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Safety first

Before you get your motor running and head out on the highway, make sure your motor will actually work on the highway. Check your oil. Top up your windshield washer fluid. Make sure your spare tire is fully inflated and that you have jumper cables on hand. It’s also a good idea to join a roadside-assistance program.

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Ditch the playlist

Music is a must for the road, but resist the temptation to make a playlist, even if it is stacked with artists from wherever you’re headed. Instead, turn on the radio. Every song you hear will be a surprise (the great ones and the not-so-great ones). Plus, local stations will give you a good feel for whatever town or city you’re driving through.

Eat local

Never eat at a chain restaurant on the road. Never eat anything you could have eaten at home. Find hidden treasures, from the best diner in town to a gem of a hamburger stand. How to find the best spots? Ask locals for their favourite places to chow down. Their recommendations will almost never disappoint.

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Fun bags

On the road with young kids? Do everything you can to avoid the “Are we there yet?” whining. Pack a fun bag for every child in the car. Stock them with puzzles, games, colouring books. If they can read, throw a book or two in there as well. It is essential to fend off boredom.

Snacks

If the car doesn’t look like five sixth-graders were each given $100 and told to go wild in a convenience store then you’re doing it wrong. Whatever distance you’re travelling, there can never be enough snacks. Err on the side of overdoing it, and have a mix of salty and sweet. Throw in a few healthy things to eat, and lots of water.

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