Now that I’ve solo travelled to Vancouver twice (and thinking about many more solo trips there), I’m sure I’m in a position to dole out expert advice for females considering their own solo trip there and I’ve just two words—DO IT!
Where I Stayed
I stayed with Airbnb both times, the first time in Marpole and the second time in Lonsdale, North Vancouver. Both locations felt immensely safe. I arrived a little past midnight from the airport to my Airbnb in Marpole, due to some hassle with my car rental, but I was able to find street parking and walk to the three storey apartment just fine. In Lonsdale, I went out during midnight to grab food or fill up gas and I still felt safe. I even went to Prospect Point and hiked to the Siwash Rock lookout early morning, before the sun was up, with my expensive camera gear, and I was still safe (ok I admit my heart was thudding a little when I hiked to Siwash Rock). I drove through Stanley Park past midnight to go to the seawall and take photos of Lions Gate Bridge all lit up. I had the normal anxiety you feel when you’re out alone at night, but I mean what are the chances of being kidnapped anyway?
The thing I love about Vancouver is that people are active—they’ll be biking or running early in the morning or late night so you will rarely be entirely alone. I’m not here to encourage you to go out during the off hours of the day—all I’m saying is that Vancouver is safe. There is no need for a solo woman to worry.
Where I Went Solo
A lot of places within Vancouver. To name a few, Grouse Mountain, Gastown, Shannon Falls, Lynn Canyon, Capilano, Deep Cove and Lighthouse Park.
I spent a lot of my trip outside of Vancouver as well. I went to Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and Maple Ridge. I did a ton of hikes in these cities all alone. There’s something about being alone in the neck of the woods that doesn’t scare me—that myth about a man hiding in the woods ready to kidnap and dismember your body? Yeah that’s just a myth. If anything, you’re more likely to get kidnapped outsideof the woods and then be taken there to be buried or hidden. I also watch too many serial killer documentaries.
I did the 2.5 hour drive up to Joffre Provincial Park in Pemberton (don’t bother going there in fall, it’s too icy to hike), I hiked in Golden Ears Provincial Park and did the questionable hike down to the base of Brandywine Falls. I went anywhere I wanted when I wanted and never questioned if it was safe to do so. There was too much to see and do and I was having a blast. Yes, being solo in British Columbia and having the forest and all its nature sounds to yourself is quite amazing (and therapeutic).
I used to have this thing where I woke up early and slept early, to avoid the tourist crowds and going out at night, but I’ve become more lax. I basically go out and go home whenever I want now.
Where I Ate
I’ve eaten alone in a restaurant once and that was in Taiwan. I’m still too self-conscious to do it, but I can eat alone in a food court or a fast food chain or a cafe. I mostly bought groceries from Safeway or Whole Foods (a budget-friendly option) or ordered take out from restaurants I wanted to try and ate in my Airbnb.
There are a few things, which helped me safe throughout my trip:
So what are you waiting for? Book your flight to Vancouver now and experience the wilderness, the laidback people, the mountains, the seashore in all your solo glory.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out 🙂
As I’ve learned throughout my travels, October is a good month to travel anywhere. The lack of tourists being the main reason, but also because attractions prices are less expensive off-season and the weather is still usually good. And Vancouver was no exception.
What was Vancouver’s weather like during October? Not a question I thought of when I spontaneously booked my trip one night in May. I know, *facepalm*.
My trip dates were from October 10 – 17. I regularly monitored Vancouver’s weather up until then. Rain and more rain.
Vancouver scenery in October
Dense fog obscures the peaks of vast mountainous landscapes. The bright reds, yellows, oranges of leaves barely hang off twigs, letting go in the slight breeze. Mist warps through massive yellow and green pine tree forests, the tops of cedars and waterfalls. The dewy, after-rain earthy smell fills your lungs with fresh, cool air. Tiny droplets on bigleaf maples. The sky, a dark grey instills a moody ambiance.
Vancouver in October is surreal.
Vancouver weather in October
Fall is the rainiest season so expect it to rain during your trip. Try not to avoid the rain or plan around it—embrace it as part of your trip or you won’t be going out much. This means wear appropriate attire. You’ll enjoy your trip as long as you’re dressed for the weather. The weather is also unpredictable. It can be raining one minute and the next can be bright and sunny. If you don’t own waterproof clothing, an umbrella is helpful. Carry it on less-intense hikes and use it to shield your camera while taking photographs (considering it’s going to be on a tripod). Trail running shoes or hiking boots with good grip are a must—the wet trails make it easier to slip on grass and rocks. You’ll find many hikers alongside you whether rain or shine and the fall colours make every moment spent outside worth it.
If you venture out of Vancouver, you may be caught driving on a road with no streetlamps while it pours. Be cautious and drive slowly. With poor visibility, you don’t want to come across an animal that may be out in the rain.
The temperature for October 2017 reached a high of 17°C and a low of 4°C. It was a bit chilly, but my hoodie and utility jacket usually provided enough warmth.
Things to do in Vancouver during October
Almost all attractions are open rain or shine, but check opening times beforehand. Many hiking trails are best hiked until November. A bike ride or walk in Stanley Park is great for experiencing Vancouver’s fall foliage. I began to prefer a rainy Vancouver. It was dark, moody and beautiful. I never hiked in the rain up until this trip, but I grew to like it.
There are several fall and Halloween activities going on. Fright Nights, Halloween Expo, the parade, pumpkin patches and train rides at Stanley Park to name a few.
October is fantastic month to tour other British Columbia cities. While it rains in Vancouver, it may be sunny in Squamish or Whistler so check the weather and take advantage of when to visit other cities. Since it’s colder in northern cities, make sure to dress warmer, pack a blanket, grab some coffee and snacks before you set out for the short road trip.
If I were to visit Vancouver again, which I will, I would choose to go in October in a heartbeat. The mountains, the mist, the fall ambiance… Vancouver offers an appeal I have yet to experience in Toronto.
Have you moved from Toronto to Vancouver? Let me know your experiences in the comments below!