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Itinerary advice for 2 weeks in BC/Alberta - couple and baby

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Itinerary advice for 2 weeks in BC/Alberta - couple and baby

Hi everyone

We are travelling to Canada (from the UK) in June and are very excited! It will be our first time there. We have flights into Vancouver and out of Calgary and a one way car hire for the 2 weeks. We have a 9 month old baby and are looking for a trip with a chance to see whales and bears (hopefully) as well as do some long walks and see the beautiful scenery! We are not too bothered about spending a lot of time in either Vancouver or Calgary as we think we would prefer to get out of the cities (not so easy with a baby). There are a few long drives in here but they seem inevitable and (apart from the fact that they will hopefully be quite scenic) we will break them up by stopping somewhere for a few hours en route. Anyway, I know this is the BC forum but I hope you may be able to comment on that part of the trip. All comments gratefully received - is this realistic, have we missed anything that is a "must see" or are we spending too little in places? Thanks in advance for any comments.

Our proposed itinerary is as follows:

19/06/2010 London to Vancouver

20/06/2010 Vancouver to Victoria

21/06/2010 Victoria – whale watching and then onto Parksville

22/06/2010 Parksville to Tofino

23/06/2010 Tofino - bear watching

24/06/2010 Tofino to Vancouver

25/06/2010 Vancouver to Clearwater

26/06/2010 Clearwater to Jasper via Wells Gray Park

27/06/2010 Jasper

28/06/2010 Jasper

29/06/2010 Jasper to Banff via Lake Louise

30/06/2010 Banff

01/07/2010 Banff

02/07/2010 Banff to Calgary

03/07/2010 Calgary to London

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Rockies BC
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1. Re: Itinerary advice for 2 weeks in BC/Alberta - couple and baby

Welcome to BC! Hope you enjoy your trip!

You are covering a lot of ground & I can understand why - virtually all of my relatives are in Europe & they too want to cram in as much as possible and tend to focus on the "big attractions" (like the Rockies) when they come to Canada.

THere are many here who are more qualified than I am to talk about a lot of your itinerary - right at the moment I am thinking about what it would be like to cover all that ground with a baby.

Firstly, do keep in mind the jetlag. Especially re your little one.

You have not given yourself much time in Victoria. But if your chief plan is to go whale watching then maybe you don't mind.

Remember that you may or may not see whales. ALso the waters can be rough & I have heard of people getting seasick on tours. Your little one won't appreciate the trip at all - especially if the weather is poor. Personally I wouldn't take a child whale watching until they are school-aged at a minimum.

Is Tofino really a necessity? You might want to spend some more time in Parksville - the beaches there are really lovely & absolutely perfect for a small child - the sand goes way out & when the tide comes in over that warm sand the water is wonderful! I remember when my child was a baby the best part of (the very few) holidays we spent was when we slowed right down & spent time playing at her level, like on the beach, in the playground, that sort of thing. Yes, it's the kind of thing you can do at home (and personally when I travel I see no point in doing things I can do at home - why spend thousands of dollars to read a book on a hotel room deck when I can do that in my own backyard!? - yes I am opinionated!) but the going slow & relaxing & seeing our little one have such a good time is what made those episodes so special.

The road to Tofino is winding & somewhat strenous driving (it's not like bombing up the M40!) I have vivid memories of vomitting all over the backseat of the car on the way to Tofino when I was 10 yrs old. Your wee one's tummy might not like it.

Sorry, can't comment on the bear-watching aspect whatsover. Where I live, we are on "alert" right now as a bear came right into a home just up the street from us here & snatched a loaf of bread (no one home at the time). Bears here are something we don't seek out!

Tofino to Vancouver will be a longish day but not impossible. Again when I say "longish" I am thinking in terms of what a baby might be able to handle.

Vanc to Clearwater will also be a bit of a longish day. You might want to stop just outside Hope at the Othello Tunnels & take a bit of a walk - your wee one will appreciate getting out into the air & you will enjoy the walk, the river, & the engineering marvel that is the Tunnels (a portion of the now-defunct Kettle Valley Railroad).

The Coquihalla Hwy up to Kamloops can be a bit strenuous driving - it seems to go straight up forever. Don't be discouraged - you will get there eventually!

Not sure if you are trying to "cram" too much into one day by taking in Wells Gray Park on your way to Jasper - I'm sure there are many others who can give better advice.

Remember you "lose" an hour on the way to Jasper - it is in the Mountain Time Zone & therefore an hour ahead of most of BC (where I live, we too are in the Mtn Time Zone - even tho it's BC).

You have given yourself a couple days in Jasper - I would check out Miette Canyon & Hot Springs (I am quite addicted to hot springs). Also the walk around Lac Beauvert at the Jasper Park Lodge is a nice one.

Your day from Jasper down to Banff might be a bit long if you intend to squeeze in Lake Louise enroute - you may wish to make that a day trip on one of your days in Banff. There is a lot to see on the Icefields Parkway so you may not have time for LL on the same day.

Hope that gives you some advice and I am sure you will get much more advice from others better qualified than I! I guess knowing your child is probably most important - some kids can handle being dragged from pillar to post better than others; some kids may sleep all the time in the car but then be wide awake at night, just when you want to sleep yourself! Some people (unlike me!) are better at taking things in their stride. hope you have a great trip!

Jasper, Canada
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2. Re: Itinerary advice for 2 weeks in BC/Alberta - couple and baby

In your 15 day holiday, I count 10 days in which you and your little one will be spending large chunks of time seated, either flying or driving. During the periods of driving, your child will be strapped into a car seat. Taking advantage of your baby's nap time will get you a couple of hours (?) of peace and quiet for driving each day - although you may also miss some sights, being hesitant to interrupt that period with a stop.

Personally, when travelling with a baby, I would suggest less driving, and fewer transfers (changes of accommodations), which would mean focussing on fewer areas. Your 2-week itinerary would be full one even without a baby (Vancouver/Jasper/Banff/Calgary alone can make a good 2-week route, without adding in both coasts of Vancouver Island, or Vancouver/Vancouver Island & Sunshine Coast would be another good loop for 2 weeks). But you are the one who knows your child, and if he/she is good for long drives, it would be do-able. When my kids were that age, they generally needed to be entertained on long drives (when they weren't sleeping) which meant that I didn't get to enjoy the scenery anyway.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Itinerary advice for 2 weeks in BC/Alberta - couple and baby

Only you know your baby, but I'm afraid this itinerary does sound like a very adult oriented one.

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4. Re: Itinerary advice for 2 weeks in BC/Alberta - couple and baby

Thanks for your advice everyone, it has definitely given us something to think about and maybe we should consider a bit less "action". Our baby is a pretty good traveller, we have been to New Zealand (and so experienced the dreaded jet lag with her) and also Italy, Spain and Switzerland together but as you say it may be better to take things a bit more slowly. We will have another look at it tonight.... Thanks again for your help, it is great to get some expert advice

5. Re: Itinerary advice for 2 weeks in BC/Alberta - couple and baby

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