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Driving abroad / Banff Jasper

12 replies

Wigglewhooooop · 08/02/2020 16:03

My daughter and I are off to west Canada in the summer.
I've booked 5 nights in Banff and the last day and a half will be spent in Calgary.

I've been looking at excursions and they are soooo expensive.
Everyone says the Banff to Jasper road should be done so I think I'll hire a car and do an overnight stay in Jasper

I've never driven abroad, nor in an automatic car. Is it hard to get to grips with - driving on the other side of the roed, sitting on the left side. There should be lots of traffic going the same way as it's July and will be busy, but I'm still worried

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keyboardwarrior1 · 08/02/2020 16:16

Driving in Canada is easy. Big wide roads. Low speeds.

Why not hire an automatic car in UK and practice before you go. It’s not hard to change from manual to automatic though. You just need to remember to keep your left leg off the pedals.

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BritWifeinUSA · 09/02/2020 04:14

Driving an automatic car is the easiest thing in the world. It’s like driving a dodger car. One pedal to go, one to stop. No gears. I only use one hand one foot to drive. I often fold the other leg up, like I’m sort of sitting cross legged. It’s a very easy, lazy way to drive. For beginners it’s much better as they can concentrate on the road more, not having to think about gears and clutch. It’s really nothing to worry about.

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nachthexe · 09/02/2020 04:37

I’ve driven it a few times. Cars are automatic. Piece of piss. Use the GyPSy app or whatever it’s called now and you’ll even have a tour guide in the car telling you where to stop and the history of the area.
The glacier tour is worth it. Expensive but it’s a one-off. Don’t bother eating in the terrible restaurant though. And fill up the car before you leave Banff. Shocking gas prices.

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nachthexe · 09/02/2020 04:40

Driving an automatic ruined me for life btw. Grin I just can’t be arsed with manual any more. Grin

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WingingIt101 · 09/02/2020 05:11

Ooh op do it!

  1. Autos are dead easy - as others have said it’s literally stop and go

2. The roads out there are great. Wide and all signage will be English and is clear.
3. We’ve done that exact route and it’s beautiful!
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MooseBeTimeForSummer · 09/02/2020 05:44

I emigrated to Canada 9 years ago.

It’s quite easy to climb into the passenger seat and wonder where the steering wheel is.

Turning left the first few times requires concentration. You can usually turn right at a red light. There will be clear signs to tell you if you can’t. Watch for pedestrians though.

If you go to the Icefield get there as it opens. It gets really busy very quickly once the coach trips arrive. And there will be lots of them.

If you’re going to do it book your place in Jasper now.

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Wigglewhooooop · 09/02/2020 18:35

Thanks, It is just going out of my comfort zone a bit. I have looked at the route and it's super easy. I think it's the staying on the correct side at turnings and roundabouts

I have been driving for 30 years and didnt think twice from driving Exeter to Edinburgh.

As I said I would love to coach it, but you can't get a tour that does overnight Jasper, maligne lake then back. I would have to do 2 nights in Jasper which just doesn't work.

@WingingIt101 @nachthexe what is the road like after the glacier. Is it unmissable or a must do.
I'm only going to Jasper to see the lake and do "the drive"

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Rumboogie · 09/02/2020 20:07

It's quite a while since we were there, but to my recollection there are some fabulous walks off the Icefield Parkway from Banff to Jasper - not to be missed. If you can, hire the car for a bit longer and drive out a little way on the Banff - Jasper road for some of these walks.
Also some beautiful sights quite apart from the glacier. It's worth exploring along this road a bit.

We used a superb book called Parkways of the Canadian Rockies by Brian Patten which I would highly recommend. It has all the info about walks, drives, maps etc. The last edition was 2007, but is still available.

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MooseBeTimeForSummer · 09/02/2020 23:06

If you’ve gone as far as the Icefield its only about an hour to Jasper. The Athabasca falls are worth a stop.

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nachthexe · 10/02/2020 04:46

What moose said - yes, carry on to Jasper - definitely worth it. No point just going to the glacier and coming back to Banff.

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nachthexe · 10/02/2020 04:49

Although - if you are only staying one night in Jasper then you’ll have to get up early to get out to the lake as well. Last time we were there we had to wait a few days as the road was closed due to rockfalls, but it doesn’t happen often. Get out there early for breakfast when it’s a little quieter. Are you sure you can’t stay two nights and take a boat trip?

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Redrosesandsunsets · 10/02/2020 04:52

Follow the car in front of you and take it easy when you drive. My biggest problem is drivers don’t always look out for other drivers like in the UK, where there are smaller roads and more cars and you have to think about other drivers.

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