It was an exhausting trip because we would like to go as many places as we could when we were in British Columbia. It took us a lot of time to refine our trip plan over and over again to make the best use of our time. We traveled more than 3000 miles.
I decided to fly to Seattle (instead of Vancouver or Victoria) and rent a car that day. By doing this, we can save some money on airplane tickets, car rental (booked a full size car from Hertz on Hotwire.com; I believe we got a great deal) and a possible tourist tax.
This is it, the following is our touring itineraries: Day 1 - Travel: from Virginia/Seattle, Washington/Vanvouve (stay in Vancouver); Day 2 - Vancouver (stay in Vancouver); Day 3 - Travel to Banff National Park (stay in Banff townsite); Day 4 - Yoho National Park (Banff townsite); Day 5 - Lake day (Banff townsite); Day 6 - Icefield Parkwy/Jasper National park (stay in Colombia icefield); Day 7- Jasper National Park, travel to Golden (stay in Golden); Day 8- Kooteney National Park, travel to Kelowna (stay in Kelowna) ; Day 9 - Okanagan Valley, Travel to Kamloop (stay in Kamloop); Day 10 - Hope/Fraser Canyon, travel to Whistler (stay in Whistler); Day 11 - Whistler, travel to Nanaimo (Stay in Parkfield); Day 12 - Nanaimo/Cheminius (stay in Parkfield; I wanted to stay in a nice hostel Whalers on the point guesthouse but It was not available on the day I visited); Day 13 - Tofino, travel to Victorial (Victoria); Day 14 - Victoria - travel back to Seattle; Day 15 - Flight Home.
Our original plan was to take the Black Ball Ferry to Victoria from Seattle. It costs $157 for our rental car and the two of us for round trip; another $150 from Victoria to Vancouver, back and forth on B.C ferry. Later, I found out we can drive to Vancouver from Seattle without taking the ferry. So, I had to change the whole plan in order to save one ferry trip.
Early Fri (our original flight was 7am central time), we realized that we forget to bring our paper tickets with us (we booked our flights from Expedia). We did not worry too much, because we thought we could self check-in despite that. AirTran's system didn't allow us to check-in without the tickets, and we found out from their receptionist that we would have to pay 50 dollars for the lost tickets and 199 dollars more for the air fare (each). It was unacceptable, and we decided to switch to a very late flight and paid 75 dollars per each. It total changed our plans. We were originally going to be in Seattle at 10:22 am (Pacific time), and now we would be there at 8:45 pm (pacific time) instead. I was so happy when Hertz told me I would have Nissan, Altima, V6. (I am a big fan of Nisan Altima. Love the car. I considered it was not a bad day at all. Furthermore, I got very good deal from hotwire.com, paid 400 hundreds dollars and something with unlimited mileages.)
After having a late dinner with my cousin in Seattle, we managed to make it to our hotel in Vancouver by 4am Saturday morning. Thankfully, the hotel (Ramada Inn and Suites - Surrey/Guilford) only charged us for one night's stay, since we'd gotten in so late.