The Canadian Rockies
August 11-17, 2018 | 7 days / 6 nights | $2,995
“Be prepared: this trip will take you to some of the most beautiful corners of North America! The mountains go on for miles as you make your way towards Banff, the gateway to the Canadian Rockies. And the hikes, while challenging, will offer views and crystal clear alpine lakes that will take your breath away! And then seeing this beautiful landscape while rafting down the Kicking Horse River – that’s just magic. You’re invited to join for this small-group adventure, to experience the beauty of one of my favorite new destinations.” —— Mary, Living Big trip host for this adventure.
Day 1 – Saturday, August 11
Plan on arriving into Calgary International Airport by 4PM.You’ll be picked up at the airport and brought to our hotel in downtown Calgary. We’ll have a group dinner to kick-off the trip and hear more about the fun week ahead! Arrival Airport: Calgary International Airport, YYC. Dinner included.
Day 2 – Sunday, August 12
After breakfast we’ll make our way towards the Canadian Rockies! Our first stop is beautiful Emerald Lake, where we’ll head out for a hike around the lake, enjoy a picnic lunch and go for a canoe ride on the lakes bright blue water. Plan on a few moments of awe and deep breaths of the mountain fresh air! Afterwards we’ll make our way to Lake Louise to explore the lake and surrounding areas (including the famous Fairmont Lake Louise Resort!) and then settle into our home for the next two nights at the beautiful Post Hotel, which was rated Top 10 Canadian Resorts by Travel & Leisure Magazine in 2017, and enjoy a delicious dinner. All meals included.
Day 3 – Monday, August 13
Today we’ll make our way towards the small town of Golden, which is the gateway to the Kicking Horse River. A local rafting company will take our group on a whitewater rafting trip. The first half of the day will be all about nature, floating through the surrounding beauty with relatively calm waters in the upper canyon. But after our riverside picnic lunch, be ready for the whitewater rapids of the middle canyon! Full wetsuits and booties will be provided. Plan on Class 1-4 rapids. Comfort and control while swimming is a must. After this thrilling day we’ll make our way to a local Golden brewery for an early dinner before returning to the lux Post Hotel for a good night sleep before tomorrow’s hike. All meals included.
Day 4 – Tuesday, August 14
We’ll set-out on a three day/two night hiking trip to Skoki Lodge, a beautiful backcountry lodge located in the high alpine region of Banff National Park. Today’s hike will take about 5-6 hours and cover about 7 miles. We’ll start at 6,610 feet elevation, hike as high as 8,200 feet elevation, and finish the day at Skoki Lodge, which is at 7,103 feet elevation. While this is a challenging hike, the views along the way are incredibly rewarding! When we get to the lodge, which is right along a quiet stream, you’ll be able to kick-off your hiking boots, enjoy the daily happy hour snacks and drinks and then settle into a book, board game or take a rest before dinner is served. The wonderful team at Skoki Lodge prepares all meals from scratch, and they’re served family style in the central dining room over candlelight. Important to note: Skoki Lodge does not have electricity (candles and gas lamps are used) showers or flushing toilets. We’ll be sharing two rustic cabins with our group and use a clean and well maintained outdoor toiled. We will not have any cell service or wifi from Tuesday morning until Thursday afternoon. All meals included.
Day 5 – Wednesday, August 15
This morning will be a little slower (your legs will thank you!) and start with a hearty family-style breakfast prepared by the Skoki Lodge team. Think freshly baked pastries, local sausages and bacon, elaborate egg dishes, fresh fruit, hot coffee and more. In the late morning we’ll head out for a hike, about 4-5 hours and 6 miles, to explore the beautiful area and alpine lakes surrounding Skoki Lodge. Our hike will take us up through the tree line, across the edge of a mountainside over large rocks, and then we’ll do some rock scrambling to get to the top, where our reward is the breathtaking Merlin Lake. We’ll stop here for a picnic lunch, and then take a different route back to Skoki Lodge, this time through the forest, across the meadow, along the river and over a rustic bridge. When we return we’ll have time to rest and relax (code word: unplug!) before an early evening and delicious dinner. All meals included.
