Packing for 2-week road trip to Canada - advice please!(38 Posts)
We are a family of 4 (me, DH + 2 teenagers) doing a fly-drive for 2 weeks. Never packed for a holiday like this before, where we will be on the move and living out of suitcases, no scope for washing clothes along the way. Weather is (hopefully) going to be warm and sunny, but not hot. So how to and what to pack? (Or what not to pack?!)
And I would strongly recommend planning a night in a town halfway through the holiday, and research online to find a town with a laundrette (laundromat). There's nothing worse than feeling like you have to wear slightly manky clothes because you've run out of clean ones, and your luggage allowance will only go so far... We've always included the laundrette trip as a feature of the holiday: you'd be amazed by the variety of them depending on the country (The best one was in Italy which was next door to a brilliant bar --the washing took HOURS that day--)
What's your itinerary?
Are you renting a campervan? Camping? Nights in motels etc?
If you're going to Banff I know there's a launderette in Canmore, 20 minutes down the road. There's one in Jasper that I know of. There are probably several in Banff.
And the pp is not kidding about insect repellent.
The key will be lots of thin layers. Maybe one sweatshirt and a lightweight, thin, water and wind jacket.
Even if it's a nice day, if you go anywhere up a mountain it will be windy/chilly at the top. There is still some snow on high peaks.
Where are you going?
Pack the bags to rotate as much as possible. Or case 1, clothes in for 3 nights for everyone, case 2 days 3-6 etc. That way your only taking in one case each stop. You can always rearrange as you go!
When you get their find a supermarket and get drinks, fruit etc. You'll need to have something's incase your starving but can't stop to eat. We find were in great need of fresh fruit and veg when we do this.
In your hand luggage keep a toothbrush, general washbag and change if pants/socks, first aid kit, hairbrush, makeup etc and all your meds. You want to keep these within grabbing distance.
Yes to a launderette so think tumble dry 😁. Air-conditioned motel bathrooms don't dry clothes well.
We're going to BC and driving by car, staying in hotels. DH and DS couldn't care less about whether clothes are manky or not (!) but DD and I certainly do, so looks like we will need to factor in a launderette along the way. Sigh... Hadn't realised insects were going to be a problem - hate them!! So now half my luggage allowance will be repellents...
Any insect repellents bought in Canada will be more effective than anything you can get here.
Get something with deet.
Mosquitos are worst at dawn and dusk, or in shady parts of the bush. Most of us do not slather ourselves in repellant unless we are going out at those times, or into the bush itself.
Don't worry...they sell insect rebellent in Canada! I would pack clothes and buy things like that when you are there to save weight and space. If you have forgotten anything you can always buy it there....Have a fab trip....I may be biased but it is a wonderful country.
There are also laundromats in Canada. In the nicest possible way, have you travelled outside of your county before?
When are you going and where runner? I live in BC and while there are bugs it's not really a big deal depending on where you are (generally the more forested or laked the area the more mosquitos). Very easy to buy repellent here (look for Off) and you'll only need a smallish bottle for two weeks. Plus if you are staying in hotels they will all be air conditioned with non opening windows or have bug screens.
Now if you were going to Manitoba...
You could probably get away with just hand washing underwear for a two week trip with a vehicle. We did a three week trip in Japan a couple of years ago and never quite found the launderette dh planned on and it was OK (and we had backpacks so very limited amounts of clothes). BC is very casual, no need for anything smart we wear shorts and t-shirts pretty much from June through to August (and often May and September too). Warmer clothes if you plan on visiting the mountains though.
Check the forecast. We're not long back from BC and it was very warm (30ish) which we hadn't entirely packed for.
Were I live it's between 35-30 for the next fortnight, but Vancouver is in the low 20s and Banff is high 20s for the same period. A lot depends on the local micro climate (elevation, how far inland , mountain rainshadows etc). Everywhere is beautiful though!
