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Montreal to Banff to Vancouver: suggestions please?

Montreal to Banff to Vancouver: suggestions please?

Old Aug 19th, 2012, 07:11 PM
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Montreal to Banff to Vancouver: suggestions please?

We suddenly find ourselves with a cancelled trip to Europe the end of September/first part of October, and are thinking about a shorter trip to parts of Canada we haven't seen. The idea would be fly to Montreal from the West Coast, visit Quebec City, then either fly to Calgary and on to Banff by car? Train? Then end up in Vancouver and fly home from there. How long should we plan to be in each place? What's the best way to cover the distances? Is this do-able in 10-12 days? I looked around a bit to find trip reports and couldn't find a whole lot. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places?
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Old Aug 20th, 2012, 07:00 AM
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You may be challenged in finding trip reports that match your itinerary because of the distances you wish to cover. I trongly suggest you limit your trip to the Western portion i.e. fly in and out of Vancouver, rent a car and see the Rockies, Calgary and Banff. If you have not already checked the flight costs for what you originally suggest, you will quickly see why I make this alternative plan!

Your original schedule will eat up both budget and time dramatically quickly, IMHO. The Vancouver/Quebec City flight will eat up an entire day each way-that is a BIG hole in 10 days of seeing an entire massive country.
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Old Aug 20th, 2012, 09:42 AM
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No, it's not doable in 10-12 days, It's really not a practical itinerary. Just to give you some perspective on distances/time.

To fly: leave Vancouver at 8:40am arrive Montreal at 4:24pm (Westjet)There is a 3 hr time difference

To drive from Quebec City to Calgary is about 4,000 KM (taking the TransCanada Hwy. That is about 37 hours of straight driving at 110 km/hr. No allowances for stops/breaks

You can't take the train from Quebec City to Calgary. You would need to go from QC to Edmonton (which takes a bit more than 3 days.) And then from Edmonton to Calgary by car or bus.

Decide if you want to see BC/Alberta or Quebec/Ontario, then you can plan accordingly. Where in the US will you be coming from?
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Old Aug 20th, 2012, 06:28 PM
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We're coming from the San Francisco area. I thought this was probably crazy and I couldn't believe the airfares I was seeing! Haven't been to BC in probably a dozen years and the Rockies way longer than that. So maybe that's the way to go on such short notice.
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Old Aug 20th, 2012, 06:47 PM
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Think about taking the Coast Starlight from Emeryville to Seattle. Spend a night in Seattle and then take the Amtrak bus or train to Vancouver. The ViaRail "Canadian" leaves Vancouver 3 days a week. Ride the Canadian as far as Jasper and spend 2 or 3 days in the Canadian Rockies. Take the next train as far as Edmonton and then fly to Toronto or Quebec City.
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Old Aug 21st, 2012, 11:29 AM
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luciemom,

I think you should sorta describe for us what areas you HAVE seen. And for visiting by air the spots you've described, the prices might be considerably lower if you fly to U.S. spots and rent cars to go into Canada from them.

My first vibe was to use Albany, NY and Great Falls, MT as your flying spots. I wasn't especially appalled by the fares I fished out of Expedia for an 'open-jaws' (is that what they call an itinerary of 3 or more destinations?) trip entailing SFO-to-Albany-to-Great Falls-to-SFO.

I randomly used Sept. 25, Oct. 1, and Oct. 6 as flying days.

Indeed the aggravation would be the leg from Albany to Great Falls, as just about every option requires 2 or more, sometimes far-flung, stops and plane transfers.

Banff is about 400 miles from Great Falls, while Q.C. is 368 miles from Albany. Other spots might be nearer, such as Portland, MAINE, @ 276 miles from QC.

IF inclined to do such a thing, you have lots of permutations of airports/cities to price while shopping for the best deal. Central to the whole equation should be the costs and availabilities/limitations of rental cars in all spots.

Later I used Portland, MAINE and Spokane, WA, and the prices were higher but perhaps the connecting is a bit more tolerable (I.E. Chicago and Denver).

Spokane to Banff = 361 miles.

Anyway, that is a thought to consider... (the premise being that Flying into and around Canada might make the costs a lot more).

I can't imagine making use of a train between destinations, especially when the appeal is actually seeing the second-largest country on the planet.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2012, 06:15 PM
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Hi Luciemom,

I did a similar trip myself earlier this year! It's probably not doable in 10 days, but if you have a full 14 then you might just be able to squeeze something in, depending on how much time you want to spend on the Rockies/each destination, and on what you have already seen!

I would recommend *flying* to Calgary from wherever your last stop is in the East would be instead of taking the train--the trans-Canadian train (AKA the Canadian) takes about four days to cross the country from Toronto (the main start of the line--from Montreal you'll have to drive/train to Toronto for the connection, about 3 hours). Plus, the train stops in Edmonton, so it'll be a bit of a challenge to head down to Banff! Also, there's nothing scenic about the train trip through the Prairies IMO unless you're planning to actually spend time in any one of the towns See here:

http://www.seat61.com/Canada.htm or the ViaRail website.

From Calgary airport, Brewster operates door-to-door shuttles to Banff, and they also operate half-day shuttles to Jasper. You can drive to Vancouver from Banff, and probably save time, although you will miss the Icefield Parkways if you haven't been!

IMHO the trip would be tight, but if you have two full weeks, you can reasonably do Montreal with a day trip to Quebec City (Days 1-4), then fly to Calgary and shuttle to Banff (Day 5), spend a few days on the Rockies with or without Jasper (Days 6-9), then drive to Vancouver (Day 10), and there's your remaining few days in Vanc before flying back home. You can cut back on days in the Rockies if you're not planning on skiing (in September?)/hiking, I guess!

However, I agree with the other posters that given the time you have, it's probably best to decide on which coast. Quebec the province is probably worth a week alone especially if there are festivals going on! And Gaspesie may be worth an extra few days too (though it becomes significantly more Francophone outside of, well, Montreal).

Plus, Quebec is kind of Europe-ish maybe, so would work as a good substitute to the original trip perhaps!
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