A good friend of mine from British Columbia was just in town for a conference and stayed at our place as he’s been doing for the passed couple of years. We’ve also been saying that we want to go visit for a few years, but have never actually been able to act on it. I have not been in over 10 years and my wife and daughter have never been. I have also been meaning to spend more time with my daughter, and with spring around the corner, I am thinking that perhaps a long road trip would make for an epic Most Excellent Boubou Adventure with my daughter (some of you may remember last summer’s Boubou’s Most Excellent Friday Adventure)!
At this point, I’m just really throwing the idea in my head, essentially writing this post in an exploratory fashion of what is possible.
So, why a road trip?
Why not just fly over there and spend more time on location instead of spending a whole week traveling? Why not perhaps doing it by train? Well there are a few reasons (and admittedly I’m not completely arrested on the road trip idea, hence it still being at the idea stage). The main reason I won’t be doing it by train is that I just checked the price, and a standard economy fare for an adult and a child is 1500$, not including meals and sleeping accommodations. Add a cabin for two, and it’s 4000$. So that’s out of my price range. Way out. Finally, you don’t exactly control stops and breaks riding the train, as beautiful as the trip can be. With a 3 or 4 years old in tow, it can be problematic.
Flying over there is also a very good option, and is most definitely the main contender. The advantage of this mode of transportation is that it’s the quickest, avoiding sleeping accommodations for the travel time. However, a large part of the Most Excellent Adventure is also getting there. The idea of spending a full week getting to Vancouver with Boubou, and taking our time to stop and explore a lot of the country together is quite alluring.
Some travel costs math
Let’s do some quick math with information from Google. Airfare is about 900$ for return tickets. That means 1800$ for Boubou and I, 2700$ if mommy comes with us. Google tells me the driving distance is about 4500km. The family car can do about 600km on a full tank of fuel, and costs us between 30 and 35$ for a fill up. We’ll work with 35$ to play it safe. That gives us 7.5 fill ups; so let’s round to 8 fill ups. This means we’re looking at about 280$ worth of fuel for a one-way trip. Let’s round up again, and we’re looking at 600$ return trip in fuel, whether mommy comes with us or not. Finally, and I’m going out on a limb here, we need to account for accommodations, and I’m going to guesstimate 75$ a night for cheap hotels/motels along the way. If I count 7 nights (to account for a possible extra day of traveling), I’m looking at 575$ extra for one-way, 1150$ for the return trip. It totals about 1750$, which is about the same as the 1800$ airfare. It comes to be actually more expensive than airfare if you count meals.
Other costs that should be accounted here are transportation once on location. Doing the road trip solves that issue; we have the car to get around as much as we want. Flying in entails extra costs for transportation, where the most expensive one is probably renting a car. I am not overly familiar with B.C.’s transit system, but using buses might be feasible option, if it’s not too limiting. We do want to see more than just Vancouver; we’d like to see as much of the province as we can. Nonetheless, these costs may well tip the advantage back to driving to B.C. instead of flying.
I am hoping we can stay (or at least base ourselves) at our friends’ places. I’m looking in Kai’s general direction. Yet, there will be a need to get accommodations in places we don’t know anyone, and we’ll need to budget for that. I’m thinking Air BnB will be helpful here. I’m even hoping I can mitigate accommodation costs from the road trip to get there by also using Air BnB, which would mean a stronger advantage on the road trip side.
We want to make it a big Most Excellent Adventure! I would like to be able to spend at least 3 weeks exploring B.C. Throw in the road trip, and we’re looking at a 5 to 6 weeks overall trip.
If we do end up driving it, I am hoping to do it in 7 days, as hinted above. This should require about 7 hours worth of driving everyday to cover the 48 hours Google is telling us it would take. It should be manageable, but I do want to be able to stop frequently to explore a lot with little Boubou. 7 days on the road will probably be hard on her, and I’m thinking 7 hours a day might be too much, even if spread in the entire day. Perhaps 8 days might be a better approach. I’m not too sure here.
I don’t know, yet. I sure love the idea, though. From the looks of it, we’re probably looking at 4000$ and up if we’re to spend 3 to 4 weeks on location. It might be above our budget for this year, but I would like to see how much I could reduce the costs for a long stay, using the sharing economy, friends, and low cost travel tips. Perhaps I can do some work on the side there? But the idea is to spend quality time exploring with Boubou, not to work. Maybe photo work? Travel writing? That’s why it’s still only an idea. There’s nothing concrete yet, before it actually becomes a project.
To all of you who have done the drive with a toddler, or spent time in B.C., and most especially all of you who are from there, and are there now, what do you think? What would you suggest me to do, not do? What would you recommend to lower possible costs? Did you see some horrible mistakes in my early guesstimations? Something important I forgot? Let’s talk!