Day 6 – Thursday, August 16
On this morning we’ll get an early start (after breakfast, obvi) to start the journey back to civilization, but this time we’ll take a different route that will take about 5-6 hours and cover similar elevation gains, but there is a rock scramble involved. When we get to the end of the trail we’ll 1. high-five each other saying “OMG WE DID IT!” and then 2. make our way to the town of Banff to shower, rest, and have a hearty final dinner in one of the coolest mountain towns around! All meals included.
Day 7 – Friday, August 17
On this final day we’ll enjoy breakfast, and then walk around the charming town of Banff, before making our way back to Calgary International Airport to say our goodbyes. We’ll be returning to the Calgary Airport by 2PM, so plan on taking a flight that departs at 4PM or later. Breakfast included.
Trip itinerary is subject to change but will always maintain a spirit of adventure and diverse activities. Questions? Check out the FAQ section above for more information about this trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is going on the trip?
This trip is made up of 10 women: 9 guests and your Trip Host. A major tenet of Living Big is to make international travel more accessible to women who don’t want to go at it alone. To learn more about the philosophy, click here.
Can I join the trip solo? Or can I invite a few of my friends to join me on the trip?
Yes and yes to both questions! Some women join Living Big trips on their own; there to make friends and see the world, and others join Living Big trips because they want to share the experience with their friends, sisters, mothers or daughters and don’t want to do any of the planning!
You’ll find that the trips are structured in a way that you’ll have a good amount of group time, but also a fair amount of independent time to explore on your own, with new friends you met in the group, or with the friends joining you on the trip.
Who is the Trip Host? And what is her role?
On this trip your Trip Host is Mary. To learn more about Mary, click here.
The role of the Trip Host is to be there to make sure everything goes as smooth as possible, even when the inevitable travel bumps come our way – such as an unexpected rainy afternoon, traffic, missing luggage, etc. But more importantly, to be a resource that will give you the space you need to really enjoy the experience. So if throughout the trip there is something your Trip Host can do to support you in this regard – please let her know. For example, if you’re not feeling well, having trouble sleeping, not getting along with someone, not satisfied with something, etc. please please share these concerns. No one needs a ‘Mother’ on this trip – that’s not our intention, but if there are small adjustments that can be made to create more space for you to enjoy the experience —- the Trip Host will see what she can do!
How much does the trip cost? And what is included/excluded in this price?
The total price per person is $2,995. This includes the following:
- Planning: all trip logistics, including pre-trip negotiations with all hotels and vendors, onsite coordination, useful information leading up to your trip such as advice on what to pack, how much to budget for spending money, a cheat sheet for learning the local language, advice on local currency, etc.
- Hotels: 6 nights accommodation based on a shared room.
- Meals: see the daily itinerary for meals included each day. Dinners generally include a limited amount of hosted beer and wine, with the exception of the dinners at Skoki Lodge, where alcoholic beverages are not included (but available for purchase.)
- Transport: all ground transportation, including airport transfers and hired ground transportation, are included.
- Activities: all activities, unless specified in the itinerary, are included.
- Gratuities for local guides and partners.
The following are not included in the trip fee:
- Round-trip airfare is not included, but gives you flexibility in using airline reward miles or extending your trip as you wish. Each guest is responsible for organizing their own airfare and transportation to the stated start and end cities.
- A set amount of wine and beer will be purchased with each hosted dinner, but each guest will be responsible for alcoholic beverages beyond this amount and during meals at Skoki Lodge.
- While not required, each guest is encouraged to consult their existing insurance policy to determine what is covered while on the trip, and if needed, secure an individual insurance policy for the trip.
- Any additional activities you want to book along the way: spa visits, private tours, cooking classes, etc.
- Spending money, additional tips for your Trip Host and excess luggage fees.
What are the health and physical fitness requirements to join on the trip?
Guests should take personal responsibility to ensure they are physically able and healthy to participate in all group trip activities, such as hiking at elevations and in conditions outlined in the trip itinerary, hiking on uneven surfaces, complete competence and control swimming, riding and paddling (under the guidance of a certified instructor) in a large raft during a whitewater rafting trip that includes Class 1-4 rapids, rowing a canoe, walking on uneven surfaces, carrying luggage in/out of vehicles, on uneven surfaces and up stairs, and riding in a van for up to 3-4 hours. The trip is physically strenuous and best enjoyed by anyone who is physically fit and enjoys very active days. You should consult with a medical doctor to determine if you are healthy and physically able to participate.
