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Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper: 3 hotels? Also ... Rental Car Question

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Apr 25th, 2012, 01:52 PM
  #1
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Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper: 3 hotels? Also ... Rental Car Question

Hi --

Thanks to those who've answered my other questions.

I'm wondering if I need to book 2 nights each in Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper. Is two nights in each place ideal? Would it be inconvenient to stay in one place for Banff & Lake Louise for 4 nights--then move on to Jasper?

FYI, I'm thinking of booking through Priceline. I'm not fussy about hotels and they all seem to be in the same areas.

Also, wondering ... if the scenery is very similar, might it be less hectic to eliminate Jasper and spend 3 nights each in Banff and Lake Louise? Or is Jasper a "must-see?"

We love scenery, natural beauty, and easy to moderate hikes. DON'T love driving and packing and unpacking ;-).

Next issue:

Any tips for rental cars? They seem horribly expensive: $759 for an economy car from Hotwire for 9 days plus extra hours. (I'm assuming I'll pick up and return at the Calgary airport.)

Ironically, a minivan is actually cheaper! But I don't like to drive a big car--and the extra gas would probably eat up any savings.

Any help will be much appreciated.
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Apr 25th, 2012, 08:38 PM
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Consider using Brewster instead of an expensive rental car.http://www.brewster.ca/
You can also rent a car in Banff once you are ready to leave there.
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Apr 26th, 2012, 03:37 AM
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You only need to stay in Jasper and in Banff. Lake Louise is close to Banff and Jasper is a must.In Jasper we stayed at Becker chalets.Great place near the river with a gourmet restaurant.Paul
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Apr 26th, 2012, 05:45 AM
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Have you compared prices for a downtown pickup? Airport pickup can be more expensive so it might be worth it to take a cab into town.
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Apr 26th, 2012, 06:15 AM
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This is where I stay when in the Jasper area. http://www.hihostels.ca/westerncanad...-Jasper.hostel
I never have flown in Canada. I arrive in Jasper on the ViaRail Canadian.
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Apr 26th, 2012, 11:10 AM
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We also like to stay in one place when we travel, but I think it is better to stay in 2 places here: Lake Louise or Banff for part of your stay and Jasper for your other stay. I wouldn't want you to miss Jasper, and the drive up the Icefields Parkway is really special. We enjoy driving the Parkway twice. Going up to Jasper and driving back. We make different stops each way. Be sure to pick up sandwiches or something for a picnic. Other than the Icefields Center there are not many choices--but there are fabulous picnic spots right on the rocks by the lakes or in designated picnic areas. I know you said you don't enjoy driving but the scenery in this area is spectacular.

Lodging is expensive here. We tend to stay in less expensive lodging but they are difficult to find here. I have not used Priceline but I would think you could see what hotels are coming up by checking www.biddingfortravel.com or www.betterbidding.com There are less expensive options in Banff rather than Lake Louise. We like the convenience though of Lake Louise--it's close to Moraine Lake, Lake O'Hara and Emerald Lake/Yoho. We really enjoyed staying at Patricia Lake outside of the town of Jasper. We stayed in the cabins that are very reasonably priced. Cathedral Mountain was on Luxurylink---I have not stayed there but would definitely enjoy a stay there. It is located between Lake Louise and Yoho. I think the cheapest places to stay in Lake Louise are the Lake Louise Inn and the Hostel that actually gets good reviews unless you stay there during ski season.

To do a quick check of area hotels, check www.kayak.com. I booked hotel rooms for our group that allowed a cancellation and ended up getting us a great last minute rate at the Rimrock for $170/nt--and that was not even their cheapest room. We were visiting the first week in Sept. though when the crowds start to die down. Banff can be very crowded in the summer. We have stayed in Banff in the winter. Banff offers a lot more dining options, is a good place to walk around when it rains, and has the Banff Springs Hotel, which you will want to visit.

As far as car rental, we did use Hotwire once and have used Avis and Budget. Join the car rental rewards program so that you receive the email specials. The last couple years, the car rental specials have beat the Hotwire rates. The rates you have found seem very high.

Just a note: I also love Kauai, as I know you do, but even though this area is entirely different, I could visit here every year--and I don't return to many places. Since you love scenery, natural beauty, and easy to moderate hiking, I think you will find it is worth the driving.
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Apr 26th, 2012, 12:20 PM
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I really appreciate all the info and suggestions. Two hotels is do-able and sounds advisable. Just wanted to avoid three hotels. (I'll have already been in two hotels in three days, prior to the vacation portion of the trip.) I'll be sure to include Jasper--and the drive on the Icefield Hwy sounds beautiful.

I've found a car rental rate of $508 (www.discountcar) for airport p/u and return. It drops to $392 if I p/u and return downtown. That would incur a $60 shuttle cost ($30 each) or a taxi. That's a big improvement--even if I go with the airport p/u.

Tom--hostels and tour buses aren't my style, but I do appreciate the suggestions.

