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The Ultimate Road Trip Planner

Whether you’re taking your car across country, cruising through the Canadian Rockies or following the shoreline of the East Coast, it’s wise to make a few preparations before pulling out of your driveway. Our ultimate road trip planner includes four tips to ensure your ride is memorable-for all the right reasons.

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1. Create a Road Trip Budget

1. Create a Road Trip Budget

Setting a road trip budget should be your very first step. Your budget will play a role in everything from where you can go to how long you can stay at any given place along the route. The last thing you want is to run out of money halfway across the country or find that you’re short of funds before you’ve seen all the things you wanted to see.

Be sure to budget your time as well: schedule vacation days and make sure your home is secured and maintained in your absence. 

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2. Set Your Starting Point, Destination and Route

2. Set Your Starting Point, Destination and Route

Now that you’ve figured out how much time and money you have to work with, where do you want to go? Part of the fun of going on a road trip is making side forays along the way. Still, you will need a starting point, a destination and a rough route between the two.

Pick up a couple of guidebooks or go online and look for unusual things to see and do along the way. Visit offbeat museums and novelty attractions or take part in annual town festivals. The weirder your road trip is, the more fun it can be.

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3. Decide Who You Want to Go With

3. Decide Who You Want to Go With

There are three people in your group but your car fits five. Who else do you want to bring along? Even if you already know who will be coming for the ride, additional people may want to join you once the word gets out.

Taking extra friends means that expenses will be split more ways, and who doesn’t want a cheaper trip? If you have the room, bringing an extra person or two can make the road trip more fun-and less expensive.

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4. Have Your Car Thoroughly Inspected

4. Have Your Car Thoroughly Inspected

You’ve decided how much you want to spend, where you want to go and who will be joining you-now what? If you want to have the ultimate road trip, you’ll need to make sure your car is up to the task.

Look to see that there are no oil or other fluid leaks. Check the condition of the radiator, engine, transmission and other major systems. Make sure all the belts and hoses are in tip-top shape. If a hose looks questionable or a belt appears worn, you should change it now before you hit the road.

Even if you have just had your car inspected, it’s worth it to have your mechanic give it another look. The last thing you want to do is spend your time waiting for a tow truck or trying to figure out how to get home when your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere.

Related features:
Top 10 Greatest Canadian Road Trips
10 Rules for Safe Road Trips
13 Driving Tips That Could Save Your Life (and Some Money, Too)