Shine On

Commute times deter cottage owners from getting away

(Thinkstock)A recent survey has found that more than half of cottage owners in Ontario are planning their route around traffic volume, driving two or more hours to get to their destination.

The survey, conducted for Friday Harbour Resort by Vision Critical on behalf of Geranium Corporation and Replay Resorts, found that 57 per cent of cottagers are planning their routes around traffic volume, with 62 per cent getting away multiple times per month.

"Going to the cottage is a culturally engrained Ontario pastime, but the time we spend in traffic getting there is clearly one of the least enjoyable parts of the experience," says Earl Rumm, Chairman of Geranium Corporation.

While Ontarians love going to the cottage, more than half (55 per cent) of them say they'd visit and enjoy their recreational property more often if the commute were shorter.

"The challenge people are dealing with is, the more historically popular cottage areas, like Muskoka and the Kawarthas, are quite far from the city centre and traffic in the GTA continues to increase," says Bill Green, COO of Replay Resorts.

[See also: Secrets for surviving a family vacation]

There are some things you can do to cut down on your commute time and make the trip to the cottage a more enjoyable one.

Leave at the right time

"Don't leave Friday at 5 p.m., try to find an alternative solution," says Rumm. "Pre-noon is ideal or make it a late night drive." You could even try leaving on Thursday night if you have the flexibility with your work and other commitments.

Check traffic reports

"Stay on top of live traffic reports," suggests Rumm. You can tune in to your favourite television channel before you head out, or check the radio while en route to keep you up to date.

Go high tech

Gadgets like GPS and smart phones enabled with things like Google Maps give us a bird's eye view of the world. Rumm suggests having the navigator use their smart phone to investigate a new (and possibly faster) route.

Play games

Just because you're stuck in traffic doesn't mean you can't make the most of your time together as a family. Rumm notes car games like 'I Spy' are fun for the family and for the geographically inclined. "Try to stump your friends with the name-a-country-that-starts-with-the-letter [game]."

Reconsider your destination

Traffic levels are only getting worse, and if your destination is on the popular beaten path, it might be time to consider getting away closer to home, says Rumm.

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