Travel Like a Royal for Less

The Royal Family touches down in British Columbia on Saturday. (Credit: DailyMail.co.uk)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge AKA Will and Kate are visiting Canada right now. I’ve been sussing out their Royal Tour itinerary, and I thought it would be fun to recreate it, but with some added savings (and a few tweaks to the official schedule).

travel like a royal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Prince George (Credit: dailymail.co.uk)

A Trip Fit for a King (or a Duke and Duchess) for Less

Just like the Duke and Duchess, start your royal experience with a flight to B.C.’s capital – book a return flight from Calgary to Victoria for as little as $344. Once you’ve arrived, settle in at the newly renovated Fairmont Empress, and experience the hotel’s regal connection that began in 1919 with Edward, Prince of Wales’ visit.

Empress hotel inner harbour

The most majestic site in all of Victoria! (Credit: Travelocity.ca)

Unfortunately the royal family (yes, their kids are coming!) aren’t staying at the Empress this visit. They’re basing themselves out of Government House. Still, you can get a regal cocktail treatment at Q at the Empress. Afterwards, journey through the famous sites of Victoria on an evening Royal Horse Drawn Carriage Tour.

horse carriage tour

You too can become Cinderella for an evening. (Credit: Travelocity.ca)

Float from Sea to Sky

Hop on a float plane or take the ferry to Vancouver for an evening of dining and sightseeing on a Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise. To continue the jet-set experience, cap off the night with a stay in the 5-star Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel. (We stayed here last March and it was heaven!)

outdoor hotel pool

You can’t beat the location or the outdoor pool at Fairmont Pacific Rim (Credit: Travelocity.ca)

Today, Monday September 26, the Royal Highnesses are visiting the Great Bear Rainforest. That’s cool and all, but I suggest spending a little more time on the mainland. Your royal vacation wouldn’t be complete without a tour up the coast to Whistler for an unforgettable experience that combines the best of luxury and adventure. Stop in Squamish for a Sea-to-Sky adventure, where you’re whisked up via gondola, taking in the sights of Howe Sound.

squamish gondola

Take the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish (Credit: Paul Bride)

A-OK in the Okanagan

Next up, the royal couple is headed to Kelowna on the 27th. While they’re headed to Mission Hill, there are plenty of other wineries to explore. Get your bearings on a scenic tour through the Okanagan Valley wine country and relaxing cruise on the pristine waters of Lake Okanagan. For eats, check out my recommendations on the 10 best spots to hit in the valley.

lake okanagan

Explore the wineries along the Naramata Bench near Penticton (credit: Chris Mason Stearns)

The Yukon

Next up is a visit to Whitehorse. They’ll visit the MacBride Museum and will take in the festivities on Main Street. Then they’ll head out of town to receive a traditional welcome from the Carcross/Tagish First Nation. Afterwards, they’re headed to Montana Mountain, one of the world’s most picturesque destinations for mountain biking.

campfire at night

I bet the royals would love to have a campfire and view the Northern Lights.

Back to B.C.

After the Yukon, the royals fly back to Victoria to attend a children’s party on the grounds of Government House. It’s invite only, so I suggest you hit  The Butchart Gardens instead. For lunch it’s gotta be a proper pub grub. Overlooking the sparkling inner harbour, Spinnakers is Canada’s oldest brewpub.

autumn butchart gardens

Dramatic changes occur every season at The Butchart Gardens (credit: Travelocity.ca)

Spend the afternoon exploring local shops, such as Sitka, a lifestyle shop that designs with adventure in mind. Cap off your day with some British comfort food at The Guild.

Haida Gwaii

From Victoria, it’s easy to enjoy the outdoors like the Royal Family with a day trip to Haida Gwaii. Experience the natural beauty of the northernmost rain-forest in the world by canoeing, fishing and visiting the Haida Heritage Centre and Museum – all experiences the royal tour has scheduled.

ancient totem poles

Ancient totem poles sprout out of the ground on Haida Gwaii. (Credit: Destination B.C.)

Return on a High Note

The final day of their tour will be spent back in Victoria, but instead of meeting charities and sailing a tall ship as they will be, I recommend taking a breather before heading back home. Tucked behind the Fairmont Empress, the Magnolia Hotel & Spa is a swish boutique hotel that doles out luxurious amenities for guests. You don’t have to be a hotel guest to visit their spa, and getting a massage or facial before your return flight is the perfecting ending to any trip.

Magnolia spa

City stressors melt away inside the Magnolia Spa (credit: Magnolia Hotel & Spa)

Phew! Now I get why these royal tours are so taxing! (Especially for the all the Canadians behind the scenes making sure everything goes smoothly.) Are you going to be following the Duke and Duchesses Tour of Canada?