Summer’s over, and winter’s not quite yet here, but November is still a great time to visit the resort destinations of Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta. While this national park hot spot in the Canadian Rockies is certainly bustling in summer and a snow-lover’s paradise in winter, autumn provides some of the best hiking. Here’s where to go in the Banff and Lake Louise area in November:
1. Hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House
This iconic tea house perched on the edge of Lake Agnes above Lake Louise may be closed for the autumn season in November, but the views are open year round. Plus, the crowds of summer are gone! Access this 7 km round-trip trail from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and plan to spend the entire day if the weather cooperates. Hikers can access the stunning vistas from the ‘Beehive’ from the far side of Lake Agnes, which offers views of blue Lake Louise, the Fairmont, and the entire valley. Check the forecast first: if the region is covered in snow during your visit, grab snowshoes or skis from the Fairmont and try a snow hike.
2. Check out the art vibe in Banff
Banff isn’t just about the outdoors. It’s also a vibrant artist colony, with a long history of talented painters and sketchers. If the weather cooperates, check out the view that has inspired countless artists at Surprise Corner (with views of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and the Bow Valley), then head indoors to admire art from the past century at Whyte Museum, located in town. Whyte is run by donation-only, and offers a wonderful gallery as well as historical exhibits detailing Banff’s past.
3. Soak in hot springs:
At any time of year, the Banff Upper Hot Springs are a treat, but in the late autumn, they’re especially welcome. For a low entry fee, visitors can soak all day if they’d like (though it’s not recommended, given the 104 temperature of the water!). Once your fingers are prune-y, drive the short distance to Cave and Basin, the site of the original springs that put Banff on the map (and began the Parks Canada movement). You can’t soak in these springs, but can see the source within a deep cave and the original bathhouse that drew the first tourists to Banff.
Enjoy Banff and Lake Louise without the crowds in the autumn, and while you’re there, note the preparations for the winter ski season and plan your return!
I would like to start this article by saying that I am, in no way, a relationship expert. I’ve had two “serious” relationships in my life, and one of them was a high school sweetheart who I swore I would marry some day. Clearly I was wrong about that one. The point is, I have experience with keeping a relationship going while traveling, but I am absolutely not the authority on the matter.
I met my boyfriend while I was living in Australia. We started dating shortly after meeting, and a few months later we were working together at a camp in Michigan. I was lucky enough to find someone interested in traveling (almost) as much as I am, but not everyone is like that. Here are a few tips on how to keep your relationship going while you travel:
1) Communication is key
Okay, obviously this is a huge part of dating in general, but when you’re traveling it is extra important. Talk about boundaries to keep you both comfortable and happy. If you want to go out to a night club but your significant other is feeling nervous about that, come up with a compromise. Maybe go for two hours instead of the planned entire night. Maybe only have two drinks. Do what works for you.
I am a huge fan of Skype. I think it is potentially the greatest thing technology has given us. I use it all the time, to chat with my sister in Florida or my friends in other countries. Skype is great for checking in with your significant other while you are traveling, whether you decide to do that daily or weekly — it’s up to you! Skype is a great way to stay connected and see that face you like so much.
3) Send postcards
Email is fun, Facebook wall posts are cute, and Skype is awesome, but can anything really beat getting something via snail mail? If you are going to be on your excursion for an extended period of time, why not send your love a care package with goodies from the place you are staying? If you are there for a shorter period of time, why not send a cute postcard? Even if it gets to them after you do, they will appreciate knowing that you were thinking about them.
4) Do not give into temptation
We have all had a few too many drinks. We have all felt the temptation to maybe get a bit too flirty with a stranger. I am telling you right now, kissing a random person at the bar is not going to be worth ending your relationship over. A good way to combat getting into that situation is mentioning that you have a boyfriend/girlfriend fairly early on in the evening to whoever you are talking to. A lot of the time, that will deter them from trying anything with you. Also, ALWAYS make sure to keep your wits about you. Don’t drink too much, and make sure to pay close attention to your drinks. If you are out with a group of friends, designate someone before the night begins who is willing to stay sober and keep an eye on everyone…just make sure it’s not the same friend every time you go out.
5) Take them with you!
