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September trip, Banff and ??

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Please forgive the wooliness of the thinking and lack of knowledge of this post, but I am still in the early stages of planning,

My wife has a conference in Banff in September, and I am keen to come with her as I have never visited North America and I believe the area is one of outstanding natural beauty.

If her employer allows it, I will be sharing her paid for hotel room for the duration of the meeting, if not I am likely to join her at the end of her week. If I have about 10 days to 12 day - excluding travel into and out of Canada, how would people recommend spending the time?

I know this question is meaninglss without context, so I would say we are in our mid 40s, moderately fit, enjoy hiking, kayaking and cycling. Budget wise we normally rent an apartment when holidaying in Europe, and if possible would like to do similar (Can anybody recommend any rental sites as the ones I use seem not to have much in Alberta) otherwise we would be looking at probably not a lot more than C$1000 for a week.

As for itinerary, how long would people recommend for Banff - is it a good base from which to see things, or would it be preferrable to split our time between Banff and somewhere else - possibly Calgary? We were thinking of Vancouver, but I think flying into Calgary and out of somewhere else may prove difficult (in terms of claiming back the airfare ).

So if we were to hire a car, would it be feasible/advidsable to spend time in Banff, drive to Vancouver via a scenic route over ? 2 days, spend time there and then drive back (via another scenic route) before departure. Alternatively is there enough to see and do in Alberta and leave other parts of Canada for another time.

Thanks for any advice, and sorry again for the vagueness.

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