Toronto to Calgary to Tofino

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Dec 28th, 2017, 08:57 AM
  #1
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Toronto to Calgary to Tofino

I am planning a trip with my husband and two kids (10 and 13) from Toronto to Tofino during the last three of August 2018. I would appreciate travelling tips. I read on the forum that that it is advisable to fly from Toronto to Calgary and then drive to Tofino. That sounds really nice. What about the trip back to Toronto? Do I fly from Tofino back to Toronto or do I drive to Calgary again and then fly back to Toronto. Could I get a rental car at Calgary and return the car at Tofino? Would appreciate some advise. I booked Middle Beach lodge for the entire stay at Tofino. Should I be looking at different lodge places along the way instead? I am flexible in terms of dates and length, and want to be economic but not rigid in terms of budget as well as long as it takes place during the last three weeks of August.

Thanks a lot.

Claire
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Dec 28th, 2017, 12:00 PM
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Calgary is a long long ways from Tofino. Is this going to be a driving trip across British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies? (Is this 3 weeks?)

As to returning the car in Tofino, the car rental facilities are pretty small and I don't think that would be possible. Perhaps you can return the car in Vancouver and fly back to Toronto from there.
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Dec 28th, 2017, 05:09 PM
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Thanks. I plan to fly to Calgary and drive to Tofino. After that I am not so sure whether I should drive back to Calgary and fly back to Toronto or just return the car in Vancouver and fly back to Toronto.
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Dec 28th, 2017, 05:10 PM
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I found somewhere on the internet that driving from Calgary to Tofino takes about 2 days.
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Dec 28th, 2017, 10:58 PM
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Driving from Calgary when Tofino's your destination makes no sense. It is a two-day drive of going up and down various mountain chains, but you're not giving yourself the time to actually stop and appreciate the drive. Fly into Vancouver and then venture to Tofino from there. It's still five hours away from Vancouver and will include a two-hour ferry ride and a three-hour drive across the narrow point of Vancouver Island, which takes you up and over a mountain range. Once in Tofino, you'll want to maximize your time there as much as possible.
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Dec 28th, 2017, 11:00 PM
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Tofino to Calgary is otherwise a 16-hour 1250 km (780 mi) drive, and that doesn't include stopping for gas or lookouts or for food.
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Dec 30th, 2017, 03:10 PM
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Thanks Robyn. I am also interested in the Rockies. I guess it is advisable to combine the Rockies and Tofino into one trip if I have three weeks' time. If I am taking up the Rockies on its own, how much time should I budget for?
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Jan 1st, 2018, 02:34 PM
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The drop fee might be big, but what about flying to Calgary, picking up the car and driving to vancouver, then on to Tofino.
On the return there is no point in my opinion to drive back to Calgary. You could drop the car in Nanaimo or Comox and fly back , or take the ferry and drop the car in Vancouver and fly from there.
I spent three weeks just driving from the coast to/from Calgary a couple of years ago. It depends on how much you want to see.
But you don't have time to drive both ways and go to Tofino for any length of time. You would spend most of your three weeks in the car.
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Jan 1st, 2018, 02:38 PM
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And Middle beach lodge is fine. The beach there is very calm. Chestermans and Cox Bay have bigger waves, but are also more expensive. You could look at condos/houses as well, with kids it is nice to have a kitchen sometimes.
Tofinovr.com and VRBO.com
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Jan 3rd, 2018, 07:21 AM
  #10
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Appreciate the input. Quite like the idea of flying to Calgary, picking up the car, driving to Tofino, and then flying back to Toronto from either Nanaimo or Comox.

Have never rented a car for long-distance driving before. So not familiar with the difference between a drop fee and just picking up a car at Calgary and dropping it off at Vancouver. Could you elaborate? which car rental company do you suggest that I go with? also how to reserve the ferry at Tofino - which seems to be necessary from what I read on this travel website. I am travelling in the last 3 weeks of August by the way.

Also thanks for suggesting the vacation rental properties website. I found Maxwell House - open for the period that I am travelling. Anyone stayed there before? How does it compare with Middle Beach Lodge suite #51 for a family of ?

looking forward to more comments and suggestions.
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Jan 3rd, 2018, 07:23 AM
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oops, accidentally touched the submit button

....a family of 2 adults and 2 kids (10 and 13)?
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Jan 3rd, 2018, 07:52 AM
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You can ignore the following but writing it will make me feel better.

