See Canada at your own pace

My husband and I are travelling to Canada in May. We are cruising Alaska's Inside Passage, then want to hire a car and travel from Vancouver to Whistler, Sun Peaks, Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise, Kelowna and back to Vancouver. We don't want to stick to rigid plans about how many days we stay in each place. We hope to rock up to each place and get accommodation. Do you think we will have problems at that time of year and do you think it will cost us much more by not pre-booking? Also, are we better off pre-booking the car hire in Australia or do you think we can chance that in Vancouver?

- C. Allen, Turramurra.

These are popular summer holiday spots and most years you would find yourself out in the cold if you did not pre-book accommodation. However, if it's a repeat of this year's season, you won't have to worry. I was in Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise in July and there were plenty of vacant rooms due to the fact that travel from the US has been slow to recover from the financial meltdown.

Since May is also before the summer season gets into high gear, you should be able to find places to stay without difficulty. Banff has an online booking service (, updated daily. The Jasper Visitor Information Centre will have information daily on hotels and B&Bs with rooms. Tourism Sun Peaks' Central Reservations number is 1800 807 3257.

You should definitely pre-book your car. Wait until the last minute and you could find yourself squeezed for choice and almost certainly paying a higher price.