One of the best moments of my current relationship was when my boyfriend got home from work and I said to him “Flights to Fiji are on sale for $350! That’s so cheap!” and he said “Okay, if you want to go to Fiji then let’s go”. It was the moment that I thought to myself “Yep, this guy.” If your significant other is adventurous and is interested in going somewhere with you, go together! Traveling together is a great bonding experience, and a good test run for living together (now you know how long they take getting ready in the morning!). If you find yourself wanting to get away from them after a week together, maybe it is just not meant to be. After all, do you want to stop traveling? If you are like me and you plan on traveling forever, and your current person is not a good travel companion, the odds are good that they will not be a good life companion.
Happy Holidays! This year VacationRoost is giving you something extra special for the Holidays: Amazing deals on some of our favorite vacation rentals and lodging! Forget about the jewelry, clothes, and toys, and give the gift of a dream vacation instead.
Reasons of gifting a vacation are many:
- It’s fun to shop for vacation rentals (way more fun than standing in lines on Black Friday!)
- Vacations create memories that last a life time (that great new gadget you buy could be out-of-date in the next six month!)
- A vacation can benefit every member of the family (no more bickering between who got the bigger toys!)
- Booking a vacation property can be a group effort, perfect for family reunions or business retreats
- It’s economical – everyone can contribute towards the vacation rental easing the financial burden of the holidays
- A vacation beats a white elephant gift any day!
Whether you are looking to spend the holidays relaxing by the beach or bundled up from head to toe shredding up the ski slopes, VacationRoost has the perfect lodging to make your holiday vacation unforgettable.
We have vacation properties across the United States, Mexico, South America and Canada in all sizes and a variety of price points. If you’re looking for a winter getaway you can choose from hundreds of ski-in/ski-out properties at one of our 44 resort town destinations. Having a hard time choosing which place to visit? You can browse our sister company’s Vacation Ideas page to learn about each resort, the ski conditions and family activities.
If relaxing on the beach is your idea of heaven, we recommend Grand Cayman, St. Thomas or Puerto Vallarta. We offer homes, condos, beach-fronts and villas with private-pools so the hardest part about this gift will be deciding when you want to surf or sun bathe!
Whether you decide to give or receive the gift of travel, you won’t have to worry about shopping around for the best deals. Our best rate guarantee makes VacationRoost a one-stop-shop for all of your travel gifts.
Book completely online or receive personalized service from one of our Destination Experts at (888) 337-6678.
The VacationRoost Team
We know most people plan their ski vacations around two things: 1) when they can get time off and 2) the snow conditions. While these are the obvious top two factors, there is a third reason that is often overlooked — winter events. Resort towns across America are spending more resources on ski competitions, film festivals and concerts to bring more fun and awareness to winter sports.
We’ve scoured the web and talked with our Destination Experts to find the best events to attend this season (if you can get a few more vacation days!).
- Dew Tour Mountain Championships, December 12-15, 2014, Breckenridge
- SnowGlobe Music Festival, December 29-31, 2013, South Lake Tahoe
- FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup, January 8-11, 2014, Deer Valley
- Aspen Gay Ski Week, January 12-19, 2014, Aspen Snowmass
- Sundance Film Festival, January 16-26, 2014, Park City, UT
- X-Games Aspen, January 23-26, 2014, Aspen Snowmass
- Beaver Creek FOOD & WINE Weekend, January 23-26, 2014, Beaver Creek
- US Open Snowboarding Championships, February 3-8, 2014, Vail, CO
- 101st Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival, February 5-9, 2014, Steamboat
The VacationRoost Team
Ski vacations can be very relaxing: ski a full day on the slopes, enjoy après food and drinks, relax in the hot tub. Repeat. But, they can also be stressful especially if you have not planned one before. Questions like, “do I rent or bring my own skis? how important is ski-in/ski-out? And where can I find discounted lift tickets?” can be overwhelming.
Instead of getting worked up about the details, it can be helpful to start by asking yourself a few questions about what you want in your vacation.
- Do I want to be active every day?
- Do I want to cook and enjoy meals at home or eat out?
- Do I want to visit several resorts in one trip or get to know one resort?
- Do I want to try new equipment?
