For those that have been following me and my adventures, you’ll know that I recently made the big move from BC to Ontario! More specifically, I’ve relocated from the Okanagan to Toronto. I’ve officially arrived and I am now a Toronto resident! 🎉 Since I wanted to bring my car with me, I decided to do a big cross-Canada solo road trip for the move out here. This was something I had never done before, so it was a new experience for me! I thought it would be a great idea to share how my experience went with all of you, so you can note some tips and tricks if you’re also planning a cross-country road trip in the future as well.
Before setting out on my solo adventure, I needed to do a bunch of planning. Nailing down the route was the most important part of the process for me. If I had more time, I definitely would have spread it out more – but unfortunately, I only had six days total from when I was able to leave and when I needed to arrive in Toronto. I would highly encourage you to give yourself more time so you can enjoy the drive a bit more than I did! To ensure that I covered good ground each day, but wasn’t driving TOO long, I decided to keep each day at 8-9 hours of driving. From there, I did a bunch of research and mapped out the route that would work best for me.
I wound up travelling from the Okanagan to Lethbridge, Alberta on my first day. My second day brought me to Brandon, Manitoba. My third day, I drove out to Thunder Bay, Ontario. I stopped at a few places along the way, but the bulk of my driving was really in these first three days. On the fourth day, I journeyed to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. I specifically chose this stop because we have family in the area, and I wound up staying with them for a couple of nights. It was really nice to have a bit of a break from driving and some time to relax! For my last day on the road, I drove from Sault Ste. Marie to Toronto. It was definitely a looong journey, but one of the best things I did when planning the route was adding in that extra day for a bit of recovery time in the Sault! It was very helpful to have that day of relaxation. Again, an alternative option would have been spreading out the days more and stopping at more places – definitely something you can explore if you’re planning a trip!
What to bring?
Ah, the famous question of what to bring on a big road trip. Obviously, since I was moving, my car was pretty much filled to the brim with my things that I needed to move. But apart from that, there are some specific things you need for a good road trip.
First on my list was entertainment– I asked friends for song and podcast recommendations so I could be sure I had something to listen to throughout the many hours of driving. This might not essential if you’re doing the drive with someone, but for a solo road trip, it was a must! My favourite podcast to get me through the long days wound up being Welcome to our Show with some of the New Girl cast. If you’re a die-hard New Girl fan like me, then you should definitely check out this podcast! It kept me laughing, engaged, and felt like I was sitting with friends and chatting. So fun.
Next for me was safety. Having your car stocked with emergency gear is always a good idea, in case you get stranded – so I double-checked I was good to go on that front. A car charger is also a must-have for me. I always have a back-up charger in my car, but this is a good reminder if you don’t have one already. Having your phone die during the journey is the absolute worse, so make sure you pack that charger! Maps and navigation apps are also important, because the last thing you want is to get lost! Thankfully for me, the route was fairly simple as I just followed the highway most of the way there, but it’s still helpful to have a back up just in case. I also did a full car checkup at my dealership before I left to make sure the car would be in tip-top shape throughout the long journey!
Third on my list of must-haves for a road trip is snacks – I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of having snacks for the road. I did my best to bring some things with me so I wouldn’t have to consistently stop and get food throughout the drive, which was super helpful. It also helped that all of the hotels I stayed at included breakfast (shoutout to Best Western!), so that was one less meal for me to worry about. I packed a lot of healthy snacks and tried to pre-pack sandwiches as well so I could easily eat them while driving. Of course, a break every now and then is helpful when you’re on the road, so it’s all about that balance. Don’t forget lots of water to stay hydrated!!
One other fun thing I brought with me for the road was a diffuser. Saje recently released a cordless diffuser that you can bring with you in the car! I decided to grab one for my solo road trip, and I’m SO glad I did. It was so nice and refreshing to have it in my space while driving! On the intermittent setting, it actually lasted almost the whole day, and I would charge it up each night. It was a great way to keep fresh, calm, and grounded throughout the journey. This isn’t sponsored but I definitely recommend checking out their cordless diffuser if it’s something you are interested in. It was definitely a gamechanger for me and I’m so glad I had it on the trip!
Enjoy the ride
One of my biggest concerns was how to first of all, survive my cross-Canada solo road trip, and second of all, how to enjoy the journey as much as I could. Doing a bunch of planning before the road trip was helpful for knowing I could make it through the journey. While actually driving, I found that having some form of entertainment was SUPER important to keep myself occupied! Again, podcasts are a big lifesaver when it comes to this – I found just listening to music made me too sleepy.
In relation to this, it was also necessary for me to take frequent breaks. I found taking these breaks also really contributed to the enjoyment of the trip. I would have loved to have spent more time in each place that I stopped, but at the very least, having the chance to stretch my legs and check out some local spots was awesome. Having moments where I connected with other people, and also checked in with my family to let them know where I was at on my route, made the road trip a lot less isolating. At the end of it all, I arrived safe and sound in Toronto, and the journey was truly worthwhile.
Here’s a condensed version of some of the most important tips I’ve got if you are heading out on your own cross-Canada solo road trip:
- Plan out your route ahead of time – I recommend giving yourself lots of time to see each place you’re passing through, and really enjoy the journey!
- Bring forms of entertainment, such as podcasts and music, to keep you engaged while driving
- Make sure your car is stocked with emergency gear, and do a check-up before you leave if possible
- Bring a car charger for your phone and maps/navigation apps to find your way safely
- Pack healthy snacks, consider pre-making sandwiches for the road, and drink a lot of water
- Plan to take lots of breaks for safety, to stretch your legs, and enjoy the sites
- Check in with a family member or friend to let them know where you are at on your journey, and that you’ve arrived to each destination safely
Keep these tips in mind and you will be good to go! I encourage you to take your time and enjoy the journey as much as possible. It’s a beautiful drive and not everyone gets the chance to road-trip across Canada – especially solo! That is a feat in and of itself, so take some time to celebrate that luxury as well. If you are making the journey solo, make sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram @chiaragoesglobal so I can see your adventures! Bon voyage 🙂