How to Plan a Canadian Road Trip
Drive from the lush coastal rainforests of British Columbia to the friendly colourful clapboard houses of the Maritimes; visit the larger-than-life grandeur of Alberta’s glaciers and mountains or explore the endless expanse of Saskatchewan’s wheat fields…
With its stunning natural beauty and endless expanse of open road, Canada is the perfect place to take a road trip. But planning is really the key to a successful journey. By driving through the country, you will gain an understanding of the scale and diversity of this nation that you could never learn from a book.
A changing landscape
If you travel through several provinces, you’ll see the gradient of Canadian culture slowly change. The laid-back atmosphere of Vancouver Island, the Wild West vibe of the prairies, the ethnic diversity of Toronto, the French language and culture of Quebec and the quirky accents and live Celtic music on the East Coast – they all illustrate how remarkably different this country is. Spend time by the ocean, visit some of the world’s most beautiful National Parks, or explore city centres; Canada a full spectrum of variation in its destinations.
It’s this beautiful diversity that makes a Canadian road trip so enticing. And when you’re able to share this experience with family and friends, it makes the trip all the more memorable.
How to plan your road trip
Keep in mind, one does not simply drive across Canada. This is a large-scale adventure that requires at least a little forethought and planning. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you are going on a major Canadian road trip:
1. MAP OUT YOUR ROUTE
You don’t need to plan every detail of your trip in advance, but it helps to have an idea of your route before you begin.
Most cross-country travellers use the Trans-Canada Highway. However, depending on the length of your trip, you might want to take some detours in order to see more of the nation’s diverse environment. For example, as Canada is home to more than 50% of the world’s natural lakes, it’s definitely worth heading off course to explore a few!
You could alternatively plan a route that allows you to drive the Icefields Parkway in Alberta from Jasper to Banff to see some truly impressive mountains and glaciers, and is home to some of the most photographed sights in the entire world, or a route along the stunning coastline of Vancouver Island to explore the famous natural scenery.
2. HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE?
Many people underestimate the size of Canada and do not allow enough time for a road trip.
In a typical day of driving, most people will cover 300-400km, allowing for meals and roadside attractions along the way, and arriving at each destination with time for dinner and resting. At this pace, you could get from coast to coast in two weeks.
However, this is a pretty tight timeline that doesn’t allow for any days you may just not feel like driving and want to stay somewhere longer. If you want to have more time to spend in each destination, it is recommended that you give yourself at least a month or more for a complete cross-country trip.
If you don’t have the time or desire to do a full road trip across Canada, there are plenty of routes that cover some stunning scenery in a shorter time. Check out our suggestions here.
3. WHERE TO STAY
When travelling throughout Canada, staying at condo-style vacation rentals can be of huge benefit as they offer self-catering, allowing you to save money by cooking your own meals.
This style of accommodation also often include laundry facilities, fully-equipped kitchens and other handy amenities. Simply being able to wash your own clothes on a long road trip is very convenient and can make you feel so much more comfortable.
When booking a hotel or vacation rental property, make sure you choose somewhere with a flexible cancellation policy, in case you want to take a detour or stay somewhere more interesting along the way. Each of our Leavetown properties list all of the relevant information so guests can plan accordingly.
4. MORE CANADIAN ROAD TRIP TIPS
- Stop at a supermarket and buy bread and sandwich fillings such as ham and cheese or peanut butter. Before leaving your accommodation each morning,make a sandwich for lunch to avoid expensive restaurants.
- Get your vehicle tuned up before you go, which will help you avoid breaking down in the middle of nowhere and will also mean your vehicle uses gas more efficiently.
- When it is time to fuel up, chose a highway exit with multiple gas stations. The competition means the prices will be lower.
- Check the weather before you go – storms in Canada can be severe and will make driving hazardous.
- Use a travel budget calculator to help you estimate how much you will spend on your trip.
Come and explore Canada with Leavetown!
Canada is the second largest country in the world, and there’s nothing like a cross-country road trip to get a true understanding and experience of the marvelous sights and cultures it embodies! Call our Destination Experts at 1.877.902.1616, or browse our extensive selection of accommodations online to find out about the great deals we have on vacation rentals in many different Canadian destinations. We’d love to assist you in planning a trip of a lifetime!