CANADA WITH KIDS HOW TO PLAN THE PERFECT ROAD TRIP
The 2017 seemed ideal to choose Canada as your destination. Why? Because in 2017 Canada federal state celebrated the 150th anniversary since its birth. Over the country, the full programme of events and celebrations appear to be extra rich and visitor-oriented. An example? For the entire year Parks Canada left free access to all its National Parks and Cultural Heritage Sites! Furthermore, the weak Canadian dollar will get more affordable a destination which is not exactly low-cost! Canada with kids how to plan the perfect road trip?
Where to go within Canada?
Which places to select within the second biggest country on earth? Our choice was not easy at all at the beginning. From a rational point of view,, it seemed better to choose East Canada States. Closest to Europe, less flight time for our 3 year daughter, lots of interesting things to see. From the beautiful French Canadian cities to the whale watching, etc.
Still, I was feeling a particular attraction to the West side. The lakes, glaciers and panoramic routes of the Rocky Mountains, Vancouver…
So, after a bit of weighting and family debates, I decided to start our itineray just from Rocky Mountains. Then we proceeded towards Vancouver, along the Trans-Canada Highway. Finally we chose to fly from Vancouver to Toronto, cutting our flight back home, thus visitig this interesting city and one of the 7 wonders of the world: Niagara Falls.
5 simple planning steps
Check the validity of all travellers passports and, if necessary renew them. If any of your child hasn’t got a passport yet, you need to start the procedure well in advance with your local authority.
While dealing with point 1, you can start monitoring best prices and timetables for your flights on your favorite search engines. My favourite is Kayak. Also, check websites of the airlines that offer the best routes for your travel. Anyway, please book the flight some months in advance, even 6 months during peak holiday seasons! For example, if you travel in August, I suggest you to book your flight within February to get a betterprice. You can wait a couple of months later for internal flights.
I usually book trough rentalcars.com, including their insurance in the reservation option. Or, you can book directly trough the biggest car hire companies – after a bit of comparing.
As soon as all of you have a valid passport, check on the Canadian government website if you need to apply for a Visa or an eTA. Since 2016, all tourists from countries that don’t need a Visa (like Europe), need to require an online eTA if they enter by flight. The cost is around 5 $ per person. You need to fill in a form here and pay by credit card. We have done it and, except for a few particular cases, you get your authorization by email in a few minutes.
If your country hasn’t a particular health agreement with Canada you need to buy one! At least to cover health expenses and third parties responsability. You can do this one month before departure.
Can I go there with kids? Yes, of course!
After our travel I can confirm we have no regret for the chosen itinerary. Neither me, nor my husband, who had some initial doubts. We had no problems to afford this road trip with our nearly 3 year-old daughter. I also need to thank another travel blogger, who wrote about a similar itinerary with a small child, Elena on bimbieviaggi.it. Thanks to her story I thought: we can do it! And, trust me: you can do it as well! This is what I think a child travel blog need to do: encourage other parents to travel with their kids!
OUR ITINERAY – FIRST PART:
Road Trip trough Rocky Mountains, Trans Canada Highway and Vancouver
Flight KLM Milano Linate-Amsterdam + Amsterdam-Edmonton. We will find the airline great: punctual, comfortable and child friendly. We arrive in Canada in the late afternoon and we will sleep close to the airport.
Car rental from Edmonton and then straight away towards Jasper National Park, 2 night sleep in Jasper
We drive through the legendary Columbia Icefield, leaving Jasper and entering Banff National Park, 2 night sleep in Banff
On our way back to visit Lake Moraine and Lake Louise. Then, we pass by the Yoho National Park – Takkawa Falls: not to be missed! 1 night accommodation nearby Golden, in the fantastic Mount 7 Lodges. Our stay was in the Eagle Lodge, surrounded by pins and squirrels, with Jacuzzi on the terrace and 4 bedrooms!
Passing trough the Glacier and the Mt Revelstoke National Parks, we get to Revelstoke.
The longest day in terms of covered kms. To go towards Vancouver, we made a relaxing stop at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa. Idillyc break for our daughter Laura at the Kilby Historic Site, where she may feed the farm animals and their puppies.
Taking it slow up to Vancouver, we get in time for visiting its harbour by night. The they after, we explore Stanley Park, the city surrounding islands, wandering among microbreweries and Asiatic restaurants. In just one day, we walk for 22 kms (with Laura on her stroller)!
SECOND PART: Toronto and Niagara Falls
At late morning, we take a comfortable internal flight – Westjet – from Vancuver to Toronto. Due to the 3 hour time zone change, we arrive there in the evening and have a great dinner in Chinetown. Our hotel – Garden Inn by Hilton Downtown – is not far from there.
The day is devoted to the city sightseeing. St. Lawerence Market is a good place to go for lunch, CN Tower was quite disappointing and really too much crowded. We end the day in our favourite Chinetown restauant and a nice pub, in front of the Museum of Modern Arts.
Full day trip to Niagara Falls. We leave in the morning with Greenline bus, coming back in the afternoon by train. Because Greenline was on time and extremely cheap, we suggest you to choose the bus both ways. The train, instead, was tremendously on late. On the Falls we had a nice stroll with plenty of panoramic shots. You have to try the “under the midst” boat tour wich was amazing also for our 3 year-old. Finally, we strongly recommend to have lunch at the tower rotating restaurant: you’ll find incredible 360 degree view and also awesome food!
Another half day touring Toronto and then – thanks to a very efficient direct train link – we get to the airport. In the late afternoon we board for Amsterdam, arriving there approx. 7 hours later. Next morning we fly from Amsterdam to Genova, always with KLM.
Canada road trip with a 3 year-old: final remarks
We much appreciated this itinerary. Laura, our energetic daughter did just fine. We’ve already noticed that she’s much worse at home when she gets bored. Even in the 9 hour flight route Amsterdam-Toronto she behaves good in the overall, only complaining in the final half an hour. The big time zone difference was worse for us than for her. At her age she’s still doing afternoon sleeps, so she was more able than us to recover during the day!
She also survives to Canadian food, even being quite difficult with food. At lunch her typical meal was ham sandwich and fruits. At dinner meat or boiled rise at Asian restaurants. However, the choice to stay in some lodge with kitchen was great to vary her diet a little!
About sightseeing: we visited almost all we wanted because her curiosity and her craving to see new things prevailed on everything. Of course there was the need to carry her on our shoulders sometimes. Thanks God, we were still using her stroller. It was very useful in towns. She has even slept in it, while we were touring.
After the 15 day tour she was sad at the airport because we were coming back home. Even now, after many months, she keeps in telling about when we saw the snow over Canadian Mountains, when she feeded animals at the farm, and so on.
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