Our Goals for the Canada Leg – 20 days to go

Children Books Worksheets

Get ready to roll your eyes and shake your heads as I share some things we are hoping to accomplish during the Canadian Leg of our trip. These aren’t so much travel list checkboxes but rather goals for the next few months. Whether we do these or not, we at least WANT to do them. When we get back we’ll reflect on how many of these we managed to see through.

Food / Dining

Eat fries just once a week. Yep, even I recognize this will probably go by the wayside when I see two chip trucks on the same day of driving. Or when I have to order a “fish and NO chips”. That just doesn’t sound right at all.

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Trial Camping Run – 29 days to go

A week ago, we loaded up the vehicle and did a trial run to see how prepared we were for the cross-Canada leg of our trip. We had not had the chance to “field test” some of our gear and wanted to try it out during a three-day camping trip at a nearby provincial park.

I borrowed my dad’s Jeep, installed the roof carrier and attached the bikes onto the back. I struggled with the roof carrier as it took me a while to figure out that I was blocking the locking mechanisms which was preventing it from closing. Once I figured that out, I spent a couple hours loading up the vehicle to determine the best packing configuration. I had two main goals: I wanted to have an unobstructed view out the rear window and the kids needed to have an unencumbered ride (i.e. nothing at their feet or beside them). We managed to achieve both of those goals. In the future, I’m hoping I can do better than two hours.

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Credit Cards & Cash – 34 days to go

Foreign Conversion Fee Credit Card

We have had a couple posts about the fun stuff, now it is time for some money matters Any dollar I can save is something Isabella can spend later at LEGOLAND. For some reason, I showed the kids LEGOLAND clips on YouTube and now we have to fit that into the budget. So here are two ways we plan to stretch our dollar.

Let’s start with credit cards. From the beginning, we wanted two different branded cards on the trip (a Visa and an Amex). If one particular card was not accepted, or one got compromised then we would always have a backup. This never was a necessity in our daily life so we needed to go hunting for a new card. Where to begin? Fortunately, there are amazing sites out there that showed us the pros and cons of the different credit card offers. Type “best credit cards in Canada” into Google, and you’ll have enough reading material for weeks. During our research, we realized we should have cards we used BEFORE we travel (i.e. during the planning) and then cards we should use when we were ACTUALLY TRAVELLING. This was new for us and so far it has saved us a large bucket of money.

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Logistics Update – 45 days to go

Camping Supplies Totes Backpacks

Since the itinerary has been discussed recently I thought of giving an update on some of the other progress we have made. The other day Paige and I were remarking that we still have some things to take care of but it feels like a lot of the “heavy-lifting” is done.

Getting the Jeep Ready – We got roof rails installed (my dad actually did it) and we bought a second-hand Thule cargo carrier for the roof. We also have car seat organizers for the kid’s stuff. We just need to put new tires on the vehicle, get it serviced and she is ready to go. We are actually outfitting the Jeep for a trial camping run this weekend with all the gear.

Bikes for the Road Trip – We replaced the stolen adult bikes with second-hand bikes and got them serviced. We purchased bike locks and have confirmed that the children’s helmets fit. Now we just have to get Julie off training wheels.

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International Itinerary – 66 days to go

One of our dreams for this adventure is that friends and family will join us in different places around the world. Whether you have a week or just a few days, we’d love to meet you somewhere.  If any of the locations below appeal, let us know soon (before I go ahead and book a tiny bachelor apartment there).

Some of our family have already signed up to join us in different places. My mom is coming to the Yukon, Bali and somewhere in Europe. My brother and sister-in-law are also coming to Bali for Christmas together. Mike’s sister is planning to come to Australia to discover kangaroos and koalas with the girls.

I know that others were waiting for our itinerary to be a little more locked down before making a plan to join us somewhere. Well here’s the plan! We are still flexible in our locations, especially for the second part of the trip. For example, we plan to spend spring in Spain but if someone we knew wanted to go to Croatia or Greece with us for a week then we’d probably just change the itinerary.

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A little about us – 117 days to go

Sledding in Austria

Ok so I’ve written my first blog post. Here we go!

Mike and I have both always loved to travel.  I was fortunate enough to travel a lot with my family when I was growing up as my dad was a journalist who, in addition to loving travel, also accumulated a lot of frequent flyer points. My mom loved to plan trips and she was very good at dreaming up journeys and booking itineraries. We rarely did the all-inclusive type of travel and instead visited destinations that were a little off the beaten path and less frequented by tourists.

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Canada West Coast Plan – 125 days to go

Google Map driving directions Kluane National Park Vancouver

This is our projected itinerary for the second part of our cross-Canada journey. It picks up where Part 1 left off. The purpose of this leg is to get us down the west coast to Vancouver. There’s some decent mileage to cover but a far more relaxed atmosphere once we get to Vancouver Island. But getting there is half the fun right?

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Updates to the Route – 144 days to go

Canada Map Driving Route Canada Toronto Kluane

So as the days get closer, the excitement and nervousness builds. We are making progress as we have knocked a bunch of things off the list. All our vaccinations are wrapped up and paid for. We replaced the bikes that were “stolen”. We applied for new credit cards and opened a new bank account. And we have had fun conversations with friends and family about our plans. Recently a friend of mine told me: “You are supposed to be planning a trip around the world, when are you going to tell me something exciting about it”. So I’ve taken her advice and unlike previous posts about logistics, this one is focused solely on the journey. That is to say, no talk about budgeting, insurance or money, just places and things to look forward to.

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Vaccination Progress – 200 Days to go

Canada Government International Vaccine Certificate

Back in spring, I started researching vaccine requirements for the trip (the non-Covid ones). This past week we started seeing this research turn into reality as the family got a bunch of shots. The process has been interesting and chock-full of learnings.

For context, I went ahead and started my vaccination progress back in April. We decided I would try and figure out the best way to get it done and then the other family members would follow suit. I went online, found a local travel clinic, did a consultation and then signed up for a bunch of shots. The consult was done over the phone and it felt like a business transaction. A bunch of forms were sent back and forth with details of the trip, my medical history and personal information. It did not really feel like a medical appointment. Regardless, I checked some boxes, got some shots and spent some money. For the rest of the family, we decided to do a “family” consultation with a different travel clinic. It was eye-opening as I thought it would be standard across the clinics. Fortunately, the recommendations were consistent across the two, but the education, cost and service were very different. We decided to get the family’s battery of tests through the second clinic. My personal takeaway is that even though the situation was really a one-and-done type scenario, it makes sense to shop around. Yes, we ended up paying a couple consultation fees but our peace of mind and cost savings justified that expense.

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Time to track down the bikes – 212 Days to go

Bikes mounted on bike rack on car

We have started getting some of our ducks in a row for our cross-Canada leg of the trip. The first concrete decision is we’ve made the choice not to bring our electric car. This was a tough one as I was pretty confident we could have made the route work from a charging/mileage standpoint. In the end, it was the cargo space that led us to this decision. It is just too small and will not hold the gear we plan on bringing. Essentially we want the kids to have some comfort and we don’t want stuff piled on the children as we drive a few thousand kilometres. We haven’t yet made a decision as to what we will do with the car but I will either have to sell it, loan it out or take it off the road. That is a decision for another day.

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