Friday, August 2, 2013

Sink or Swim: Road Trip Survival Tips

Tatiana and I have been on some pretty awesome road trips over the past few years. But it was a comment Tat made last weekend that sparked my creative inspiration to write today blog.

The story:

We spent last weekend driving to Lake Louise and the Athabasca Glacier for the ice trek on the glacier. We left Vancouver, BC around 8pm and made it to the Columbia Icefield around 6am on Saturday. We generally pack everything we need to survive while on the road for a few days. This saves on cost and time, but also for those remote locations we travel through at times. While heading to the Athabasca Glacier, a very tired Tatiana said to me, “Can we stop at Starbucks for a coffee and some breakfast.” To give you an idea of where we were, the picture below is of the road we were travelling on. I believe my comment back was something like “let me know when you see a Starbucks and I’ll pull over."

Here are our top 5 tips for surviving while road tripping:

1. Bring food and water with you

This will really depend on how you road trip, but we generally bring food to last us a few days. You might end up breaking down somewhere and have to spend the night outside a closed gas station waiting for help. It’s best to be prepared. Sometimes it’s also a long drive between towns, or the only food options are greasy fast food places. Come prepared with food.

2. Expect the unexpected

The first time we went to California was spring break several years ago. All we could think of was beaches and sunny weather. I fell asleep in the backseat of our car just before Grants Pass in Oregon, and woke up in the middle of a snow storm. Lesson learned: expect the unexpected. We’ve also come across tornadoes, hurricanes and flash flooding while road tripping. Be prepared for all weather conditions, and expect the unexpected.

3. Don't skip the personal hygiene

Just because you might be miles and miles away from civilization doesn't mean you stop brushing your teeth twice a day :)

This picture's actually from an older trip in Yellowstone National Park, but it highlights the importance of keeping up on personal hygiene while road tripping.

4. Bring blankets with you

Aside from curling up under a nice warm blanket when ready for a nap, it`s a good idea to bring a blanket with you for if your car ever breaks down. Travelling through the Canadian Rockies was quite cold, and if we had car troubles, we could have been there for several hours before help arrives. Some remote locations also don`t have cell or GPS reception, making it hard to call for road side assistance.

Mid-July it was a high of -2 celsius plus wind-chill. That`s a little cold to be sleeping in a broken car with no heat.

5. Look up attractions along the way

(This one’s just for fun, but it’s also important to get out and stretch your body after driving long halls).

Driving to the Athabasca glacier was a long trek. Before we left, we looked up a few fun roadside attractions to see before we arrive at our destination. We ended up finding an inuksuk along Highway 1 just outside Golden, BC. On the inuksuk, a Canadian flag was spray painted, along with the words “Canada’s G Spot.” I’ve seen references online about Golden, BC being called Canada’s G Spot but have no clue why. This little roadside attraction was a fun break from driving, and gave us an opportunity to stretch our legs and have a little fun while on the road.

Do you have a road trip survival tip to add to our list? Leave your comment below and let us know what you’d add.

You may also like: 

Road Trip to the Athabasca Glacier
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