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Eastern Canada in December

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I am planing to spend my Christmas vacation together with my boyfriend in Canada. We just began to plan the trip. But we have to start in Chicago because of our flights. We have about 2,5 weeks starting at December 17th. We would love to go to Toronto, Montreal, maybe Kingston and explore the cities and the nature. We know that it is honing to be freezing cold but we will be prepared for this ;)
Does anyone has already done this trip and has any advices? Now we are thinking about renting a car. Or is it cheaper and saver (!) to go by bus and train?
Thank you so much in advance for your help :)

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    Clarifications, please:
    -- Do you have two, five, 2.5, or two to five weeks?
    -- Where, exactly, are you starting your trip? Are you open to flying from Chicago to Toronto? Air Canada and Porter compete on that route which can help with pricing. Note that they land at different Toronto airports.
    -- "saver"? Do you mean safer? The big hazard is from the winter weather, especially snow around Chicago, London Ont., and Toronto-Montreal. In case of blizzards, the train is the least bothered by snow but even it can encounter delays. There is no easy train route from Chicago to Toronto; the only possibility is to cross from Detroit to Windsor Ont. to catch VIA Rail to Toronto, a cumbersome process which will not save money compared to flying.

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    Pretty sure they mean they have 2.5 weeks for the trip.

    And while I can see the spots you have thought about, and maybe targeted, I think you should add the city of Quebec (City) to your targets, and perhaps even make IT the center attraction.

    Just google Quebec City Christmas Traditions and look at images, and I think you'll agree that is a good place to start.

    Also, look up "Festi Lumière" ... and then research Old Quebec as well.

    Indeed you can anticipate the thick of winter in a Canadian city which is small enough so that you can get around to various interesting areas, keeping yourself busy by day, and still getting back to your hotel in time to maybe thaw-out before drifting off to sleep.

    Various areas are small enough so that you will have a lot to explore in a very small area (limiting outdoor exposure, and offering indoor options at a moment's notice), while still knowing variety for your journey.

    If it were me, beginning in Chicago, and thinking "Canada" over Christmas time, I would try very hard to get myself TO Quebec City (initially) (making that the home base for your trip)... and then considering a side trip to Montreal at some point).

    Can you just FLY from Chicago to Montreal or QC, and not worry about all of that driving ??

    Logistically, it seems like Montreal is the place to fly into... so maybe arrange a direct flight there, and then stay in Montreal for 2 or 3 days on both ends of your journey, and then spend the rest of the time in Quebec City and surrounds.

    Depending upon the weather, you can opt either for a car or a train from Montreal to QC. I do not think you need a vehicle for most of your time in QC, but perhaps just a one-way rental for a day or two, just to make sure your bags all make it to your QC home base could be the way to go.

    At least think about that alternative...

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    Hi travelantonia,

    I would actually select Montreal as the base for the trip instead of QC city and I would do QC city as a side trip. Montreal is a bigger city and has more to offer for tourists.

    Is there a particular reason you included Kingston. I have nothing against it, but I would probably swap it for Ottawa or something else.

    Since you will be there in the winter, it would be nice to go see Mont Tremblant (1.5hrs from Montreal)....very picturesque ski village and a great way to spend a couple days. You can ski, enjoy shopping and maybe a spa experience?

    Have a great trip!


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