose we spotted driving on the highway!"
You can't always plan everything that is going to happen, but with the right friends, family and prep, you will be sure to have an amazing time with them and your Subaru!