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Planned itinerary - request for comments

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Haifa, Israel
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Planned itinerary - request for comments

Hi, I realize that the question below spans over BC and Alberta; I will take my chance here :-)

We are a family of 5 - 2 adults and three daughters ages 10, 12 & 14. This summer we will be taking a 5 week vacation in the US and Canada, with a two week focus in the BC and Alberta area. We will be renting a car for the duration and will begin a 14 day excursion on a flight from Chicago on July 14. On July 28, we will be boarding a 7 day cruise to Alaska.

And finally to the question(s) which deals with two possible different route:

1). Chicago - Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Whistler, Kamloops, Victoria, Seattle (to the cruise) [we may need to add some night stops in this route]

or

2). Chicago - Seattle, Hope, Revelstoke, Banff, Jasper, Kamloops, Victoria, Tofino, Vancouver, Seattle (to the cruise)

We love nature (will not camp typically, but will explore and walk a lot), and would like to combine some urban landscape and experience in the above as well.

Google maps indicates similar driving distances, so this is not providing any indication to me.

I will appreciate if you could assist in highlighting the pros and cons in the above. Also, your personal preference is highly appreciated.

Thank you.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Planned itinerary - request for comments

Well, I would definitely work with variations on plan 1, rather than a loop from Seattle as per 2, however that will increase your costs because of the one way car rental.

A few tips to work with as you sort out your plan:

-- Previous posters have found that they get the best deal if they rent one-way between Calgary and Vancouver. It costs much more to rent one way to Victoria, and even worse if you try to drop your car in another country.

-- it is very much worth driving the Icefields Parkway (up to Jasper) in both directions. This will be some of the most spectacular, jaw-dropping scenery of your trip. Wouldn't it be terrible if, on the 1 day you spend driving it, you have low clouds? By driving in both directions, you can see it from a different perspective and you can also improve your odds of good weather.

-- here's an article about driving between Vancouver and Calgary:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154922-c120076/Briti…

Personally, of the different options, I feel the scenery along highway 1 through Revelstoke is the best, with highway 3 through the Kootenays as the next best choice. We thought most of highway 5 was dull and uninteresting. Other people have different opinions....

-- Whistler is optional. Some people are very glad they did both, others feel that after the Rockies, it really is a waste of time. If you had to choose between Whistler and Tofino, I'd recommend Tofino.

-- It is possible to get directly from Victoria to Seattle

www.clippervacations.com/clipper-ferry/

If you planned your route through BC to end in Victoria, then you could take the boat from there.

Port Moody, Canada
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2. Re: Planned itinerary - request for comments

Route 1 gives you more time in the Rockies. Look at one way rental Calgary to Vancouver as noted by Vancouverite. You may have to call companies to get a quote. Also check Canadian Affair... seems to work for some non-UK people.

Also agree with Vancouverite.. drive the Ice Field Parkway twice.

I'd plan on

3 nights Banff, drive there immediately from Calgary 14,15,16

3 nights Jasper, 17,18,19

I night Revelstoke ( on way back down IFP from Jasper. ) 20

2 nights Vancouver. Drop Car Skip Whistler. 21,22

Ferry to Nanaimo pick up rental car here

3 nights Tofino 23,24,25,

1 night Victoria drop rental car 26

1 night Seattle Clipper from Victoria to Seattle 27

28 cruise

You will have a bit of city time here in Vancouver and Victoria and Seattle but the main focus will be the amazing Rockies and West Coast. In the end a city is just a city but there is nothing that replicates the Rocky Mountain or Pacific Rim Park Experience.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Planned itinerary - request for comments

Really like that plan, T47, especially dropping the car and then picking up another one in Nanaimo.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Planned itinerary - request for comments

Canadian Affair will rent to UK and European visitors, as well as Aussies and Kiwis, so it is well worth emailing them to see about your situation. If Canadian Affair will rent you a car, usually with no one way drop fee, I would follow T47's plan but keep your car all the way from Calgary to Victoria. All qualifying cities for one way, no drop fee.

If you drop the car in Vancovuer and pick up another one in Nanaimo, you would be faced with taking the bus for 45 minutes from Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal, walking on the ferry for the 1.5 hour ride to Nanaimo and taking the time to rent a new car. With 3 kids, you might prefer the convenience of keeping the car.

Open this link and read the full page: http://www.canadianaffair.com/en/car_hire/

+1 for giving Whistler a miss, as those mountains will not compare with the Rockies.

Haifa, Israel
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5. Re: Planned itinerary - request for comments

Your input is priceless!

I will report back once I sort through some of the questions still hovering.

Haifa, Israel
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6. Re: Planned itinerary - request for comments

A question re Tofino - this loop seems to be adding a lot of transit time (9 hours) to the packed itinerary. Would you suggest skipping, or is this area a "must-see" ?

SE Ontario
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7. Re: Planned itinerary - request for comments

Tofino is a drop dead must see.

Port Moody, Canada
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8. Re: Planned itinerary - request for comments

Yes Tofino is worth it given your interests. Also 1.5 hour travel time on that day will be sitting on a ferry. With beautiful views. Agree if you can keep the car to Victoria without a big drop fee then that's ideal.

Port Moody, Canada
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9. Re: Planned itinerary - request for comments

Just a bit more info

Calgary to Banff drive time 2 hours

Banff to Jasper. drive time. full day for stops on the IFP you could do the actual drive in much less time with no stops

Jasper to Revelstoke drive time 6 hours..this allows lots of time to stop on the way back down the IFP..don't forget in mid July it will be light from about 5 am until at least 9 pm we have long twilights here due to the latitude.

Revelstoke to Vancouver drive time 5 1/2 hours.. again lots of time to stop along the way Hell's Gate? Alexandra Bridge Park?

Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay ferry 1.5 hours ( 45 minutes drive time, 45 minutes wait time MAKE a reservation for sure)

ferry 1 1/2 hour sail stroll the decks eat breakfast on board, watch the views.

Nanaimo to Tofino under 3 hours drive time...plus stops Englishman Falls Provincial Park, Cathedral Grove at Macmillan Park, Coombs

Tofino to Victoria 5 hours drive again lots of daylight.. make stops along the way if you didn't going in..

Clipper 3 hour ride plus 1 hour ahead of time for customs/check in etc. btw the Clipper checks your bags so you just need to keep a small day pack with stuff you wold hate to lose ( same as flying) lots of cabs at the Clipper Seattle end to get you to your hotel.

Hope the above gives you some sense of the amount of car time you'd face on driving days..imo 6 hours is a nice driving day for Canada..we often drive 12 hrs plus on a road trip ;)

Port Moody, Canada
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10. Re: Planned itinerary - request for comments

http://tinyurl.com/ax4xvg2

the above are some photos of Pacific Rim National Park