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Margriet Itz

New York, New York Travel Agent

Canada and the American West

The once-ubiquitous ad campaign “See America first” had a point. The American and Canadian West is unique in the world. The vistas are awe-inspiring, and there is so much to see and do that you could visit a different place every year and still not see all of its wonders.  

For U.S. travelers, the exchange rate makes this a great time to visit Canada. You can stay at luxury hotels such as the Fairmont Empress in Victoria and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the heart of Banff National Park for far less than you would imagine. It is also a great time to take a train through the Canadian Rockies.  

Nature lovers will enjoy cruising or driving north from Seattle up the coast and to Vancouver, exploring the San Juan Islands, Desolation Sound and Johnstone Strait along the way. You are likely to see Orcas and other whale species as well as dolphins, seals, sea lions, bald eagles, and other sea birds. You can also visit the very British-toned city of Victoria, where you can enjoy afternoon tea and craft brew pubs. 

From Vancouver, you might go skiing in Whistler, or, timing your trip right, head east to Calgary for the annual Stampede--ten days of rodeo events and non-stop fun.  

One of the most popular driving routes in the world is the California Coast road, where Hearst Castle, Big Sur, and the Monterey Aquarium are just a few of the worthwhile sites. As a travel agent, I can help you chart your course, finding places to stay and things to do that suit your interests. I will also offer tips on distances and other things you may not think of. For example, I always suggest driving from north to south because that way there is no lane of traffic between you and the ocean view.  

The U.S. National Parks such as Yellowstone and Yosemite require careful planning. It can be difficult to get into desirable lodges and hotels if you do not book at least a year in advance. As a Protravel agent, I can often provide availability when others cannot.   

It can be exhausting to drive the long distances involved in exploring the West, so I often suggest taking a Tauck tour. That way, you can focus on the scenery. Plus, you will have experts enriching your trip and sharing fascinating information about the wildlife and history of the region. 

If you are thinking of visiting the West, I can map out your options and arrange your itinerary, whether you prefer an independent journey by train or car or a luxury guided tour that can be as active or laid-back as you like.  

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