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Help! Solo female traveler without car in Calgary

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Help! Solo female traveler without car in Calgary

Hi all, I am traveling to Canada, and would like to visit the Rockies mountain and lake Louise etc.. Basically all the amazing scenic view in alberta! I've tried to search online on tour buses but it was extremely expensive for 4days3nights tour packages cost at least 1k usd exclude food n some admission fees. I need to b on a budgeted trip. N I have no driving license.

Anyone here able to find me a solution?

Or any recommendations? My dates r getting near, 8sept till 15sept. And I wanted to go Montreal as well. What kind is the best routes for me? Vancouver or calgary if I want to go for a cheaper way?

Help urgently needed! Tks in advance.

Btw I am from Singapore.

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1. Re: Help! Solo female traveler without car in Calgary

Add ons- Columbia icefield, Jasper national park, Banff.

All these places I wanna cover within a maximum of 5 days. At Low cost. Preferably not to exceed 600cad/usd. Possible?

Jasper, Canada
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2. Re: Help! Solo female traveler without car in Calgary

There is limited public transportation - Brewster Tours and Sundog Tours operate day tours/transfers between Banff and Jasper, including the Columbia Icefield on the way.

The multi-day package tours have high hotel costs as part of them (probably an average of $175 to $200 per night). There are lower cost options for accommodation - two hostels in Banff townsite, one in the Lake Louise "village", and PHA or private home accommodation in Jasper. www.stayinjasper.com

Calgary is closer to the Rockies - less than two hours to Banff; Vancouver is 800+ km away from the Rockies. It will probably be easier to stay within your budget if you stick with just Banff National Park (and maybe a day tour to the Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park).

For flights to Montreal, your options are WestJet and Air Canada. We don't have any low-cost carriers in Canada, and the limited discounted seats were probably sold three or four months ago. www.westjet.com and www.aircanada.com .

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: Help! Solo female traveler without car in Calgary

You may want to investigate the tours aimed at young adults like Moosedog. Their tours tend to be cheaper and use hostel housing rather than hotels. Just be aware that there may be fewer options in September as the rush of young adult tourists slows with the end of summer and start of school.

I agree that with your budget, you'd probably be best sticking to Banff & Lake Louise with a day tour to the Icefields. With just 3 nights, you only really have 2 full days. If you stay in hostels, you can save your budget to do a day tour to the Icefields Parkway, then have another day in Banff.

For housing, I the HI Hostels in Lake Louise, Banff and Canmore are all very nice, though the latter is difficult to reach without your own transport (about 15-20 minute bike ride from town). The Hostel Bear in Canmore and the Samesun Hostel in Banff are decent, but have a more 'party' reputation that the HI Hostels which (at least in Lake Louise and Canmore) aimed at all ages and fairly quiet. Beds are about $40 per night, and I'd book at the least the weekends ASAP as they can be pretty popular. The Banff and Lake Louise hostels have inexpensive cafes, otherwise buy food in Banff or Canmore (only one tiny market in Lake Louise) and prepare your own food in the nice kitchens.

You can take a Brewsters Shuttle or Greyhound to Banff, and the same from Banff to Lake Louise. There is public transport within in Banff townsite, in Canmore and between Canmore & Banff, but none otherwise. The hostel in Lake Louise is easy walking distance from where the Greyhound stops, but it's about 4km uphill to the lake from the hostel/"townsite".

You can walk or bike (I believe the hostel has low cost or free rentals), find/share a ride with someone at the hostel or take a cab. Many of the hostels have a ride/hike board where you can post offers or requests for a hiking partner or a car ride. The hostels (or HI) also offer discounts for tours and transport: hihostels.ca/westerncanada/…

Transport options: banfflakelouise.com/Plan-Your-Trip/Getting-A…

Trip Advisor has a nice section with info on doing Banff car free: tripadvisor.ca/Travel-g154911-c155456/Banff:…

Jasper, Canada
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4. Re: Help! Solo female traveler without car in Calgary

The Moose Network's "Athabasca" tour includes Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, and fits within your budget: http://www.moosenetwork.com/content.php?id=87 Here in Jasper National Park, it looks like the tour stays at the HI Athabasca Falls hostel - a wilderness hostel about 30 km south of town. They have departures from Banff three times per week in September - Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays and the tour is three days.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Help! Solo female traveler without car in Calgary

I think it's Moose Network.

www.moosenetwork.com

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6. Re: Help! Solo female traveler without car in Calgary

Tks all for reply.. Really had alot info provided. Appreciated.!

