Showing our children more of Canada was at the very top of our Bucket List for 2018 and we were so thankful to have partnered up with Aeroplan to go on our most recent road trip adventure. From freshly baked croissants to gas stops with life size dinosaurs, who knew driving for almost 15 hours with two toddlers could be SO fun!!! Today, in partnership with Aeroplan, we are sharing our road trip to Quebec, Canada with you in the hopes that it will help you plan your next family adventure to explore more of your own backyard.
Our kids are always amazing us. I won’t lie – I was petrified as it got close to the road trip. How did I plan a road trip so far away with two toddlers? How did I get my husband to agree to it? Little did I know, we would genuinely surprise ourselves with how good our kids have become at travelling.
Aeroplan, Canada’s premier travel loyalty program, has a booking tool that is available to all members via aeroplan.com. We booked our entire adventure with the Aeroplan booking tool: our Fairmont Hotel and even our massive SUV rental for a comfortable drive. We brought nana along on the adventure as we always do, so it was important to find a vehicle that was spacious for all of the hours we would be spending in it. We wanted a car rental that had built-in TVs, spacious seating, lots of space for stuff and was safe. The Aeroplan booking tool was SO easy to use and it’s a feature we will be using a lot throughout 2019 to book hotels and rental cars and to earn Aeroplan Miles or make use of all of the Aeroplan Miles we earned in 2018! With our booking on aeroplan.com, we earned 4 Aeroplan Miles with every dollar spent on all our cash bookings!
When planning our road trip, I knew right away that I wanted to go to Quebec. We’ve wanted to bring the kids there for YEARS! They’re at the perfect road trip age in my opinion and with so many great educational tools at our finger tips – from activity & learning books, flash card, ipad programs to good old-fashioned car ride games – I knew we’d be set with that, and a ton of snacks. With the simple Aeroplan booking process, we were able to conveniently book our hotel and car rental within one cart. As a busy mom of two, this made things a lot easier on me – especially because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use our Aeroplan Miles to pay for the booking or pay with cash and earn even more miles. With SO many amazing hotels to pick from in the area and car rental options, I had a great selection! I found the Fairmont Manoir Richelieu in Charlevoix, Quebec during our search and it sounded like the perfect option for our family. It’s basically up in the mountains and as it was off-season, it was perfect for some quiet time, exploring the area, and it offered a great dining experience at the hotel with Chef Pierre-Laurence Valton-Simard. I already follow this chef on Instagram so I couldn’t wait for all of us to try his menus! With the Aeroplan booking tool, we were able to find a room that could accommodate all five of us with a great view of the water. We had a spacious suite with a living room! Perfect for a few days with the kids.
The drive to Charlevoix was quiet since the weather was horrible. The kids mostly snacked and worked in their activity books and slept while I helped out with directions as it was late at night. I’m sure Craig was questioning my decision-making the entire way because he drove the entire 15 hours and we got there at 2am!!! Do yourself a favour and take from our experiences with road trips: factor in a lot of bathroom breaks haha. We stopped three times more than anticipated, which added on a lot of time – not to mention the horrible weather for the drive there. BUT, once we arrived it was pure bliss. Nana watched the kids before dinner on our first night so Craig and I could sneak away for a relaxing couples massage. Craig never books these for himself so whenever I do he is always so thankful.
The kids LOVED the delicious food at the Fairmont Manoir. The chef and his fabulous team really spoiled us and even gave the kids and us a private tour of their kitchen complete with fresh snacks and smoothies. The breakfast here is amazing and so is the coffee! We even had the opportunity to meet the hotel horses on one of the days after lunch – the caretaker let the kids feed them carrots and everything! All in all, it was a great experience. It’s a stunning hotel FULL of history with stunning decor to match and the staff is so great.
Did you follow along on our Instagram stories during this staycation too? So many of you had lots of questions about the hotel and where we were since there was SO much snow!
After a relaxing stay, we all packed up to head home and this time we were much more prepared for the drive. The weather was STUNNING for the drive home, with beautiful snow covered peaks on every tree going down the mountains – we felt like we were in a fairy tale! We found the cutest cafe around the corner from the hotel where we stopped for a quick coffee and fresh croissants. The place is called Pains d’Exclamation! I have to say that one of my favourite parts about the entire trip was all of the French we were able to speak. The kids loved it! Craig even got to practice his French haha. I definitely suggest knowing a little French if you are headed to Charlevoix!
Okay guys, but one of our favourite parts of the drive home was…There was a gas station on the way into Montreal where we stopped because they had life size dinosaurs!!!! It was the coolest thing ever. Noah and Ella were so excited – heck, so were we! The dinosaurs were so well-created and HUGE. People were allowed to walk around them and take photos too, which as you can see we of course did haha. It was the perfect rest stop for caffeine fueling and bathroom breaks and of course to stretch our legs.
The rest of the ride into Montreal was fueled by dollar store DVDs we grabbed in Charlevoix for the kids to watch in the rental SUV – French ones but they loved them anyways!
We called up our friends in Montreal and planned a lunch stop with a short visit. Their kids and our kids get along so well and we haven’t seen each other in a few months. They took us to an amazing vegan restaurant called Venice and my goodness, I am still dreaming about their vegan rice bowl and smoothies! This place was DELICIOUS!!! We all had a delicious lunch in downtown Montreal before hopping back on the highway for the rest of our drive to Toronto.
I’m quite proud of the road trip. It’s funny because before it started I thought I had lost my marbles planning something so far away. We made memories, great family memories, and that’s what counts. Everyone had fun, we were happy – there were SO many laughs too! Those are the things we will remember in the years to come… okay and the delicious food!!
And in booking our awesome family adventure, we earned miles towards our next road trip and that makes me even happier! You know how I feel about earning miles while making experiences and it felt great knowing that when booking our entire adventure, we earned miles for our next one as a family. Travel is a big focus for 2019 for us so earning Aeroplan Miles for our next adventure was very important.
You can earn Aeroplan Miles on your car and hotel reservations when you book directly through aeroplan.com. Aeroplan is offering members the opportunity to earn double the miles on cash bookings from March 18th to April 14th. Members will earn an additional four miles per dollar spent for a total of eight miles per dollar spent. Your dream vacation is closer than ever!
To book your next travel adventure, visit aeroplan.com/booktravel.
This blog post was sponsored by AEROPLAN, we are proud to have partnered with them for this adventure and as always, all opinions are my own.