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tetrabit Jun 13th, 2004 03:33 PM

Vancouver, Banff & Jasper..should we skip Vancouver?
Please help! I've done a lot of research from this board and others but I'm still confused! Can't seem to decide whether to drop Vancouver or not (what to see and do)?

We have 8 nights/9 days.

Option 1:
LA-Calgary (staying in LL, Banff & Jasper...etc)

Option 2:
LA-Vancouver (3 nights)
Calgary-LA (5 nights LL, Banff, Jasper...etc)
The biggest drawback is the drive from Vancouver to Jasper (10 hours via Kamloops).

Should we skip Vancouver altogether? We love cities like Sydney, Paris, Rome, San Francisco...and heard that Vancouver is beautiful. If we skip Vancouver, will we be bored with 8 nights in Banff, Jasper, LL area (mountains, lakes...)?

We just came back from Zion/Bryce and after 4 nights at the national parks, we could not wait to get back to Vegas for one night before heading home. We're in our early 30s, LOVE wild animals, nature but also people watching and cities (not into night clubs any more).
Thank you.

bob_brown Jun 13th, 2004 03:59 PM

You do lose an entire day driving from Vancouver to Jasper. And if you plan on taking BC 5, the road from Kamloops to Valemount is sort of boring. Your estimate of 10 hours is close on because you will want to stop at Mount Robson unless it is totally shrouded in clouds. It is quite a view.

This time of year you will have long hours of daylight. You did not say when you were going to Jasper, Banff, and Lake Louise. If it is in July or August, good luck on finding places to stay. Better start looking now.

Banff has the most accommodations of the 3 places, so it may not be a problem. But Lake Louise is fairly limited and expensive. Jasper is the same way and some of the more popular places have 2 and 3 night minimums.

tetrabit Jun 13th, 2004 04:09 PM

Thanks for the reply Bob_Brown. We're planning to go early September. I'm also looking into flying from Vancouver to Calgary to save time. I still need help from people who've been to Vancouver, is it worth going? What to do and see?


Judy_in_Calgary Jun 13th, 2004 04:35 PM

Suggest you include Vancouver. It IS a beautiful city. The combination of mountains and ocean is splendid.

Being a modern city, Vancouver is not AT ALL like Paris or Rome. (We had another thread about that recently.) When one compares it with other modern coastal cities, however, it's right up there amongst the best of them, in my opinion. (And this comes from someone who loves Sydney too.)

Things to see in Vancouver include one of the world's great urban parks, Stanley Park, Grouse Mountain, Granville Island Market, and the Museum of Antropology at the University of British Columbia. The museum depicts the traditional lifestyle of the First Nations people of the west coast. It's outstanding.

Suggest you drive from Lake Louise to Vancouver instead of Jasper to Vancouver. You could see beautiful things en route from LL to Kamloops (Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake, Rogers Pass).

Here's what you could do.

1 - Land in Calgary, drive to Banff townsite.

2 - See Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, either from a base in Banff or by switching hotels to Lake Louise. September would be a particularly delightful time to see the fall colours in Larch Valley, 1.5 miles by foot from Moraine Lake. (The hotel situation would not be as tight in September as it is in July and August. Lake Louise is a 50 minute drive from Banff townsite.)

3 - Drive the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. There is lots to stop and see on the way. Although it's nominally a 3 hour drive, doing it justice takes a full day.

4 - Drive back down the Icefields Parkway to LL, without stopping this time, and then head west on the TransCanada Highway. (The scenery that you see from the Icefields Parkway looks different when you view it from the opposite direction.) As you drive through Yoho National Park, take time out to see Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake. You could overnight somewhere like Golden, British Columbia. (You might even press on to the Best Western Glacier Park Lodge at the summit of Rogers Pass in BC's Glacier National Park or as far as the town of Revelstoke.)

5 - Drive to Vancouver. (The worst case scenario would be Golden - Vancouver, which is 8.5 hours, not counting stops. If you had managed to drive further west the previous day, well you'd have that much less driving this day.)

6 - Vancouver

7 - Vancouver

8 - Vancouver

9 - Home

By driving westwards from Calgary to Vancouver, you would gain an hour when you crossed from the Mountain Time Zone to the Pacific Time Zone just west of Golden, BC. That would make the drive just a little easier than travelling eastwards and losing an hour at the same spot.

I do NOT recommend flying from Vancouver to Calgary! You would need to drive from downtown Vancouver to the airport, check in, wait for your flight, fly to Calgary, then drive 1.5 hours to get to Banff townsite.

Then, once you were in the mountains, you'd have to drive BACK to Calgary in order to fly home (1.5 hours if you were returning from Banff, 2.5 hours if you were returning from Lake Louise, 5 hours if you were returning from Jasper).

