Armed with a freshly brewed cup of Tim’s coffee and faced with the freedom of the open road, it’s time to take in some of Canada’s most iconic cultural sites. From the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies to the historic cobblestone streets of Quebec City; the home of Anne of Green Gables in Charlottetown, to the kitschy haunted houses in Niagara Falls, the Canadian landscape is a rich tapestry of sights and experiences. Known for its natural beauty, its charming clean cities and hospitable locals…you can’t go wrong with a homegrown Summer trip exploring the great outdoors in our very own backyards.
Here are a few tips on how to pull off your very own Great Canadian Road Trip:
1) Pick Your Route: The Trans-Canada Highway is one of the world’s longest highways, extending from the Pacific Coast in Vancouver to the Atlantic Coast in Newfoundland, through all 10 Canadian provinces. For hardcore road trippers this is the best route to get from point A to point B and get a feel for the diversity of the country. http://transcanadahighway.com. But if you’re looking to focus on a particular province or region, then don’t forget about these historic drives: Icefields Parkway (the central route through Banff and Jasper national parks), Cabot Trail (along the northern shore of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia), the Dempster Highway (from Dawson City, Yukon, to Inuvik, North West Territories) or the “Sea to Sky Highway” (snaking along the edge of the Pacific in Vancouver towards Whistler).
2) Drive Smart: Gas prices are at an all-time high, but to save money on fuel and increase your car’s efficiency, try some of these simple techniques: Open the windows instead of blasting the air conditioning; maintain a constant speed when driving; check the tire pressure before you head out on the road trip; keep idling to a minimum; and regularly maintain your vehicle.
3) To find gas prices in cities across Canada and the US, ‘Gas Buddy’ is a great mobile app and online resource. Select a city, plug in your postal/zip code and the aggregator will present all of your fuel options by distance and price. It even trends the average gasoline prices over the past few days and months. Check out the Trip Cost Calculator, which will show you the cheapest gas stations for filling-up along your desired route. www.gasbuddy.com/
4) Become a Rewards Warrior: The cost of road tripping is a lot less painful when you’re earning points. The American Express Gold Rewards Card offers double points on eligible gas, grocery, drugstore and travel spend, covering just about all your road trip expenses. The points add up quickly so you can use them towards future travel without the pain of blackout dates or other restrictions.
5) Don’t Forget Your Passport: If you’re crossing the border from Canada into the US, be sure to have the proper documentation. Many citizens have been turned away from entry because they’ve forgotten their ID. Avoid hassles and be sure to pack your passport.
Any particular places you think are must-sees when driving through Canada? Share your own road trip tips here….