Grand Canadian Rockies

Trip Code: SSKK

Why we love it

Sit back and enjoy the Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Banff, one of the most scenic drives on earth, without the hassle of driving., Head to Whistler to learn more about First Nations history at the Squamish Lil'Wat Cultural Centre – the first of its kind in Canada., Ride a canoe to an outpost of Sun Peaks and enjoy a four-course meal in the style of the old fur traders., Experience the seasonal moods and beauty of Lake Louise for yourself and cross off one of those must-see bucket list experiences., Keep your eye on the roadside for extraordinary wildlife like elk, black bears, grizzly bears, eagles, Rocky Mountain goats, and – if you're lucky – beavers, wolves and moose.

Is this trip right for me?

This trip covers a lot of ground, as Canada is a huge country. Please be prepared for some long days of driving. The drive between Sun Peaks and Jasper, for example, takes around six hours.

You'll be spending a lot of time in a van with other travellers. Free space is limited, especially if the group is full. This is all part of the adventure though and you might even make some long-term friends.

As we're travelling through the mountains, the weather can be unpredictable. We advise wearing layers at all times of the year in case conditions change during the day. At night the temperature can really drop, so make sure you have warm clothing with you.

In summer, especially in July and August, be prepared for insects. This is mosquito and black fly season so it's important to bring insect repellent, which will help prevent you from being bitten.

Canada is becoming increasingly popular, and this increase in visitors is putting a lot of pressure on accommodation. As a result, it can be difficult to strike a balance between price, location and quality and we sometimes have to sacrifice one for the others. There may be times when your hotel is a little way out from the centre of town. At other times it may be a bit simpler than what you are expecting. Your accommodation will still be clean and comfortable, however, and if you are located slightly out of town your leader will assist in shuttling you back and forth.

Important information

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1 in Vancouver. This trip ends in Calgary on the morning of Day 10.
2. A single supplement is available on this trip.
3. Please note that the legal drinking age in the US is 21 and in some parts of Canada it's 19.

What to bring/pack

LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS:
All luggage is carried in trailers or inside the vehicle so please don't bring more than one medium-sized bag, backpack or suitcase (20kg maximum) per person. Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. A small daypack and camera may also be carried inside the vehicle., As well as your underwear, toothbrush and other items you always need to pack for travel, below are some items that you specifically need for this trip.

ESSENTIAL:
- Reusable water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. Tap water in the US and Canada is safe to drink and there are many places to fill up along the way, so please save plastic by bringing your own water bottle.
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
- Clothing you can layer. You may encounter a wide variety of temperatures en route due to altitude and unforeseen weather conditions - so be prepared! Make sure to pack a warm fleece and a waterproof jacket. We suggest you check the expected temperatures en route and bring clothing that you can layer.
- Closed-in shoes. If you are planning on doing any hiking during your trip we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment.

RECOMMENDED:
- Power adaptor
- Insect repellent
- Spare camera battery. You should have access to electricity to charge your battery most nights, but it is always a good idea to carry a spare.
- Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, anti-diarrhoeal, antibacterial gel, wet wipes, bandaids/plasters etc.

OPTIONAL:
- Travel pillow if you like to sleep during long drives
- Reusable coffee cup such as a travel mug or KeepCup if you are a coffee drinker. Not only is it much better for the environment, but many places in the US and Canada also give a discount for bringing your own cup.
- Ear plugs to guard against a snoring room-mate
- A good book, a journal or an Ipod for the long drives.
- Swimwear
- Head torch

Physical rating

 
2

We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest.

Joining your group

Inn At The Quay, 900 Quayside Dr, New Westminster, BC V3M 6G1, Canada, Vancouver, CANADA

Joining instructions

Taxis are available at taxi stands located on Level 2 of the Domestic and International Arrivals Area at YVR. Travel time to the hotel is about 40 minutes, depending on the time of day, and will cost around $55. Public transportation is available, but schedules will vary, so it is reccomended to check the SkyTrain and bus schedule closer to your departure. www.translink.ca/Schedules-and-Maps/SkyTrain/SkyTrain-Schedules

Finishing your trip

Ramada Plaza Calgary Downtown, 708 8th Avenue SW, Calgary, T2P 1H2, CANADA, Phone: +1 4032637600

The quickest way to get to Calgary Airport is to take a taxi. This costs approx. CA$45 and takes about 15 minutes.

You can also reach the airport by bus, by walking approximately 1km to 625 Centre Street, and then taking the Red Arrow bus north to Calgary Airport. The bus costs approx. CA$31 and takes 30 minutes, but it is not very frequent. For schedules see redarrow.ca.

708 8th Avenue SW, Alberta, Canada T2P 1H2

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 

Lunches included: 1

Dinners included: 1

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

Climate & seasonal information

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below.

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please contact our operations base on 1-800-786-8735 (toll free in the USA and Canada) or +1 707 523 1800 (office hours).

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

POLICE AND AMBULANCE
In case of an emergency, local authorities can be contacted by calling 911 – this is the toll free phone number for the police, fire department and the ambulance in the USA and Canada. In case of doubt, call the operator on 0.

BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES
For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at:
http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/contact-us

CRISES AND EMERGENCIES
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local ground representative on the number below (remember to drop the +xx country code if you are calling from within the country):

Intrepid’s Local Operator: +1 902 903 2038

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

ACCOMMODATION IN CANADA
Canada is becoming increasingly popular, and this increase in visitors is putting a lot of pressure on accommodation. National Park towns such as Jasper and Banff are unable to build more hotels due to building regulations aimed at protecting the ambience of the parks. As a result, accommodation is getting more expensive each year, and although we contract a long way in advance, it is also getting increasingly difficult to secure bookings. At times it can be difficult to strike a balance between price, location and quality and we sometimes have to sacrifice one for the others. There may be times when your hotel is a little bit out from the centre of town. At other times it may be a little bit more simple than what you are expecting on a Comfort trip. Your accommodation should still be clean and comfortable however, and if you are located slightly out of town, your leader will assist in shuttling you back and forth.

Transportation

FLEET
Our large fleet of vans are fully equipped with dual air-conditioning system, V8 engines and any camping or cooking equipment needed for your trip. Most have cloth-upholstered seats and carpeted interior with radio/tape or CD players. Your baggage is transported in a trailer which is towed behind the van.

The vans are regularly serviced in our own maintenance facility and continuously checked and serviced by a well established network of maintenance and service facilities throughout the continent. However, unforeseen maintenance problems can still occur while on the road and we appreciate the patience of our travellers as we make necessary repairs as quickly as possible.

DRIVING TIMES
All driving times mentioned in our itinerary are intended as a guide only and represent an estimated driving time - not including lunch stops, fuel stops, photo stops, traffic congestion, adverse weather conditions or any last minute alterations to the itinerary for any unforeseen circumstances. Please note that there are some long driving days on this tour - we'll have some starts as early as 7am and late arrivals at our final destination, sometimes after dark). As always, your group leader will make stops for viewpoints, short walks and lunch/rest breaks to help break up the journey.

We recommend you are fully prepared for these long travel days by reviewing our notes and indicated drive times. Some travellers prefer to bring pillows on board for added comfort, others prefer reading material or games and puzzles. The reality is that to get from one fabulous location to another, the distances are great and we like to think at least some of the adventure is in the journey - not just the destination. You'll be on board with up to 12 other passengers plus your group leader so patience and cooperation goes a long way in making this journey a comfortable one.

SEAT BELT POLICY
Safety is our priority and therefore our travellers are asked to sign a document on Day 1 of the itinerary indicating your understanding of our seat belt policy.


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