Travelling Canada

Submitted: Monday, Oct 15, 2012 at 17:25
ThreadID: 98541 Views:1438 Replies:5 FollowUps:7
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We intend spending some three months travelling the west coast of Canada and Alaska next year. Self-drive is our preferred option but the hiring and mileage costs are high.
A second-hand motorhome with the option of re-selling at the end of our journey is one way to go, but we are open to other suggestions. Advice from others who have done this will be welcome.
Thanks, Frank
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Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Monday, Oct 15, 2012 at 18:06

Monday, Oct 15, 2012 at 18:06
Spent 6 weeks over there this year, didn't travel by Motor Home, mostly train, ship and bus with a couple of short flights. The Inland Passage is in my opinion not to be missed as is the Arctic Circle and of cause Vancouver Island, which you can travel to via vehicle ferry.

Heas to see a do and if I was to go I would hire a Motor home but not for the whole time.
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Reply By: Member - Michael J (SA) - Monday, Oct 15, 2012 at 20:53

Monday, Oct 15, 2012 at 20:53

I suggest that you send an MM to Mick O, he has just returned from a tour just as you have indicated..

I am sure that he will supply you with up to date and relevant information..'cos he is a nice bloke and has just got married;))

PS..hope you don't mind me using your name in vain

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Reply By: Mick O - Monday, Oct 15, 2012 at 21:59

Monday, Oct 15, 2012 at 21:59

I've just spent 8 weeks travelling the wilds of BC, The Yukon, North West Territories and Alaska. We purchased an ex Hydro F250 through the auctions in Toronto and a brand new Palomino Slide on just across the border in Michigan. Both are currently on a lot in Canada. It's a good option and one that becomes more viable the longer your intended trip. There are downsides and you have to be prepared to wear mechanical breakdowns, rego and insurance. It would really help having a friend in Canada/USA to coordinate things like purchase, service and registration for you.

MM me a phone number if you'd like to discuss.



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Follow Up By: Kiwibound eventually - Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 09:21

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 09:21
Hi Mick,

We are currently looking to go there either next year or the year following. Can you pls give an indication of what we would be looking at paying for a similar rig or maybe what you want for yours?

We have a son who lives in North Carolina so rego etc would not be a problem.

Happy if you would sooner either ring or em details - pls let me know

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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 at 02:52

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 at 02:52
Good looking rig Mick.
Have to have a night looking over your photos, scenery looks fantastic.

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Reply By: Member - David & Kerry W - Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 09:54

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 09:54
G'day Frank.
We just returned from 6 weeks in Alaska. We did the Inside Passage on the Marine Highway from Bellingham (Washington State) to Skagway and Glacier Bay, White Pass railway, back to Juneau and flight to Anchorage. Picked up a C class Motorhome for three weeks and toured everywhere we could get to. The Motorhome was a pain in the back bit, too big and pretty well useless - although camp grounds are readily available and cheap.

Flight back to Seatac and hired a Jeep and toured Yellowstone staying at motels. If we did it again, and it was a great trip.... the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay etc. are a must, then hire a car and stop at motels, skip the motorhome as too expensive and restrictive. The motorhome worked out at over AUD 200 p/day, the Jeep just AUD 35 plus reasonable motel at AUD 50 p/day.

That was our experience, may not suit all! Send a MM if you want some contacts.

Dave and Kerry
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Follow Up By: RodnSue - Tuesday, Nov 06, 2012 at 11:10

Tuesday, Nov 06, 2012 at 11:10
Hi Dave & Kerry
We are starting our research for travel to Western Canada for next year. Could you please expand why you thought the motor home was "a pain in the back bit, too big and pretty well useless".

There are just 2 of us travelling. When I google vehicle hire motor home / car hire it's a mine field. Same with "camp grounds" so far. Haven't yet googled budget motels. The brochures hotels you get @ travel agents seem expensive :-(

From your experience, did you have to pre book camp grounds / motels before leaving home? I prefer the idea of ad libbing our travel & not having to plan days down to the last detail & pre booking. Would this be to our detriment for accommodation?

