There’s an old saying that goes like this, “Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there”. My circle of friends is spread all over Canada and the USA. Some of them I talk to daily online while others I can go months without seeing, but then can catch up in a matter of minutes like we were never apart. While some are too far to drive to see, I have several that are only a few hours drive from my place. In the past, I’ve been known to surprise my friends with an impromptu visit. Sometimes, you just feel like getting in the car and driving. Visiting a friend’s place is a top destination!
One of my close friends that I’ve known my whole life asked me if I could do her an important favour. She was about to give birth to her second baby and didn’t have anyone to watch her toddler. She asked if I could drive down to watch her little one so her husband could be with her for the delivery. Of course I said yes and told her to let me know when she needed me. That’s what friends are for, right?
In the meantime, I knew I had to get my vehicle ready for the drive. The call could come in at any time so I wanted to be ready to get up and go. Thankfully, it was a short road trip and only a few hours away. These tips to prepare your vehicle for road trips to visit friends can be used for short or long distances. I believe preparing ahead of time is the key to smooth travel.
1. Update and program your GPS. Even if you know the route to your friend’s house, I still recommend setting up your GPS. You could run into a detour or construction and have to take an alternate route. It’s way easier to use than looking at a map. Before you go, make sure that your GPS is updated with the latest software so that it can plan an accurate route for you.
2. Bring a car emergency kit. You should have this in your car anyways. They usually have jumper cables, a first aid kit, flashlights, batteries and more. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
3. Fill up your gas tank before you go. I like to start any road trip on a full tank of gas so I can at least have a good chunk of driving done before I need to fill up again. Depending on how far you are going, you may be able to make it all the way to your destination before having to stop to refuel.
4. Check your tires. Visually inspect your tires to make sure they are inflated and ready for the road. You don’t want to get half way there and then realize you have a flat tire.
5. Fill up your windshield washer reservoir. I learned this lesson the hard way. I was halfway to Ottawa on a miserable day and realized it was empty. My windshield was full of salt from the road and I could barely see. I had to pull over on the highway and clean it off with snow and my bare hands. I stopped at the next gas station to fill it up, but it still was very dangerous. Never again.
6. Pack snacks and drinks. Taking this extra step will save you money. I like to bring a case of water bottles and put them in the trunk for the road. For snacks, pack portable, non-perishable food items like crackers, chips or nuts.
7. Don’t forget the tunes. Either bring a few of your favourite CD’s or your smartphone’s music library. I remember many trips with no radio because we were driving through a rural area. It makes for a very boring drive, in my opinion!
8. Bring a long your phone charger or portable battery. My vehicle has a USB port making it easy to charge my smartphone while I’m driving. If yours doesn’t, bring a portable battery and use that instead. Make sure it’s got juice before you leave though!
9. Make sure you have all your documents in order. If you are traveling across the border, you will need your passport. Check the expiry date on it too just in case. I also recommend checking that you have your up-to-date insurance papers and vehicle registration in your glove box in case you are pulled over.
Thanks to Michelin for sponsoring this post. When it comes to those we care about, no distance is too far. Use #BeThereMoments on Instagram to connect with a community of likeminded people who are making the effort to show up when it matters most.