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British Columbia in September October 2011

British Columbia in September October 2011

Jan 2nd, 2011, 02:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2
British Columbia in September October 2011

We are looking to spend over 5 weeks travelling around BC in September -October 2011. We are planning on hiring a car and mostly staying in lodges/B&B/hotel with a bit of camping (if conditions permit). The trip is to see the wildlife mostly the bears. I am looking for some info on hiring a car or vehicle for the trip - as we are not time poor would it be better to catch a train to seattle and hire a vehicle their for the whole time returning back to seatttle? Are their any issues we should consider with this choice? we are wanting to travel from vancouver to vancouver - via Okanagan valley, banff,alaskan highway to Yukon, top of the world highway for short detour into alaska and then back down the Alaskan Marine Hwy to Vancouver. I am aware that early september is a big holiday weekend for those in BC, any recommendations about how early we would need to book accomodation for the Banff Jasper region during this time? thanks
bearholiday is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 04:46 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,584

You are planning on traveling to BC in our favorite time of the year. Since you also mentioned some other areas such as Banff, which is alberta, and also several Alaska areas, I'll mention that their best time is earlier in the season. So you would be best to plan to visit Alaska, say, in the September period. For Banff, it will still be good in early October, but I think it's best in mid + September.

For BC, you might check out http://www.hellobc.com/. Order some brochures and peruse, or enjoy their website. Tourism levels will be higher in early September in the Vancouver area, so save it for a bit later.

For Okanagan - it will get busy for the fall Wine Festival. I believe that is early October culimating at Canadian Thanksgiving.

You'll find that a lot of lodging and attractions will close at the end of summer season in Alaska (I think by mid-Septemberish? or so) and somewhat in October for Banff (lull before skiing).

We're US citizens, and find that renting a car in the US at Seattle or Spokane are most cost-effective and convenient for us. Your best options, of course, will depend on your citizenship. However, do be sure that you will be ok traveling across borders either way, since BC and Alaska are international crossings. What are your interests?
sludick is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,584
oops, that's "culminating"
sludick is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 08:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2
thanks sludick for the info. my apologies regarding geography confusion with BC and Alberta (my lonely planet travel book had all under BC), so i was confused. We are from Australia so i assume that it would probably be more expensive to hire cars than for US citizens, but i will followup with an established company and check what difference. As we have some time i wouldn't mind getting down to seattle anyway. As the trip is mostly a wildlife trip we hope to get to see both black bears and grizzlies in their natural habitat. I understand it is salmon run time and would love to see this. Our preference would be to see this in a small group environment rather than on the viewing platforms with larger groups. Thanks for the link i will look at it and also the info, so we might look at doing the trip to Alaska sooner and then down south later in the trip.
Besides wildlife, our main interest is Diving (which i have started looking at yet). Regards
bearholiday is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 04:11 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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To be fair to your guidebook, Banff is on the western edge of Alberta, next to BC. We often combine visits to both Banff and parts of BC in the same trip. It's just that there is so much distance between the two and so much to see, you might get trapped into spending more time in the car than you want on a given day.

One thing about driving - there is quite a distance between, say, Vancouver and Banff. On our first trip between the two, we based our driving expectations more upon US Highways, and were way off. The scenery is gorgeous, but often mountainous and winding. Also, the highway is sometimes no more than a single lane in each direction, with very occasional widening for a short passing lane. You can get stuck behind large trucks and campers without an opportunity to pass for quite some time.

So, between that and the breathtaking scenery, please plan at least 2 days to make that trip. More, if you plan to spend time in the Okanagan. Yes, some will point out that you could power through in about 12 straight hours without stopping, but the whole point of your vacation would be to enjoy the area, not power through it, yes? Done right, you could easily spend your entire time just exploring BC.

Sounds like a great trip though, and you do have a good amount of time to see quite a bit.
sludick is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 11:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 56
We saw both grizzlies and black bears when we were in StewartBC a few years ago at Fish Creek just across the border into Hyder Alaska. There were groups of people but the surrounding wilderness and the bears were magnificent.

Stewart BC itself is very uniquemall town less than 300, common filming site for westerns.
blanche5678 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 02:21 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 694
The Port McNeill / Telegraph Cove area on northern Vancouver Island is reasonably easy to reach and is good for Black Bear on the island and day trips to the mainland for Grizzlies. Killer and Humpback Whales and various other marine mammals are a bonus. The scenery is great and the whole ecosystem is very rich. Early September is better here, since the weather generally starts to deteriorate as October approaches.
gannetmusic is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 03:04 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
did a month in September like this

a couple of years ago it was great

www.carrentals.com out of YVR(Vancouver)

was cheaper than out of the US like

$600 CAD for the month...

Just did a round robin and found cupon hotels

along the way bidding www.priceline.com for cities

Worked great for me... Happy Journey,
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 06:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 982
re:Canadian vehicle rental.

While rates are higher than the USA where they really hit you is on insurance rates-often as much per day as the rental rate-and it will be presented to you @ the rental counter as a done deal.

Check your vehicle policy for add ons-maybe you're covered or maybe an automobile club membership covers you for overseas rentals-also see if any of your credit cards have vehicle insurance included.

Don't allow yourself to be Sold Up check carefully but don't be clipped.

Also-Never Ever use Budget Rental @ YVR airport-that franchise is notorious.
Sam_Salmon is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,451
Another tidbit about car rental:

With the OP being from Australia, this won't be a problem, but the biggest barriers and border hassles happen when a citizen from either the USA or Canada goes to the opposite one and then rents a car to be brought back into his/her OWN country.

SO, if someone from Toronto flew to Vancouver and rented a car to be taken into the USA, not so much a problem, but if he flew to Seattle to rent a car and then brought it back to Canada, there could be trouble/limitations.

(just offering a little clarity, and again, this does NOT affect to someone from Australia) (somebody somewhere just wants a strong vibe that you're going to bring the car back!!!)
NorthwestMale is offline  

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