Trip Introduction: A Pandemic Inspired Road Trip through the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada


This post is one chapter on our trip through the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada. This trip was booked using Marriott Bonvoy Points. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


Trip Introduction: A Pandemic Inspired Road Trip through the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada

After not having had a work trip or personal trip in 6 months, I started to get a little stir crazy. Having a worldwide pandemic at the time didn’t help and for many months we were stuck at home without a travel plan to be had. 

Fortunately, our home province of British Columbia in Canada had a very light pandemic experience with less than 4,000 total cases by the time of this trip with only two hundred active cases in a province of four million people. 

The decision to travel during a state of emergency is always a personal one given the risks versus the reward. I think everyone needs to conduct their own risk assessment and decide whether this can be done safely. In this case, we decided it would be safe enough given the activities we planned on doing, and travelling by personal car in our own little “bubble”.

We had a stack of Marriott Bonvoy vouchers from four American Express credit cards that required burning at some point this year. Since they are only valid on Category 5 hotels and lower, they can be a little tricky to use in our home town of Vancouver, Canada. I usually use them on Seattle, Washington, United States hotels but with the Canadian Government having to quarantine returning international travelers for 14 days, that plan went quickly out the window. Thanks to Marriott Bonvoy category devaluations thanks to the high demand of Vancouver’s’ cruise ship industry for Alaskan Cruises, there aren’t too many exciting places in Vancouver that these can be used aside from a few remote airport or suburban hotels. This left us with Vancouver Island or the Okanagan interior or flying to some other location within Canada. 

One of my work colleagues recommended visiting the brand new Fairfield Inn and Suites in Penticton, BC. While we don’t normally get excited about visiting the lowest budget hotels in the Marriott group, there is hardly any Marriott foot print in this part of the country.  We were able to stop in and experience the new hotel within 30 days of opening. The region, which is situated near Canada’s only desert, features a lot of recreation activities which include lakes, restaurants and Canadian up and coming wineries.

Since putting on thousands of kilometers on your own car is never fun, we ended up renting from the neighbourhood Hertz Car Rental for this trip. We obtained a weekly rental with a nice Hertz President’s Circle upgrade for a reasonable rate using the American Express Platinum CDP coupon (15%) along with 500 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan frequent flier miles. 

This is the first road trip of about twenty that I’ve written about and the first time that a Trip Introduction here doesn’t feature a flight map. Hopefully, this is doesn’t become the only one of this nature. Thankfully, travelling through the Canadian Rockies to get to a wine region is quite pretty and inspiring in its self.

I hope you will enjoy following along on our first great road trip adventure.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: