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How to get ready for your road trip across Canada

Traveling may sometimes be uncomfortable. Sometimes, everything hurts, even your heart (hopefully in a metaphorical sense). But the journey changes you; that’s what it’s supposed to do. It leaves its traces on your brain, mind, and soul. You’ll be taking a part of Canada with you back home and ideally leave something good behind.

Canada is famous worldwide for its natural beauty and varied landscape. You’ll see mountains, glaciers, secluded forests and lakes, all in a dizzying mix of breathtaking scenery. Few nations can compare with Canada when it comes to the abundance and range of natural treasures. Boasting more coastline than any other country, northern lands, and even a little bit of desert, “The Great White North” offers visitors more ways of experiencing the outdoors than they would have imagined possible. But the wild side is not its only charm, Canada also has clean, safe and friendly cosmopolitan cities. It scored the fourth best country to live in, according to the 2019 Best Countries Report. Multiculturalism is the best word that describes the Canadian culture.

Canada is a lovely place to visit, but when you factor in the climate, long distances, and rather expensive domestic travel options, it might be challenging to get to know. Throw your luggage in the trunk and go whenever and wherever you please. It’s the only way to see such a beautiful country. 

Why Canada is a great place for a road trip
Due to its beautiful routes, Canada offers the possibility to escape to the perfect realm. You can easily stray away from the beaten path in the vast, uninhabited countryside. That’s what road trips are all about, after all.

The freedom!
You don’t have to rush to catch a train or bus. You can drive as much as you want and take breaks whenever you wish; flexibility is one of the most significant advantages to car travel. What’s more, you can bring your pets along to keep you company. Airlines are known not to be very accommodating with pets. Air travel is stressful for animals. Car rides, on the other hand, are delightful, especially for dogs, because they feed into their sense of adventure and love of hunting. 

Road trips also require a lot less planning as you don’t have to buy tickets in advance. It can take weeks to schedule for a smooth journey. 

It’s cheaper
You can find accommodation in the countryside where the level of comfort is the same but prices are significantly lower. Stay on campsites or find a spot on a campground if you’re traveling with an RV.

Better views
Often, the best sights are located far away from public transit roads, and they are relatively inaccessible. However, if you choose to do the driving yourself, you can see countless beautiful villages, hills, and small towns. You’ll also be able to stop and take pictures as you please. 

How to rent a car in Canada
Having your own vehicle is ideal for roadtrips and, with providers such as Smarter Loans, buying your own car is easier than ever before. Still, if you’re more comfortable with renting, you should know that you need to be at least 21 years old to rent a car in Canada. You must have a valid driver’s license and, if it’s not in English or French, you also need an International Driver’s Permit. Make sure to keep your original driver’s license with you.

You may have to show your passport and return ticket when you pick up the car, and you will need a credit card. You can’t rent a car in Canada without a credit card.

It's essential to make sure your loved ones travel in the appropriate child restraint. Kids weighing less than 18 kg or 40 lbs have to use a child seat. If you ask a bit in advance, most car rentals will be able to provide one for you for an extra charge. 

There are plenty of places where you can rent a vehicle on a budget. We recommend returning the car with a full tank; otherwise, you risk being charged for it. The gas stations you find on the country road are cheaper than the ones in the city.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a car:

  • Figure out how much space you need for luggage and consider the number of people that will be traveling with you. Are you bringing your kids along? How about the family dog? They all need to travel comfortably.
  • Does the car have GPS? At times, you won’t have any Internet connection. The GPS will allow you to find your way even when you’re offline. You can bring your own if you like.
  • Do you have access to entertainment? Canada is a big place and moving from A to B can take a while. At least have a radio in the car. 
  • Are you planning to travel to the USA as well? If so, does the car hire allow for cross-border travel?

Best routes in Canada
Hitting the open road with your windows down is more Canadian than maple syrup. Now that you have a car where can you go?

The Cabot Trail
With spectacular ocean views, old forests, not to say the enigmatic Cape Breton Highlands, the Cabot Trail is regarded as one of the most scenic destinations in the world. It stretches for about 300 kilometers, or 186 miles, and has a lot to offer. There’s the Skyline Trail for hiking, the craftsmen from the Artisan Road Trip Itinerary, and the mix of Celtic and Acadian hospitality. 

The Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway is the Alberta Rockies' main north-south road. It runs from Jasper National Park to Lake Louise and covers 232 km or 144 miles. Visitors praise the scenery, so you can always expect to pull over and admire cascading waterfalls, turquoise lakes, and winding valleys.

The Sea to Sky Highway
The Sea to Sky Highway is the name given to a segment of Highway 99, namely from Horseshoe Bay to Pemberton. It offers those incredible West Coast views that British Columbia is famous for.  You can stop by places like Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver, Shannon Falls and take your kids to the Britannia Mine Museum.

These are just some of the many places you can drive to in Canada. The country covers more than 9 million square kilometers and spans over six time zones. You’d have to have more vacation time than a royal heir to cover it all. We hope that this article has piqued your interest and triggered your wanderlust. 

Traveling may sometimes be uncomfortable. Sometimes, everything hurts, even your heart (hopefully in a metaphorical sense). But the journey changes you; that’s what it’s supposed to do. It leaves its traces on your brain, mind, and soul. You’ll be taking a part of Canada with you back home and ideally leave something good behind.

Photo by Bruno Soares on Unsplash

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