|Self Drive Tours FAQ
West Canada Self Drive Tours
|Q: Why should I book my vacation in advance?
A: Simply: (1) you definately get the tour/accommodation of your choice (2) you save money if rates are increasing during the season (3) you avoid disappointments because if you book late and some tour components may be sold out already. Available accommodation within the national park areas and gateway cities such as Calgary, Vancouver, Banff and Jasper is limited. During events - sample: Calgary Stampede in July most city hotels are sold out by March or April. Similar conditions are applying for travel on the BC and Alaska Ferries (Inside Passage Cruises) Car and stateroom space on ferries during the summer months is usually sold out in February.
Q: When should I travel?
A: May, June, September and October are perfect months for a vacation in West Canada. The weather within the interior is usually stable, warm and sunny. All mountain parks are open and trails are accessible. Rates are generally lower than during the high season in July and August.
Q: Are rental cars/insurances included?
A: Yes, the rental of a compact car (automatic) is always included in the rates advertised. If you prefer an upgrade to a mid/full size car, a passenger van or a 4x4 please refer to the available options in each rate table/itinerary. All advertised car upgrade rates are per car - not per person - and for the entire length of the trip. Our advertised rates are including: all local taxes, unlimited free mileage, full insurance coverage, roadside assistance, 24-hour emergency support and airport pick up charges. If you book a tour including a ferry passage an additional transportation charge may apply for car upgrades because our calculation is based on the length of a compact car.
Q: Do you offer one-way rentals between Alaska/USA and the Yukon/Canada?
A: No we don’t. Government/Insurance regulations do not permit such rentals.
Q: Do you offer one-way rentals between West Canada/USA?
A: Yes, but only for rentals between Seattle and Vancouver.
Q: What if something unexpected goes wrong during the tour?
A: We do not anticipate anything but you can call us toll-free for assistance if necessary.
Q: Do you have any brochures?
A: No, we do not print anymore. The Internet is a convenient way to provide you with information. We have added many details to our pages to make it as easy as possible to choose a certain tour.
Q: How do I read your different rates?
A: All advertised rates are per person. Single = 1 room/1 car for 1 adult.
Double = 1 room/1 car for 2 adults. Triple = 1 room/1 car for 3 adults.
Children rates are based on accommodation of a 2-14 year old child sharing the same room with the adults. We usually provide 2 beds per room if you travel with children or if you book a triple room. Infants below 2 years are traveling free of charge. All hotels are providing a crib for the night.
Q: I don’t really want to follow a daily routing - any alternatives?
A: Yes, you may consider renting a recreational vehicle (camper) for your vacation. This is an entirely independent way to travel, stay where you like, stay as long as you like, completely control your travel budget. Please check our RV pages for more information.
Q: What is the difference between self-drive VS escorted motorcoach tour?
A: This depends on your personal preference. West Canada provides some good and scenic highway connections and driving is very easy. A rental car and individual hotels are an independent way to discover the beauty of the wilderness areas and national parks: You can stop were you want, you have plenty of time for hiking trips or sightseeing off the beaten path and you are very flexible. Coach tours are usually very limited in flexibility because you are traveling with a group and fixed departures times and routings.
Q: What about additional sightseeing options?
A: We provide a variety of optional sightseeing adventures including flightseeing, hiking, rafting and day cruises. If you book these tours in advance you will save about 10 % from the regular advertised rate.
Q: Which services are included in your self-drive tour packages?
A: Please refer to the “Services Included” section on each individual page.
Q: Which services are not included?
A: In general all meals, gas, national park entrance fees, highway tolls, additional sightseeing trips, daily activities and flights to/from departure destinations are not included - unless as otherwise indicated.
Q: What is the difference between superior and first class hotel categories?
A: Superior accommodation (*** Hotels, Motels & Lodges) offering a limited amount of guest services and are located in downtown locations and/or in/near national park areas. All rooms provide private bathroom facilities.
First class accommodation (**** Hotels & Lodges) are providing additional amenities such as on-site restaurant, lounge, fitness facility, swimming pool etc. All rooms are with a private bathroom. Most establishments are located in prime downtown locations or within national parks.
Q: Do you provide more detailed tour itineraries?
A: Yes, we do. After receiving the required deposit we will forward a detailed routing, maps and other important tour information for pre-planning purposes. Note: we will not forward any further information before a reservation is confirmed and paid for.
Q: Should I compare rates on the Internet?
A: Yes definitely. You will notice sooner or later who is serious with his promises or who is “blowing hot air“ because meanwhile almost everyone claims that he/she either has the largest selection or most affordable tour program - just for you. Compare the actual rates and ensure they are current because some web sites are not updated for years, check all services included, look for hidden charges such as reservation or ticketing fees and of course - taxes - and than make the decision of your choice.
Q: Could I organize the same tour package by myself for less money?
A: Probably not but you can certainly try. (1) Tour operator and corporate identities are generally receiving much lower rates than an individual person or a travel agent because they buy tour products in large quantities. (2) You must definately spend a significant amount of your time to find the right products on the web or in tourism publications (3) You must call or email a significant amount of supplier to echange rate/availability requests its time consuming and sometimes frustrating (4) You have no guarantee at all to receive the product booked. In addition you will notice very often that rates don’t include mandatory taxes or service charges of up to 17 % etc. (5) You still need professional advise from people who know the country to plan your vacation and get familiar with area attractions of the entire tour (6) You must book all tour components such as rental cars, ferries, hotels etc. seperately one-after-another (7) You must pay/guarantee each service individually and far in advance (8) You can certainly copy our itineraries to begin with - but you still need to organize it (9) if you compare our rates please use the same services and hotel categories.
Q: I like to spend more time in a particular area. Can I change the routing?
A: Most of our tours are flexible and we can add or exchange nights in destinations to suit your timetable and preferred routing. Thus, sometimes it will be necessary to observe ferry schedules in order to match certain dates and/or departures.
Q: Can I fully customize itineraries?
A: Yes, you can. Please provide us with the following details: (1) Length of Tour (2) Type of Car (3) Number of Travelers (4) Type of Accommodation (5) Ferry Passages if desired (6) Travel Dates (7) Your Budget (8) Routing. If we receive all information requested we will mail you a sample itinerary without daily destination descriptions for your approval.
Q: Do you reserve any flights for me?
A: No. Please contact the airline of your choice directly or check our online flight reservation database and reserve the flight/rate of your choice.
Q: Any advantage of booking with a “long time” resident company?
A: Not really. Most residents are traveling less than you self. Compare the rates and services and make your decision.