We've done many similar with our 2 DC now 18/20, we each have our own case and organise them as we feel best. I pack my clothes in days, so clean underwear, t-shirt and shorts. DH has his by type so all shorts together etc. DC1 just throws it all in and rummages for something to wear. We tend to only do casual touring so what we put on in the morning lasts all day, with maybe 2 outfits that are slightly smarter.
For shoes I always pack my flip flops, walking sandals (teenagers prefer converse) and traininers or hiking boots depending on the terrain. Sometimes if space allows I pack a nice pairs or shoes/sandals.
We always look for multi-night stops along the way for washing, even if it is only in the sink with travelwash. We did 11 nights in India early this year with 15kg backpacks like this.
Our cases come into the hotel each night for security, we may leave shoes in the car, but as it is usually a SUV then you can see in.
Avon skin so soft is very effective bug repellent and doesn't smell awful. Dh always gets terribly bites and thinks it's amazing. It's rumoured the SAS use it rather than deet stuff.
If you are in hotels can't you use the hotel laundry service a few times. Or the laundrette of course.
I always take a mini first aid/pharmacy kit....mine has things like bite/sting relief spray and antihistamines; blister plasters and dioralyte / immodium. I have been soooo glad of it on many occasions!!
An extra SD card for the camera.
I don't know if this would work for you, but we do a lot of road trip holidays and it works fir us. We pack outfits complete with underwear into individual zip lock bags, it stops your cases turning into clothing soup and you can easily see what clean clothes you have left.
If you're staying in hotels many of them have laundry rooms with coin operated machines. If you go to the hotel website you can usually find out if they have a laundry room. We are doing a road trip this summer and have a spreadsheet day by day itinerary, one of the things I've marked on the spreadsheet is if a hotel has a guest laundry so I can plan when to do washing.
Don't use your luggage allowance on repellents, make your first stop when you get to Canada a supermarket or pharmacy and buy over there. We always do this on road trips with bulky things like sunscreen and shower gel.
If you can afford it it's also worth buying a small cooler and freezer packs for the car when you get there and loading it up with drinks. Refreeze the packs when you can, most hotel fridges have a freezer compartment in the top. Having cold drinks to hand saves money and is really nice when you get back to the car after a day out.
One more thing, bring a bag for dirty laundry. It keeps the dirty stuff contained and makes trips to the laundry much easier.
We drove across Canada. Make sure you have windshield wiper fluid, as you will need it due to bugs. Keep a case of water in the air conditioned car at all times. You may like to have sun shades for the windows if it gets hot. I assume you are driving the Trans-Canada? A travel agent can help plan it for you. I hope you have a great trip. BC is my favorite. Enjoy.
Take some travel wash or normal washing gel in a container. Look for a Laundromat at some point, also you can rinse items through.
We have done similar trip, Vancouver, Whistler, Rockies - 4 yrs ago - and we took far too much - though it was a lot warmer than expected all the way through - we had expected it to cool off in Rockies but it didn't.
We have a road trip to W USA starting this Friday with our late teens DC and having a similar dilemma, as it can be cool on coast, but 50deg in Death valley!! And I also have a DH and DS who happy to take as little as possible and not wash, whereas DD and I like to be fresher!
You will need a fleece or thick cardigan, but limit to one each, a waterproof but this doesn't have to be a thick walking coat.
Limit toiletries and sun cream etc to starter pack and aim to buy over there, that's what we doing this year. Although if in hotels you will get toiletries anyway.
Where exactly are you going? You will have a fab time, we did, all loved Canada, I would have gone back this year but rest of family wanted USA
If your teens are anything like mine you will have a myriad of devices that need charging - so as well as plug adaptors also take a car USB charger and lead(s), so you can charge stuff as you drive along. And yes, SD cards, DH ordered some for us last week. Binoculars to see the bears at a distance.
Thanks for all these great tips - keep them coming! We are going to Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Whistler, Clearwater, Jasper and Banff.
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