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Cheap flights to Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver overview

Vancouver Travel Guide

The city by the Pacific Ocean is framed by snow-capped mountains and shimmering seas. Vancouver’s climate (milder than the rest of Canada’s), natural wonders, friendly multicultural vibe, gastronomy and shopping mark it out as a must-visit city. Once travelers arrive on their flights to Vancouver, they may just decide to spend the rest of their lives there. Vancouver is a regular in the list of most livable cities.

A multicultural mosaic, there are busy Chinese, East Indian and Italian districts. The heart of the city beats most strongly in the 988 acre Stanley Park. It contains such world-famous features as Siwash Rock, the Lost Lagoon and the 5.5 miles seawall walk. Within a 30-minute drive of downtown Vancouver are Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour, all with night-skiing facilities.

BC Ferries sails the Georgia Strait connecting Vancouver with Vancouver Island (and, of course, Victoria, the capital of British Columbia), and the gulf islands, Galiano and Saltspring, are the best known. Within closer reach is Bowen—just a 20-minute ferry trip from Horseshoe Bay—an enchanting little island where the rain forest meets the ocean.

Why do millions of people book Vancouver flights each year? Vancouver is so captivating that even Hollywood fell in love with the Canadian city. Blockbuster hits including, “The Butterfly Effect,” “Best in Show,” “I Robot,” “The Accused,” and “X 2” were filmed on location in Vancouver.

Cheap plane tickets to Vancouver are easy to come by and accommodations range from moderate to luxury in this bustling city. Flights to Vancouver are packed with people eager to explore the young, vibrant and diverse city that beams with natural beauty. Vancouver is one of a handful of cities that caters to the winter season. Peak travel Vancouver planes are packed with skiers and snowboarders from mid-December to late-January. Snow sports are revered in Vancouver. In 2003, the International Olympic Committee awarded Vancouver the right to host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Since the late 1990s, Vancouver has earned a reputation for being one of the top restaurant cities in the world. In fact, culinary experts are reserving seats on Vancouver flights to test out the latest creations and novelties by some of the world’s top chefs.

No need to worry about booking flights to Vancouver and not enjoying your vacation. According to Conde Nast Traveler, Vancouver is one of the 10 best cities to visit, so hop on a plane to Vancouver and see for yourself.

What’s the weather like in Vancouver?

Vancouver has a maritime climate. The winters are fairly mild with little snow. Given its location on the Pacific Coast, it’s no surprise that Vancouver gets a lot of rain. Travelers taking trips to Vancouver in the winter months should pack a rain jacket (or two). The summer months are glorious with lots and lots of sunshine

Some say Vancouver has the best Canadian weather, with warm summers and mild winters. The city rarely sees snow, rarely gets oppressively hot, but gets lots of rain. The mountains and ski resorts are so close to the city that you really can golf and ski on the same day. January is the coolest month with temperatures ranging from the low 30s to low 40s. July and August are the warmest months with temperatures reaching the low 70s. Spring and fall temperatures are in the 60s.

When is the best time to fly to Vancouver? 

Peak Season:

Vancouver has two peak seasons. If you’re traveling to Vancouver during the summer months or mid-winter, make sure to plan your Vancouver flights and hotel accommodations early.

July through August is one of Vancouver’s peak seasons. If you’re planning your Vancouver trip for the peak season, book airline tickets to Vancouver early to get the best rates. Summer in the city means film, jazz, and folk festivals, the Molson Indy Vancouver, and the HSBC PowerSmart Celebration of Light fireworks competition so you can be sure the city will be bustling with things to do for tourists.

The second peak season is mid-December through February. Skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts arrive in mid-December, and the mountain’s peak season peak is January and February. Vancouver hotels and resorts book up fast so when booking your Vancouver flights, make sure to confirm your hotel rooms and ski passes.

Shoulder Season:

September-October and May-June make up the shoulder season, so look for cheap flights to Vancouver around then. You’ll still have warm weather but the bustling crowds of tourists will be non-existent. Winter is a great time to visit if you like skiing, other than that Vancouver is very quiet and cold. You can find the cheapest flights to Vancouver over winter though, so depending on the kind of holiday you want it could be a great option.

Off Season:

Vancouver is particularly enjoyable during May and June and September and October. The weather is mild and there are few crowds. Cheap trips to Vancouver are commonly found during this time so travelers on a budget can get good rates on flights and accommodations.

Early spring and late fall are also great times for whale watching.

Except for the ski areas, hotels in the winter are quiet and Vancouver’s cultural scene is in full swing.

When is the best time to book a flight to Vancouver?

One of the best things about Vancouver is its year-round appeal to tourists. Whether you’re heading for the mountains, relaxing in the park or enjoying the city nightlife, there are plenty of things to do in Vancouver anytime of the year.

To find the cheapest flights to Vancouver, your best bet is to be flexible. Although May typically offers cheap flight tickets, by being flexible you can scan over the entire year and pick and choose what works best for you. Avoid traveling during the peak season and festivals last minute as you will pay through the roof for your flights to Vancouver. If you do want to travel then book your flights at least two or three months in advance, or more if you can. Last minute deals are rare and the longer you wait the more you’ll have to pay.

How long is the flight to Vancouver?

Vancouver is a great destination for a quick and easy getaway due to its convenient location. West Coast residents are in luck, as a flight from Los Angeles lasts a mere three hours on average, and Seattles can arrive in under an hour. If you’re in the Midwest, you’re still only looking at a four or five hour flight, particularly if you’re close to Chicago or another major northern city. Even on the East Coast, however, flights still tend to fairly short. Whether you’re flying from New York or Orlando, you can expect to spend five to six hours in the air.

Which airlines fly to Vancouver?

