I love Boston dearly, but every once in a while I get a hankering for a good, old-fashioned family road trip. I have no idea why; spending hours stuck in a car with a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 3-month-old doesn’t sound like fun at all. Sometimes it really isn’t.
It helps, though, if you have some insider information. I’m going to let you in on my top tips to make driving from Boston to Montréal as easy as one, two, POUTINE!
1. Children under 16 are able to get across the border with birth certificates!
No need to pay and wait for your little one’s passport to arrive. Just grab your passport, your kids’ birth certificates, and get out of here!
2. Time it right.
There are two main routes to get to Montréal from Boston — taking 93 or 95. Check out Google Maps on your computer the day before and type in what time you’re wanting to leave. It will show you what traffic usually looks like at that time. No need to make a five-hour drive into a seven-hour one, right?
3. Download some French-learning audiobooks for the drive.
A lot of people speak English in Montreal, but to be polite and endear people to you, it is always good to start with “Bonjour,” and use as much (or as little) French as you can muster. They love it when little kids squeak out “Merci!”
4. Check your phone plan before you leave.
We thought we would be able to make calls and use data without additional charges. WRONG! If your carrier doesn’t provide free international data (some do!), upgrade your plan or download maps so you can use them offline and become a Wi-Fi hunter and send emails while munching a macaron in a cafe. Or live like it’s the ’80s and cut yourself off from the digital world — have a vacation like your parents used to have!
5. Stop at Costco in the States for a break, lunch, and snacks.
We made it all the way to Burlington, Vermont, before needing to stop. We took this opportunity to use the bathroom, buy some cheap pizza for lunch, and get a box of granola bars and a bag of Angie’s Kettle Corn for snacks on our trip. Costcos in Canada only accept MasterCard, so watch out!
6. Get gas in the States!
Gas is ludicrously expensive where we were in Canada. It looks cheap, until you realize it’s PER LITER! When we were there, the prices were the equivalent to $5 per gallon. Sacré bleu! Fill up before you cross the border and save your money for the baguettes.
7. ATM machines are called “un guichet automatique.”
You’ll need Canadian cash to buy things in Montréal. The taxes are so high that a lot of places only accept cash. To ask where an ATM is located, just say “Ex-cuze-ay moi, oo-west-kuh luh gee-shay automateek?” A Montréalan will smile and point you in the right direction.
What are your best tips for making the trip to Montréal?