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Honeymoon mid September

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barbados
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Honeymoon mid September

Hello - I am just trying to book our honeymoon trip, leaving on 10th September from Barbados to Vancouver. We are then hoping to get the rocky mountaineer to ? and stay in a cabin for 6 days and then flying to Toronto to visit Niagara. Firstly am having trouble finding accommodation (unfortunately we couldn't book trip earlier due to work commitments). All the "cabins" I have seen recommended here don't seem to have any vacancy other than the odd day except Castle mountain chalets which only have 3 not particularly glowing reviews! Could anyone recommend hotels that would have nice views/real wood fires/honeymoon suites (max budget say CAD300-ish) etc if we can't get a cabin - we were looking at Banff but don't mind where we stay i.e. Jasper/Banff/Lake Louise as we will be hiring a car - also we need to fly from Calgary so would we be best staying in Calgary the night before the flight to Toronto or try and drive there on the day of the flight (also not yet booked!). Also, we cannot book the rocky mountaineer until we know where we are staying I guess?! Also, as we are coming from Barbados we don't really have any winter clothese - what is the minimum we could get away with i.e. maybe buy a jacket - could we get some clothes reasonably priced in Jasper/Banff etc - we wouldnt be able to get anything before as our flight to Vancouver does not land until 10.42 pm and we would hopefully be on the train the following morning at 7.00 am. Thanks for any suggestions - sorry post is so long.

Calgary, Alberta...
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1. Re: Honeymoon mid September

Hello yodacat,

Congratulations on your marriage or forthcoming marriage.

First of all, I believe you are making a tragic mistake by not spending any time in Vancouver. Even if you are exposed to seascapes all the time and don't think you need more of the same when you go away on vacation, Vancouver is different from what you're used to. Vancouver's juxtaposition of mountains and oceans, combined with temperate rainforests, is very special.

My own opinion is that it takes three days to do justice to Vancouver, but please do consider spending at least one day there. That would enable you to enjoy 1,000-acre Stanley Park, funky Granville Island and Yaletown.

It also would enable you to go to Mountain Equipment Coop or some such store and buy jackets that would be suitable for the mountains.

I also believe you are making a mistake by planning to spend six nights in one spot in Banff and Jasper National Parks. Even if you stayed in only one place, you almost certainly would drive nearly the full distance to the other place on a day trip. In that case, since you have enough time to do so, you might as well transfer to the other spot so that you can do justice to it and explore its environs.

For example, look at my advice to Lettermac in this thread:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g181775-i2305-k231…

If Lettermac follows my advice, he'll do a day trip along the Icefields Parkway, the beautiful route that connects Lake Louise and Jasper. However, because of time constraints, he may not actually reach Jasper. Even if he does get as far as Jasper, he'll be forced to turn around and drive back to his Banff base for the night. He simply won't have a day or two to visit lovely places in Jasper National Park like Maligne Canyon, Maligne Lake, Mount Edith Cavell, etc.

Similarly, a person who was based in Jasper would be able to do a day trip down the Icefields Parkway and, if they were lucky, they'd get as far as Lake Louise. However, they'd have to turn around and drive back to their Jasper base for the night. They wouldn't be able to see other things in Banff and nearby Yoho National Parks, e.g., Moraine Lake, Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake, Johnston Canyon, etc.

If you accept my advice to spend another night in Vancouver and to split your time in the mountains between Banff and Jasper National Parks, you could catch the Rocky Mountaineer to Jasper, spend a couple of nights there, drive to Banff, spend about three nights there, and then fly out of Calgary.

There are so many acceptable accommodations in Jasper, I'd be surprised if you couldn't find anything for September. Have you tried Becker's Chalets, Pine Bungalows, Jasper House Bungalows, Alpine Village, Patricia Lake Bungalows, Pyramid Lake Resort, and Jasper Inn? If you try to find two nights' accommodation, you might have better luck than if you try to find six nights' accommodation.

In Banff National Park, you could try Baker Creek Chalets and Paradise Lodge & Bungalows in the Lake Louise area and Buffalo Mountain Lodge in Banff. Again, three nights' accommodation might be easier to find than six nights'.

Calgary, Alberta...
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2. Re: Honeymoon mid September

About the weather you might encounter in the Rockies. According to the Weather Underground web site's trip planning feature, Banff has had the following temperatures in your date range during the last four years:

Average daily high : 60 deg F (about 15 deg C)

Average nightly low : 37 deg F (about 3 deg C)

Highest high : 80 deg F (about 25 deg C)

Lowest low : 27 deg F (about - 3 deg C)

I don't know if you would experience temperatures around the freezing point as very cold. Around here we don't think of that us unduly cold. For us, and maybe for you too, a sweater (jumper), topped by a waterproof outer shell if it's raining, would be enough. A garment that is very practical is a synthetic fleece jacket. It dries quickly if it gets wet.

It would be good if your jacket had a hood. Failing that, it would be good to have a warm cap. Gloves also would be good to have.

You need lightweight hiking boots or, at a minimum, what we call running shoes. I don't know what you call them. Maybe trainers?

You'll find that restaurants in the mountains are very casual. You'll see other people having lunch in their hiking boots. In moderately priced restaurants that will be true at dinnertime too. However, people change into smart casual attire for evening meals in expensive mountain restaurants.

Calgary, Alberta...
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3. Re: Honeymoon mid September

You need to give some thought to the timing of your flight from Calgary to Toronto.

To catch a domestic flight from Calgary, you need to leave Banff 4 hours before your flight's departure time. (Folks who are catching international flights need to leave Banff 5 hours before their flights' departure times.) If your flight left Calgary at noon, you'd be able to spend the previous night in Banff. If you had a morning flight out of Calgary, you'd pretty much need to spend the previous night in Calgary.

The flight from Calgary to Toronto takes about 4 hours. However, because Toronto is 2 hours ahead of Calgary, the flying time effectively is 6 hours. That is, if you depart Calgary at around noon, you get into Toronto around 6 pm Toronto time. If you're going to spend that first night in Toronto, that's probably okay.

If, however, you want to press on to Niagara that first night, a 6 pm arrival may make for a later night than you'd prefer. Say it takes you between half an hour and an hour to get your luggage off the carousel and pick up a rental car. Then you still have a drive of about 1-1/2 hours ahead of you to reach Niagara. You'd get into Niagara between 8 pm and 8.30 pm.

Perhaps it would be good to stop in a place like Burlington, which is on the way to Niagara, and have dinner there. Then you could continue to Niagara after that, even if it did mean you'd get into Niagara around 9.30 pm.

My point is that you have to choose between comfort at the Banff / Calgary end of that transfer or at the Toronto / Niagara end of the transfer. I personally would want to stretch my time in the Rockies to the last minute. I would avoid moving from Banff to Calgary if I could.

Okay, enough from me. :-)

barbados
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4. Re: Honeymoon mid September

Judy - thank you so much for taking the time to reply in such detail - your advice is much appreciated - we will certainly re-consider our plans in light of your suggestions.