Filed under: Travel Swellness

Travel Swellness: Road tripping with the 2022 Buick Enclave


I’ve come a long way when it comes to solo road trips. Last month, I drove by myself six hours to cottage country in Quebec like it was a breeze, followed by driving into Montreal and then back to Toronto (with a morning jaunt to the Scarborough Bluffs). I did this all in the 2022 Buick Enclave that I test drove, which was ideal for my busy itinerary: sleek and chic for city adventures but also sporty for cottage-country fun. And let’s not forget all of the interior space – the Enclave can seat 7 and while it was only me and Billie Jean (and for part of it, my sister), we needed all of that room for luggage (I’m not someone who packs light for 11 days!) not to mention all of the home cooking my mom made for me to bring home (so much food!) – the Enclave’s 60/40 split-folding third-row seats came in clutch!

A big reason I feel comfortable driving the Enclave? I find it is just the right size (I get a bit anxious driving anything much bigger), and I’ve always preferred SUVs for giving me some height on the road, plus it’s got so much connectivity built in. First off, wireless Apple Car Play; I am so directionally challenged and having the ease of using Google Maps via my iPhone is possibly the single thing that makes these solo road trips possible. (Google Maps, by the way, is my driving directions app of choice – I’ve tried several options and it always gives me plenty of notice so that I don’t miss my turn or exit). Besides using it for Google Maps, I love easily receiving and sending text messages by voice (I usually send updates to friends as to how my drive is going, anyone else do the same?).  Oh, and if you’ve got Android, the Enclave’s got Wireless Android Auto Compatibility, too.

The Enclave I test drove also featured a Wi-Fi hotspot, which I obviously can’t use while driving, but whenever I made a stop it was nice having the wifi to use, and also, I feel a bit relieved to have it should I run into any issues with my data plan (like when I reach my phone plan’s data limit and it goes into slo mo).

Also, having the remote starter is essential when road tripping by yourself with your dog, especially in the summer. When I haven’t had a remote starter, stopping at an OnRoute for a bathroom break and to buy a coffee is impossible. There’s no way I’m leaving Billie Jean in the car in the summer heat. But with the remote starter, I can switch the car on so she’s got air conditioning, and I start a timer for 15 minutes, and should my stop take longer than 15 minutes (there’s always long lines for coffee!), I step outside at the 15-minute mark to restart the car for another 15 minutes. As a dog mama who often drives alone with my puppers, the sense of relief this feature gives me is priceless.

The Enclave also features Quick QuietTuning® technology with Active Noise Cancellation, which helps reduce, block and absorb unwanted noise by utilizing many measures including triple door seals acoustic laminated windshield and a noise-reducing five-link rear suspension. For me, this means we can easily chat in the car, and I get to enjoy my podcasts and music (hello, Backstreet Boys!) with little other noise interference.

The interior is also extra comfortable – which became super key on the drive home from Montreal, which took 8 hours. Yes, EIGHT HOURS. Long weekend traffic can be brutal so what the usual five-hour drive became eight hours the Monday we drove home to Toronto. Touches like the warm wood tones, brushed chrome accents and leather seating made for a luxe drive, and I wish I’d remembered that the first-row seats have a massage function! It would’ve broken up those eight hours with mini spa experiences!



Now, let’s talk safety features. When you only drive occasionally like me, I think it makes me appreciate the safety features even more so compared to someone who drives regularly. Having driven vehicles without Safety Assist, I know I miss these technologies when I’m driving other cars. The Safety Assist technologies (which are standard on the Enclave) that I appreciate most:

  • Front Pedestrian braking and Rear Cross Traffic Alert: Always helpful in parking lots, for example.
  • IntelliBeam Auto High Beams: No need to think about switching high beams on or off when driving country roads and night (and much of my driving tends to be country roads for my road trips as my destination is often cottage country).
  • Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert: I recently drove a vehicle where someone had toggled this off and I had to find out how to turn the feature back on. Even though I always check my blind spot, it’s a nice-to-have feature that makes me feel extra safe on the road.

I realized recently I know quite a few people who don’t drive and/or never got their license. (or who don’t drive outside of their neighbourhood, and never on highways), and often it’s out of fear. The technological features have come such a long way since I got my license that I wish people who might feel a bit fearful about driving would give it a shot and see how safe and easy it feels to drive a vehicle like an Enclave. There’s a world to explore out there, after all, and the Buick Enclave makes it a safe and enjoyable adventure!