Is there a minimum/maximum age to participate?
Women over the age of 21, that are physically able to participate in the trip itinerary, are welcome to join for this adventure. Please see the detailed itinerary and FAQ on minimum physical fitness requirements to learn more.
What should I do to secure my spot on the trip?
The first step is to request a spot, which you can do online (click here.) Once you request a spot, we’ll reach out to you to schedule a call to review the trip details, get to know you, give you a chance to ask questions about Living Big, etc. If after this conversation you’re on board to join for the adventure, you’ll receive a link to the registration page where you can formally register, submit your first payment and sign the trip waiver. Please note: registration is taken on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Is airfare included in the trip fee? What do I need to know before I book my flight?
Round-trip airfare is not included in the trip fee, but this gives you flexibility in using airline reward miles, to extend your trip any way you like, and to select the routes and airlines you prefer. Each guest is responsible for organizing their own airfare and transportation to the stated start and end cities.
- Inbound flights should arrive into Calgary International Airport (code: YYC) on August 11 by 4PM, MDT time zone
- Outbound flights should depart from Calgary International Airport (code: YYC) on August 17 anytime after 4PM, MDT time zone
You will be required to share flight details at least eight weeks before the adventure commences.
Will I be sharing a hotel room? Can I choose my roommate?
Yes, everyone will be sharing a room with at least one other person, but you will have your own bed. You can request a roommate preference, and share sleeping preferences, on forms that you’ll be asked to fill out 10-12 weeks before your adventure begins.
There is not an opportunity for women to pay a single supplement in order to secure a private room. Here’s why: single supplements, while convenient for some willing to pay the fee, often prevent many single women from traveling because the cost is just too high, so the decision was made early on to not go down that path as a means to encourage more women to travel. And we find that sharing a room with another woman, and having an opportunity to connect with other women and learn about their lives in this way, contributes to what makes these trips very special.
Can you tell me about the type of accommodations we'll be staying at?
You betcha! We’ll be staying at a range of properties throughout the trip. In Calgary we’ll be staying at the beautiful Le Germain Hotel in the heart of downtown. When we make our way to Lake Louise, we’ll be staying at the luxury Post Hotel, and then hiking into the luxury backcountry lodge, Skoki Lodge (FUN FACT: Prince William and Princess Kate made a visit here in 2011!) and then we’ll enjoy a three-star hotel in the center of Banff.
What kind of ground transportation will we use?
Your Trip Host will be driving the group in a 15 passenger van. Space for luggage storage will be tight, so plan on strict guidelines for the size of your luggage!
What should I pack?
About 10-12 weeks before the trip you’ll receive a detailed packing checklist and advised on what type of clothes and supplies you’ll need. But in general you’ll want hiking clothes, hiking boots you’ve worn in, a backpack you can take hiking and will hold overnight supplies and clothing, etc.
Do I need to carry my luggage?
Yes, plan on carrying your bags to/from the airport, on/off the van, in/out of lodging and on your back on the hike to/from Skoki Lodge. A secure space to store luggage during the hike to Skoki Lodge will be provided, so you only have to pack essential supplies and clothing in your backpack.
What will the weather be like?
August weather averages between 40 degrees and 75 degrees fahrenheit. There might be occasional light rain and winds, and the temperature will vary depending on the area, elevation and time of day.
What if I don't need every hotel/activity/etc. on my trip?
Unfortunately, refunds aren’t possible for unused hotel rooms, meals or activities. The total trip price is a package deal; credits are not given for services not used. Please contact Living Big if you have questions or concerns about any trip activities due to a physical condition. If there is a reasonable alternative, we can explore it.
How do I communicate information like allergies, injuries, etc?
