Vacation or stay-cation?

29-vacation When vacation planning, I’m often torn between the allure of traveling abroad and the easy exploration of discovering local scenery. Both Silicon Valley and Vancouver, BC, Canada are situated along the west coast of the Pacific and offer sea, land and mountain experiences within a drive away.

With Silicon Valley being touched by sunshine 75% of the year, the weather has certainly encouraged us to explore locally around California. From the South Bay (e.g. Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Palo Alto, etc.), driving 60 minutes in any direction opens to a mini-vacation spot. To the North, there’s San Francisco and Sausalito. To the South, there’s Santa Cruz, Monterey and Pebble Beach. Then the East leads to Yosemite National Park for the giant redwoods. On the West, you’ll find the shores of Half Moon Bay. Weekends set aside for short road trips or stay-cations are truly relaxing.

In contrast, Vancouver’s continuous days of sun are limited to about 35% of the year. Unless you are adventurous to braving rainy climates, it’s these cloudy and wet days that usually convinced us to plan vacations abroad to warmer destinations instead. During the winter months, however, the rainy days usually mean blissful snowpacks up in the mountains of Cypress, Seymour and Whistler.

Greater Vancouver Area
(BC, Canada)
Silicon Valley
SEA – Spanish Banks Beach in Vancouver, BC
– English Bay Beach in Vancouver, BC
– Tofino, BC
– Half Moon Bay, CA
– Monterey, CA
– Santa Cruz, CA
kayaking, sailing, etc.
LAND – North Vancouver, BC
– Squamish, BC
– Victoria, BC
– Muir Woods, CA
– Sausalito, CA (by ferry)
hiking, scenery, etc.
MOUNTAINS – Cypress Mountains in West Vancouver, BC
– Mount Seymour in North Vancouver, BC
– Whistler, BC
– Lake Tahoe, CA skiing, snowshoe, etc.
HOT SPRINGS – Harrison Hot Springs, BC – Desert Hot Springs, CA
DESERTS – Osoyoos, BC (a.k.a. Nk’mip Desert, Okanagan Desert) – Mojave Desert, CA

If you decide to travel by air, you will find the number of U.S. airlines greatly exceeds the number of Canadian airlines, and so does the availability of routes and flight times. With so many U.S. airlines to choose from, airfare comparison websites like Orbitz and Kayak are handy in helping calculate the cheapest airfare, organizing the various flight schedule options and simply getting introduced to the many airlines.

NOTE: Allegiant Air and Southwest Airlines are not listed on either of these comparison websites. Keep these budget airlines in mind when planning your flight.

For simplicity, the airfare comparisons between Canadian and U.S. airfares below are for round-trip economy class tickets and do not include baggage fees and allowances, airport fees, tax and fuel surcharge details which vary between purchase locations, airlines and destinations.
Canadian Airline Airfare Airfare
United States Airline Airfare Airfare
Domestic Flight
(within province/state)
Vancouver, BC to Victoria, BC
$200 SFO to SAN
San Francisco, CA to San Diego, CA
Domestic Flight
(to neighbouring province/state)
Edmonton, AB to Vancouver, BC

This is a popular route for weekend culinary feasting in Vancouver.

$400 SFO to LAS
San Francisco, CA to Las Vegas, NV

This is a popular route for weekend partying in Vegas.

Domestic Flight
(west to east coast within nation)
Vancouver, BC to Montreal, QC
$730 SFO to BOS
San Francisco, CA to Boston, MA
North American Flight YVR to SFO
Vancouver, BC to San Francisco, CA
$500 SFO to YVR
San Francisco, CA to Vancouver, BC
International Flight YVR to HKG
Vancouver, BC, Canada to Hong Kong
$1,600 SFO to HKG
San Francisco, CA, USA to Hong Kong

Happy and safe travels!

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