I've calculated this itinerary for people many times, and I figure the most efficient way of doing this trip is to fly into Calgary, drive from Calgary to Vancouver, and then fly out of Vancouver (or vice versa).

Hope this helps.

bob_brown Jun 13th, 2004 07:27 PM

The added cost for dropping a car rented from the Calgary airport in Vancouver ar the International Airport is $852.75 Canadian. I just priced two options with Herz and the exact figures are below.

Air Canada will fly 2 people from Calgary to Vancouver for about $300, which I presume to be in US dollars since I priced it on Expedia.

$852 C is about $620 US. So driving to Vancouver is about $300 US dollars more expensive than flying. True getting into town from the airport will cost something. Perhaps $50 US? Which is about equal to the cost of the gas it would take to make the trip.

So the economy of driving eludes me.
Someone will have to show me more figures before I buy that logic.

For my trip this summer, I priced a Ford Taurus from Hertz (actually cheaper per week than a Focus). One option was to pick up from and return the car to Calgary International Airport. The other option was pick up in Calgary and return in Vancouver at the International Airport.
The Calgary - Calgary cost was $558.95 C
The Calgary - Vancouver cost was $1411.70 C.
That is a difference of about $850 C.
Same vehicle. Same dates.

taggie Jun 13th, 2004 08:00 PM

I'll stay away from logistics, and just tell you that it would a shame for you to skip Vancouver.
It is one of most beautiful cities in the world (some would say THE most beautiful), with a fabulous combination of mountains/ocean/urban areas. After the 2010 Winter Olympics, when the world will get a look at what Vancouver has to offer, it's going to be even more popular as a destination.
Lots to see and do - Stanley Park, Grouse Mountain, Capilano Bridge, Storyum, Museum of Anthropology, Granville Island Market, Whistler....

Try a search on this forum to find other threads on the city.
It would be a shame to come up here and not see it.

The drive over the Rockies between Vancouver and Calgary is absolutley beautiful. However, if you are in the Bnaff, LL and Jasper areas you will see lots of mountains, so that may support the flying option.
The drive, though, allows you to see a number of different mountain ranges, each different from the other.

Judy_in_Calgary Jun 13th, 2004 09:02 PM

Bob, that's an interesting comparison between the cost of renting a car in Calgary and dropping it off in Calgary versus dropping it off in Vancouver.

To be honest, I've never thought about the difference in costs, as I've never rented a car for this trip. As you might imagine, we've always done this trip in our own car.

ANYWAY, once you got me thinking, I tried your experiment 3 ways:

* Pick up in Calgary, drop off in Vancouver

* Pick up in Vancouver, drop off in Calgary

* Pick up in Calgary, drop off in Calgary

I did a random search for car rental companies, and the first one that came up was National, so I went with them.

For the purposes of my experiment, I assumed the customer would take delivery of the car on September 1, 2004 and drop it off on September 9, 2004.

The results were as follows:

Pick up at Calgary Airport, drop off at Vancouver Airport cost C$1,457.09 (US$1,070.88)

Pick up in Vancouver, drop off in Calgary cost C$326.03 (US$239.61).

Pick up in Calgary, drop off in Calgary cost C$355.34, (US$261.15).

I was astonished that picking up in Vancouver and dropping off in Calgary apparently was even cheaper than picking up in Calgary and dropping off in Calgary, so I repeated the queries. I got the same results on the next go round.

I can only assume that the car rental companies receive more requests for the Calgary - Vancouver option than the other way round. Presumably demand influences price.

Judy_in_Calgary Jun 13th, 2004 09:16 PM

Bob, I should have thanked you for alerting us to the differences in prices that could result from differences in pick up and drop off locations. It's a very relevant point.

eznmomma Jun 14th, 2004 05:18 AM

I am also driving from VAncouver to Calgary. I was told that it also depends on when you travel. At different times of the year the car rental businesses welcome one way trips to get cars to another location. It's all in the timing.

ltt Jun 14th, 2004 10:36 AM

however you work it, it sounds like you'd enjoy including vancouver in your trip. personally, after seeing vancouver, i'd drive to jasper first (at least 2 nights), then take the parkway down to banff for the remaining nights.

tetrabit Jun 14th, 2004 12:41 PM

Thanks so much for everyone's replies! And a special thank to Judy who alerted me the National car rental option. Since we'll be flying in from LA-Vancouver (cheapest and better flight times), we will be stopping at Jasper first before driving to Banff and then depart from Calgary airport.
We will pick up the car from downtown Vancouver and dropping off at Calgary airport. Thanks again!! Now, driving makes more sense then flying since we both love road trips. (Unless it cost an extra $500 for drop-off fees.) :)

PamSF Jun 15th, 2004 09:27 AM

I would absolutely include Vancouver. It is a great city.

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