5 Easy Tips for Planning the Ultimate Family Road Trip

Family loading car for vacation

For many families, this may be the summer of road trips. Some of our fondest memories come from traveling with our families; and as much fun as these trips can be, not planning in advance could have consequences. Don’t wait until you’re on the road to realize that you’ve forgotten supplies, you haven’t packed enough, or you chose the same campsite weekend as a large nudist retreat.
So, before you go, follow our guide of what to plan for in advance to ensure your family has an exciting, safe, and fun summer vacation on the road.


Kids helping father packing his suitcase at home

Even before you open those suitcases, start making a list of the clothing your family will need throughout the trip and consider the types of weather or conditions you might encounter. If you won’t have access to any laundry facilities, pack accordingly or call ahead to any booked accommodations to see if they offer overnight laundry services. Keep in mind that Canadian weather can be unpredictable, and conditions can change quickly. Even if blue skies are in the forecast, pack proper rain gear just in case.

Also, whether it’s for you or the kids, make sure you have any prescription medications or refills you may need during your time away. You might be exposed to more of the great outdoors than usual, so take note of any allergy sensitivities and consider any challenges you may face. Be sure to get proper medical advice or treatment before you go.

The Route

Family next to car
Depending on how much time you’ve allocated for the trip, start plotting out natural and tourist attractions you may want to visit. Make sure they will be open during the time you intend to stop by. Also see if these destinations have any special activities planned around your travel dates. It might be worth adjusting your schedule by one or two days to accommodate (or avoid) a certain event. Plan a schedule based on your timing, using Google Maps to help approximate how long it will take to reach each destination while taking account of time for visiting, eating, resting and pit stops. Make sure to leave adequate time for things you may encounter along the way, or places where you decide to linger a little longer. Also consider the attention spans of children travelling with you. Some need more travel breaks than others.

The Car

Car mechanic checking car wheel in the auto repair shop, holding clipboard and talking with customer.

Before heading out on any trip, you should ensure your vehicle is up to the task. If it’s been a while since your last tune-up or servicing, book an appointment with your mechanic at least a few weeks in advance so you’re not left in a rush to get something fixed. Ensure all fluids (oil, washer fluid, etc.) are checked or filled, if necessary. Also make sure your tires have been inspected and filled to the correct pressure. If you’re planning to venture off busier roads, make sure you have a spare tire and a jack in the car, and that you know how to change a tire in case of emergencies. Better yet, get yourself a roadside assistance plan for peace of mind. Lastly, always have a charged phone battery handy.

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency bag for the car

As much as we don’t like to think about the worst when we travel, it’s important to plan for the unexpected. This includes ensuring that your car is packed with essentials you need in case of an emergency. Some of these items include:

  • Non-Perishable Food and Water
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Extra Clothing
  • Wind-up Flashlight
  • Copy of your emergency plan and personal documents
  • Jumper Cables
  • Tow Rope
  • Extra Phone Charger

If you haven’t already, consider looking into purchasing roadside assistance to ensure that you receive help in the event that your car breaks down.


Car radio

No road trip is complete without the proper entertainment to keep you and the kids occupied. Before you leave, create a music playlist that you all can listen to on the road. Apps like Spotify and Apple Music even have pre-selected music playlists to suit any genre. If your car has the capacity to play DVDs, be sure to pack them; if not, consider purchasing a portable DVD player. Bringing books to read on the road is a good option as well, or simply playing car games (like the licence plate game, 20 questions, I spy, name the song artist, among others) are a great way to keep you and the kids entertained.

With these tips in mind, get out there and explore Canada – and most of all have fun!