Lake Moraine in Banff National Park Canada

Is Canada Really the Best Travel Destination for 2017?

In Canada, North America by Jurga20 Comments

Canada is ‘hot’ at the moment. Not only did the outcome of the U.S. elections trigger great interest in the country, but also the Lonely Planet contributed to the hype by naming Canada the best travel destination for 2017. But is it really a good idea to travel to such a popular destination, like Canada in 2017? And how to make the best of it if you do?

Canada turns 150 next year and everyone is invited to the country’s biggest birthday party ever. You even get a gift in the form of a free National Park pass in 2017! And while the number of free passes is not limited, the demand was so big that it crashed the Parks Canada website the moment it was made available to order.

Despite of all of this, or maybe just because of it, we are not traveling to Canada in 2017! Actually, we were thinking of Canada for next year, but then we heard about the big party and decided to wait a while.

Canada was chosen as the best travel destination for 2017. But is it really such a good idea to visit Canada in 2017?

Don’t take me wrong. We love Canada and it’s high on the list of our all-time-favourite travel destinations. We are very eager to return and explore more, just not in 2017. Why? We are big believers in going against the flow when it comes to traveling and so Canada did not make it to our travel list for 2017 for the following reasons.

Jasper National Park in British Columbia Canada

Jasper National Park, BC

 

Why Canada did not make our list for 2017 after all

Canada is putting so much effort to promote their beautiful country that it’s inevitable that there will be many more tourists visiting in 2017 than in the previous years.

Take the incredibly beautiful and already so popular British Columbia with the world-famous Banff and Jasper National Parks. Do you really want to have to queue on a hike to the viewpoint of Lake Moraine? Or stand in the traffic jam at every single point of interest along the famous Icefields Parkway? And how big are your chances of seeing wildlife when there are even more people around?

Wild bear next to the road in Canada

Wild bear next to the road in Canada

 

Despite the Canadian dollar being slightly weaker, and despite the free National Parks pass, I would bet that your Canadian trip is going to cost more in 2017. It’s a simple rule we are all very familiar with – when demand goes up, the prices follow. And there is no way that the 136 dollar savings on a family/group pass will make up for this. 136 dollars for a year-long access to all parks in Canada for up to seven people… That’s less than 20 dollars per person, depending on your group size. I don’t mind paying this a year or two later, do you?

Peyto Lake lookout, Icefields Parkway Canada

Peyto Lake, Icefields Parkway

 

How to get the most of your trip to Canada in 2017

But what if you cannot resist the charms of Canada and want to visit it during the year of big celebrations? We have a few tips for you:

  • Book in advance. Book your flights, car rental and hotels as soon as you can. Plan your day trips and other activities in advance and reserve a spot where possible.
  • Avoid the crowds. Use every imaginable trick to avoid the crowds: avoid traveling during the peak season if possible, visit remote (-ish) areas rather than the most popular landmarks, and beat the crowds by starting your day early or staying up late…
  • Don’t forget the free National Parks pass. You can request your free pass to Canada’s parks here.

This is our opinion about traveling to a ‘hot’ destination. What about you – do you look for travel inspiration in the recommended destinations lists or do you rather go for the less popular alternatives?

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Is Canada Really the Best Travel Destination for 2017? was last modified: December 6th, 2016 by Jurga

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Comments

  1. I agree with you Jurga especially after experiencing somewhere like Dubrovnik at high season this past summer. Canada is a beautiful country and one of my favourite destinations too but we will also giving it a skip in favour of destinations where the weak pound is not such a factor too!

  2. Well said! All very valid points for international travellers. As a Canadian I plan to make the most of exploring and celebrating my beautiful country. I also think its still a great time to visit and most places won’t be anywhere close to as crazy next year as your popular destinations like Venice, Paris and London.

    Hope your 2017 finds you off on awesome adventures and enjoy your time when you do come back to visit! 🙂

    1. Author

      You’re absolutely right and I would do the same, Stephanie! As a local you can probably plan around the less popular times to visit and take advantage of the free pass to the maximum. And I honestly hope that Canadian National Parks will never get as crazy busy as the big cities you mentioned! Imagine 20 tour busses blocking the road so that people can take a picture of a bear… 🙂 And yes, we’ll definitely return to Canada!

