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Ask the Expert: Canada with First Class Holidays

Our latest guest blog is from our partners First Class Holidays, the absolute experts in Canadian travel. Our personal travel experts work closely with the team at First Class, sharing knowledge and experience to create incredible holidays to Canada for our customers. 

Diane has been a Reservations Consultant with First Class Holidays for 10 years and has visited Canada many times. We got all her expert advice on how to create the Canadian trip of a lifetime.

What is your favourite place to visit in Canada and why? Moraine Lake situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Banff National Park, Alberta. The colour of the turquoise lake is truly amazing and the scenery is stunning.

What has been your most memorable Canadian experience? Taking a guided hike up from Lake Louise to the historic Plain of the Six Glaciers Tea House – incredible views and a well-earned cup of tea at the top!

What are your top Canadian wildlife experiences? Watching orcas from Victoria on Vancouver Island between April to October, seeing Grizzly bears feeding on salmon in the rivers of British Columbia in late August to early October, and spotting polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba from October to November.

What would make your ultimate Canada bucket list? Everyone should visit Banff National Park, see Niagara Falls and travel on the Rocky Mountaineer for the trip of a lifetime.

How long do you need to spend in Canada? For a city break, 3-4 nights and for a touring holiday, an average of 11-14 nights. However, it is such an amazing and diverse destination, the longer the better!

East or West? East and West are both destinations that warrant separate holidays to get the best from your trip to Canada. Toronto and thundering Niagara Falls for the East and for the West, a visit to the Rockies for the wonderful, breath taking scenery.

I would include a visit to Vancouver for Stanley Park, Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge and cruise over to Victoria on Vancouver Island for the beautiful Butchart Gardens.

Can you combine both?  If time allows, you can easily combine both for an amazing holiday experience. For something extra special, you can travel on The Canadian train from Toronto to Vancouver (or vice versa) over 4 nights, one of the world’s most iconic rail journeys. Travel in comfortable cabins, mix with the locals and see the Canadian landscapes from a different perspective.

What’s the best time to visit Canada? For skiing December to April. For the Summer months May to September. My personal favourite times are June and September: in June you still often have snow on the peaks and September is wonderful for the early colours on the trees – both give a different perspective to Canada’s famous scenery.

Are motorhome road trips better than hiring a car? What are the pros and cons of each? Both are   great ways to see Canada and offer freedom and flexibility.

For motorhomes the pros are not having to pack and unpack each night, the opportunity to experience campsites in the great outdoors and kitchen facilities to prepare meals – it’s like a home away from home! Cons are that there are only a number of limited depots in which a motorhome can be collected however, these do tend to be in major locations. 

With car hire there is a wide range of depots which allows a greater choice for itineraries, including many options off the traditional tourist trail. While you have to pack and unpack more regularly, parking is a little easier and there is an excellent choice of self-catering accommodation and hotels to stay in from 3 – 5 stars.

Do you need a visa to visit Canada? Yes, a Canadian ETA is required.

What about if you’re on a cruise to Alaska? For cruising to Alaska, you’ll also need an American ESTA.

Any final tips for people thinking of booking a trip to Canada? Canada has been extremely popular over the last few years, especially the wildlife lodges so book as early as possible for the best choice and availability. Make sure to consider the distances when planning your itinerary and don’t forget your camera!

To book your dream Canadian holiday with Travel Bureau and First Class Holidays, contact our team of personal travel experts on 0191 285 9321 or make an appointment to sit down with them in person. Ask Iain for his personal recommendations or pick Joanne’s brains if you’re planning a romantic getaway. Read more about Canada.

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