My current plan:

Arrival date 9sep abt 8pm

Stay at calgary for a night.

9sep- Early morning head to Banff hostel chk in luggage and plan my sightseeing at Banff. Stay for 2nights check out 11sep. Is it too much?

11sep- Take a bus to lake louise n check in hostel. Stay for 1 night. Is it too short?

12sep- Can I travel to Columbia icefield by greyhound or brewster bus? And do I nd sign for a tour package or a guide, in order to reach those wonderful places in Icefield? And also, is there a bus to Jasper National park? I would like to go there if only there's buses heading Jasper n from jasper all the way back to Calgary.

How long will the journey be like from Jasper to Calgary?

And along the way, will I pass by Emerald lake?

Wild tour worth booking?

I won't be cooking.. but night time if hungry, will there b a 24hr grocery store?

I understand that Banff and lake Louise distance not very far. Is it better to stay at Banff more days? Or make it even with Lake Louise?

In fact, I have only 1k cad dollar to spare including stays n food. I understand the amt too little, but I really cnt exceed that amount.

Will give up montreal.

Weather- tolerable? In Singapore it is always hot n hot n hot!

9 degrees already consider very cold for me even Im on my winter wear. FAINTZ* Haha..

Calgary, Canada
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7. Re: Help! Solo female traveler without car in Calgary

Two nights in Banff and one night in Lake Louise would be fine. You could just as easily do all three nights in Banff - the benefit of staying in Lake Louise is getting to see the lake when it's not mobbed by tourists and getting an early start for hikes. If you are not big into hiking, it might be worth staying all nights in Banff.

Greyhound does not run between Lake Louise and Jasper - it only runs from Jasper to Edmonton, then down the major highway outside the parks to Calgary and out to Banff and Lake Louise (and out to BC). The only options for touring within in the parks are the Moose Network (sorry about the wrong name - been a crazy week) or doing a package tour with a big company like Brewster's.

To get to Jasper you would either have to do a full day Icefields tours that ended in Jasper, and then either take one of the shuttles that goes all the way back from Jasper to Calgary (not cheap - $125 or more and take 7+ hours) or take Greyhound to Edmonton than transfer to a bus to Calgary. For the latter there are only a couple of buses a day and you are looking at 10+ hours. As such, I don't think it's within your time frame and budget.

If you have a week, you are going to have to budget pretty tightly to stay under $1000. I would count on $30-40 per night for a hostel depending on whether or not you are a HI member. Greyhound is fairly cheap, but you have to get to their stations in Calgary from the airport. Shuttles directly from Calgary Airport start at around $55. Plus transport within Banff (though you can get free bus pass if you stay at the Hi Hostel) and to other locations, as well as any tours/museums etc. you go to.

With your budget, you are really not going to be able to afford to eat out much - I'd strongly suggest cooking dinners & breakfasts at the hostels and packing picnic lunches. Even at inexpensive places, count on $15-25 for a very cheap dinner and $7-15 each for lunch. That's not counting tips (15-20% here) and drinks - prices are very high in the national parks even by Canadian standards. And in Lake Louise dining options are very limited if you are on a budget - the hostel cafe is the least expensive and dinner options still run at least $15-20.

Without a car, it will be hard to get groceries in Calgary or Canmore where there are more options and things are cheaper. In Lake Louise, there is one tiny food store that is not 24hrs by any means. I also don't think there are any 24hr options in Banff, and I'm pretty sure neither of the grocery stories in Canmore stay open past 11pm either. 24hr grocery stores are not that common here, other than some drugstores and the very occasional corner shop.

I'd check out Moose Network's tours to see if there's something that meets your needs as that will likely be the most economic method to see the most of the parks. Otherwise base yourself in Banff and/or Canmore, and keep things cheap by doing a one day tour to the Icefields, then doing free or lost cost things like hiking, biking (often free or cheap rentals at the hostels), walking around, and taking full advantage of the discounts offered through the hostels (see the link above).