If you can, could you please give a web site or 3 that you had a great experience with?

many thanks
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Follow Up By: Member - David & Kerry W - Wednesday, Nov 07, 2012 at 08:57

Wednesday, Nov 07, 2012 at 08:57
G'day RodnSue.

We were refering to Alaska re the m/home. No small campervans available so the 22ft monster was the only option. In Alaska camp sites were easy to find and reasonable.

Can't comment on western Canada regarding m/homes or camp spots. We visited BC and Alberta couple of years ago mainly staying with friends. We stayed in motels in the popular areas like Banff and Lake Louise and that was expensive. A motor home might be best to ensure a bed every night, but again not a cheap alternative! You may be able to rent a smaller campervan in Canada - we only tried renting in the US.

For car hire try they are in UK i think really good rates for International travellers - we have used them a couple of times.

We only pre book essentials like air travel and particular tours like Glacier Bay etc. Basically we don't overplan and travel in our own time.

Send a MM if you want to leave your phone number or email for further discussion.

Cheers D&K

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Follow Up By: RodnSue - Wednesday, Nov 07, 2012 at 20:05

Wednesday, Nov 07, 2012 at 20:05
Hi David & Kerry

A 22ft motor home is certainly a monster.
I would hope that we can get a smaller motor home. (We travelled Tassie several years ago in a rented campervan & found the experience & small confines OK - be it only for 10 days & not 5 -6 wks though)

I'm not sure how far we'll travel into Alaska.
We may just do the inside passage cruise only which will be pre booked when booking flight tickets.

Your comments on cost of motels @ Banff & Lake Louise is certainly very helpful towards making decisions re car & motels or motor home. We're like you in liking to travel at our own pace.

I will be checking out that car hire place.

Unfortunately I can't send you an MM as we aren't financial members. Due to security I'm not willing to post our email here on the forum.
I thank you both very much for your thoughts & for taking the time in replying.

Cheers & happy travels where ever you go next
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Follow Up By: Member - David & Kerry W - Thursday, Nov 08, 2012 at 08:16

Thursday, Nov 08, 2012 at 08:16
G'day RodnSue.

We did the 8 day Inside Passage tour with Alaska Adventure Tours. Try to get on to Carol Pipgrass on 1 907 235 7099 she is the rep for AK Ferries. Really good lady to work with, great tour. Try

Cheers from us, D&K
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Follow Up By: RodnSue - Thursday, Nov 08, 2012 at 10:58

Thursday, Nov 08, 2012 at 10:58
Many thanks David & Kerry
I have spent the past 2 hrs looking at various web sites including that Inside passage tour. It looks way more interesting than the standard larger cruises on offer, so thank you for the links.

Lots of research & reading & planning.
It gives me an excuse for a rest day away from the garden :-) not that I have to justify it to my other half since retiring from shift work 6/12 ago.
many thanks again
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Reply By: Member - Min (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 12:22

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 12:22
Hi Frank,
I would second the Marine Highway. It's quite a few years ago that we did it but it was fun and you can even camp on the back deck (overhead heaters). You just have to grab a banana chair smartly. We took the soft option and got a cabin. Remember that you can't drive into Juneau, only access is by sea or air. We hired a car there and stayed in a B&B out of town and our room overlooked the Mendenhall Glacia. We also spent a few days in Haines (out of town again) but got caught out by not hiring a car in advance. No matter, our B&B supplied bycicles which we used to get to wonderful walking trails. We were able to get a car on the last day. We went to Skagway by water taxi from Haines and travelled on the wonderful rail trip following the route of the gold miners.

The weather closed in at Glacia Bay so we didn't get our flight there. Another reason to return.

It was very interesting staying in people's homes because we got the lowdown on day-to-day life which would not have happended if we did everything independently. Strike a balance.

John 'n' Min

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