Canada is a huge country and your best to settle on your transportation plans well in advance. Each type of transportation has its advantages. If you're going from coast to coast the best way may be to fly unless you've got a lot of time on your hands. For shorter distances, rail is very relaxing. Of course, rail is more restrictive than finding your own way in a rented car. What ever your choice you'll find everything you need on these pages.


AIR LINES CANADA

Canada has two major carriers, Air Canada and Canadian Airlines. There are also a number of regional carriers along with a wealth of smaller operations which service a lot of our wilderness areas. Much of our country, particularly in the north, is accessible only by plane. As on-line bookings become more prominent we will make an effort to link directly to the reservations service. Currently you can book on-line with the two major carriers. You might want to view the airline's main page first since there is a trend to offer deals and on-line discounts which may not be apparent on the reservations page.

Keep in mind that a map doesn't really give you an idea of just how large this country is. If you plan to travel any distance you should definitely consider flying as an option.

The rules seem to change a lot but usually you are allowed two standard size bags and you have to pay extra for each additional bag. As far as bikes or folding kayaks are concerned, each carrier may have a different set of rules. Some carriers have charged us $50C a bike in each direction while others have charged nothing.

If your taking you're bike or folding kayak make sure you have a hard shell case. We've lost a bike frame this way and have seen a number of other casualties of flight. You might want to consider Renting.

Regional airlines and charters are often the only way into (and out of) the wilderness, even including a number of Canada's national parks. Charters particularly should be arranged well ahead of time.

If you're planning an extended wilderness trip through our more pristine areas you may require a pilot and a small plane. Keep in mind that flights may be available only on a first come first served basis unless you have made prior arrangements. Remember there are very real restrictions on baggage weight and size, although canoes and kayaks can be accommodated by some carriers. If you need to be picked up in the wilderness at the end of your journey, you had better plan carefully and always have extra of everything, including, of course, time.


AIR LINES INTERNATIONAL

You may be flying in, or heavens, even leaving Canada for you're vacation. Which ever it may be you might want to check out a few of these sites to get an idea on schedules, bookings and perhaps even bargains.


BUS

Greyhound has "The Canada Pass" which can provide you with unlimited travel in their network. You'll find it in their specials section along with other deals.


RAIL

Railways built this country. Canada has two national and a number of regional railroads. Rail travel is care free and relaxing compared to a lot of the other modes of transport. One of the most enjoyable and scenic journeys you could imagine is a train trip through the Rockies and the Fraser canyon into Vancouver on the Canadian. Extended travel Rail Passes are available from Via for both Canada and the United States.

The railways still provide almost exclusive access to some areas of the wilderness. A great example is the take out at the edge of James Bay at Moosonee, the terminal point for a trip down the Mattagami River.

Via provides special services for adventurers and goes out of its way to handle larger items like canoes and kayaks. They will even drop you off or pick you up at undesignated points along their right of way. Have a look at Via Adventures for more information.


CAR RENTAL

Having your own car affords you a freedom which no other means of transportation can offer. If you want to pursue your own adventure or find that incomparable canoeing river, there may be no other way. With on-line booking you have a lot of flexibility and freedom, particularly if you reserve well in advance.

Most of the car rental companies allow you to book your car on-line. This can be a great convenience and is very flexible but be sure to book early. You might also want to check out their specials. Some even have an on-going discount for booking over the net of as much as 20%.

Remember if you're bringing your own gear you may need to make special arrangements, like reserving a 4x4. Failing that, see if you can get a car with a roof rack or maybe folding rear seats that will allow you to toss in your telemark skis.


FERRIES

Canadian ferries provide an indispensable service and a refreshing break on route. On both coasts the ferries provide the best access to some of Canada's most beautiful and isolated areas. Labrador, Newfoundland, and lots of areas on the west coast can be best reached by ferry. Don't be fooled into thinking of this as a short diversion. It can take the better part of day to reach the Avalon Peninsula from Cape Breton.

Most of the on-line sites provide information on fares, departure and arrival times. If your itinerary permits, you should always make reservations, particularly in high season.

Canada has so many lakes and river that ferries may have to be a part of any vacation plans. Not only are they essential at times but can shave a lot of time off a trip in some areas. A good example of this is the ferry to St. Johns NB across the bay of Fundy. Admittedly the alternative is very scenic but if you're pressed for time this is a real life saver.

A rather unique feature of the BC Ferry system is their willingness to accommodate sea kayakers. Contact them for more details in this area.


RESERVATIONS

Looking for more on-line booking. These sites have it all.


SUBWAYS

This is really interesting site, definitely a unique idea.


TRAVEL AGENTS

Even though the net is great for travel, travel agents are still indispensable. A trusted and experienced travel agent can provide you with great deals, full service and travel information garnered from personal experience. A lot of agents are providing more and more value-added services make them a great deal.

Let your agent know about your particular sport and the travel difficulties that may be involved. If you have special needs, a particularly difficult itinerary or perhaps expedition size baggage, a travel agent is can assist you.


WEATHER

Weather is a very important factor in any trip planning, particularly in a country like Canada that experiences such weather extremes. When planning, take into consideration: historical info, changing world weather patterns, altitude, proximity to moderating elements like large bodies of water. Don't forget fog, freezing rain and of course the possibility of Chinooks in some areas of the country. Weather can be vary unpredictable If your adventure is dependant on it, be prepared and have contingency plans.

If you've booked a tour, hired a guide or chartered a flight you had better know what you're options are if the weather turns. If your on your own you better have the skills and experience to deal with the worst of it.

Check out the world weather or better still have a look at the weather from a historical perspective in the area you plan to visit.

Just before you take off you might want to take a look at your destination's weather. There are both current and long range forecasts .

All contents copyright 1999 by White Cat Media