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Driving in Alberta/BC

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Galway, Ireland
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Driving in Alberta/BC

My husband & I are flying to Toronto Sept 2nd spending 4 nights in Toronto, 2 nights in Ottawa, 2 nights in Montreal & 3 nights in Quebec City then we fly to Calgary Sept 13th, I have booked accommodation for the east coast & 2 nights in Canmore. When we arrive in Calgary I've hired a car for a week. Where are the "not to miss" places!! What routes would you recommend as we want to finish our driving trip in Vancouver around the 19th/20th as we fly home to Ireland Sept 23rd.

Would you recommend booking accommodation before we leave home or could you get hotels/motels as you go?

What's the price of gas? Are there any guidelines for drivers who are used to driving on the left hand side of the road. (I have driven in Spain, Italy & Switzerland).

What is the weather like in Sept? I lived in Ottawa 20 years ago so this is my first trip back, I have never been to the West Coast & am really looking forward to it.

Looking forward to any suggestions!

Calgary, Alberta...
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1. Re: Driving in Alberta/BC

Hello moycullen,

>>>Where are the "not to miss" places!!<<<

I've answered that question on a web site that I've created to provide information about Calgary, the Canadian Rockies, Vancouver and Victoria.

>>>What routes would you recommend as we want to finish our driving trip in Vancouver around the 19th/20th as we fly home to Ireland Sept 23rd<<<

One of the suggested itineraries that I've posted on my web site actually coincides exactly with the amount of time you have. In your case it would look like this:

13 - Canmore

14 - Canmore

15 - Jasper

16 - Jasper

17 - Lake Louise

18 - Kelowna

19 - Drive to Vancouver

20 - Vancouver

21 - Vancouver

22 - Vancouver

23 - Fly home

You can see the details of that itinerary here:

…msn.com/CalgaryandCanadianRockiesTravelTips…

Calgary, Alberta...
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2. Re: Driving in Alberta/BC

>>>Would you recommend booking accommodation before we leave home or could you get hotels/motels as you go?<<<

If you were to be technical about it, you could find accommodation as you went along. In reality you might not find lodgings that you liked or that were the best value for money in a given town. The Canadian Rockies are frightfully busy in July and August. By going in September you'll be avoiding the height of the tourist season. September nonetheless still is somewhat busy.

September used to be much quieter than it is these days. I've noticed that it's grown busier in recent years. I attribute it to the increase in the number of baby boomers who have reached the empty nest stage of life and are free to travel outside of school vacation times.

If it was my trip, I'd make advanced reservations.

If you want to wing it, I suggest you head for the tourist information office as soon as you arrive in a given town, and ask them where there is space. I've heard they're helpful. To my mind that beats driving from hotel to hotel asking if there is a vacancy.

Calgary, Alberta...
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3. Re: Driving in Alberta/BC

>>>What's the price of gas?<<<

It fluctuates, but I think you'd be safe if you budgeted for 1.00 CAD per litre.

>>>Are there any guidelines for drivers who are used to driving on the left hand side of the road. (I have driven in Spain, Italy & Switzerland).<<<

This page of my web site addresses that very point:

…msn.com/CalgaryandCanadianRockiesTravelTips…

>>>What is the weather like in Sept? <<<

The average daily high in Banff in September is +15 deg C, and the average nightly low is +1 deg C. However, over the last 70 Septembers Banff has been known to go up to +30 deg C and down to –16 deg C. The highest high and the lowest low are not a joke. I've experienced temperatures close to both of those extremes.

Specifically within the September 13th - September 17th date range, Banff has had the following temperatures in the last five years:

Average daily high +16 deg C

Average nightly low +2 deg C

Highest high +27 deg C

Lowest low –3 deg C

Vancouver's weather is milder, but there's just enough of a chance of rain that rain gear is justified.

You can use the Weather Base web site to check the weather statistics for all your destinations:

www.weatherbase.com

The TIPS section of my web site has links to pages entitled "Weather Notes" and "What To Pack" (in the context of BC/Alberta).

Hope that helps.

Galway, Ireland
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4. Re: Driving in Alberta/BC

Thank you Judy for your fantastic website! It's very informative. I will have to spend the weekend going through it.

If you are ever coming to the West of Ireland I hope I can send you some useful information.

Thanks again.

Edmonton
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5. Re: Driving in Alberta/BC

Have you visited www.travelalberta.com?? Lots of useful stuff and you can even dowload parts of the Official Alberta Vacation Guide. Very useful. Also when in Rockies, pick up an Icefields Parkway guide, shows where all the lookout points are. There are lots of good hikes, as well as gondolas, hot springs, trail riding, white water rafting to do in the Rockies!