Linda--I'll have just returned from six weeks in Kauai when I do this trip! Talk about opposites! I'm glad to hear your endorsement, since we both appreciate my favorite place.

That's a great rate for the Rimrock. The best I've seen is $194. I've checked the list of Priceline (and Hotwire) hotels -- and they're all the same ones I'd be considering, anyway, so will likely go that route.

Thanks, again. I'll keep you posted as I lock everything in.
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Apr 27th, 2012, 08:20 PM
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Hi Songdoc, really I am not stalking you - but remember we stayed in the cottage at Bisley after your recommendation? Well we are now planning an Alaska/Canada trip, checking out the posts when I came across your name.

Great info here so I hope you don't mind me riding along with you on this one.

Cheers
Maudie
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Apr 28th, 2012, 06:41 AM
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Hi Maudie--

That's wild that you're "following" me. Now, if you show up in Kauai, I'll get worried ;-).

I was recently thinking about that lovely cottage in Bisley. (For those who are reading--Bisley, Stroud is in the Cotswolds--in England.)

Where are you planning to visit in Canada/Alaska? I only did Alaska by cruise--and it was incredibly beautiful. Have been to the major cities in Canada--but this will be my first time in the Rockies. They've always been high on my list.

Here's how the itinerary is shaping up ...

We'll arrive around midnight in Calgary on Tuesday, July 31st--so will probably stay in an airport hotel. The following day our friend's sister (who lives in Calgary) will give us a tour of the city and surrounds, ending with dinner at her home. Since it will be late evening when we're finished, we'll overnight in Calgary.

The next morning (Thursday) we'll drive to Canmore. I'll have until 4PM to explore before I begin working. Won't come up for air until I finish working Saturday night.

We were able to snag the last flights available with frequent flyer miles. (A miracle!!!) But that locked us into a Friday, Aug. 10th early afternoon departure.

So ... Sunday morning we'll drive the Icefield Hwy and spend the day making our way to Jasper--with lots of stops along the way. We'll spend Sunday, Monday & Tuesday nights in Jasper.

Wednesday morning we'll head to Banff/Lake Louise. That will give us part of Wednesday, all day Thursday, and several hours Friday morning in that area.

My question is whether we should exchange one night in Jasper for an additional night in Banff.
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Apr 28th, 2012, 10:17 PM
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Hi Songdoc

No chance of us getting to Kauai, it's a long long way from where we live so I think your are fairly safe.

We very much enjoyed our time in that dear little cottage, we were lucky enough to be there during the Open Garden Scheme. "Our" garden was open along with Paulmead which was just down the lane. If you thought Liz & Michael's garden was amazing then Paulmead would have blown your mind! A LOT of money went into that garden I can assure you. We did a bit of damage to Micheal's supply of French red wine on our last night there before heading up to the pub. Very welcoming locals, a great night was had by all.

We have only just decided that Alaska & Canada will be our next destination so it won't be until Aug/Sept next year. We are looking at using part of the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system rather than a cruise then we will head on up to Denali I think. We are still at the stage of shuffling things around on the trusty spreadsheet that I use for planning purposes.

From Anchorage we will either fly into Galgary or Vancouver depending on flights etc then pick up a hire car to see the Rockies. So that's where your post was helpful to me. We also prefer to stay put and not move every night so I was interested to read about staying in either Banff or Lake Louise then moving on to Jasper. We are thinking 3 to 4 mights in each place if we can swing it before driving back to Vancouver via Whistler.

We have been to Vancouver but we missed Butchard Gardens so we hope to get over to stay 3 nights or so on Vancouver Island.

Before we get to excited though we leave home (Perth, Western Australia) in Oct to fly to Venice for 4 nights then picking up a cruise from there across to Fort Lauderdale. We are staying onboard for a week in the Caribbean before moving onto to Washington DC and NYC before the long flight home. Lucky us!

Good luck with your planning, sounds like a great holiday.
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Apr 29th, 2012, 05:38 AM
  #11
 
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I think you have a good balance of nights between Jasper and Banff, I wouldn't change it.
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Apr 29th, 2012, 02:23 PM
  #12
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sludick--thanks! I needed that reassurance.

Maudie--Oh, the Open Garden Scheme sounds so nice. One of my favorite photos was taken on a misty morning in that garden .

Your October trip sounds FANTASTIC! I'm just back from a wonderful visit to NYC. Post under the U.S./New York forum if you want any NYC suggestions. Have you been to these places before?

I won't be back down under again until May 2013, and once again, does not look as if I'll get to see your side of the country. I'll be teaching in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane--then heading to New Zealand.

I love this forum . Thanks to all for your help.
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Apr 29th, 2012, 03:49 PM
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And Songdoc, even though you won't have any free time during your workshop, you should still have some spirit-feeding views available. Be sure you make time in the mornings and end of day to rejuvenate yourself.

Best of luck with the workshop!
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