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The Ultimate Road Trip Guide from Vancouver to Calgary!

The Ultimate Road Trip Guide from Vancouver to Calgary!

Embarking on the thrilling journey of driving from Vancouter to Calgary guarantees you not only breathtaking views, but also the delight of mostly clear roads – if not for the occasional bear jams, that is! 

That’s not a joke, by the way. Picture majestic bears roaming near the highway, captivating drivers, yet also causing unexpected traffic delays. Think of it as a part of the trip!

Does that fun fact actually get you even more excited? Great, because we have everything you need to know about the drive from Vancouver to Calgary below. 

How do you drive from Vancouver to Calgary? 

To drive from Vancouver to Calgary, there are three possible routes to choose from. Two routes are equally short, while a third one, though more scenic, will take a bit longer. 

We wrote the complete steps for each route below. 

Option 1: Route #1 

To get to Calgary from Vancouver using the 1st route, you’ll begin your journey at Highway 1 (Vancouver). From there, you should travel towards Hope. 

At Highway 3, make a turn and drive until you get to Princeton. 

Continue driving onwards and you’ll see Highway 5A northbound. Take that route and just keep going until you find yourself in Merritt. 

Once in Merritt, drive north on Highway 5 until you reach Kamploops. After doing so, you should make a turn on Highway 1. 

Drive continuously and before you know it, you’re already in Calgary. 

By the way, this route stretches for 1,074 km

Option 2: Route #2

If you want a scenic route, take the second route. At 1,126km, it would take the longest compared to others on this list. 

It starts the same as the previous route where you need to get yourself to Highway 1, then Highway 3. Instead of driving to Highway 5A though, continue to Highway 97 (at Osoyoos). 

Continue on until Kelowna where after a bit, you’ll reach 97A. Once you make your way to 97A, drive towards Highway 1 and just continue driving onwards. 

Along this route, you’ll be able to see a fantastic view of the Banff National Park, which means that Calgary is just within arm’s reach. 

Option 3: Route #3

If you want to get to Calgary from Vancouver as fast as possible, we recommend taking Route #3. It stretches for 1,038 km, so expect the ride to be around 12 hours and 15 minutes. 

Anyway, start your journey from Highway 99 (North Vancouver) and drive straight to Whistler. From there, continue towards Kamloops until you spot Highway 1. 

Once you’re on Highway 1, just drive onwards until you reach Calgary. 

What should I prepare for my road trip to Calgary from Vancouver? 

For your road trip to Calgary from Vancouver, you should prepare items such as snacks, water, coffee, a playlist, portable chargers, driver’s license, and more. 

To help you prepare, we provided a checklist you can follow:

  • Snacks – Yes, you’ll probably stop at a shop or gas station every once in a while for bathroom breaks, and chances are good that you can also purchase snacks there. Still,it’s best to be prepared. What if you get hungry before your first stopover? 
  • Water – Road trips can go for a long time, which is why staying hydrated is important. You may need it for things like washing your hands or other stuff too!
  • Coffee – Coffee is a road trip essential if you’re the one driving. Brew some before you leave your house and pour it into your thermal flask. 
  • A playlist – You don’t have to be like Marshall and Ted on How I Met Your Mother: you can play more than one song for a whole trip (“I’m Gonna Be” by The Proclaimers). If you’re traveling with friends, we suggest this playlist filled with songs you can sing along to. If you want something chill like a white noise in the background, you can check this out instead. 
  • Portable chargers – It’s important to have portable chargers or power banks with you whenever you travel. Sure, you can rely on charging your phone through your car, but having another option wouldn’t hurt! This is especially important if you’re on Waze or Google Maps all the time. 
  • Driving essentials – Driving essentials include a driver’s license and insurance information. 
  • Emergency items – Always have plenty of emergency items with you. This includes jumper cables, flashlights, first aid kit, bug spray, and such. Feel free to add stuff here! 
  • Pillows – Whether you want to bring a pillow from your bedroom with you or you want to go for a travel pillow, it’s entirely up to you. However, if you’re driving, a travel pillow is obviously the wiser choice. 
  • Eye drops – Having dry eyes during the road trip, especially if you’re the driver, could be extremely uncomfortable. With that in mind, make sure to pack some eye drops with you. 
  • Sunscreen – Yes, you need to apply (and reapply) your sunscreen even if you’re inside the car. 

Ultimately, everyone’s road trip essentials are different, so use this list as a guide to help you pack smarter! 

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