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Travellers ’ Tips: Start the Season

RVing in Mount Revelstoke National Park, credit Tom RyanIt's that time of year again! Whether it's your first time touring BC, or you're searching for that next hidden treasure, these tips will help you start the 2012 season right.

The way we see it, your first trip of the season will have four phases -

  • Preparation
  • Travel
  • Your Stay
  • Memories

 Make the most of each phase with these tips from experienced travellers.

Preparation: Before you go...

1. Pick a destination, or journey. Use this handy distance calculator and plug in your start, and end points. It'll give you the distance, travel time, and a short-form route to take: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/popular-topics/distances/calculator.asp

2. Decide where to lay your head along the way. Want to sleep under the stars, or do you want to be pampered? Use tools like http://www.travel-british-columbia.com/ and contact operators directly to work through this checklist:

  • Facilities - will you be roughing it? Are there showers, washrooms, hook-ups, etc?
  • Food - will you be dining by campfire, setting up your own kitchen, grabbing some fast food, or having a sit-down dinner at a local restaurant?
  • Access - is your accommodation drive-in, hike-in, or boat-in? Any road conditions or issues you should be aware of? For more on transportation in BC, see www.travel-british-columbia.com/travel-resources/transportations/

3. Prepare your vehicle. Motorcycles, RVs and other seasonal vehicles should receive a full inspection and fluid top-up. It's a good idea to have your car or truck serviced as well. Every vehicle should have first-aid and emergency supplies on hand.

4. Pack your gear. This will depend on the type of experience you're after; camping requires more equipment than staying at a lodge or hotel. To make things easy, we've prepared a packing list you can print off and for each trip. Click here for our checklist >

5. Tell someone about your trip. Tell two people where you're planning to travel, the route you'll take, where you'll stay, and how long you'll be gone. Let them know you'll be in touch upon your return.

Travel: On the road...

6. Stay informed. Technology can be a great tool, but not all areas have reception. Print off directions and info ahead of time, and don't forget the human factor - BC's visitor centres are a great source for maps, brochures, and in-person advice. Click here to see the visitor centre network.

7. Know your limits. Plan to spend only as many hours on the road as you can handle, with plenty of rest stops and breaks. See our packing checklist for ideas of what to have in the car. Remember - the journey is as important as the destination so make it a fun experience!

Your stay: At the site or property...

8. Keep it clean and quiet. Respect the areas you're visiting by using Leave No Trace ethics. Remember that most campgrounds and nature properties have noise restrictions and curfews for the comfort for all guests.

9. Make connections and seek out stories. Get to know your neighbours, and your hosts. Offer them some insider information about your hometown in exchange for learning more about theirs.

Memories: After the trip ...

10. Share! Remember to notify your friends and family of your safe return. Then it's time to relive the memories. You could try:

  • Posting an album on facebook.com or photobucket.com (or any number of photo sharing sites).
  • Making a movie from stills and footage from your trip and inviting your loved ones over for a themed movie night: "Our First Camping Trip of 2012"; "Hot Springs in the Rockies", etc.
  •  Helping others plan a trip based on your itinerary.

With the first trip of the season under your belt, you'll be ready to enjoy many more experiences. Whatever route you choose, have fun and stay safe - and watch future editions of Traveller's Companion for more tips on making the most of your experience.

Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia

Travel British Columbia