Plan a Successful Summer Road Trip

The three keys to a rewarding summer roadtrip: load up on apps, maps and food

Bring along an old-fashioned map in case your gadgets go on the fritz

Planning to hit the road this summer? Before the rubber meets the road, organize and plan for a memorable and worry-free trip

Road trips are definitely a fun way to travel in the summertime. Whether you’re packing a minivan full of kids or taking a trip down the coast with friends, here are some tips to make sure it’s memorable.

Maps and Gadgets

First, ensure all of your gadgets are fully charged. Not only can they help pass the time, but they can also help get you where you need to go. A universal car power inverter is also handy, as those electronics often don’t hold more than two to three hours of battery power. You might also want to get a headphone splitter so that more than one person can share the audio of a DVD player or iPod. You can buy either of these items at Future Shop and other electronics stores.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to fully rely on those gadgets for navigating your road trip; the last thing you want is to see that dreaded “no service” warning pop up and then have no clue where you’re going. Bring a good old-fashioned paper map or the modern-day equivalent — a printed-out MapQuest or Google map.

Still, it’s a good idea to load up on apps before you leave. My recommendation is to do a Google search on the top apps for road trips as a starting point. There are so many great apps out there that I couldn’t possibly name them all. Many are free, so downloading and testing them out won’t cost you anything. Whether you want navigation help, games, music or how to find the nearest bathrooms on your route, there definitely lots of apps to choose from.

Load Up on Snacks

To prevent those unnecessary “I’m hungry” stops, be sure to pack a cooler loaded with lots of snacks and drinks. Don’t forget plates and utensils. Stopping at a grocery store for easy-to-prepare picnic snacks will save both money and time, as you won’t need to stop at restaurants for three meals a day.

Plan Ahead

Finally, discuss expectations before you go. Chat with your fellow travellers and discuss timing, sightseeing stops, driving schedules and anything else that might come up, to save you from any misunderstandings once you’re on the road.

Claire Newell is the travel media expert for Global BC, host of the travel series Operation: Vacation, best-selling author, spokesperson, wife and mother of two.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.