The Banff Travel Plan

Planning a trip is half the fun of travel for me.

I love researching a place, putting together an itinerary and finding great deals to make it happen. We had a lot of interest in our recent trip to Banff, Canada, so I’m sharing our travel plans and details below—hopefully it will be helpful to someone considering a similar trip. If you have any questions about Banff or trip planning in general, please ask in the comments!

Itinerary: I always start with a giant list of all the things we are interested in, then look at them on a map and group things together so that we use our time efficiently. We ended up rearranging our itinerary quite a bit to accommodate the weather though. It snowed when we arrived, so we pushed our hiking plans back and explored around the town and museums for the first couple of days. Once the weather cleared up, we hit up the hikes and scenic spots. The following info was used for a trip in late September.

Click the images to go to an interactive infographic with links. For more information on the activities listed above, click here for a document with hyperlinks.

Budget: We spent approximately $1,800 for one week in Banff for two adults and a baby, including airfare. Flights: $600, Rental Car: $350 (after $90 upgrade from sedan to SUV), Lodging: $400, Activities: $120, Extras: $200ish. We count our normal budget for a week of food and gas at home towards our food and gas on the road, so the “extras” category covers extra food and gas outside of that budget (and all of the coffees and teas we bought to stay warm). We could have traveled for less but we splurged a bit.

Transportation: We booked with Air Canada and flew from Houston to Calgary. We usually fly on Tuesdays or Wednesdays because those days tend to be the cheapest and our schedules are flexible. We used Alamo for our rental car (and our credit card—like most credit cards—covers rental insurance). We upgraded to an SUV due to concerns about snow on the mountains and then we were given a free luxury upgrade, so we ended up with an Audi Q3 for about $50/day. 


Lodging: Hotels in Banff were out of our budget, so I contacted several bed and breakfasts before finally finding one with availability. We stayed at Tan-Y-Bryn, probably the most affordable place in Banff, and loved it. We had a small room with a shared bathroom in the hall. An older woman runs the place and brought us a breakfast tray every morning. It was quaint, but perfect for us.

Food: Food in Banff was really pricey, plus we were traveling with a baby, so fancy restaurants fell off of our list. We stuck to making sandwiches and grabbing fast food for the most part. We did make sure to try poutine and get some maple syrup though!

It was an incredible trip and I hope others will consider visiting Banff National Park! Want any more thoughts on trip planning or on Banff? Just let me know, I’d love to share!


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