Monday, August 10, 2009

Camping by Airliner

That may sound a bit funny, but that's just what we did this last week. We loaded our tent, air mattresses, sleeping bags and other camp gear in duffel bags and flew by West Jet from Vancouver to Montreal to start a 10-day Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland camping trip.

This is the second time we've done it, and both trips were very successful. It's more economical than staying in motels and hotels. But more than that, we prefer camping as a way to get to see and experience new places. Flying to a distant location maximizes the time you can spend in your desired location, rather than spending most of your vacation driving to get there.

Here are some tips if you want to try it yourself:

Preparations
:

  • Make airline reservations well in advance to get the best deals.
  • Our camp gear and clothes fit in four duffel bags (2@24" & 2@28") and two backpacks.
  • Check with the airline for bag limits. We got 2 checked and 2 carry-on each.
  • Even though they weren't heavy, a cart at the airport made bag dragging easier.
  • Check with your airline for good deals on car rental.
  • Choose a vehicle with room to spread out wet items to dry while driving. We got a small SUV by accident and found it indispensable.
  • Rent a vehicle with unlimited miles if you are taking a long trip.
  • If you have a GPS with road maps, take it. If not, rent with the vehicle. Ours helped us out immensely.
  • Buy a travel guide and map for planning, then stop at tourist information centres once you arrive.
  • Make campground reservations before you leave. Most now have online services and you can cancel up to a day in advance to get a refund just like a hotel.
Camping gear we packed:
  • Small waterproof tent.
  • Small ground tarp for under the tent.
  • Two Thermarest air mattresses.
  • Two sleeping bags that stuff into small bags.
  • Two collapsible coolers and 2-gallon Ziploc bags to keep ice from leaking, one for pop and one for food.
  • Two small pillows.
  • Flashlight.
Other items we packed:
  • Clothing and personal items (1/2 duffel bag each).
  • Travel books and maps.
  • Inverters for recharging devices in the car.
  • Rechargeable reading lights.
  • Bug juice handy in the backpack.
  • Computers, cell phones, books to read, etc.
Things we bought at our destination:
  • Two inexpensive chairs that we gave away at our last camp.
  • Food and drinks for snacks and emergency meals.
  • Bottled water in large containers.
  • Lots of gas and ferry fees.
On the road:
  • Eat out (taste the local fare) or fix simple meals rather than elaborate cooking.
  • At least one motel stop for a shampoo is nice, but many campgrounds have showers.
  • There are enough free hotspots to stay connected.
We're already planning a return trip in the near future. But next time we'll fly directly to Newfoundland. The airfare is higher, but our costs for six days of travel to get there will be eliminated.

If you have any questions, I'd be glad to answer them here or via e-mail. And for your next camping trip, take an airliner. -- Margy

3 comments:

  1. Margy, sounds like a great trip but way too short for my liking. I do international housesitting which is another way to go. You can get housesits from ten days to six months which give you a base to work from and travel daily to visit points of interest. Is good in areas like NFLD or PEI or like where I was in Prince Edward County. Glad you had a wonderful trip and your tips are great.
    Smiles

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  2. Wow, what an exciting journey. Thanks for taking me along. Prince-Edward-Island is where I have always wanted to go. Maybe I will see all those places. MB

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  3. YOu gyus did have a terific time! Loved to hear from you, thanks for your always lovely words!

    Chamomile is easy to grow here, watering only wonce a day, but it doesn't reach too high( well, at least mine in Rio only reached about 10cm high), and the flowers have a wonderful scent, do try them out!

    Kisses from Nydia.

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