I'm thinking of taking a 2-week driving holiday in Canada in September, going from Calgary to Vancouver Island via Jasper and Kamloops. I've not travelled in that part of Canada before and was wondering if anyone could tell me what the area's like for motels. There are plenty of small towns en route and I've checked out a few websites. Motel rates seem to vary between about $75 per night and $120-140 per night. Thing is, my accommodation and food budget isn't going to be much more than about $150 per day. Does anyone who's travelled in the area know if I'm likely to find plenty of cheap motels? Also, does that budget sound realistic?
Thanks for any help anyone can give.
If it's of any help, there are several Traveller's Inn motels in Victoria, mostly located on the main route in from the ferry terminal at Schwartz Bay. I'd describe them as motels because they all have free parking (although I didn't avail myself of this). I forget the exact price I paid two years ago but it was no more than $80 per night.
Thing is, my accommodation and food budget isn't going to be much more than about $150 per day. Does anyone who's travelled in the area know if I'm likely to find plenty of cheap motels? Also, does that budget sound realistic?
In BC you should have no problem only the more expensive places have web sites.
What you want to do is get your hands on a copy of the BC Accommodations Guide which should be available @ any Visitors Bureau.
However the Govt agency responsible for producing the book is becoming very cagey about giving it out it used to be that you could order one to be mailed to you, they want to force people to use the net to book with them (because they're taking a cut of the nightly fee)-something you've probably already seen.
But the cheap motels on the outskirts of towns still exist and September starts low season motel keepers will be Happy to see you.
Vancouver Island is a bit more expensive but not impossible.
Have you thought about your route to the coast from Kamloops?
West from Kamloops to Cache Creek a few miles North to Highway 99 Southwest to Lilloet and then up/over the mountains a gorgeous drive-if you like mountain driving.
EDIT- http://www.drivebc.ca/ a mildly irritating site with some decent driving info
[ Edit: Edited on 07-Jul-2009, at 18:45 by SamSalmon ]
Thanks very much, Buzzcock. I'll check the site out.
Thanks very much too, SamSalmon. Lots of very useful info there. I had a feeling that it would only be the more expensive motels that'd be listed on the web. The route I'd planned from Kamloops was Highway 16 via Merritt - but I'll take your route on your recommendation. Thanks a lot.
Stan, I stayed at the Traveller's Inn Douglas Blanshard, about 20 mins walk north of the city centre. Just a warning about the site I booked it through and for which I have posted the link, is that a non-refundable booking fee of about US$5 was payable. I do however think that it is a better hotel than the reviewers on that site have said. There was another Traveller's Inn about 5 mins walk nearer to the city centre and another about 10 mins walk further away from the city centre. I am guessing that these are all pretty much to the same standard so it is probably best to look at the link from my original post if you are interested in staying in Victoria.
Depending on what your into, camping is an easy option too. Quite common in all parts of BC outside of major centers.
The cost of a half decent tent, bag and even a folding cot (if you thats your thing) would still be alot cheaper than just a week in motels.
Last time I went through the Kootenays I didn't have too much trouble finding places for under $60.00.
I also take a silk sleeping bag liner with me always, so I wasnt too worried about when the last time they changed the sheets was. If your in Calgary, you can pick one up at MEC.
Don't get the cotton one, for some reason the guy that told me where they were really tried pushing the cotton, not sure why.
$125/day is very doable.
Are you doing Highway 1?? If so, I can help - and save you some cash. I've done the road a few times and know the stop-offs that are cheap.
[ Edit: Edited on 11-Jul-2009, at 09:14 by Redpaddy ]
Thank, tleb. I may well be doing that.
Thanks for the offer, Redpaddy. I'll be taking 1 until just west of Banff and was then going to take 93 to Jasper - but I may not have time for that, in which case I'll keep on 1 until Kamloops. Any info gratefully received, thanks.
I did Highway 1 as far as Golden B.C. in a rent-a-car. Saskatchewan was a little thin on the ground with a bed - out in the country, but Calgary to B.C. was easy. I stayed one night at a gas station along Highway 1, in a place called Seebe. The gas station was on the right - heading towards Banff. Incidentally, Calgary to Banff by car is well under 1/2 a day. I can't remember the price, but it was very cheap (certainly less than the quotes here) and I got food and a nice bed - just by striking up a conversation about where's a good place to stay. In Golden, I slept in the car overnight just off the main road. The following morning I followed a footpath through the woods (bear signs everywhere, but if you worry about 'em - you'd never have any adventures), washed in a nearby waterfall and carried on.
When I arrived in Churchill (up on Hudson Bay - no way in or out by car - just boat, plane or train will get you there. I did the train from Winnipeg), I had no bed planned either - but found (again) a family gaff that was around $40 a night including a gutbusting breakfast. There really is no need to go for official hotels/motels etc. Cheap rooms are so abundant in Canada - wherever you are. Just ask the locals and avoid the cities.
[ Edit: Edited on 16-Jul-2009, at 01:06 by Redpaddy ]
Thanks a lot, Redpaddy. Very useful info.