About our Guest Blogger: Elizabeth (Beth) Smith is a home-based travel agent and travel and wine blogger affectionately known by her Twitter ID, @travelwinechick. She holds WSET’s Level 1 Award in Wines and Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits, in addition to graduate degrees and studies in French and Spanish education. Visit her blog, Travelling Wine Chick
I am happy to say that I am completely booked for #WBC13. I am flying from a regional east coast airport so it took some strategizing on my part; I encourage you to register and start the planning and booking process as soon as possible.
If you’re flying, here are some tips and options to get you to and from Penticton:
I found Seattle to be the best option for me flying from the East Coast with regard to both cost and scheduling. Even if you are flying from a smaller airport, you will probably only have to connect once to fly to Seattle. If you are flying from an airline’s hub or a major airport, you may not have to connect at all.
Once you are in Seattle, you have a few options:
- Go on the Lake Chelan Wine Country Pre-Conference Excursion, which will provide both a great experience and bus transportation to Penticton.
- Fly nonstop on Alaska Airlines between Seattle and Kelowna (YLW). There are only two Alaska Airline options in and out of Kelowna daily and the plane (De Havilland Canada DHC-8-400 Dash 8 turboprop) only seats 70 so plan accordingly.
- Rent a car for the six-hour drive each way to and from Penticton.
To return to Seattle from Penticton one way, there is one Greyhound bus option (7:30 a.m.-6:15 p.m., two transfers) or you can fly one way back to Seattle on Alaska Airlines via Kelowna.
Depending on your departure airport, Vancouver may be the best option for you. Once you are in Vancouver, you can rent a car for the five-hour drive each way between Vancouver and Penticton or fly.
There are nonstop flights offered between Vancouver and Penticton on Air Canada. Another option is to fly nonstop, roundtrip between Vancouver and Kelowna on WestJet and take the conference shuttle to/from Penticton. WestJet has more options between Vancouver and Kelowna than Air Canada has between Vancouver and Penticton.
Los Angeles (LAX)
For those of you departing from or connecting through Los Angeles, United Airlines now has one nonstop flight daily between Los Angeles and Kelowna. If you elect to fly this route, make sure to check the flight schedules, as it currently appears you would need to arrive in Kelowna on Wednesday, June 5, as it is a late evening arrival.
San Francisco (SFO)
Per blogger, Thea Dwelle, of Luscious Lushes SFO is a good option to get into Kelowna, BC. West Jet, Alaska, and United all have options with reasonable schedules and fares.
Remember that if you sign up for the pre-conference excursion in Kelowna, you should plan to travel to Kelowna and arrive at the airport before 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5.
If you are taking the Lake Chelan pre-conference excursion from Seattle, you should plan to arrive before 11:00am on Wednesday, June 5.
10% discounts are offered on both Air Canada and Alaska Airlines for attendees in and/out of Kelowna or Penticton. You will receive a discount code upon registration.
The conference organizers are working on arranging shuttle service to and from the Kelowna airport for attendees. There is a tentative $10 charge for this service; details are coming. If you fly into Penticton, there will be a free shuttle from the airport (Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday) to the conference offered by Penticton and Wine Country Tourism.
Lastly, remember that if you are traveling from outside of Canada to the conference that you will need a passport.