5 Tips For a Successful Family Road Trip #AD #CollectiveBias

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Road Trip Tips with Quaker State

Summer is in full swing and one thing that has been on our minds after a pretty stressful year has been as many road trips as we can squeeze into our weekends! We are pretty lucky to live on the West Coast where we can drive one way to find oceans, and another to find mountains (and in some cases snow!).

When we were much younger, there wasn’t much thought that went into these road trips, we’d grab some essentials, hop into the car and go. Now as a family, we have to put a little more consideration into the tiny people in the car – with that, we’re sharing our top 5 tips for a successful (see: also slightly less stress-free!) family road trip.

From making sure you don’t forget anything important, to making sure your car is in tip top shape before heading out, these tips have helped us take a lot of stress out of our trips!

Ford Edge Sport Road Trip

Make a list – check it twice.

This first tip may seem like a bit of a no-brainer – of course you make a list! Most people make list a couple of days before the trip and don’t realize many of the things they don’t use daily but still come in handy.

Once we’ve confirmed details on our trips, the list making begins. I create a list for each person who is coming and their essentials and “maybes” – things we may need, but may not that I don’t necessarily want to pay for if we only need them once. For our most recent trip, I packed allergy pills just in case and what do you know… someone needed them – having to buy them would have cost us quite a bit and we already had plenty at home.

As your trip gets closer, make sure to check that list over to ensure you aren’t forgetting anything important. We create our lists in google docs and share it between hubs and I so we can both make sure nothing is missed. If you’re more into the printable lists, there is a huge assortment of ones on Pinterest that have saved me many – many times.

Sea to Sky Air Squamish Road Trip

Have a plan – but be flexible.

The best part about a road trip is spontaneity for us. While I am a list maker and planner by heart I try to let that go on our road trips. Give yourself the time to stop and enjoy a rest stop of viewpoint, a chance to pull over at a local park and let the kids run and play. We know A gets a bit antsy sitting for a long time so we try to make time to stop and give our legs a big stretch.

On our most recent trip to Squamish, I planned one excursion a day and left the rest open for us to decide in the moment. This gave us a lot of time to enjoy the resort pool and make some fun memories, as well as the time to go up in a Cessna plane last minute! If we had a set plan for every minute, we would have missed out on a lot of fun wandering and exploring time.

Ford Edge Sport Squamish Road Trip

Make sure your car is as ready for the trip as you are.

One thing many people forget when they plan a road trip is the most important – making sure your vehicle is going to get you from point a to point b and back again! Checking your fluids is number one on the road trip success front. We’ve taken to doing as much of our own maintenance ourselves lately and enjoy the freedom it gives us. By not paying huge for oil changes or small maintenance, that’s more money we can put into our pocket for our trips.

You’re probably thinking “uh… no, can’t do that myself” but you would be surprised! Canadian Tire is a great resource for finding everything you need to do everyday car maintenance yourself and feel confident doing it. There’s a reason they say “Made For Life In Canada” and that’s because they have you covered for just about anything and everything, with knowledgeable staff and the best products available for your home and car – all at affordable prices.

Quaker State Oil Canadian Tire

We picked up the Quaker State® Advanced Durability™ Motor Oil (and it was on sale!) before our trip after taking a quick check of our oil. The great thing about doing it yourself is you are not limited to service hours and can do your own work when it suits your schedule. All while knowing exactly what is going into your car. If it’s your first time attempting your oil change, I recommend bringing your manual in just in case to make sure you’re getting exactly what your car needs. Can’t find your manual? The staff at Canadian Tire can look up a few details on your car and answer any questions you have!

Road trips are hard on your car, there’s no way around it and Quaker State knows that first hand. That’s why they put their oils through the most rigorous tests to ensure it’s going to stand up to whatever adventure you’re about to go on. From stop-and-go local traffic to long hours on the highway, to whatever extreme temperatures you’re ending up at – chances are Quaker State has already tested your oil for just that situation!

I don’t know as much about my car as I’d like to, so admittedly I can really appreciate the testing done with their products and the upfront honesty on how it should perform. By offering more durability regardless of where I’m heading, Advanced Durability Motor Oil gives me some much-needed peace of mind on the road.

I was able to find the Quaker State® Advanced Durability™ Motor Oil both against a back wall and a display right out front the service desk. With everything I needed easy to find it made my trip easy, affordable and pretty much stress-free! If you can’t find what you’re looking for, the automotive department can help you find it (and pretty quickly usually!). Obviously this won’t need to happen for evvvvery road trip, but it is very important to get into the habit of checking all your fluids and either top them up or give them a change before you head off on your next adventure.

Talk to the locals – it’s not weird, I promise.

Hubby laughs at me when I do this but to be honest – the best way to find the best spots on your road trip is to talk to people who already live there. Sure, the local tourism board will have some great resources for places to check out but the locals know the real deal. On our trip, I started up a conversation with a few local moms at the top of the gondola and they tipped us off about a neat hidden gem we would have never found otherwise.

Whether you’re looking for the local diner or dive, the best hiking trails or just a place for the kids to blow off steam – the local residents will have the best information and chances are they are used to being asked. I know I love sharing our local hot spots in Vancouver and definitely feel a bit of pride sharing our favourite gems.

Have back-up boredom busters – just in case.

As much fun as nice relaxing drive sounds to mom and dad, kids have a mind of their own and it often times wanders to the bored sector pretty quickly. We discovered the hard way that keeping boredom busters on backup on any road trips were an absolute must. A rule we have is that everything has to fit in a small backpack Alivia can carry so her favourites are;


  • a small notebook and pen for thought doodles
  • A small picture only comic book (to avoid car sickness)
  • a travel etch a sketch
  • a small camera (we love the ones made especially for kids)
  • seek and find activities, either a small seek and find bag, book or printed sheets to keep little minds busy on the go
  • a lovey from home – our favourite character came on our trip and enjoyed his hotel stay
  • Easy grab and go snacks, goldfish, sliced fruit, etc.
  • We don’t always bring a tablet, but for longer trips we have it on standby for an overtired boredom buster. Some streaming services allow you to download shows and watch on the go which is perfect for a movie to fall asleep with.

That’s it! These are tips we use regularly on our road trips and we hope they will help you to get better prepared before heading off on your trip.


Whether you’re heading out on a big or small trip, your families happiness is number one and Quaker State and Canadian Tire can help give you a bit of peace of mind on your adventures by providing you with fewer things to worry about. I know by incorporating our own regular maintenance on our cars it’s given us much more freedom over our own time and the money we save doing it ourselves gives us just a few more reasons to take another holiday!

On your next adventure, wherever you may be headed by car, make sure to stop by your local Canadian Tire and try your hand at checking and changing your own oil – you’ll be surprised how easy and affordable it really is!

Happy travels ~~

(This post is sponsored. All crazy road trip activity and over planning is my own and not influenced by the sponsor. I’m sharing this information with you because everyone needs a less stressful road trip.)


Tara Jensen
Tara is a parenting influencer based on the West Coast. With her full time career in health care, she focuses on green living, healthy family choices and encouraging families to live a fabulously frugal lifestyle. She lives on coffee, cuddles and post-its, generally in that order. When she isn’t working, she can be found outdoors exploring beautiful British Columbia with her family.