- Do I want to try off-mountain activities?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help immensely as you begin your vacation plans. For example, if you want to ski several resorts in one trip then Aspen Snowmass or Park City, Utah would be a good place to visit. If you are looking for fine-dining and luxury spas, then Northstar Resort might be the place for you. Looking for tons of off-mountain activities? Jackson Hole, Wyoming has dog sledding, snow shoeing and snow kite boarding, just to name a few.
Once you have an idea of the type of vacation your want our Destination Experts are here to help you choose the best fit for your needs. They know all the deals, where to find the best powder stashes and the resorts with the shortest lines and longest groomed runs. Call them today and they’ll play ski resort match-maker for you!
It’s November and in parts of North America the snow has already started flying. But even if some ski areas are already open you’ve still got plenty of time to plan a fantastic ski season for your entire family.
Click here to see when your favorite ski resort opens!
Thinking about the season in advance and doing some preparation now will maximize your time on the slopes because you’ll be ready to go as soon as there is snow on the ground.
So what are some things you can do to prepare for your family’s ski season?
Go through the ski gear
Now is the time to get out the ski clothing. Check for holes, missing mittens, and cracked goggles. If anything smells musty, toss it in the washer.
Have your children try on everything from long underwear to snow pants and ski jackets. Make a list of what you need to replace. And don’t forget the snow boots – you’ll want to make sure your kids have warm footgear that fits them the first time you head for the mountains.
Get cold feet? Order hand and feet warmers by the case and save money.
If this is your family’s first season skiing, check out this ski gear list to see what you’ll need to buy.
Buy or lease equipment
Fall is a great time to get your hands on equipment for the entire family. Some ski shops offer swap sales where you can trade equipment your children have outgrown for a bigger size. Or take advantage of seasonal lease programs that let you rent equipment for the entire season, with the option to exchange ski boots if your children’s feet grow.
If you buy any second-hand equipment make sure you take it into a ski shop where professionals can check and tune it.
Check for preseason deals
Buy a seasons pass now and you may find the resort you love will give you free passes for your children or day tickets to share with friends. Or if you’re not interested in seasons passes, many resorts offer discount cards that offer a variety of benefits. Check blackout dates and restrictions carefully – you don’t want to get stuck having to pay full price during a holiday week because you didn’t read the fine print.
And if your kids are interested in season-long programs, like racing or freestyle teams, now is the time to sign them up and connect with the coaches to talk about what’s expected.
Book your lodging
Consult your children’s school calendar and plan when you’ll need mountainside place to stay. Making reservations early means you’ll have your choice of condos and can stay in the area of the resort that is most convenient for you (and since getting out the door with your children and all their gear is a pretty big challenge, you’ll be grateful to avoid any kind of commute).
Looking for package deals is another way to save money. Pay one lower price for accommodations, lift tickets, and equipment rental.
Is it a risk to book in advance? In some ways, but if your kids have limited vacation time you will want to make sure you have a place to stay no matter what the weather does. And resorts like Northstar in California have lots of fun non-skiing activities from roller skating to bungee trampolines, so you’re sure to have a good time.
For most people, the first snow brings quite a lot of excitement and joy. It conjures up mental pictures of white-covered landscapes, warm, roaring fires, festive holiday lights and hot chocolate mugs. Unfortunately, after several weeks of the white stuff turning brown on the sides of the road and near-freezing temperatures drying out your skin, those happy emotions are long over. Thoughts of escaping to warm, tropical destinations with balmy breezes, flowering plants, rolling ocean waves and delightful, sunny days fill the mind.
February is a great time of year to break those winter blues. Christmas has come and gone. All the holiday decorations are down and the next big holiday weekend is still weeks away. A break in the cold routine would definitely give you the mental energy to face the rest of winter with a smile. February is the perfect month to steal away to an inviting, tropical destination.
There are many options for the warmth-seeking winter traveler. The Caribbean stays a balmy 82* during the day, 72* at night. Hawaii tops out at 80* in February, but the winds are strongest during this month, which is great for surfing the North Shore. The Bahamas, a slightly cooler spot if a change from 20* to 80* is too much, tops out around a perfect 75*. Mexico averages 82* in February with 9 hours of sunshine a day. If that doesn’t chase away the winter blues, nothing will!
Travel Coach, Linda Barsch