7 Things to Consider When Planning Your Trip to Western Canada
With Western Canada being so vast, trip planning for adventure travel is a necessity. While visiting this part of the world without any pre-planning can be thrilling, it can also be daunting and it may lead you to miss out on must-see attractions. In order to fully enjoy the beautiful region of the West, you should consider a few essential factors before you embark on your adventure holiday.
Here are 7 things to keep in mind when trip planning for your upcoming active vacation in Western Canada:
Your Fitness Level
Western Canada is perfect for travellers who crave constant adventure and want to be involved in its many outdoor activities. The region offers a wide variety of experiences, including hiking, boating and skiing. In order to get the full Canadian Adventure experience, visitors should try the 6 most popular outdoor activities in this destination. One thing to keep in mind, however, is your level of fitness, as some of these activities can be strenuous. If you’re a casual adventurer, we recommend lighter activities such as paddle boarding and biking, but if you’re a thrill seeker, you can enjoy activities like whitewater rafting and rock climbing.
The Duration of Your Trip
There is so much to see and so many activities to enjoy, that you can easily spend a long weekend or even a full month on this side of the country. For proper trip planning, you’ll want to consider the total duration of your trip, as it will vary depending on how many locations you want to explore. Spend some time researching the areas you want to visit and take note of travel times and recommended activities. If you decide to spend only a short time in this region, we recommend visiting Vancouver, Victoria and the Sea to Sky Highway to get a glimpse of the West, but it may lead you to crave more. We recommend at least 2-4 weeks to really see and experience all that Western Canada has to offer, from desert-like landscapes in the Okanagan to breathtaking ocean views on Vancouver Island and, of course, the Rocky Mountains.
The Timing of Your Visit
Depending on the type of adventures you want to experience, you’ll need to consider the time of year to visit. If you enjoy activities such as skiing and snowboarding, then you’ll want to visit Whistler in the winter. If you prefer activities such as paddle boarding and biking, then you’ll want to visit English Bay in Vancouver or the Okanagan Late spring to Early Fall. Essentially, any time of year in this destination is perfect for exploring but it ultimately varies by individual travel needs. While summers in Western Canada are guaranteed to have more sunshine and outdoor activities, this time of year also brings in many other tourists. Low season in this region, between October to April, will have fewer visitors but still plenty to see and do for travellers who don’t mind unpredictable weather while discovering the land.
Joining a Tour vs Going Solo (Who You’ll Be Travelling With?)
Another factor to consider when planning your trip to Western Canada involves the decision to either join a guided group tour or choose to explore the destination on your own. Fortunately, both ways of travel can be enjoyed in this beautiful and safe region. If you plan to discover more than one location and want to fill your days with adventure travel, join a guided tour, where expert tour operators will lead you off the beaten path as well as handling the logistics of getting you between places. By joining a guided group tour, you’ll meet other travellers, gain local insight and explore the wonderful hidden gems of Western Canada. Alternatively, travelling solo can also be enjoyable, as you get to choose your own itinerary. Solo travel can offer more flexibility and can help travellers get out of their comfort zone.
Equipment & Clothing
Before you head off onto your active vacation, you’ll need to consider what to bring with you. If you’ll be out and about exploring and enjoying outdoor activities, you’ll need proper shoes and apparel. Especially if you’re spending days out in the wilderness, a few essentials will be necessary, such as backpacks, camping tents, sleeping bags, and hiking shoes. If you want to limit the bags you bring, we recommend renting equipment from outdoor supply stores like MEC when you arrive or book an excursion with a tour operator and you will be supplied with all the necessary gear.
With Western Canada being so large, you’ll also need to consider transportation, especially if you’ll be visiting multiple locations. While major cities like Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna will have accessible public transportation, you’ll also need to consider how to get from point A to point B, especially if the destinations you plan to visit aren’t close to each other. Fortunately, there are a number of options available. Travellers can rent a car or motorhome from a number of rental companies but don’t forget to consider the costs related to renting; insurance, parking and gasoline. Keep in mind that during high season you will have had to reserve your vehicle of choice well in advance. Alternatively, consider joining a guided adventure tour and the transportation logistics will all be handled before you arrive.
Distances Between Locations
Distances in Western Canada are vast and tend to be underestimated by many tourists from other parts of the world. When in this region, it is essential to consider that before you embark on your holiday. If you’re planning to visit multiple destinations, we recommend researching average travel time between cities and plan appropriately. If you’re visiting Vancouver for a few days and plan to visit Victoria, you can either take a ferry for approximately 2 hours or fly in the sky with Helijet for 35 minutes. If you’re planning to head to the Okanagan, from Vancouver it will take approximately take 4 hours by car or 55 minutes by flight. If you are driving to the Rocky mountains from Vancouver, you will need to count on at least nine or ten hours of driving time. If you are driving in the summer or over a long weekend, add extra time to your estimate as roads get very busy. If you’re driving during October through March, many BC and Alberta highways require winter tires or chains, and if there is snow this can greatly increase travel times.
When it comes to trip planning, especially for an active vacation, you’ll likely need to factor in your available spending budget. An appropriate budget would need to keep in mind costs related to travel/transportation, hotel, meals, activities, and regular everyday expenses. To save money, we recommend booking a guided tour. The tour operator will receive discounts for booking activities, transport and hotels in bulk, which in the end provides you with a better deal.
When it comes to adventure travel, it’s essential to consider all these key factors to plan your trip properly. By spending time doing so, we guarantee you’ll have a fun-filled holiday that will allow you to experience the ultimate Canadian adventure.