Canada is a spectacular country for driving. The roads are good and the scenery is stunning. The vast open spaces provide endless opportunities for awe-inspiring experiences, on and off the road. Canada boasts some of the greatest road trips in the world, and the friendliest people to meet along the way.
Know Your Route
Canada is such a vast country, with such large uninhabited areas, that it is unwise to set off without a clear idea where you are going. There can be some big distances to cover between towns, and in some areas gasoline stations can be few and far between. Also, check out whether you will be passing something wonderful a few miles off your route—you don’t want to miss anything.
Know Your Hardware
Your most important piece of kit is your vehicle. Don’t set out unless you know it is in good condition and check tires (try a digital pressure gauge), water, and oil regularly. Most routes are manageable in regular family cars, but if you really want to make the most of your trip use an SUV like the award-winning Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The next important thing is a map. Unlike cell phones and GPS devices, maps do not suddenly go blank when you are miles from anywhere. Even if it is only a backup, have a map and know how to use it.
If you do want a GPS device, there are plenty available. As in most countries, TomTom and Garmin dominate the market. Go for a system that includes lifetime updates, real time traffic conditions with automatic alternative routes, speed reminders and lane indicators.
Know Your Software
If you are using your cell phone for navigation, there are plenty of apps to choose from.
It is hard to beat Google maps when it comes to routine driving. The routing is good and the mapping is usually bang up to date. It has an unlimited supply of Places of Interest, and syncs well with your contacts and diary. Its main drawback is that you have to be online to use it (though you can download portions of maps) so it is not ideal for the wilds of Canada.
CoPilot is a pretty good app which uses fully downloadable maps, so it should serve you wherever you find yourself. It’s user-friendly and gives you most of the information you need. It includes speed camera warnings, but note that this is technically illegal in Canada. This paid-for app is cheap enough but traffic updates are quite pricey. For a similar free app consider Navmii.
If you are going to be spending time hiking or cycling, then you may find komoot would suit you. It is a popular app with plenty of recommended routes. Each region you download has to be paid for, but its many supporters regard it as money well spent.
Venturing out into Canada is full of rewards and, with today’s technology, well within the capacity of most city dwellers. For an exciting drive with surprises and rewards around every corner, you can’t beat Canada.
Jack Steele is a big-hearted, travel loving, adventure seeking and gadget addicted guy in his late 20s. A remote worker, Jack enjoys working from various world-wide locations, moving to the next place whenever he gets restless!