For the category “Travel Kids” I interviewed Wendy de Wit about her last family road trip tour through Canada. Besides being an entrepreneur, day speaker and happiness inspirator, is Wendy above all mother of 2 young children, Maud (7) and Bing (5). They love to travel and want to show their children as much of the world as possible.
This time they discovered the west of Canada with a giant motorhome. How do you plan such a trip with small children in advance, what do you run into and what were the highlights of their fantastic trip? Read the entire interview with Wendy below, and marvel away at the beautiful views that Canada has to offer.
1. What made you decide to go to Canada with the kids this year?
Nine years ago we were planning to make a trip to Canada, but that didn’t happen. At the beginning of this year we took the Lonely Planet, which we had bought at the time, out of the closet and expressed our intention and dream that we would like to travel through Canada with our family this year.
We had occasional contact with acquaintances from Quebec, whom we met 2 years ago, during our world trip. The original idea was to travel from Toronto to the East Coast with a camper from friends of our acquaintances. However, this did not happen, because a few weeks before the summer holidays it turned out that the motorhome had problems and could not be borrowed.
Because of this we let it go for a while, until we thought: come on we want something and then something doesn’t go through….then we’re not going to let it go, are we? What is possible? What do we really want? We took the books and laptops and decided that we would rather start from Vancouver and see the west coast. It seemed impossible, since we finally booked everything a week before departure.
2. Have you arranged everything yourself or through an organisation?
We got in touch with Just be Travellers through World Travel Centre, they specialise in motorhome travel in Canada. After we clearly expressed our wishes, we were lucky that there was still a camper available. We were able to make a perfect deal, including airline tickets via Air Transat.
The nights in Vancouver, route and campsites we have chosen and booked ourselves. We love to be as free as possible and to be able to decide in the moment what to do. That in itself is a big challenge, because we were told in advance that many campsites are full and have been reserved a year in advance. But fortunately we didn’t let that lead us.
3. What was the route of your road trip and what preparations did you have to make?
We had a fantastic camper (MH-A Maxi Motorhome) of 10 meters long, even with a slideout! In the Netherlands you need a truck driver’s license…haha. We have not made many preparations, little bit read of course, but otherwise everything arises when you are there. We do as much as possible by following our gut feeling and if we want to know something we ask other travellers or locals for tips.
Travel route road trip Canada:
In total we have driven about 4.000 km in 4 weeks time. We started in Vancouver, a beautiful and nice city to do fun things and to acclimatise. You may not immediately drive a camper after the flight because of the jetlag.
We took the camper directly on the boat to Vancouver Island. Here we have spotted Orca’s and enjoyed the nice village and Surfers Paradise: Tofino.
From Vancouver Island we went back to the mainland towards Whistler, Mount Robson, Jasper National Park, Banff National Park, Lake Louise, Lake Moraine and via Okanogan Valley back to Vancouver.
4. Did you have a tight schedule in advance and do you have to reserve your pitch in advance for the next night?
So we didn’t have any planning in advance. That’s not always handy and it has to fit you a little bit to do it this way. We love this adventure, in the morning not knowing where you will end up in the evening.
We have really gotten into difficult situations, that we were finally on a campsite just before dark. But then again we are very grateful for the fact that we managed to do it again, it really gives us a kick!
Very often there was even a sign in front of the campsite with FULL/COMPLET, but we still went to take a look and found that there was even a place available! Then we could not believe our eyes and we were really super happy!
The campsites you could book, they were mostly full, but luckily they also have many campsites in Canada that you can’t book and then it’s by the First Come First Serve principle. That meant, that we occasionally at half past six in the morning already drove in the camper on the way to a campsite to reserve a spot in a National Park.
Especially in Jasper and Bannf the campsites are usually full. But we managed to sleep on beautiful campsites in both parks 🙂
We also made a lot of use of the app’s Wiki camps and I- Overlander. These are really ideal apps with all the campsites, to do’s, dump stations and references of other travellers.
5. What were the highlights of your trip? Do you have a top 5 of beautiful places to visit?
We have been able to admire many places in the world, so we were very curious how we would like Canada. It is a truly magnificent and such an impressive country with an indescribably beautiful nature, which is constantly changing. Everything is beautiful, especially because it is always different.
Often the less touristy places where you don’t come easily, or rather the unexpected places are the best, but if we have to choose then these are the highlights of our trip:
IV. Jasper National Park
V. Lake Moraine & Louise
6. What is it like to travel with young children, are there things you take into account and what are useful tips?
We love to go on a trip with our kids. They also like it very much, so they are (almost) always happy and like everything (especially at this age) as long as we are together.
We make sure that the kids are sufficiently rested and have had enough sleep when we go on a trip. As a parent, we might want to do a lot of things, but if the children can’t afford it, it just stops.
There are also plenty of things on trip that we can’t do, because we take into account the children. For example, when we go for a walk, we first determine whether it is safe enough and not too long (max.8 km the kids are currently walking for a walk). And we also make sure that we always have enough water and something to eat with us when we go out.
Travelling with children keeps us much more in the present and away from the perfect picture you can sometimes have in your head. While our children were happy, just where they are now, they don’t think of another destination or anything better. We have learned from this again, to accept where you are at that moment and to enjoy it to the fullest.
7. What did your days look like and how did you experience some moments?
In the morning quietly waking up and making a nice breakfast in the fine kitchen of the camper. The kids can immediately go outside. Every morning or evening we think of what we can do in the area. That could be a walk to a river, lake, waterfall or a canyon.
There are beautiful marked and easy hiking trails. What is so nice about a camper, is that you can stop anywhere to make a lunch or if you are close to a lake, you stop to take a swim or to fish.
Every day at the end of the morning we enjoyed a delicious coffee moment. In Canada you have very cosy Bakeries where you can enjoy coffee with a delicious Carrot or a Cheesecake. In between we did some shopping and every now and then we did some laundry. We played a lot of games with each other and made a fire every night with shadow puppets games, and eating popcorn and marshmallows.
8. Did anything go wrong or did you want to do something else afterwards?
No, we have a really good feeling about it with very nice memories. Everything actually went as we had hoped and even better 🙂
Start Icefield Parkway
9. What is the most beautiful memory Maud & Bing themselves have left of it?
They are still talking about the bears and games that we did together at the fire in the evening.
10. Finally, do you have any plans for your next trip yet?
No concrete plans of course, but a lot of dreams! Maybe the next trip will go to South America! We will see!
For more travel adventures of Wendy and her family click here.