General Tips for Enjoying (rather than just surviving) a Trip to Labrador
- If you are going to Labrador in the warmer months, <strong>make sure to bring bug spray</strong> with the highest concentration of DEET you can find. Bring enough for your party to put on a few times a day for the duration of your time in Labrador. We had a 30 mL spray of Backwoods Off (25% DEET) we bought once there. A one hour walk for two people required no less than 1/2 of the bottle, and we were still swatting bugs.
- Bring a rain-repellant / windbreaker. We didn’t have any major storms while there, but there was wind and there was rain.
- Don’t forget your swiss army knife. More often than not you’ll be making lunch on the side of the road or along a bay. You won’t find many places serving lunch in the coastal communities. You certainly won’t find anything on the Trans-Labrador Highway or from Happy Valley - Goose Bay to Port Hope Simpson.
- That brings us to the first aid kit. Bring one. I sliced myself on the swiss army knife, and later contracted ring worm. Nothing life threatening, but you’ll want to have on hand the things you’ll need. There likely won’t be somewhere to go for help within a day’s drive.
- Avoid Port Hope Simpson if you can.
- Buy gas at every opportunity. That includes Port Hope Simpson, just don’t spend the night, especially at The Alexis Hotel.
- Always have a day's supply of food and drink in the car. We found our supply of nuts, bananas, oranges, cheese, salami, cookies, peanut butter, crackers, and bread just about right. We also picked up a 24-pack of Diet Coke while still in The States, which turned out brilliantly.
- Make sure to have a cooler.
- Get ice when you can.
- All roads were passable in a Dodge Caliber. Specific sections, such as Labrador City to Churchill Falls and Happy Valley - Goose Bay, were awful, but, in the end, passable. If you have or can afford to rent a vehicle with a higher clearance or all-terrain handling, you should do this. We realize the road conditions will change, hopefully for the better, but this is an accounting of our experience in hopes of preparing the next visitors.
- An extension cord. I always carry one because I find the outlets in hotel rooms inaccessible or in less than handy locations. In Labrador, we found we needed it for both increasing the number of available outlets as well as making the outlets more accessible.
- Shampoo and Conditioner. You may not always find amenities, such as shampoo and conditioner, on which you have come to rely. This is not the Hilton, folks. Bring all the toiletries you think you will need.
- Sunscreen. Seriously. When the morning cloud cover burns off, the sun will be stronger than you anticipated. And the summer days are long; you’ll want protection.
- Medicine. You’ve heard it before, make sure to bring more than you’ll need for the trip. You won’t be able to replace them while here.
- Watch out for boiled water advisories. Surprisingly, in the land of the pristine, many communities are required to boil and filter their water before use.
- If the Internet is important to you, make sure to ask for a room near the router. Not all rooms have equal access, and if you wait to ask, there likely won’t be any rooms into which you can move that will provide better access.
- Be careful of time zones. Labrador has two time zones. It’s on both Atlantic and Newfoundland time.