I guess I agree with BC Robyn. The Rockies are beautiful and you will enjoy the trip from Calgary to Tofino. But if it were us (and we have done this) we would rent in Vancouver or probably Victoria and then drive to Tofino, then Whistler, then back to where we started. In fact on Vancouver Island I would probably drive further up the east side to Campbell River and see some whales (just did that a few months ago).

I could well be wrong and deserve to be put in my place but I get the sense that if you had not initially read about Calgary then no one would be talking about Calgary. The mountains around Banff/Lake Louise are spectacular but Whistler is a good alternate choice.

Okay I feel better now.
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Jan 3rd, 2018, 07:54 AM
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Sorry I wasn't quite clear. I would fly Toronto to Vancouver or Victoria to start, then back home from the same place.
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Jan 3rd, 2018, 12:11 PM
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Maxwell House looks good. It is across the road from Chestermans beach, a short walk. I have never stayed there, but know the area well. Middle beach lodge is on a small bluff overlooking Middle Beach. Either would be good if the price is comparable. I assume that you are also staying in a suite with kitchen at Middle beach lodge?

Looks like the drop fee for picking up in Calgary and dropping in Vancouver will be around $300 when I did a quick search. I don't know which company will let you drop in Comox or Nanaimo, and how much it will be, you will have to check with each one. The popular ones are the big ones, Budget, Hertz etc.

One other option. If it is not too costly. Fly to Calgary, spend a couple of days in the area. Rent a car to drive to the rockies, drive back to Calgary, drop the car, then fly to Vancouver. It may be around the same price for a stop over in Calgary as the drop fee, but with four people maybe not. Worth checking out though.
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Jan 6th, 2018, 07:51 PM
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Thanks for the comments. Maxwell House is cheaper. The Middle Beach suite I reserved has a kitchenette only and is more expensive.

I understand a little better about the drop fee now. How do you search for drop fee only? I searched for one way car rental and it is very expensive but the price does not quote drop fee separately.

One of the reasons that I want to travel through the Rockies is that I have a friend who did this trip with his family last year and they reported good experience. I only plan to drive through the Rockies but actually spend some time in Tofino so it would both gives us something to do (the Rockies) and spend time relaxing (Tofino). But I must say I feel the organizing of airline tickets, accomdation, route planning, car rental are all starting to feel a bit too daunting...

I do appreciate all the input I received so far. It helps me sorting out the details but by bit. So thank you all.
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Jan 7th, 2018, 06:41 AM
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You may know this but on most car rental sites there is a little box that you can tick “Returning to a different location”. In this case you would tick that box and then put Vancouver or wherever in the return location box.

I just tried that with Hertz - starting in Calgary and returning the car in Vancouver. $1500 for a week next April for a Toyota Corolla. So I don’t know what the drop off fee is but that is kind of irrelevant if I know the total price.
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Jan 7th, 2018, 07:30 AM
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This is fun. On Budget they did not offer a "return to different location" option. At Enterprise they did list a $306 drop off fee, as Live42day found above, although they had me returning the car to both Calgary and Vancouver.

You might want to phone and verify whatever you come up with online.
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Jan 8th, 2018, 08:35 AM
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Sometimes the only way I can figure out a drop fee is to do a comparison of how much to return to same location as opposed to a different one. In my case it worked out to the $300 as mentioned above. I would try calling the car rental company, but find booking on line is always cheaper. It is usually cheaper to drop in major cities too. I rented through Costco for our trip to the USA and found them much cheaper and will pick up in Palm Springs and drop in Phoenix for no problems When I use Costco for this rental however. Calgary, Vancouver, there is a difference of 1200 for a drop fee. Which surprises me because I am sure many people do this. I would correspond directly with rental companies to find the best way to do this
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Jan 8th, 2018, 11:50 AM
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A couple of comments...

Whistler is pretty, but it is certainly not anywhere near being an equivalent alternative to the Rockies. The coastal mountains are quite different and on a far smaller scale than the Rockies.

With three weeks, I agree that choices have to be made. We generally suggest a minimum of a week in the Rockies. You can drive across BC in two days, but without a chance to see much. You also don't want to be dealing with a car in Vancouver.

As such, I'd agree that it would make the most sense to do the Rockies out of Calgary, then fly to Vancouver Island. Then you could do Vancouver and fly home. No one way rentals, and usually open jaw tickets are no more expensive than round trip.

Note than August 18-20 is a holiday weekend, and often the busiest weekend of the summer. You need to book accommodation well in advance for that period, and it's usually best to stay put for the weekend (places may not even accept partial weekend bookings until much closer to the date).
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Jan 8th, 2018, 06:43 PM
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Kgsneds. August 18-20 is not a holiday in BC. Are you from the Yukon?
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