British Columbia

Should I stay or should I go: travel experts offer tips for holiday escapes

Peak holiday travel season can come with its headaches and rewards. Seasoned travel agent Lisa Durby shares her advice for travellers and blogger Elaine Rystead offers ideas for B.C. escapes.

Whether you're chasing sun or escaping locally, planning and flexibility are key for holiday travel

Peak Christmas travel season will soon be upon up. A travel blogger offers three close-to-home destination options. (Home Alone 2: Lost in New York/20th Century Fox)

Peak travel season is nearly upon us, but with the crowded airport terminals and less-than-ideal December weather, some might prefer to just stay home.

For those who aren't deterred, Lisa Durby of Personal Travel Management has tips for travelling during the chaotic holiday travel season.

The smart traveller will have planned ahead and maybe even scooped an early-bird deal on offer by some tour operators.

"A lot of the sun holiday packages that we have, many tour operators will give us early booking incentives, for example by the end of September, so come Labour Day weekend you should have your plans in order," Durby told B.C. Almanac host Gloria Macarenko.

Flexible dates

Avoiding peak dates, which usually begin when schools let out for the holiday break around Dec 20, and flexibility are key for those booking last-minute trips. Durby recommends looking for flights on Christmas day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Locations like Iceland, Ireland and Croatia have seen a surge in tourism in recent years, she says. Taking advantage of regular flights to these destinations offer an off-the-beaten-path vacation for travellers looking for something different.

Elaine Rystead travels extensively within the province and posts her adventures to the blog Local Wanderer. 

Rystead's top three location picks are situated in the Pacific Northwest, all a short seaplane, ferry or car ride away.

Pender Island

At WOODS on Pender Island, visitors have the option to stay in an airstream the comes with a full kitchenette as well as a private mini hot tub and outdoor seating area in the woods.

"We love this spot because it's a magical airstream resort," Rystead said.

"There's a restaurant onsite with exceptional local and organic food."

The resort area also has cabins and motel rooms to rent.

Tofino

"It's definitely well known for the surf, and for the ocean for whale watching, but I personally love Tofino because I love the whole road trip there."

For those who don't have a vehicle, Rystead suggests renting an Evo shared car for a road trip adventure.

Flying in a small private jet or seaplane will get you from Vancouver to Tofino in about an hour. 

Sea to Sky

Squamish and the Sea to Sky Gondola

"You get that really great perspective and get to see from the mountains to the ocean. There's a lot of great B&B's located there, too."

Whether you go all the way to Whistler or stop in Squamish for the Gondola, the scenic drive up the Sea to Sky highway offers a breath of fresh air for locals looking for a quick getaway and a panoramic view of the coast for those visiting from out of Metro Vancouver. 

With files from the CBC's B.C. Almanac

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