Travel tips: On the road

Whether it’s a weekend trip to the cottage, a cross-Canada venture or a winter-long getaway, droves of Canadians (64 per cent) favour driving over any other form of transportation. Here’s how to get to where you’re going safely.

Tune up before you head out

• Top up car’s fluid levels. 
• Have brakes inspected and check tire treads and air pressure.
• Make certain the radiator isn’t clogged and all hoses and belts are working properly to avoid your engine overheating.
• Check spark plugs and air filter to get you further on a tank of gas.

In case of emergency always carry:

• A spare tire, tire-changing tools, an extra bottle of water (for your radiator or you) and a flashlight.
• A cellphone in case you get lost or for emergencies.
• Booster cables and a fire extinguisher.
• A first-aid kit.

Renting right

When you rent a car on your vacation, keep in mind:
• Renting from a small company may save you money, but a larger company will have more locations to provide a new car or service if something goes wrong.
• Buying insurance on your rental car is a must. Some credit cards provide rental car insurance but make sure you check terms and conditions. Or you can talk to your own insurance company to see if you can add a rider to your policy.

Are you licensed to drive abroad?
If you’re planning to drive outside of North America, consider an International Driving Permit. Some countries don’t require one, but it’s still a good idea to have it. If local police stop you, they can read the permit in their own language. Contact your local CAA office or download an application from . The permit costs $13, and you’ll need a valid provincial driver’s licence and two passport-type photographs.

Driving in a foreign country

To steer your way safely through the challenges international driving poses, you’ll need a calm head. Some tips:
• Learn the habits of drivers in the country you’re visiting before you hit the road. For example, Formula One-like speed limits, poorly lit roads and a general disregard for safety rules.
• In many foreign countries, thieves will target rented cars. Remove any stickers that might identify your car as a rental. Keep road maps and guidebooks under the seat or in the glove box.
• For detailed information on driving internationally, check the website for the Association for Safe International Road Travel