Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Road Trip Pro Tips

I recently discovered that Highway 401 goes all the way from Windsor to Montreal, and immediately said to my sister, "I think we need to make that drive." You see, my sister is as good at road trips as I am. It should be noted that my mom is also an excellent road-tripper. Some people are very much NOT good at road trips.  You know who you are--you're the people who plan restroom stops and turn the radio down. I'd like to help you be more fun when travelling, so here are my road trip pro tips:

1/ Understand that Road Tripping is not Commuting
The idea is not to get from Point A to Point B. If you aren't planning to enjoy the actual sitting in the car and being on the road, then just stay home and invest your money in transporter research and development. Or go somewhere, if you must, but not with me.

2/ Plan Zero Stops; Make Many
Sometimes, you see a sign for a town named Welcome or Sparkle City, and I'm sorry, but if you can resist stopping in either of those places, you're not a road tripper. Also, the beauty of a highway-based drive in particular is that you generally aren't far from a restroom or dining establishment, so just stop when you feel like it. I don't know about you, but I can't schedule my bodily excretions. When the feeling hits, just take the next exit and see what you find.

3/ Shop/Eat Local
As much as I can, when travelling, I avoid chains and check out local eateries and shops as needed. You can eat at McDonald's when you get home. If you weren't here to experience new things, I'm not sure why you made this pointless trip from Windsor to Montreal, is what I imagine myself saying to someone on my forthcoming trip.

4/ Bring Music
In contrast to Pro Tip #3, I don't support the idea of listening to local radio stations.  Well, you can, but they can't be relied upon for quality music, especially if you're going into remote areas. Bring awesome music. Rock out.

5/ Choose Your Companions Wisely
Probably the most important thing--the right people will make the trip a barrel of gibbons, and the wrong people will make you wish you had a barrel of those gibbons to throw feces at them. (Gibbons, by the way, are way more fun than monkeys.)

6/ Limit Your Companions
Even with awesome people, any more than three or four people will inevitably have conflict about when and where to stop, what music to listen to, whether it's acceptable to sleep in the car, etc. In very rare circumstances, a van-load of people may be able to get along if enough of them are pretty complacent.

7/ Don't Be Late
There is no such thing as late on a road trip. You can't leave or arrive anywhere at the wrong time. Don't take a road trip if you're on a schedule.

8/ Do Plan a Day of Rest
Probably the only thing you should plan is the day you will sleep for 22 hours when you get back, because you will be exhausted, no matter how effortless sitting on your butt in a car seems. Also, if you end up needing the extra day to drive home because you, I don't know, had to spend 16 hours in lock-up or something, then you're okay.

That's it. That's all my pro road-tripping tips.
Happy Travels!


  1. I commented on your Google+ profile, but I'd like to add something. If you're truly into road tripping, avoid the 401 to Montreal. Take a detour via Ottawa (although the closure of the Smiths Falls Hershey plant eliminates one stop), and head to Montreal via Highway 148.

    You'll enjoy the unique odours of Thurso, QC... you could stop and get cheese in Oka... It's a much more scenic route, pockmarked with little towns and villages. We have friends in Ottawa, so we usually stop there and take the scenic route into Montreal.

    However, when we do the straight London to Montreal trip, usually in the dead of night, I will admit that the 401 is the route of choice. At 3 a.m. you just want to get there...

  2. I think we'll do the 401 on the way there--we'll make detours, but travelling the whole 401 was more the point of the trip than actually getting to Montreal.

    Then we'll take a different route on the way home. I'll put Thurso (very curious about those unique odours!) and Oka on the list of potential stops. Thanks for the tips!!

  3. True, you should stop a lot during your road trip to keep yourself from getting bored and to keep blood flowing in your legs. And as much as possible, go for local eateries since they offer a different kind of food compared to what you eat at home or at any food chain.