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Jasper and Banff 10 days

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My girlfriend and I (both in our early 20's) are visiting Canada for the first time this May - June.

Will will be hiring a car from Vancouver arriving in jasper on the 6th of June and flying out from Calgary on the 16th.

Please could we get some advice on where to go, what to do, where to stay and how to best spread our time to experience as much of Jasper and Banff as possible in these 10 days?
we'd love to include a night or 2 camping if you know a good spot!

Look forward to hearing from you all, Josh

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    Welcome!

    Are you fixed on starting in Jasper? I would actually suggest driving to the Rockies via Banff/Lake Louise - you want to have two shots to drive the Icefields Parkway. Plus the TransCanada drive is more scenic than the route to Jasper. The parkway It's one of the top drives in the world, so it would be a real bummer if your only shot was rainy/cloudy. Starting in Jasper would make it very tricky to do the parkway more than once.

    In 10 days, probably something like:

    Lake Louise/Banff - one night
    Jasper - 3 nights
    Banff/Lake Louise - 4 nights

    With two nights flexible to camp or stay longer in any of those spots. For camping, you'd need the equipment - tent, pads, warm sleeping bags, stove, fuel etc. If you are flying to Canada, that could be a lot to carry and most airlines won't allow used campstoves (though if you don't tell them...) even in checked luggage. It can be below freezing at night, even in June, so you will want warm sleeping bags and lots of layers.

    If you do have camping equipment, you'd be looking at front country camping. Shouldn't be any issues with reservations that early - a few campsites may still not be open. I'd probably suggest using your camping nights along the parkway - perhaps Wilcox or Snaring or Mosquito Creek. Pretty and a bit away from the townsites. Most campsites are first come, first serve - a handful, mostly the big ones near the townsites, can be reserved in advance.

    Should camping gear be an issue, another great option are the wilderness hostels. They are basic - outhouses, bunk rooms (some have private rooms), but full kitchen facilities and all the bed linens/blankets. So you just need to bring food and personal stuff. Each will be closed one weekday - I'd book well ahead for weekends as they tend to be small and often booked up by club groups for weekend trips.

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    Is there a drop fee for renting in Vancouver and leaving the car in Calgary?
    If there is, you could leave Vancouver at 8:30PM on Sunday and take the ViaRail Canadian to Jasper arriving about 4PM the next day. There are several cat rental places within walking distance of the Jasper station.
    The east half of the Jasper station has a desk for Brewster bus tours.
    About 4 miles outside Jasper is a nice HI Hostel with coed dorm rooms and a few private rooms. It is better than camping.

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    Drop fee depends. If you are from the UK, Australia, South Africa or NZL, Canadian Affair does rentals without a drop fee. Otherwise, you'd need check each rental company separately. Probably yes, but that's a popular route, so it might not be much or might well be waived if they need to get cars to Calgary. But there certainly WILL be a drop if you rent in Jasper and drop off anywhere else. Renting in Jasper tends to be expensive - better to start/end in Banff/Calgary.

    I do NOT recommend the Hi Hostel (Whistlers) in Jasper - it's well past needing a replacement. Poor soundproofing, inadequate bathrooms that sorely need repairs/upgrades and an aging/poorly stocked kitchen. I would suggest the World Traveller's Fraternity or the new private hostel if you don't need a kitchen. Or, the Athabasca Falls wilderness hostel - fewer amenities, but nicer, quieter and much better kitchen.

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