Vancouver International Airport’s large size and convenient location make it a popular destination for many airports. Naturally, Air Canada flights are a common sight. Most major US airlines, including Delta, American and United, also fly there frequently. International airlines, such as Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Qantas and Lufthansa travel to Vancouver.

What should you pack for a flight to Vancouver? 

There are so many different things to do in and around Vancouver that every packing list looks a little different. Generally, however, comfortable and casual clothes are a good choice. Jeans are suitable for most tourist activities, and be sure to bring along comfortable shoes for walking tours or hitting the trails. It’s a good idea to pack a few dressier items in case you feel like taking advantage of the city’s vibrant nightlife. Be sure to bring along some decent rain gear, too, especially during the winter and spring.

Getting to and around the city of Vancouver

The Canada Line is a very reliable and frequent way to get from the airport into the city, only taking around 25 minutes. Another option is to check with your hotel if they provide a courtesy shuttle bus, as most tend to. You can call your hotel to arrange a shuttle pick up from levels 2 at the airport; however it’s best to check before you travel that they do provide the service. Taxis are very expensive in Canada, and getting to the city is no different. That said, if there are a few of you to split the fare then it can work out okay, just be sure to agree on a fee beforehand and ask for a receipt.

Vancouver’s public transportation system, TransLink, consists of an efficient and reliable network of electric trolley buses, SeaBus passenger ferries, buses, the SkyTrain elevated light-rail and West Coast Express trains. Save some money by buying a FareSaver book of ten tickets, which you can find at newsagents. You can also get a day pass for unlimited travel on buses, SkyTrains and SeaBuses. Don’t rent a car and save yourself the hassle of dealing with congested traffic. You can hail a taxi on the street if you need one, or you can pedal yourself around the city one of the 16 cycling routes covering 80 miles of Vancouver’s neighborhoods.

What are some things to do in Vancouver?

Whether you’re looking for urban excitement or outdoor adventures, Vancouver has something for you. Take a stroll around Stanley Park, the largest urban park in North America. Stroll the five-mile-long waterfront walkway, which offers spectacular views of the ocean, or take a carriage ride to enjoy the sights in a more leisurely fashion. If you prefer a more strenuous hike, head to nearby Grouse Mountain and hike the Grind, named for its grueling elevation changes. The stunning views and astonishing natural beauty make it all worth it, though. If that sounds like too much, there’s also a charming gondola ride available.

Explore the shops at Granville Island, a charming neighborhood that offers numerous boutique shops, art galleries and more, many housed in renovated factories that show the area’s industrial history. The real highlight is the famous Granville Island Public Market, an open-air market that boasts everything from traditional fish stalls to artisanal offerings by local crafters.

No trip to Vancouver is complete without a stop at the Vancouver lookout, located on the 55th floor of the Harbour Centre building. This 360-degree observation deck offers unparalleled views of the city. To further experience the area from death-defying heights, head over to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which hangs 230 feet above the Capilano river. The bridge complex also offers other hikes, craftsmanship displays and First Nations dances.

After a busy day, stop for dinner at one of the city’s numerous fine restaurants. Vancouver is particularly known for its high-quality Asian cuisine, thanks to the large number of Asian immigrants. The large Japanese population and easy access to fresh fish has made sushi a particularly popular and affordable choice for fine dining.

Tips for your stay in Vancouver

  • Stanley Parkis less than a mile from Vancouver city center. It’s a beautiful space with lots of things to do. Watch out for the locals roller-blading, cycling, power walking and jogging along the Sea Wall, a 6.2 mile walk that will take you from the entrance of the park downtown to English Bay. Keep an eye out for the piles of yellow sulfur across the water, the Lions Gate Bridge, and North Shore Mountains. Pass the Little Mermaid Statue and Siwash Rock and later on, at English Bay, the giant Inukshuk, an Inuit sculpture.
  • Take the sea bus from Waterfront Station across the Burrard Inlet to North Vancouver. The Lonsdale Quay Marketis great for souvenir shopping.
  • The Vancouver art gallery—in an impressive neo-classical building (the former courthouse)—is on Hornby Street. It is the largest art gallery in western Canada and has more than 200 major works by Emily Carr, the British Columbia artist. It has a permanent collection of almost 8,000 items.
  • Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden is on the edge of China Town. This peaceful garden is the first authentic classical Chinese garden ever built outside of China.
  • The Vancouver Lookout, in the Harbor Center, is on the 50th story. It offers 360-degree views of Vancouver and the beautiful North Shore Mountains.
  • The Museum of Anthropologyat the University of British Columbia sits on the cliffs of Point Grey. On show is Bill Reid’s enormous sculpture, The Raven and the First Men, totem poles from the Haida, Gitxsan, Nisga’a, Oweekeno and other First Nations, and the Koerner Ceramics Gallery, which houses 600 pieces of 15-19th century pottery.
  • Climbing Grouse Mountainis a Sunday tradition and Capilano Suspension Bridge is a tourist must-do. About 230 feet above Capilano River, it is 450 feet across.
  • Don’t be surprised when you’re asked to pay a tax to leave the city. Vancouver flights will include an international surcharge for those travelers leaving North America, a lower one for tourists traveling within North America, and an even lower one for passengers on flights within British Columbia or the Yukon. Be sure to check your Vancouver flights at the time of purchase to ensure this surcharge is added on.

 Finding Flights from Vancouver

 Vancouver is a popular hub for flights entering and leaving Canada, so it’s easy to find flights to numerous destinations. Major US-based airlines, including Delta, United and American, offer plenty of options to fly back to the US. American citizens and permanent residents are also eligible for a pre-clearance system offered by Vancouver International Airport and US Customs and Border Protection, which allows you to go through most of the Customs and Border Protection screening while you’re waiting for your flight instead of doing it after arriving in the US.

Airports for Vancouver