We’ve been thinking about travelling to Canada for some time now – so when I read all about Char from Taylor Hearts Travel’s amazing trip to Alberta, it had me researching the destination for most of the night! Char’s travelling philosophy is much like my own – and she’s defied all those who insisted that she couldn’t travel with a baby. Thanks Char for sharing your wonderful memories this week.
Over to you…
What do you look for in a holiday?
We have an insatiable appetite to visit everywhere, so you could just say that we’re sold as soon as we hear the word ‘holiday’!
In terms of destinations, we like somewhere unique and exciting. I’m a fan of both hot and cold places, so I’d be just as happy in Iceland as I would St. Kitts. Mountains and wonders of the world, man-made and natural, always get my family excited.
Ultimately though, the accommodation has to be stylish. We’re real lovers of pretty hotel rooms, arty apartments and quirky bolt holes. Think 4 and 5* properties that fall into the affordable luxury bracket.
Where did you go?
We’ve travelled a fair bit with our baby, but our fave holiday (so far!) has to be Alberta in Canada. It was our first long-haul trip with our mini-explorer, who was six-months old at the time. We spent our time in Edmonton and Jasper National Park.
Why did you choose this destination?
Canada had been on my list forever. I’ve travelled all round the world, but for whatever reason had never made it there. The lure of the mountains and a Fairmont log cabin in Jasper National Park pulled me in. Every photo I pinned on Pinterest made my heart flutter! Edmonton also appealed because it’s not mega touristy, but I’d heard good things.
Canada also ticked the long-haul box – something I was keen to do so that I could take advantage of maternity leave. The easiness of no language barriers also helped. I figured I’d have enough to contend with it being my first long-haul baby adventure!
Where did you stay?
I’m a huge fan of booking.com as you can often get free cancellation. I usually book my accommodation early on and then keep checking deals up until I go in case I can get a better rate. We chose to stay at the modern Metterra Hotel on Whyte in Edmonton because it ticked the stylish, affordable luxury boxes. It’s also in one of the coolest areas in the city.
We also stayed at The Fairmont in Jasper National Park as we knew it would be as gorgeous as it looked. It’s a trusted brand and the hotel swimming pool overlooks a beautiful lake and mountain.
What activities did you get up to?
Our little boy took advantage of the carpet in the hotel room and crawled for the first time, so I guess that counts as an activity?!
Jokes aside, we did lots of activities but they’re not conventional kiddie ones. We rode an ice explorer bus onto a real glacier and then played in the freezing snow! We also walked on a glass floor ledge that juts out from a mountain and climbed another one. We also took a boat ride to Spirit Island which was amazing. You can read more about them in this post.
Your most memorable moment/s of the trip?
Definitely spying some bears as we drove through Jasper National Park. We pulled over and watched them… Up until they started edging closer and closer to us!
Any sights you want to shout about?
• If you ever visit the area you really should go to Maligne Lake. From there you can take a boat ride to Spirit Island. It is so indescribably beautiful – a real pinch me moment.
• The ride on the glacier is also 100% worth it.
• If you’re in Edmonton, you should also take a day (or at least half a day) to visit nearby Elk Island National Park where you can see bison and other wildlife. Edmontonians are really proud of their home, so judging by the comments on this post about Edmonton they seem to agree that there is lots to shout about!
Was it good value for money?
It’s a long-haul destination, so the flights are probably the biggest expense. We flew with KLM from Birmingham and received really good service. Once you’re there it’s really good value as there’s so much to see in the ‘great outdoors’.
Your top tip/s for the area?
Book your accommodation as early as possible. The best spots in Jasper National Park get booked way in advance as many nearby locals are repeat visitors.
Which photo is your favourite and why?
I love this photo of my mini-explorer and me. I was on a complete natural high from the unbelievably cool bus ride up the mountain and onto the glacier. So many people had told me that I’d never travel again once I had my baby and yet there I was with him, all the way in Canada on a glacier. I felt so deliriously happy and proud.
Would you recommend to a friend? Would you go back again?
Without a doubt. I’m already planning another trip and it hasn’t even been a year since the last one!
What are the five holiday essentials you couldn’t live without?
My Pacapod change bag, Nuna SENA travel cot, eye mask, LUMIX GX80 camera and my family, of course.
What is your most favourite place in the whole world and why?
It’s a close call between Jasper National Park and Machu Picchu. Both just completely blow my mind as they are so beautiful. I feel so privileged to have seen them and I don’t think I could ever tire of them (well, I might tire of the trek up to Machu Picchu!).