Why you should go: There’s never a down year to road trip through Canada, frankly: forests to infinity, lakes galore, sprawling mountain vistas where you see more moose than men. But most of the past decade was rough going in Canada. The previous prime minister, Stephen Harper, was a pro-business sort straight from Canada’s oil patch who bet the nation’s economy on petroleum prices. And for years, it worked! As Canada mostly ducked the Great Recession, its dollar hit 30-year highs against the US dollar. Great for Canucks, yes, but ghastly for visiting. There was boundless-ass Canada, a land custom-built for marathon drives, mocking us with gas that cost $5.50 (US) a gallon.
Why you should go right now: Because political maps be damned, America’s back on top, baby. The US economy rebounded, oil slumped, and the Loonie gave back fully half its value against the greenback over five years. Your buying power peaked this past January, but seeing as how only climate scientists and other masochists winter in Canada, you haven’t missed much yet. Now’s the time to drive up the fjord-pocked coast of British Columbia, flit up to just-French-enough Montreal for a weekend, or make a firm date with Toronto, the Whopper Jr. version of Chicago. Every summer “The 6” recovers from its wind-whipped winters by hosting a smorgasbord of outdoor art festivals. Two to key in on: North America’s biggest Caribbean carnival, which culminates at the end of July, and the Toronto International BuskerFest, wherein street performers take over the city on Labour Day/Labor Day weekend. Flights are reasonable, and Toronto finally got a decent rail connection from its airport to its Downtown just last year. Or just drive – the city’s only about five hours from Detroit, Cleveland, or Pittsburgh. Plus, in 2016, you can even afford to put gas in your tank.