Travelling to Victoria, Vancouver Island

November 30, 2015 by Martin Vernon

Travelling to Victoria, Vancouver Island is made easy by numerous routes whether travelling by car or plane. Let’s clarify though that there is no bridge connecting Vancouver Island to mainland British Columbia or Washington State, instead several regular ferry services operate year-round.

In August 2015 alone, over 170,000 people came through Victoria International Airport (YYJ) Travelling to Victoria, Vancouver Island - ferriesand 400,000 arrived at BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal. These visitors, year-round, bring about $1.8 billion dollars revenue to the area (so you are very welcome!). Tourism is important so there are ample services to meet every need. Rental cars are available at the airport or nearby Sidney, and buses and taxis connect both terminals to downtown Victoria.

The BC Ferries terminal is 30km / 20 miles north of Victoria and the airport a little closer, both on the Saanich Peninsula on the SE tip of the island. From Victoria and the peninsula there’s good access to the rest of the Vancouver Island via Hwy 1. As a result, visitors can stay in this area near most of the area attractions and take day trips from Victoria to explore the east or west coasts of the island.

Ferry services also come in to Sidney and to the Inner Harbour of Victoria, some for cars, others passengers only. The Inner Harbour is also served by floatplanes making a dramatic entry to the city.

This blog has much information to help you plan your travel, accommodations and activities. Guide books and the internet will ensure you do not miss any highlights on the island or anywhere else in British Columbia. Incidentally, do check the passport entry requirements before you travel. This article about passports may be handy but be aware that regulations change periodically.

Do I need a passport?

April 20, 2015 by Martin Vernon

Most of us like to travel but few enjoy travelling; the process of getting to our destination is seen as “short term pain for long term gain”. It’s like overcoming a lengthy obstacle course: complying with the growing list of rules and regulations, paying increasing surcharges, passing through ever-more demanding security, waiting for unpredictable times, sitting in cramped planes. Then on arrival there are uncertainties – did our baggage travel with us, did the rental car arrangement process properly, how do we negotiate our way to the blissful place where we can collapse on a bed (such as one of our bed and breakfasts)?

Those rules and regulations include the necessary documentation we need to carry. One of our mental questions in this world of free trade zones is still “Do I need a passport?”. Do I need a passport?The answer is likely to be found for you in one of these Government websites:
Government of Canada – visiting Canada
U.S. Department of State

Passports have an interesting story, going back to the days when travel was much more arduous than today, yes really. We have it easy.

The means of transport for travellers 100 or more years ago were slow, inconvenient and uncomfortable beyond our comprehension with additional bureaucratic issues we do not face. For example, before 1852 a British passport was merely a sheet of paper bearing the royal coat of arms and a signature of the Foreign Secretary, not inconvenient if you knew him or someone he trusted but what if you did not? It was expensive too. At the same time other European countries required descriptions of height, eye colour, eyebrows, nose, mouth and complexion, more like a criminal record check.

On arrival, even for just an overnight stop, until recently, passports were taken away by police for examination. Even some nationals had passports restricting their movements within their own countries. Then to leave the country to go elsewhere one’s passport had to be signed by the foreign ministry so visiting embassies was a frustrating necessity. At this time Germany and Italy were a mass of small states, all with their own regulations; imagine that mess. Occasional terrorist outrages tightened rules all the more (familiar?). The Times wrote “Never was a more senseless custom instituted than that of passports”. Ah the bureacracy! I’m intrigued to see that our own Canadian federal bureaucrats have written an interesting History of Passports in a “Games” section of the Government website. It isn’t always a game.

Guide books and the internet

March 10, 2015 by Martin Vernon

What are the roles of guide books and the internet for our travels? Today we are fortunate to have every possible piece of necessary travel information readily accessible. Personally, I like to use both guide books and the internet when planning trips and when travelling.

The word “guide book” came into use in the early 1800’s as a result of early tourism and as a factor which was to shape it. In 1820 there were 13 travel books published in Britain about Italy alone. These guide books were intended originally for use when travelling but soon became indispensable for forward planning. Thus they became very influential in determining where and what people chose to visit. Popular guide books in the Victorian age included Murrays and Baedeker much as we might use Rick Steves or Lonely Planet today.

Guide books and the internet - visiting Victoria on Vancouver Island

How to get there, where to go?

Travelling details were added later so that information about every aspect of a trip, including accommodation recommendations, were presented to the would-be visitor. The author Anthony Trollope wrote in 1861 “In travelling these are the things which really occupy the mind. Where shall I sleep? Is there anything to eat? Can I have my clothes washed?” One reader of an early 19th century guide-book wrote that he was “never at a loss what hotel to go to, what to look for, what to do”.

Then along came the internet! The role of guide books today remains valuable, even if superceded for many by the handiness of smart devices.

In this blog, the Best Inns of Victoria endeavour to provide broad information about Victoria and Vancouver Island, BC, not just about our bed and breakfasts. Do browse through the categories on the right or use the Search box facility. As well as a wide range of tourist articles about the places and events in the area you’ll find a wide variety of blog posts: the weather, interesting facts about Victoria, history – such as the pioneers, prohibition or the 49th Parallel, washrooms (an important topic sometimes), local architecture, and the wildlife of southern Vancouver Island. Our website has much more too, information about accommodations, an area guide including attractions and travel.

Then, when you are here, you’ll have the further benefit of concierge guide information from your bed and breakfast hosts.

Travel information for Victoria BC

May 10, 2014 by Martin Vernon

A good source of travel information for Victoria BC is invaluable for planning your trip to Vancouver Island. So we have assembled everything you need (we hope).

Since 2000 our Victoria bed and breakfasts association has been welcoming visitors and we’ve built up a wealth of knowledgeTravel information for Victoria BC about the area. So where better to collect this than on our website? Here’s a summary of what you can find:

Firstly, there’s the travel – we show the departure points for planes, float planes, helicopters, and passenger or car ferries. Necessarily related to this is passport information.

You’ll want to know about the weather on Vancouver Island to plan both wardrobe and possible activities.

These activities will form your memories so we’ve written fully about them in the Victoria Area Guide. There are pages about atttractions and gardens, festivals and events, outdoor activities, tours, food and drink, arts and culture, shopping and fashions, and spa, beauty & wellness.

Lastly, naturally, you can select from our Victoria bed and breakfasts , searching by location, amenities or packages and specials. You can check availabilty and reserve accommodations online.

As our website says, “There is much to see and do but your adventure begins on the southern tip of our beautiful island in Victoria, the jewel of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.”

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