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Banff & Vancouver

Brisbane, Australia
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44 posts
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Banff & Vancouver

Hi,

I will be on a holiday in the US from Christmas Day until mid-Feb, just visiting relatives and a bit of sight-seeing, so I thought I might check out Canada as well! The thing is, I'll be by myself and I really want to check out Banff and Vancouver in January next year. My plan (so far) is to fly from Philly to Calgary, then get one of those shuttles to Banff.

As for accommodation, I've been looking at HI Alpine Center in Banff for 2-3 nights, which is reasonably priced and looks decent. In Banff, I was going to do one of those day tours (Banff Tours) which will take me to Lake Louise and surrounding areas. I know there's plenty of things to see in Banff, but if I want to see the basics, is 2-3 nights enough? Other than the Banff Tour for one day, I was pretty much just going to wing it, depending on the people I meet at the hostel.

After Banff, I was planning on catching the Greyhound bus to Vancouver, stay in the hostel (for 3 nights) at Granville and wing it again.

Does that sound ok? I just want to experience/see Canada even for a few days and meet a few people along the way.

Cheers.

Greater Sydney...
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1. Re: Banff & Vancouver

All you will meet are plenty of Ozzies, mate.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g154948-i400-k4751…

Sorry, I cannot help out as a summer visitor only, but I could not resist throwing in that link.

Brisbane, Australia
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44 posts
6 reviews
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2. Re: Banff & Vancouver

Haha sweet. Sounds good to me so I won't feel homesick then!

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: Banff & Vancouver

In winter, I think 2-3 nights will probably be fine, as many summer destinations (Johnston Canyon, Maligne Lake, most hiking trails) are not practical in winter.

I would encourage you to look for a guided nature trip, though - the plus side of winter is being able to see animal tracks easily, even if the animals themselves aren't in sight. A trip out with an experienced naturalist could be very interesting.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Banff & Vancouver

You might want to look at returning to Calgary and just flying to Vancouver. That's a LONG bus trip, and with the potential for delays due to weather, it might be worth going that way around. Check out WestJet as well as Air Canada.

Canmore, Alberta
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5. Re: Banff & Vancouver

You can get from Banff to Lake Louise by the Brewster Bus as well, but of course that is just transportation, not a tour.

The HI Hostel is a nice facility, but do note that it is not in the main part of Banff town where you can easily walk to restaurants, etc. It is located up on Tunnel Mountain. They may have a shuttle or you can take the bus down into town. It is not very far, only a few mintues. I would check on their website for information.

The Greyhound would be a very long trip. I know people who have done it and say they wouldn't do it again. I used to work at the Depot in Lake Louise village where the Greyound came in. In the winter it was hours late so many times.

You're likely going to meet other travelers in any hostel you stay at in Banff and end up totally changing your plans. It's a friendly atmoshphere and that's usually what happens.

Cheers

Brisbane, Australia
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6. Re: Banff & Vancouver

Thanks for the replies so far!

I didn't even realise that HI Hostel is not within walking distance to the town, so I'm looking at Samesun now, which is in the town. Thanks for that advice.

I've been on long plane rides and road trips between 12-15 hours one way and I think I will be fine. I will sleep through most of it and still see the Canadian landscape from Banff to Vancouver. It also works out to be more expensive if I catch a flight from Calgary to Vancouver.

Calgary, Canada
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7. Re: Banff & Vancouver

You can take the ROAM bus to the Banff HI Hostel:

banff.ca/locals-residents/…roam.htm

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Banff & Vancouver

its not the long bus trip per se that's the issue, its the fact that the roads may be closed due to bad weather or avalanche, delaying your journey and leaving you stuck in a small town with nothing to do until the road opens again. Its not usually more than a day or so to get the road open again, but still....

Brisbane, Australia
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44 posts
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9. Re: Banff & Vancouver

Oh true, that's a good call. Looks like I really should just fly from Calgary to Vancouver then. I don't want any delays!

Brisbane, Australia
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10. Re: Banff & Vancouver

Ok, I've booked my accom in Banff and Vancouver but I'm still undecided whether to take the Greyhound bus to Vancouver or fly. I was checking out the WestJet website and one way from Calgary to Vancouver is $190 (Inc tax, etc)! Plus, I'd have to catch a Brewster/Banff Airporter from Banff to Calgary airport, which is around $50. It's going to be so costly. :-(

Does the weather get really bad in January that may affect the Greyhound bus ride to Vancouver? I'm from Brisbane so I've never experienced snow before...