It’s strange to think, amidst the worst of the winter weather, that spring break is roughly a month away (for some institutions, reading week is happening currently!). Granted, spring break doesn’t necessarily equate to good weather, at least not here in the Great North, but it’s an occasion to look forward to nonetheless.
Students, teachers, and even certain professions get to stretch their legs and enjoy a much-needed week of R&R. Among the most popular pastimes during spring break is travel, and among the forms of travel, road tripping is probably the most popular. It’s cost-effective, fun, and it allows you to see a number of different locations as opposed to just one.
To pull off the perfect road trip, you need a few key elements: a great car, an exciting itinerary and good company. In this post, we’ll walk through (or, rather, drive through) a few tips to help you make your spring break road trip the best it can be.
Choose the Perfect Location
If you haven’t already read them, we’d suggest starting with our blog posts on driving around Halifax Vancouver and Toronto (the three cities from which we operate). In them, we offer up great road trip ideas. For instant, if you’re car leasing in Halifax we recommend Peggy’s Cove (obviously), Duncan’s Cove, Sambro and Terence Bay, as well as a scenic drive through the winding staircase of the Cabot Trail.
Around Vancouver, you can’t beat a trip along the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler, but we also recommend you check out Vancouver Island, for a trip around Victoria or up to Tofino (it might be too chilly to surf in March, but that’s your call!). From Toronto, we recommend jetting off to Algonquin Provincial Park for a longer jaunt, or to Prince Edward County.
Whatever location you choose, make sure that there’s accommodation available, either in the form of a campsite, motel or Airbnb.
Choose the Right Car
This is where we shine. If you haven’t already leased a car, come chat with us. Our speciality is luxury vehicles, but we have a wide range of offerings, from compacts to trucks, sports cars to vans, and everything in between.
For road tripping, there’s two schools of thought. One is that you should maximize your space – get a roomy vehicle like an SUV and pack it with supplies, clothing, board games, and maybe even a little space in the back for a snooze. The other school of though is that you should go compact – get something fuel-efficient that will allow you to bypass the frequent gas station stops, and that manoeuvres well around rural roads.
The best place to start when packing for a road trip is a checklist. Write down all the supplies, clothes, entertainment, emergency kit items and toiletries that you’ll need for however many days you plan on going, and then work to tick each item off. Remember, spring around Vancouver, Halifax and Toronto is still quite chilly, so be sure to pack appropriately.
Once you have everything laid out in front of you, it becomes a game of Tetris. We recommend using packing cubes to minimize the surface area of your luggage and maximize space in the car. Packing cubes are relatively cheap, and their uniform shape makes packing them in a trunk a relative breeze.
Get Your Car’s Important Components Checked
Safety first – that’s what they teach you in school. Before you take your vehicle out into uncharted territory, where the roads are unfamiliar and the nearest auto body shop might be 20km away, take your vehicle in for a check-up.
Check all the major systems to ensure they’re in tip-top order, and (figuratively) kick the tires. Make sure that your tires are season-appropriate (winter or all-weather) and that they’re properly inflated. Make sure your fluid levels are good as well.
Clean Your Car
This car will be your mobile couch for the next few days, so make sure it’s tidy. Back in June, we ran on an article entitled “Like the experts – How to Clean Your Car in Time for Summer”. The article centred on deep cleaning your vehicle as part of a spring-cleaning schedule, but the sections on interior cleaning are applicable here.
Just make sure to dust and vacuum, working from top to bottom, and consider detailing the interior with a microfiber cloth and a toothbrush.
Make a Playlist
Music is a gigantic part of the road trip experience. You don’t want to be fiddling with radio dials while you drive, trying to hunt down a good song amidst the static of a rural signal. In advance of the road trip, compile a playlist of roughly 100 songs (that’s, on average, 300 minutes, or the duration of a five-hour road trip).
Be sure to include some bangers, some easy riding jams and a mix of different styles. No one wants to hear five hours of straight EDM, for instance – keep it varied!
The roads may still be slick and icy, and the rain or snow may still be limiting visibility. Take it slow – a road trip is about the journey anyways, so you should be in no great hurry. Keep a safe distance from the cars ahead of you, and – if you aren’t already schooled in it – learn how to brake safely in icy conditions.
It’s never a bad idea to pack an emergency kit either, something with extra batteries, a flashlight, a blanket, some water and snacks, etc. The government of Canada offers a great emergency car kit checklist, so we’d encourage you to start there.
Since Auto One offers commercial leasing in Halifax Vancouver and Toronto, we recently put together a guide for staying safe in commercial vehicles (back in October), but a lot of the points there are relevant to personal driving as well, so be sure to check that out too!
Take the Scenic Route
Rather than drive down drab highways, make the most out of your journey by mapping a scenic route in advance. This article, from PC World gives you pretty clear instructions on how you can map a scenic route on Google Maps by enabling the “avoid highways” choice.
You’re driving for pleasure, which is something you don’t often get a chance to do. Do away with the “work commute” mindset, take the road less traveled and drink in the beautiful Canadian scenery!
This spring break, take the safest, most entertaining road trip possible with the help of AUTO ONE Group!