This blog post was written by guest author, Natalie Preddie.
By now, we’ve all concluded that summer 2020 has become an exciting exploration of our home provinces, discovering everything that this beautiful country has to offer. From mountains to lakes, forests to parks, Canada is the perfect backdrop for the ultimate family road trip.
Not much can beat a family adventure into parts unknown, learning and uncovering something new. But with so many options for spectacular road trips, where do we begin? As the mother of two little boys (and another child on the way), such adventures require planning.
We always start our planning process by getting into a “vacation state of mind”. We play our favourite summer hits (my four-year-old is really into the Jonas Brothers at the moment) and get excited for a change of summer scenery. This year, we felt a vacation road trip would also keep us safe and comfortable. My family got out our Expedia Explorer Journals which gave us a chance to reminisce about some of our favourite family getaways. Although the kids are only little, my oldest remembers our last few vacations to resorts down South and family trips to the cottage. He was excited, animated even, as he recounted splashing in the pool with his friends, playing in the waves and eating way too many chicken nuggets. He didn’t think it was too many—I definitely did.
We also used their Expedia Explorer Journals to imagine and drew dream vacations, detailing what we would see, what we would do and how we would get there. That being said, does anyone know of an island where everything is blue, we can ride our own dragons, hang out with Spiderman, eat only ice-cream and sleep in trees? I’ll wait for you to get back to me on that one.
Aside from cottage drives, we tend to take to the skies on our vacations. Or at least we did. Being grounded means that we need to think of other ways to embark on our vacation in style and in comfort. Since we’ve decided to shake things up on this family road trip, we thought we would try exploring in a new car… or maybe even a van. As a growing family, we’ve always wondered what it would be like to travel with so much space in one vehicle. This is our time to try! One of the things we like about planning our trip with Expedia is the ability to rent a vehicle with confidence. A quick search gives us multiple van options, pick up/drop off options and price breakdowns. Expedia also highlights the extensive cleaning regime that each car goes through, so we feel safe spending time in a vehicle that isn’t ours.
Planning where to stay on our family road trip takes some time. As anyone with little ones can attest to, these two boys have very specific sleeping arrangements: one is still in a crib, the other in a bed but I’m dubious about them sharing a room. They still travel with noise machines and have different bedtimes.
We also need to stay somewhere with some sort of self-catering option. We are currently dealing with the curse of the picky eater as well as nighttime bottles and other annoyingly specific food requests. A fridge, microwave and sink are necessary for our time away.
Also, with the new baby making an imminent arrival, ever-changing travel restrictions and the general uncertainty of our time, we want to make sure that we have flexible accommodations and free cancellation, should we need it. This is exactly what we use the Expedia App for. The app highlights many different accommodation styles all over the province and offers the exact flexibility we are looking for including free cancellation or “Reserve now, Pay later”. One of my favourite new features is Expedia’s inclusion of each accommodation’s safety and cleanliness practices. From contactless check-out to additional disinfecting measures, it is easy to find cleaning and safety policy information. The app gives me the ability to message the property owner to ask about cleaning policies or make special arrangements. With our busy schedules, we like that we can use the Expedia app to access our trip details on the go or offline. These type of inclusions and details give me the confidence to plan a road trip that will not only meet the entertainment needs of my little explorers, and ensure we do it safely and in comfort.
What to do
When planning an itinerary that includes children, my motto is “stay flexible”. Going into a family trip with precise plans tends to end in someone being disappointed—more often than not, the parents. Expedia gives us nearby attractions, hiking and biking trails and even restaurants close to where we are staying. This helps us plan what we want to do and when but lets us be close enough to maintain naptime. That being said, when planning our family activities, I like to have one or two highlights but stay open to visiting roadside attractions, exploring a waterfall or lake we didn’t know about or checking out a restaurant that just “looked good”. Whether our road trip is three hours or seven hours, I like to give ourselves plenty of extra time to discover an Ontario that we have never seen before. Well—discovering new sites but also pee breaks, a chance to stretch our legs, have tantrums (the kids of course) and turning around for something we forgot.
If you are looking for something to play in the van on the way to your next road trip, check out Expedia’s Travel Playlists and dream about where you will go next.
Where will you go on your next road trip?
About Natalie Preddie
Natalie Preddie is a travel writer and mother to two little boys who already share her love of travel. Natalie has written for multiple travel publications and is the columnist for Post City. She can be seen regularly on Cityline, Your Morning and The Morning Show. From backpacking to luxury resorts, she has travelled to over 30 countries and will visit many more with her kids in tow. She is currently focusing on the best way to travel in our new reality as her own little family grows from four to five.