What we Would've CHANGED About our 2 Month Road Trip

Now that we're back from our road trip and had lots of time to reflect on how well it went, we are able to pick apart what we did and what we might have changed. Originally we set out on a three-month road trip. As we went it turned into a 2-month road trip as we were starting to get a little exhausted. It's is hard to decide what we would have changed because we did enjoy the budget way we travelled and also the spontaneity of driving without having concrete plans. We are very happy with the outcome of our trip but these are the things we would have changed that would have possibly made things go a bit smoother.

SUV SET UP:
We wanted to buy a van and set it up like a mini camper. We ended up getting our GMC for free, so we can't really complain. We set up two single half-inflated air mattresses in the back every night. It was a very annoying setup, as we had no space to store our stuff. We would have to move it to the front seat every evening and then move it all back in the morning before driving again. This chore is part of what contributed to our exhaustion on the road trip. If we had a van we could have built a little platform and stored stuff underneath the bed. We could have also got a small foam mattress instead. Maybe if we had a more convenient set-up then we could have lasted longer on the road trip and seen more sights. We worked with what we had so a better set-up would have cost money.



Better Camping Equipment:
Our equipment did a pretty decent job but there were a few things that could have been improved. We needed a better, more waterproof, rain fly for our tent. We also needed more stakes and rope in order to secure the rain fly so that it didn't touch the tent. This would have made camping in the rain more feasible as there were a few times that we ended up getting soaked which made things a little miserable.

Our butane stove was quite compact but the cost of fuel and poor performance made us think that a propane stove may have been a better option. Also, camping sized propane appears to be cheaper and more readily available. Our butane stove was not very efficient and couldn't effectively boil water for pasta. It was alright for tea and coffee but it couldn't hold a boil long enough for pasta. It was mainly suitable for reheating canned food. Maybe we could have eaten better if we had a propane stove. Having more than a single burner would have been convenient as well. The problem is that we already had the butane stove so we would have had to purchase or borrow a propane stove.

A bug tent to go over the campsite picnic table area would have been quite helpful and made cooking and eating outside less of an ordeal; especially in Manitoba and Northern Ontario. The bugs were pretty bad and it's kind of a shame that it got in the way of our enjoyment of some places.Again this would have cost money but it might have been money well spent.



Bigger Budget:
Canada is expensive. Hotels, fuel, events, city parking, campsites etc. We didn't have a big enough budget to stay in bigger cities longer like we wanted. In the end, we are budget travellers and in saying this, we probably would have spent the same amount of money as we had planned in the first place. The budget seems to be the overall thing we would have changed since budget constraints were behind our SUV setup and our camping equipment. Here are a few other changes we'd make relating to budget:

  • More Hotel Stays: We were getting pretty exhausted sleeping the the SUV. Sleeping in a nice bed would have helped keep our energy levels up and kept us more enthusiastic. In order to afford more hotel stays we could have done...
  • More Walmart Stays:On the saving money side, a few more Walmart stays would have helped with our funds and extending our trip. Maybe a bigger budget wasn't needed. Maybe we could have cut costs in some areas to be able to spend in others. If we stayed at more Wal-Marts then maybe we could have stayed at more hotels or even had...
  • More Vegan Restaurant Visits: We did go to a few vegan places across the country but a lot of the time we were focused on saving money and making food ourselves rather than seeking out vegan food. Part of it was that there wasn't vegan food available in restaurants in a large portion of the places we went to. We would have liked to have gone to more of the vegan restaurants in the places that had them or to work our travel more around visiting vegan places in small towns. Showing vegan restaurant food would have been more interesting for our blog/vlog than showing us eating rice and beans for the large majority of 2 months.


Planned around Vegan Festivals/Events/Meetups:
We know there were a few vegan festivals going on in Ontario around the time we were there. We should have planned to attend one of them. We were, however, playing the whole trip by ear, and it was hard to be in a specific place at the right time. We did visit quite a few people across the country including family, friends and fellow travellers but maybe we could have met up with more people.

There are lots of people on vegan Facebook groups across the country and it would have been a lot of fun to go to a vegan meetup. Also, sometimes there are travel blogger/vlogger events and it would have been fun to attend something like that on our trip. We did have fun in the big cities we visited but maybe we needed to have more events planned to make it worthwhile to visit longer. There is only so much sightseeing you can do in a city before it feels like it is time to move on.



Longer Trip:
Ideally, we wouldn't have got so exhausted being on the road and we'd be able to spend more time in each place. There were a few factors that contributed to the shortening of our trip such as exhaustion, SUV set-up, equipment, budget, and a shortage of meetups/events. Like we mentioned previously, we think that if we had a better set up we would have been able to last longer on the road trip. Since we were setting up/taking down our sleeping arrangements we were getting a bit exhausted. If we had a bigger budget we could have afforded to pay for the things that would have made the trip more comfortable and enjoyable. If we planned our trip to more events like vegan festivals or visiting more people then it would have kept things more interesting. Then we would have been able to last longer on the road.



What it comes down to is that we planned the best we could and made do with the tools we had in order to make this trip a reality. No trip is going to be perfect and some if not all of these proposed changes weren't possible because of time, money, logistics and time of year. Canada is a huge country and definitive planning of a road trip over such a huge distance is kind of pointless since things are bound to change. That is one of the things we would not have changed about our trip. We enjoyed the spontaneity and how our plans were so loose that we had the freedom to do whatever we felt like. Of course, you can plan a better trip with a bigger budget but it all comes down to drawing the line on whether or not the added expense will make the trip that much better. 

We hope you enjoyed reading and can learn from some of these insights in order to make your own road trips better. Happy road-tripping.  

If you are thinking about planning a road trip check our our post How to Plan a LONG Road Trip to get started! 

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Comments

  1. I would love to travel across Canada like that...your trips look amazing. Can you please tell me how you budgeted for your cross Canada Adventure? Did you have a set dollar amount that you could spend each day...or did you just have a lump sum to spend and once it was gone..you headed home. Thanks.

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    1. We decided on a dollar amount that we thought the trip was worth. We calculated the average gas price across Canada and average cost of our monthly groceries. We then worked off that adding emergency and vegan restaurants budget. You can see our post "How to Budget for a road trip across Canada" for a break down of how we planned our trip and the cost of it. Thank you for your comment.

      http://www.wanderlustvegans.com/2018/02/how-to-budget-for-long-road-trip-across.html

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