Thank you to Buick Canada for the test drive – it made exploring Montreal and cottage country safe and easy.


Leave a Comment October 5, 2022

Travel Swellness: The Car Features You Need for Your Dog’s Safety and Comfort During Road Trips


May is National Pet Month and the first long weekend is coming up—which, if you’ve got a pet, you’ve got road trips on the brain, I know I do! My cat tends to stay at home (although her big brother used to come to the cottage), but Billie Jean always comes along on road trips (as long as the accommodations allow dogs).

I’ve written about pet safety in the car in the past for the Toronto Star, and it is always top of mind whenever I’ve got Billie Jean with me. And I’m not alone. A recent study conducted by GMC Canada found that 70% of Canadian pet owner’s take vehicle safety seriously, ranking their pet’s safety as very important during travelling.

I’ve had the opportunity to test drive GMC vehicles a few times, and I’ve loved driving them, and I appreciate the pet accessories and tips GMC offers. check out their tips and tricks before setting off on your next road trip with your four-legged pal:

  • Buy safety accessories such as seatbelts and harnesses. Seatbelts/harnesses for your pet, along with hammocks or booster seats will make the road trip safer and more enjoyable for your pup. GMC’s study found that 43% of Canadians are very concerned with their pet’s safety and protecting them during accidents.
  • Make use of the surround view camera/rear cross traffic alert. This safety control in GMC vehicles helps prevent accidents by giving the driver the opportunity to view the car from all aspects. This includes any rear collisions with pets when running from behind.
  • Use OnStar. The In-Vehicle Safety and Security System has the ability to help unlock vehicles in the case that pets are stuck inside and can track them down if a vehicle has been stolen. This is a precautionary and safety measure that helps pet owners travel with their pets in ease. I know I stress whenever I have to leave Billie Jean alone in the car when I stop for a bathroom break; having this feature gives some peace of mind.
  • Subscribe to Sirius XM for your pup. Studies found that classical music helps calm dogs down in stressful environments. Although I’m partial to the 80s and 90s and 00s, and hip hop stations, I think it may be worth checking out channels like Symphony Hall, The Joint and The Bridge for Billie Jean!
  • Take advantage of the cargo space/flat-fold seats. I usually have so much gear when on road trips (it’s impossible to travel light for camping!), I love that I’m never lacking for space in a GMC. Billie Jean gets plenty of room even with all of the sleeping bags, and cooler and camping gear! You don’t want your puppers to be cramped!
  • Pet-friendly seat covers and floor mats. If you’ve got a pet that sheds a fair bit, you’ll want seat covers that resist their fur! GMC has rear bench seat covers are water resistant. The covers also feature thermoplastic rubber that grips the seat, which provides added comfort and safety for your dog.
  • Use that hands-free liftgate. When you’re holding onto your pet’s leash, while also loading tons of gear into the GMC, that jands-free liftgate is the most handy feature ever. No need to put things down and fumble for keys. Just kick your foot below the rear bumper. The GMC study found that 68% of Canadians are looking for easier ways to pack their pets and their belongings in the car without any fuss or extra steps–and well, the hands-free liftgate is your wishes granted!

Now, where is your next road trip with your doggo in tow? I’d love to go back to Meech Lake and Tobermory! But after mosquito season! Billie Jean and I can’t wait to hit the road again!



Leave a Comment May 12, 2022

Giveaway Swellness: Win a One-Year Subscription to Babbel!


I’m so excited to be learning a new language with Babbel–last time I took a language course was some beginner Spanish in CEGEP! I chose Italian as I’ve been pretty wistful lately of my trips there to Rome, Parma, Milan and Florence, and it feels good to be preparing for future travels.

There are 14 languages on Babbel to choose from, and it provides conversational practice. The classes are presented in a fun way, so it feels playful! They’ve also Babbel Live, Podcasts, Games, Culture Bites, Short Stories and Videos–a ton of resources to enrich your learning experience!

For one lucky Health & Swellness follower, I’m giving away a year-long subscription to Babbel. You can enter via my Instagram post, and for five extra entries, just comment on this blog post about which language you’d like to learn!

Giveaway ends 11:59PM, March 22, 2022 and is open to Canadian residents. Winner will be announced on my IG Stories on March 23rd.

Buona fortuna! Look, I’m speaking Italian already!

Leave a Comment March 16, 2022

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