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What to pack in your car for a cross-border road trip


Any road trip can require stocking a vehicle with certain supplies, like snacks, drinks and plenty of things to keep passengers busy. However, if you are planning a road trip between Canada and the U.S., there are some additional essentials you should pack. 

Insurance coverage

Insurance requirements vary between countries, but most insurance policies from U.S. companies generally cover drivers visiting Canada and vice versa. However, you can get additional coverage if you feel it necessary to do so.

No matter your coverage, it is prudent to carry proof of insurance with you. Consider bringing your policy (or have a digital version on your phone). You should also have registration information for your vehicle.

Identity and citizenship documentation

People travel between Canada and the U.S. all the time without incident. However, it is still crucial to be prepared for a situation where government or law enforcement agents must verify your identity or citizenship status.

With this in mind, you will want to be sure you are carrying certain identification documents with you, which could include any of the following:

  • U.S. or Canadian passport
  • Driver’s licence
  • Citizenship card 
  • Student ID cards (with photos)
  • Birth certificate
  • NEXUS card

These and other documents can prevent issues where your identity or citizenship is in question.

Supplies for delays

Travelling between the U.S. and Canada can come with delays, whether they stem from weather or long wait times at the border.

Because of this, it can be wise to plan to spend more time in your car under these circumstances. A few hours in your vehicle could easily become several hours or longer. To prepare for this, you can pack:

  • Car chargers for your phone
  • First aid kits
  • Bottles of drinking water
  • Snacks
  • Blankets
  • Extra clothing
  • Emergency contact information
  • Devices loaded with podcasts, playlists and other media to entertain you during delays

These supplies may be in your car anyway, but making sure you refill them and have them easily accessible before you head out can be a good idea.

With these supplies in tow, your road trip between the U.S. and Canada can go much more smoothly.