About 10-12 weeks before we begin our adventure, you’ll receive a pre-trip packet of information. This includes forms, questionnaires and waivers that you’ll need to submit no later than 8 weeks before the trip begins. These forms allow you to share these important details. Living Big will provide meals as outlined in the official trip itinerary and will work with you to try and accommodate special dietary requirements; however, Living Big is not required to provide such meals, supplements and/or any special requests beyond what is outlined in official trip itinerary.
Do I need a U.S. Passport or Visa for this trip?
Yes, a U.S. Passport is required to visit Canada. Your U.S. Passport must be valid at the time of entry and you need one blank page for an entry stamp. A Visa is not required. Entry requirements may change. While your Trip Host will keep you informed of changes, you should take personal responsibility to ensure you can satisfy entry requirements. Click here to learn more about entering Canada with a U.S. Passport. If you plan to visit another country before or after your Living Big trip, contact your Trip Host to discuss any additional entry requirements.
Do I have to pay for the entire trip up front or can I make payments?
No, you do not need to pay for the entire trip up front. (Although you can, if you prefer.) Check out the Pricing, Payment and Reservation tab for payment details.
What is Living Big's policy on non-discrimination and violence?
Please take a moment to review the Living Big policy towards anti-discrimination and violence. Click here to review.
If you’re on board with this philosophy, and can join us in creating a safe, comfortable and judgment-free zone, then we’d love to have you join for an adventure!
What if I need to cancel the trip?
If you decide you need to cancel your trip the following refund schedule applies upon written notice of your cancellation:
- Cancellations made on or before April 30, 2018:
- Your trip deposit is nonrefundable. If you paid in full for the trip the deposit is $500.
- You will be reimbursed 50% of what you have paid to date, less the nonrefundable deposit.
- As an example, if you made a $500 deposit, then made two additional payments each for $250 (total paid = $1,000) then the amount you would receive back is $250.
- Cancellations made on or after May 1, 2018:
- All payments made to date are nonrefundable.
Travel insurance helps protect against last-minute cancellation, trip interruption, and to cover medical treatment or emergency medical evacuation during your trip. We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance and flight cancellation insurance in advance of your trip. To learn about travel insurance, click here for a quick lesson!
What if the trip doesn't fill up or is cancelled?
The trip requires a minimum number of participants in order to take place at the stated price, since it takes into account group discounts, shared accommodations and other factors that create cost efficiencies. Once an adequate number of participants sign up for the trip, you will be notified. If a trip does not have enough participants, or if someone unexpectedly cancels, you will be refunded your deposit or you will be given the option to pay a trip supplement to continue the trip with fewer participants. Should additional participants sign-up after you have paid the trip supplement, this fee will be refunded. Your air travel itinerary is yours to decide, and we recommend you purchase flight cancellation insurance. Living Big is not responsible for additional expenses incurred by you in preparing for the trip including non-refundable air tickets, gear, medical equipment or travelers insurance.
What if I can't make payments according to the payment schedule?
If unusual circumstances arise and you can’t make payments on time please contact Living Big to discuss. Generally speaking, failure to make payments according to the schedule may result in losing your spot on the trip.
This trip is nearly all-inclusive of meals, all lodging, all ground transportation, and all activities outlined in the itinerary, all the planning and booking (so you don’t have to do ANY work but show up!) and advice on what to pack, tips on international travel and a go-to resource who is here to answer any questions you have leading up to the trip, and on the trip, to help ensure that you have an amazing experience! Trip Fee: $2,995.
There are two options for payment:
- Pay the full amount by credit card or by check.
- Break your payments into equal monthly installments. Make a deposit of $500 to formally register for your spot, and then on the first of each month (following the month you made your deposit payment) your credit card will be automatically charged a set amount, so that the final payment is applied on June 1, 2018. If you decide to make monthly installment payments, you will receive a payment schedule based on when you register.
Requesting a Spot
If you’re interested in requesting a spot on this trip please make note of the following booking process and payment terms:
- The first step is to request a spot, which you can do online. Once you request your spot, we’ll reach out to you to schedule a call to review the trip details, get to know you, give you a chance to ask questions about Living Big, etc. provided there are spots available on the trip.
- If after this conversation you’re on board to join for the adventure, you’ll receive a link to the registration page where you can formally register, submit your first payment and sign the trip waiver.