Let me start off by saying that this was the biggest adventure we had planned yet! While we love the outdoors, camping for 10 days straight in another country seemed like a monumental task. However, it is TOTALLY do-able, as long as you’re prepared.
First things first: you must have a pass to enter the Canadian National Parks. There are a variety of options but the most economical for us (and for most people) was the Discovery Pass, which can be bought here. Order this in advance, as you must have it on your dashboard to enter the park! They can also be purchased once you arrive, but it’s cheaper and faster to do it online.
Another thing to do in advance: book accommodation! Whether it’s camping or Airbnb (use THIS LINK to get a $55 travel credit on your first booking!), most accommodations fill up FAST.
PRO TIP: If you plan on staying at Two Jack Lakeside Campground (which we did) or any other popular campground, be prepared to reserve the SECOND reservations open. Reservations for the upcoming season typically open in early January. See here for more info.
Day 1: Arrival and Preparation
We landed in Calgary early morning and picked up our rental SUV. An SUV absolutely was necessary for this trip, if you plan on camping like we did. Anything smaller and one of us would have had to walk.
PRO TIP: Renting from a location not directly at the airport saved us hundreds of dollars. Instead of renting from Enterprise-Calgary International, we rented from Enterprise-Calgary North Central and just Ubered as needed (about a 15 minute Uber ride from the airport).
The morning was spent picking up necessary supplies. See here for a list of supplies we packed and supplies we bought once we arrived. It’s important to do this in Calgary, as Banff and Jasper can be quite expensive. The rest of the day was spent driving to our campsite in Banff (about a 2 hour drive) and setting up our site. The first two nights we stayed in Tunnel Mountain Village 1.
PRO TIP: All campsites in Banff require that you use their wood, so don’t bother buying any beforehand. Simply buy the fire permit ($8.80/night) and take as much wood from their pile as you need.