You will not pass Emerald Lake - that is in Yoho and you need a car to get there or take a separate tour to Yoho - those aren't that common.

As far as clothing - early September is usually fine, but you could encounter anything from below freezing to 25c. It's supposed to get down to 4-5c this weekend in Canmore, and likely to be cooler up on the Icefields. You will need a good rain jacket and layers - in the mountains we can get a very wide range of temperatures so you may need warm clothes in the morning and shorts in the afternoon. In July, in Jasper we had days were it went from 4c to 32c between 7am and 3pm.

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8. Re: Help! Solo female traveler without car in Calgary

Hey tks for ur detailed info!!

Im so stress now.. It was such a last minute decision to go Calgary. My original plan was to go Montreal haha.

So base on what u mentioned, 4days3nights should b enough in Calgary rite? I might drop Jasper as I didn't realise soooo far from Calgary and Delta don't hv any flight in Jasper.

If let's say, I stay wicked Hostel or HI hostel Calgary somewhere in downtown, I do not really need to stay over at lake louise right?

Though im 28yrs old, but im kinda scared to travel alone to sucha far place n I am not that adventurous. Safety mayb I tink its alright. Im jus afraid to lost my way.

I will b bringing a 28inch luggage, seems like too troublesome to bring ard with me especially im hopping frm place to place?

I've seen alot tour packages but was so confusing.. My 1st time to Calgary, im not sure I will be back there again so I need to make this as an Unforgettable journey in my life~

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9. Re: Help! Solo female traveler without car in Calgary

Oh ya... I keep seeing HI member thing, the price in hostelbookers or hostelworld are so misleading... Is it free to be a member?

The food there seems very ex, but can't b help, am going to tourist attractions.

Seems like I am in tight budget, Arrive YYC on late evening, chk in hostel Cal, I only can go to Banff 2nights n lake louise 1nite. Chk in hostel in calgary,next day then follow tour to icefield 1day tour n they send mi bk to my hostel again? Thn chk out the next day? Total of 6nights. Hmm.. but I got 9days8nights in Calgary. . Loll..

Calgary, Canada
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10. Re: Help! Solo female traveler without car in Calgary

Personally, I wouldn't spend much time in Calgary, but it depends on what you want to see and do. Calgary isn't that different from most cities - the really unforgettable sights (and the free ones!) are up in the Rocky Mountains. Also Calgary is quite expensive, both in terms of food and paying to see the sights. Other than walking around, you will be paying for almost everything else (including public transport) - the mountains offer a lot more in terms of free things to do. That said, the newly rebuilt Calgary HI Hostel is supposed to be nice.

Perhaps do a night or two in the city, and then do a Moose Network tour to the Rockies. I think, again, a package tour that is based on hostels will give you the best experience for your money. Especially if you prefer not to travel alone. If you allow a couple more nights in the mountains, you can get a tour that will include Jasper - not a bad trip if you travel through the mountains which you can do on a tour or via the Brewster's Shuttle (it's taking a Greyhound bus outside the park that takes so long). (BTW, Jasper is tiny - there is no airport and no public transport - the options there are car, train a couple times a day or bus).

HI Hostel Membership costs about $35 per year - and I would strongly suggest booking directly via Hi Hostel's website rather than a secondary site. You will get the best deals & packages, plus can buy a membership at the same time. The other hostel booking websites don't ever seem to have better deals and they may show a hostel as sold out when there are actually spots remaining. Plus, they won't show the package deals that you can sometimes get or the additional discounts HI offers.

As to being alone - so will many of the folks in the hostels. I've spend plenty of time in the mountains (and some in Calgary) on my own and never felt uncomfortable. Especially in the mountains, if you stay in hostels, you will find lots of chances to meet other folks and possibly join up with others for adventures. As mentioned, most hostels have boards where you can post if you are looking for hiking or traveling partners. And it's quite safe - the hostels provide lockers or underbed lockers where you can lock luggage though I rarely lock them and have never had anything go missing.

A 28 inch suitcase should be OK, but I would not go larger than that, especially with hard(er) sides as you may have to squeeze it into the lockers. Wheeled luggage is better for getting around, though soft sided luggage is easier to fit into lockers. I have a soft-sided duffel with wheels at one end that offers the best of both worlds.