We are spending this whole month in British Colombia. The flight from Montreal was about five hours long, just enough to get Baby excited. We were a bit worried about her first flight since we have half a dozen more planned for this year. Having a crying baby on a plane is the last thing we want on a long flight. Thankfully, our little one mostly slept on the flight. We also used our rewards points to fly for free with Aeroplan so that’s another plus…
Baby’s first airport lounge…
Flying within Canada is surprisingly expensive and our flights turned out to be worth $790 at time of booking. Thankfully, we used our rewards to fly for free with Aeroplan. We had accumulated a lot of points with our American Express cards and spent only 25,000 + 163$ per flight, saving us 1,254$ in total. Calculating our return on points, the 50,000 Aeroplan we spent had a return of 2.508¢ each. That is not the most we ever got per point but it is a pretty good redemption. It is always fun to save over a thousand dollars just by applying for one or two credit cards. 🙂
Find your card today and start earning those SWEET miles!
Once we landed in Victoria, BC, we visited family and friends, enjoying the hot summer and beautiful scenery. It did not rain and the temperature stayed above 25°C for our whole stay. After a week we drove North towards Vancouver.
To get to the city, we took the ferry to Tsawwassen. Then, drove to Vancouver where our trip started at Jericho Beach.
The ocean was cold and the breeze salty. The busy port was pretty entertaining. It was nice to look at the huge cargo barges on the horizon. The beach was clean, sandy, and very welcoming. The official parking lot was paid but we found a free spot right on the street, it was easy to avoid any charges and the entrance to the beach was free so we were able to enjoy the ocean for free.
The sky was hazy and grey because of the 566 forest fires currently burning through the province. We stayed safe and out the most dangerous regions but the sky and air quality were definitively indicative of the hazards surrounding us. As you can see in the picture we took below, there was a constant fog anywhere we looked. The sky was dense with smoke, even though we did not notice any smoky smells, it kept the clouds low.
After a few hours there, we drove through the peaceful neighborhoods towards Granville Island, where we people-watched, ate some pastries and gazed at the water-front.
For the next three nights, we stayed at an Airbnb in North Van we found for about $100 per night. It was slightly off the busy downtown, yet, just a short ferry ride or bridge away. On day two, we decided to leave the car parked in our quaint suburb and walk to the city center. We took the commuter ferry, which was only $4 per direction, and got in town in less than 20 minutes.
In town, we explored the ocean-front, walked through Coal Harbour, and shopped for our next million-dollar-Yacht. 🙂
Mid-day, we stopped at an amazing Mongolian restaurant called Great Wall Mongolian BBQ where we ate, as much as we wanted, for only $13.50 per person. The food was barbequed right in front of us, we simply made our selection and they cooked it. We ended the day with a little walk around North Vancouver, a beer or two, pizza, and a very comfy bed.
On day three, we drove through Stanley Park and strolled through Chinatown. After that, we headed to Lynn Canyon Park and hiked amazing trails. Crossing a suspension bridge, stopping at a beautiful swimming hole, and enjoying the giant trees of the region. The sky-high trees were simply breathtaking and the waterfalls complemented the scenery perfectly. I would have gladly paid to see this but, like most parks in BC, it was free! This outing was a great alternative to visiting the world famous Capilano suspension bridge, which has an entrance fee of almost $50 per person.
We then hit the road towards Whistler along the Sea to Sky Highway, for our final stop in Lillooet. The sky was very smoky, we barely saw anything on the horizon, but it still made some good pictures. The hugeness of the mountains around the region was simply breathtaking. One after the other, peaks seemed to be higher and higher.
On the road, we stopped by a crystal blue lake for a little dip, too bad the view was so murky. Because of a little science and a mix of photons and electrons, the waters are turquoise, almost bright blue. Our picture did not turn out that great because of the forest fire smoke but there are some pretty amazing ones out there if you google it.
The place was full of multi-million dollar cottages along the lake-front. We worried that the whole water-front would be private and drove around a few lakes before finally finding a public beach. The access was small but quiet, had a large dock, and an amazing view of the mountains.
After a few hours on the road, we stopped in Lillooet, a small town in the middle of the deep gorges of the Coast Mountains. This little town, home of fewer than 2,500 residents, was a quaint stop to break up our road trip.
After a good night’s sleep, we visited the town’s museum. It has plenty of artifacts, it was the perfect little activity before our next stop.
Midday, we had a reservation to the Fort Berens winery. After a nice wine tasting, we sat down for lunch. We had some lamb, drank some wine, and enjoyed the smoky view. The wine was delightful and lunch surprisingly refreshing, it is worth the stop if you are ever in the area but make a reservation beforehand since it does get quite busy.
After a delightful meal, we hit the road to make it back to the ferry before 5. The drive through the Fraser Canyon was amazing we highly recommend it to anyone in the Vancouver area. We feel blessed that we can fly for free with Aeroplan and travel pretty much anywhere on very small budgets.
Finally, we would like to send our deepest wishes to anyone near the forest fires or affected by the smoke clouds. Stay strong and stay safe, Mrs. and Mr. Xyz.
6 replies on “Fly for Free to British Columbia, Canada, with Aeroplan”
Thanks a lot for the article post. Fantastic.
Thanks for sharing
Thanks for sharing about you trip to BC. Next summer, my wife and I are going to Seattle. We are planning a day trip to Victoria. I have always wanted to visit BC. This post has gotten me excited for our trip.
It’s a beautiful place to visit amd if you are using rewards for your flight, you can most probably get the extra stop for no additional charge.
Those pictures of those mountains remind me of the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina / Tennessee. Both places are beautiful, and while I have been to the “Smokies” a few times on vacation, I have not been to Vancouver. That is definitely on my list as much for the sea life, mountains, and the city!
Your trip reminds me of the kind of trip my wife and I took when we were dating. We flew into Las Vegas, on her points, and drove to the National and State parks of southern Utah. The towns are small, the views, even from some random places on the side of the road are amazing, and the trip itself was quite inexpensive. Granted, we lived in Manhattan at the time, but from that perspective, it was incredibly cheap.
My wife has family in Ireland, and we visited them a few years after that Utah trip. Now Ireland is not cheap; the whole island is priced near NYC prices for anything and everything. But, we were able to manage costs when we were not visiting her relatives, although that alone was huge, by staying in random BnBs that are in every town. It also helped that I can drive manual, but wow, what a set of views.
I hope you don’t mind me sharing, the views from your trip brought those two trips to mind, and we were able to enjoy both places without having to break the bank.
That’s amazing GenX, thank you so much for sharing so much. These trips sound great!