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  1. Default Driving alone across Canada

    Firstly I'd like to say I'm new to this forum because I'm just looking for travel tips, advice and trip planning resources.

    I'm moving to Niagara Falls Ontario from Vancouver Island British Columbia. My trip will be about 4500 km, I plan to drive my car so that I will have transportation once I'm in Ontario.

    I am leaning towards driving through the states and not Canada. I have done this trip with my family before but that was when I was only 9 years old.

    I imagine it'll take me about 4 or 5 days. I'm not in a rush.

    I am only 19 years old and haven't driven this distance on my own before, I realize there are risks involved, so I am going to be stopping every night and getting a hotel room to rejuvinate/have a safe place to sleep. Will my car be safe in most parking lots? I'll only have clothing and personal belongings inside.

    Can anyone recommend a good route this time of year? I will be leaving when the weather forecasts are the most positive.

  2. #2

    Default Suggestions

    Your 19yrs old and driving across Canada in the Winter? That's GREAT! What an experience you will have. Bring a Journal to diaries your adventure and a camera. But as for the weather, it is winter and the weather will not be "favorable" until May.

    Here are a few suggestions for you:

    1) Make sure your vehicle has a good set of winter tires and have your vehicle checked by a certified mechanic. Have the mechanic do a battery load test (this checks to see if you battery is in good operating condition), have them check your alternator, fluids, hoses, exhaust pipes, buy winter windshield wipers...etc.

    2) Pack a sleeping bag or wool blanket, and have the proper emergency equipment in your vehicle just in case your car breaks down and you have to wait for help. Candles, matches or lighter, food (i.e beef jerkey, peanuts, energy bars and of course water), flares, flash light, shovel, cell phone are some things to have.

    3) Leave a copy of your route and the hotel/motels you plan on staying at with your Parents or with close friends in case of an emergency. And check the next days weather conditions and the end of each night.

    4) Make sure your important personal belongings are out of view. Lock valuables in the truck or bring them inside the hotel/motel your staying at each night.

    5) Do not over extend yourself while driving. Take your time. Winter driving can be quite tiresome, because your windows are always up and you concentrate much more due to the road conditions and there is less day light.

    And this is important!!: If you decide you want to drive through the northern states, then buy medical insurance. I recommend you do so through the Canadian Automotive Association (CAA) because the states do not have our Universal Health Care System and you do not want to get stuck with a medical bill if something were to happen. More reason to enjoy a drive through Canada and experience your own Country.

    Have a great time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not Quite as Easy as You Seem to Think

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    It is actually shorter to drive through the States than to take the Trans-Camada. Plus the speed limits tend to be a bit higher, so you're probably well advised to take the route through the U.S. This would entail first taking BC-99 and I-5 down to Seattle and then I-90/I-94 to Chicago. After Chicago, stay on I-94 into Michigan and then take I-69 to Sarnia, ON. Once back in Canada, ON-402/401/403 and the QEW will get you to Niagara Falls. But even this most direct route is over 2650 miles (4250 km) so don't fool yourself into thinking that you can make this trip in 4 days and "not be in a rush". If you use all 5 days at your disposal, you'll still have to cover nearly 550 miles (900 km) every day. That is a full day's driving.

    On the other hand, the risks are probably not nearly as bad as you are imagining. Motel parking lots are well lit, see a lot of traffic, and are generally fairly safe. Just don't leave valuables in plain sight and your car should be fine. Besides getting a good night's sleep each night, also plan to take a half hour or so break out of your car a couple of times a day to take a walk through a town or park to exercise your muscles, get off your rump, and shake out the mental cobwebs. If chosen with an eye to pretty or interesting venues, these little breaks can easily be the most rewarding parts of the trip.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 11-21-2007 at 08:32 PM. Reason: typo

  4. Default

    Thanks for the advice to both of you! I will definitally make sure I have all those emergency supplies in my car. My car is up to date on all repairs etc. but like you suggested I should still have it checked up on and get new tires. Will I have any trouble getting a hotel room at my age? I have a VISA card so that wouldn't be an issue.

  5. #5

    Default reply to Visa question

    Quote Originally Posted by candacez1 View Post
    Will I have any trouble getting a hotel room at my age? I have a VISA card so that wouldn't be an issue.
    You should not have a problem getting a hotel at your age. They may call Visa to confirm it is you using the card.

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