How to Road-Trip From Calgary to Banff As a Passenger Princess


From a city girl who never got her driver’s license.

I am unabashedly and unashamedly in my passenger princess era and it peaked during my trip from Calgary to Banff.

I grew up in Downtown Toronto. I never needed to drive, nor did I ever really want to. The TTC was always there for every late night and last minute hang and once Uber got more common, all my transportation needs were met. But when the opportunity arose to drive from Calgary to Banff with Turo — the world’s largest car sharing marketplace — I was worried my lack of a license might get in the way.

Enter the boyfriend/on-demand chauffeur. As we made the trek from the city to the mountains, I was thriving: Boots were off, legs were crossed, heated seats were on full blast. I ate leftover feta donuts (more on that later) and drank foamy cappuccinos, all while watching the snowy peaks pass through the windows.

And while I might be stating the obvious, it’s worth saying that it’s really, really nice being taken care of. Aren’t we all exhausted from hustle culture? I don’t want to girlboss all the time. There’s something incredibly decadent about giving in to the low-lift life of a freeloader and quite literally, and figuratively, giving the wheel to someone else.

So whether you corral your partner, best friend, mom, dad or co-worker to be your driver, here’s my guide on how to maximize your time as a passenger princess road-tripping from Calgary to Banff.

What to “drive”

calgary to banff
Photography by Annika Lautens

Or rather, what to force your partner to drive. We (as in I) chose the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class 2019 on Turo. Think of the platform as the Airbnb of the car world — just enter a location and date and there are thousands of local cars you can borrow.

Our host (owner of the SUV) met us at the airport and gave us (read: my boyfriend Eric) a thorough run-through of the vehicle. Besides the passenger seat being extremely comfy and roomy (hello, long legs!) and having optimal access to the stereo (can you ever play “Life is a Highway” too many times?), the views from the inside of this ride were incredible! The panoramic sunroof was the best way to see the snowy tops of the Rocky Mountains and provided excellent selfie light. Honestly, the entire process was so easy from beginning to end, I wondered if I should get a license after all.

Where to stay when driving from Calgary to Banff

The Fairmont Banff Springs is a classic for a reason. Its rich history can be seen in every corner of the castle (because it truly is a converted castle) and its grand size and vast amenities make it the ultimate indoor playground when you’re tired of braving the elements. And what passenger princess doesn’t need a castle to decompress in?

But not to be overlooked is the Fairmont Palliser in Calgary. The hotel lobby looks like something out of an Agatha Christie novel (minus the murder) and the size of the rooms rival an apartment in downtown Toronto. Also, if you’re tired from shouting directions at your driving partner, there’s a giant bathtub with your name on it.

What to pack for your Rockies road-trip

Photography by Annika Lautens

My thoughts and prayers to all the individuals who have chosen to call frosty Calgary their home because damn….y’all are stronger than the rest of us. When I arrived in the Alberta capital, it was -30ºC — so cold that parts of the gas tank door of our car had frozen shut.

Layers are your only chance of survival. I started with Uniqlo heat tech as my base and worked my way up from there. Wool is a must, and a landscape sweater — like this one from Amazon — is a cute bonus. Also, the terrain makes Rocky Road ice cream look tame. These Canada Goose boots will keep you secure. Top it off with a beanie, scarf, gloves and puffer that are easily removable when enjoying your passenger princess perks and you’ll be riding in style in no time.

Where to get pampered in Banff

Photography by Annika Lautens

If you think you’ve felt pampered before, you’ve never been spoiled like this. Enter the Fairmont Spa Banff Springs. Before a single cream is placed on your skin, you are instantly immersed in a cozy cabin; the bed molds to your body as you’re wrapped in a burrito-like duvet, all while enjoying those majestic mountain views from the window.

After making the bed my new home, I got the 60-minute Custom Cleanse Facial which is exactly as it sounds — a facial treatment customized to your particular skin’s condition and needs. As I’m allergic to oranges and grapefruit (a nightmare in the beauty bizz), the Fairmont team carefully curated the products used during my treatment and I got to experience the full shebang. Highlights included the lavender aromatherapy, cooling rose quartz and silicon mask that made me feel like Jim Carrey in The Mask, but left me looking more like 21-year-old Cameron Diaz. My skin was so glazed, I was worried about blinding my driver.

Where to eat in Calgary

Photography by Annika Lautens

Go to Kama in Calgary for the food but stay for the ambiance. It’s a tapas-style take on Mediterranean cuisine that will satisfy everyone from high-brow foodies to comfort-craving puritans. Think classics like chicken souvlaki and grilled halloumi mixed with zucchini latkes and feta beignets (they make great leftovers to snack on while watching your partner drive).

When you aren’t enjoying the nibbles, take in the sultry ambiance. Geometric lanterns hang from the ceiling. Wooden accents make it Scandi-chic. And the bar in the middle gives you a great view of it all.

Where to hike (yes, you must!) when driving from Calgary to Banff

calgary to banff
Author hiking on Three Sisters Creek Trail. Photography by Annika Lautens.

When you hear the term “avalanche warning,” it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Luckily, our itinerary, planned by Guess Where Trips, had a back-up plan when the trail to Grassi Lakes proved to be less than, er, ideal. The Three Sisters Creek trail in Canmore was a short car ride away and proved to be ever as picturesque as the first option. Even if you don’t consider yourself “outdoorsy,” a short hike is a must when you’re visiting Calgary and Banff, and the view at the top makes it all worth it.

Where to shop

So you want a souvenir without it looking too “souvenir-y”? Stonewaters is sure to have just the thing. Located in the quaint town of Canmore (en route to Banff), the decor store’s aesthetic is Danish pastel meets Sporty & Rich. You can shop everything from chic ski sweaters and totes to ceramic dinnerware and specialty snacks all under the same eclectic roof. I already regret not picking up this pink cowboy hat incense holder and “Aprés Hike” crewneck.

This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

More Style

Style





Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Forsaleon
Logo
Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Compare
0
Shopping cart