Real Honeymoon: Canadian Rockies

That’s right, this is Peonies to Palm Trees’ very first real honeymoon from the Great White North! This week’s real honeymooners had a great time driving all around the Canadian Rockies, and it just goes to show that you don’t need to fly halfway around the world and spend a small fortune to to enjoy an awesome honeymoon. Read all about their fun Canadian honeymoon below, eh?:

When and where did you honeymoon?

We travelled to the Rockies in southern Alberta, right after our wedding in July 2013.

We flew into Calgary, and spent a few days in Banff, followed by two nights in Calgary (for the Calgary Stampede).  We then did a day trip northeast to Drumheller (dinosaurs!), then went back to the Rockies, staying in Canmore for another two nights (where mostly townies and winter athletes live), and then Jasper (after driving through the Columbia Icefields).  Finally, we finished the trip with two days in Lake Louise.

The itinerary wasn’t ideal geographically, but we did it this way to catch the Calgary Stampede (which ended in the middle of our honeymoon); plus, it was only about 4 hours of out-of-the-way driving.

canada honeymoon

How long was your trip?

Ten days, although we’d already been away for a week just prior for our wedding in the Maritimes.

canada honeymoon

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

Our criteria were: 1. Somewhere we’d never been before; 2. Take advantage of summer in the Northern Hemisphere (i.e. we’d rather save a Caribbean beach vacation for February when we need a reprieve from Michigan winters); and 3. Not super far away.

This essentially left North America, north of 45 degrees or so, and Western Europe.  Since we’d both been to various parts of Europe relatively recently, North America it was.  Banff just came up as a pretty place that met all our criteria.

Canada honeymoon

The best part about our honeymoon was…

A tie between endless gorgeous mountains views, and watching the rodeo at the Calgary Stampede (which the Canadian one between us wanted to do since seeing it on TV as a kid). We had some ambivalence about cowboys riding bucking horses and roping calves, but it was still a fun cultural experience to have once.

calgary stampede

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

We would have probably come back a day or two earlier, both to save on cost and to have more time to settle back in at home after being away for three weeks.  (So much laundry to wash and presents to unpack and garden to weed!)

We knew Banff was a tourist town, but we were still blown away by how expensive everything was.  We wish we’d spent a bit less time there, and more time in the more chill and less yuppie Canmore, which was still pretty and had a cute, walkable downtown.

We also should have looked at the fuel gauge more often.  Luckily we found a gas station in the lovely, very small town of Carbon, only 11km off the “main” road on our way to Drumheller (dinosaurs!).  No pushing a neutral car required, although it was a tense ride, with as much coasting on the downhills as possible.

canada honeymoon

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Delaying Your Honeymoon? Travel in January!

A lot of people choose not to go on their honeymoons directly after their weddings for a variety of reasons. As I wrote in a previous blog post about timing your honeymoon, I think it’s really important for a couple to consider where they want to go, what their work/school situation is like, how they want others to treat their honeymoon, and their finances.

Ko Olina, Oahu

Sunset at Ko Olina, Oahu

So if you do want to delay your honeymoon, when is the best month to travel?  That, of course, depends on where you’d like to go.  There are certain places that have great weather all year (e.g. Hawaii), but obviously the major European destinations like Italy and Greece are going to be quite cold.  Beach Tomato’s “Follow The Sun” map is an awesome tool for finding sunny destinations all year round.

Financially speaking though, January is a great month for traveling.  Prices are usually at all-time highs around the December holidays, but they drop dramatically after January 1st once kids go back to school.  And for spontaneous couples that don’t need a lot of time to plan ahead, you can get really great travel deals if you actually book your January trip at the last minute.

What are my favorite January destinations?  If you’re looking for warm weather, it’s a great month to visit the Southern Hemisphere, and I especially recommend going to Australia, New Zealand, or Argentina.  I’d also looove to visit South Africa in January one day, too.

But if getting a tan isn’t high on your honeymoon priority list, January is also the perfect time to visit world-class ski resorts throughout the U.S., Canada, and Switzerland.