Family Spending Report: Great Canadian Rockies
We are finally back from our time in the Rocky Mountains. There is something so powerful in being able to get away for a few weeks and enjoy another part of the country. I’m a little new to the whole “Here’s how our trip costs broke down” blog post but I figured I would give it a shot, after all this is a personal finance blog.
Special note: Our kids (who I’ll call Rusty and Audrey, which I know makes me Clark but whatever…) were awesome in the car, in total we drove just shy of 3,700 km and the didn’t fight or argue. This is a great sign for future road trips!
As a note we couldn’t believe how many people we spoke to were planning a trip to the mountains this year. It seemed like half the people we know were going out there at some point this summer.
We had an open agenda, well… open for us, after all we are planners 😉 . We booked hotels in Canmore and Radium Springs (more on the hotels in a second). We left Canada Day and our goal was to get to Calgary and stay with friends on the long weekend before starting our mountain trip in the Great Canadian Rockies. Overall we were gone 12 days,
Gas – $437.50
Getting there was pretty straightforward. As in from Winnipeg to Calgary there was a total of one turn in Regina. This is what our GPS showed us when we got to the perimeter in Winnipeg.
From there we had a straight way to Calgary it was another 750 km.
It’s a long drive from Winnipeg to Calgary, about 1400 kilometres (or 875 miles), and the view is… beautiful and flat.
Something I never really paid attention to is how extremely flat the prairies can be. I found myself humming the Corner Gas theme song over and over again while I drove.
You can tell me that your dog ran awaaaaayyy.
You can tell me that it took 3 days.
I’ve heard every joke, I’ve heard every one you can say….
You think there’s not a lot going on. But look closer baby you’re so wrong.
Driving through the prairies you have two ways of looking at it. The first is the “wholly crap this is the flattest, most boring driving in the history of time.” or
“This is a beautiful amazing view, I can’t believe I’ve never noticed how amazing this is”
In the past I used to go with the first one (I’ve done this drive around a dozen times), now as I pretend to mature, I think the latter. I mean where else do you get to see this?
Hotels – $1,315.65
We booked all of our hotels through Hotwire, via the Ebates website. The total hotel came out to $1,425.65 but with our Ebates rebates it will net out to $1,315.65. Way to go Ebates! (If you are wanting to get started with Ebates and get a $5 sign up bonus you can use this link here.)
The first hotel was in Canmore, and honestly wasn’t the greatest. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Leaving alone the fact that there were pets (which set my allergies off instantly) the cleanliness of the hotel was lacking.
On the plus side, we were upgraded (for free) to a nicer suite when we told the front desk several issues of our first room. Still you don’t go to on a trip to stay in the hotel all day it’s really a place to sleep and maybe have the kids play in the pool.
The second hotel was in Radium Hot Springs. Ideally we wanted to stay in Canmore the whole time like last year (we got a 4 star hotel for 5 nights at a cost of $132 a night, it was amazing!) but every hotel in Canmore that weekend was north of $200 and it just wasn’t reasonable to us.
We decided to take the drive to Radium Hot Springs. The hotel was great, Radium is what I would call a 1 or 2 night stay, we were there for 4 and it was exactly what we needed to unwind and relax. The kids had the pool to themselves everyday and the views were amazing. There was also Invermere pretty close by (10 minute drive) and we made day trips to the town when we wanted a change of scenery.
The last hotel was on our way home in Swift Current. It was a perfect stopping point for us and at less than $100 it couldn’t be beat as a place to rest our travelling heads.
Excursions – $210.55
We did a lot of hikes and things that didn’t cost us anything. It’s in direct contrast from last year when it was our family’s first trip and we tried to fit in a lot. Too much in fact, we had that “Home for a Rest” feeling at the end because of all the things we did.
This year we decided to slow it down. We went on hikes, meandered the various towns. The few things we splurged on was a horse drawn carriage ride through Banff, a day at the Radium Hot Springs and going back to the Calgary Zoo (no matter how old you are, you need to see this zoo, it’s mind blowing).
If you are going to the Banff area there are a lot of things to do like the Gondola Ride, Lake tours, Hot springs, visiting the Chateau and a bunch of other tours that you can do. It really boils down to your budget and what’s important to you.
We bought a iPhone to HDMI cable for our trip, which allowed us to do a few movie nights via Netflix in the hotel. This was a highlight for the kids and it was nice to be able to watch something in the evenings when everyone was burnt out from the day’s activities. It’s a great way to chill at the end of a night. The kids loved being able to have a movie night any time they wanted.
Food – $754.39
Our food budget seems high when I look at it, but not really when you break it down. Our plan when we travel is to make our breakfast in the hotel room (usually cereal if there’s a fridge), make wraps or sandwiches for lunch and then eat out at a restaurant in the evening.
Overall for the total cost per person prepay was $15.72 which for where we were and where we stayed I’m more than happy with. Which is ridiculously affordable considering we had some nicer meals out when we were in Canmore.
If you are in Canmore our favourite restaurant is Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. They have fantastic pizzas and are very good with allergies. Rusty and Audrey were asking to go since we left there last year.
Total Trip Cost – $2,718.09
When I break it down I’m pretty happy with the cost of the trip. Since the largest part was the hotels and we managed to save up for those using the Save the Saving Challenge money I’m pleased with the results.
Had we done it the more expensive way. A lot of people are surprised when we drive that much (especially in a single day). Doing a quick look at things we could have easily gone the expensive route of flying (which Rusty and Audrey still haven’t been up in a plane yet), renting a car, booking full price hotels, eating in restaurants everyday. I’m guessing our trip would have been around the $6,000 point, or a lot more depending on the excursions a family elects to do.
That’s the breakdown! How do you think we made out? As for me, I feel like watching Corner Gas for some reason.