Thinking about taking a cross-Canada road trip with the kiddies this summer? Did you know reserving a car and hotel together can save you up to 15 per cent when booked all at once?
So let’s book it, road trippers! We have 15 sanity-saving road trip tips to share with you, and three of the best road trip destinations this summer
Top tips for going on a Canadian road trip
1. If you’re travelling in your own car, clean your ride before the trip. Seriously, it’s time to find those French fries. And make sure your spare’s in good repair.
2. Stick to one suitcase per person. No, sweetheart, you don’t need that many toys.
3. Speaking of toys, give each person a small daypack that they can fill with journals, coloring books, crayons, a book, travel-friendly games, headphones, etcetera. Leave some space for new treasures found along your journey.
4. Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off.
5. Limit use of smartphones and other devices a week before the big cross Canada trip. This can reduce the shock kids (and parents) might experience if they’re used to having their devices on them all the time.
6. Before getting on the road, hold a family-road-trip-rules meeting. Give everyone an itinerary and set expectations for acceptable road trip behaviors. Plan consequences for bad behavior before the meeting, parents.
7. Keep a small cooler of road trip snacks handy. Special treats can be rewards for excellent road trip behavior or as “Road Warrior Citizenship” rewards.
8. Parents: Download a few trivia or group game apps.
9. Audio Books! Try to pick something everyone will enjoy—Young Adult novels are typically crowd pleasers.
10. Have a designated cell phone bag. Put ALL cell phones in the bag for specified times of the trip.
11. Don’t forget a first aid kit, wet wipes, scissors, and a few towels.
12. Each person should have a pillow. Travel pillows save on space.
13. Use a gas app to find cheap gasoline.
14. Each person should have their own cell phone charger.
15. Rotate DJs. Because no one person should have control over the radio for the entire trip.
3 of the best destinations for a road trip across Canada
Road Trip Destination No. 1: Fly into Edmonton, Alberta
Home to more than a giant shopping mall, Edmonton has plenty to keep the family entertained.
Hit up Galaxyland, North America’s largest indoor amusement park, to shake off the post flight fatigue. A few Stardust mini-doughnuts will help! Get an early night at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald so you’re ready to begin your trek to the Canadian Rockies early the next morning.
It’s a 4-hour drive to Banff, so you’ll want to make a pit stop at the Ellis Bird Farm in Lacombe County. The farm is home to dozens of native bird species, and there’s a petting zoo with goats, lambs and bunnies.
The Ellis Café is the great place to grab a coffee or an in-house organic berry-berry iced tea. Once in Banff hike spectacular trails around the opaque turquoise water of Lake Louise or enjoy the snowcapped mountains from a float boat on a tour of the Bow River.
That’s a perfectly awe-inspiring way to end a family road trip, don’t you think?
Road Trip Destination No. 2: Fly into Quebec City, Quebec
Make a splash after touching down in Quebec City at the Aquarium of Quebec. Meet walruses, harbor seals, polar bears, and 10,000 other marine animals!
Keep the sea theme going with a stay at Auberge Saint-Antoine by Relais & Châteaux, located in the historic wharf district. Make sure to towel off before hitting the road to Montreal—no one likes a fishy smelling passenger.
First stop: LaRonde amusement park in Montreal! From the joys of a pony carousel to the thrills of the EDNOR rollercoaster, your first pit stop has fun for everyone. LaRonde tucker everyone out?
Stay a night at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth before moving along to the quaint and colourful village of Mont-Tremblant. Hike the Mont-Tremblant National Park (one of Canada’s natural wonders) or, better yet, go horseback riding through the green mountain trails. Ride off into the road trip sunset.
Road Trip Destination No. 3: Fly into Halifax, Nova Scotia
Be transported back in time at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. Explore the citadel’s historic fortress, watch the sentry change guards at the front gate, see the 78th Highlanders march, and more!
When the last citadel ghost story is told, make your way back to The Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites. Sleep like a king before leading the charge to Cape Breton Island.
Don’t forget to stop in the old fishing town of Lunenburg—a UNESCO World Heritage site—before getting all the way to Cape Breton Island. Lunenburg has a distinct waterfront with charming bed and breakfasts, cozy seafood diners, art galleries, boutiques and ships in the harbor. It’s a perfect place to stretch your legs and grab an ice cream cone before skedaddling off to see the Louisbourg Lighthouse on Cape Breton Island. Watch the waves of the Atlantic crash around the lighthouse until dusk.
Doesn’t it feel like you’re at the edge of the world, and not the end of your road trip?
Where will the road lead you this summer?