Have a smoother road trip with these driving tips

peggys cove

Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada

I recently came off of a road trip for work in Nova Scotia, Canada, and I thought I would share some of my driving tips. I wrote a post a while ago “You don’t always need to fly to get away. Take an awesome road trip!” with tips to make your road trip, well awesome. This post focuses on the key part – driving.

To take your car or rent a car?

Decisions, decisions. If it’s a road trip for a week or less, and if I’m alone or with one other person, I’m fine using my car. Anything two weeks or longer, I tend to look for good prices to rent something. I don’t have a big car. I also don’t want to waste too much mileage and add wear and tear on it. If you’re like me, there are reasonably priced rentals that can make your trip more comfortable.

Try sites like Skyscanner, Orbitz, Kayak, Expedia, Rental Cars or Hotwire to find some rental car deals (there are a lot more).

If you’re taking your car


Drunken lamppost sculpture in Halifax, Nova Scotia

  • Before leaving for a long road trip: Check your car’s fluid levels, brakes, tires, engine and anything else that could be a problem.
  • Make sure you have: A fully inflated spare tire, jumper cables and extra windshield wiper fluid on hand.
  • Clean out your car before and while you’re away: You will start overflowing as you travel if you don’t keep a clean car. A tight space can get even more uncomfortable with things lying around.

Don’t forget

  1. It seems like a no-brainer but bring a spare car key. I forgot once. Just once. You don’t forget again after it happens to you.
  2. Get a gas card if you don’t have one already. You will buy lots of gas, which can translate into free fuel points, cash back on hotels, and discounted groceries.

Driving advice


Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

Don’t push yourself. Make sure your daily driving time is a maximum of eight hours each day, especially if you’re going alone. You don’t want to fall asleep. You also don’t want to use up energy just driving and miss out on sites as you travel. I tend to stick to six hours so that I can enjoy myself.

Bring a physical map. It will come in handy in case something happens to your GPS or Google maps. I have been to some places where Google maps didn’t work, and my GPS couldn’t figure out where I was. I would have appreciated a map, and learned my lesson after that.

Take the roads as much as possible. The point of a road trip is to see the beauty of the area, and you’re not going to find it on highways. You can find the best scenic routes on map apps like Roadtrippers.com.

Some final thoughts

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

  • Get your sleep to stay alert when driving.
  • Plan your stops ahead of time as best as you can.
  • Stay hydrated and eat while you drive to keep up your energy.
  • Play good music and make sure passengers (if you have any) have, or bring things to do like games or movies.

These are some of my driving tips; what are some of yours?


48 replies »

  1. Your pictures are amazing! My boyfriend and I are actually travelling to Nova Scotia in September so I am very excited for that.

    As for your road trip tips, I do agree. It’s also good to have a plan B with routes. We’ve encountered times during our road trip through the scenic route from Vancouver to Calgary some rock debris and even a landslide (thank goodness cleanup had just finished). And I’ll also make sure to take a look at the roadtrippers link!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well written Aldo! I have very similar experiences for road trips. I want to mention that I learned a few additional lessons in the past. First, my advice would to fill up your gas tank when the gauge shows a quarter. If you’re driving in rural areas, gas stations can be sparse and you can be scrambling on an empty tank. Lastly, I always buy snacks first thing in the morning to eat just in case you are travelling in isolated areas and restaurants can be difficult to find. I just wanted share my tips.

    Liked by 1 person

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