  3. To be honest, I’m also kind of surprised to see Canada top LP’s list. It’s not like they really need the hype!

    It’s funny: I’m from Minnesota (a border state) and I went to Canada a couple of times as a kid, but it was never a “hot destination” with people I knew. Then I went overseas and found out it’s where EVERYONE wants to go. Its working holiday visas run out every year the same day they become available! And now I live in the Netherlands, where everyone is, quite frankly, obsessed with Canada and would probably *become* Canadian if they could. Is it similar in Belgium?

    1. Author

      Definitely a similar situation here in Belgium, Emily. Canada is very high on everyone’s travel list and an extremely popular destination to move to, so indeed they don’t really need more publicity. 🙂
      I find that Switzerland can definitely compare (except for wildlife), but there are so many Belgians and Dutch who are dreaming of Canada, but who have never been to Switzerland, and it’s so close by. I guess there’s just something about the ‘far’ places that attracts us more. 😉

  4. I prefer to visit a place the year before it gets hot – like how we stumbled across Copenhagen a bit before the whole world seemed to! So, really, the question should be ‘where is going to be hit for 2018’. Funny thing is – I’m betting on Portugal 😜

    1. Author

      That’s indeed a much better approach, Alex, just how does one know what’s going to be ‘hot’ in a year or two from now. 🙂
      When we visited Iceland 10 years ago everyone thought we were out of our minds. When I went there last year, it was very popular all of the sudden and now everyone wants to visit Iceland. As for Portugal, don’t advertise it too much yet – we just booked the trip for next year and prefer to avoid the crowds. 🙂 Although that might not work out completely – apparently the Pope is visiting Portugal in May and they expect lots of pilgrims before and after that…

  5. I wouldn’t be so afraid, trust me Canada is a very very big country and with only 30 million people countrywide there is a lot of space to get lost in. The big cities are always busy so regardless of who voted what you are going to find lineups and lots of tourists, but unlike many cities in the US and Europe the cities are so spread out and spaces are huge that you never run across the usual tourist jam ups. As a Canadian I am so proud that my country has won this accolade but I do have some resentment that as a Canadian I just cannot afford to travel in my own country. It is cheaper for me to fly from Toronto to Europe than to go from there to Vancouver. I have been lucky to travel Canada for business for many years but saddened that I may never see parts of my own country. That lack of population means we have thousands of empty kilometres to explore but crossing those kilometres is brutally expensive for us.

    1. Author

      Thanks for stopping by Faith. I agree with you that there’s plenty of space to ‘get lost’ in Canada, but that space is not where 99% of tourists are going. So the most popular destinations are always going to be extremely busy and pricey in high season.
      Just like you, we would love to explore Canada more, but indeed also for us coming from Europe it has become extremely expensive to fly over the Atlantic. We are traveling in Europe next year too.

  6. Very valid points. I have been one of Canada’s biggest fans for years, having hiked the back country in Banff in 2007 and several visits to my absolute favorite ski resort, Whistler. I’m glad I saw it before all the hype and I will certainly see it many more times! I will also probably wait a couple years. I guess as an American I don’t have to go too far😊

  7. I totally agree with you. I prefer to visit a country when it’s not the peak season, sans the overhyped crowd and soaring prices. These tips are really helpful, I plan to backpack around Canada but definitely not so soon! 😉

  8. I have always wanted to visit Canada and I never knew about it being 150 years next year. It is one of those places that has been on my bucket list for years and recently, I added Manitoba to see the polar bears. Thanks for the tips about traveling there and great pictures.

  9. Great read! Canada is such a BIG country people forget there really is so much to discover there. I think there can be different times of the year to enjoy different aspects of it but it is such a great place! Not to say people are SO friendly

    1. Author

      February?! It will be more skiing than hiking then, but I’m sure it will still be beautiful! Have a great time in Canada, Sagar!

  10. Hey! Just learned about your blog true Secret Bloggers’ Society and am in love. Thanks so much for putting honest reviews of places you have visited. It is very informative. I will be visiting the Toronto/Niagara Falls area this fall. Any chance you have any tips for me?? Thanks!!!

    1. Author

      Hi Sana, thanks a lot. Appreciate your feedback.
      As for Toronto and Niagara Falls, sorry, can’t help you out since we haven’t been to that part of Canada. I just keep on hearing from everyone that the Canadian side is nicer than the US, but that’s all…

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