Vancouver is considered by many — both residents and tourists alike — to be the most beautiful city in Canada. It's in a spectacular location, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, with one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, and the snow-capped Coast Mountains forming a postcard-perfect backdrop. It's cosmopolitan. It's dynamic. It's the vibrant heart of Canada's west coast.
Just in case sheer beauty isn't enough to make you want to take a cheap flight to Vancouver, it is also an all-season travel destination known to inspire flights of fancy — from deep-sea fishing in the summer, to world-class skiing in the winter, to kayaking and festival-hopping in the spring, to snagging tickets to superb live theatre in the fall — which is when many productions start their seasons — the word "boredom" simply doesn't exist in Vancouver. There are lots of opportunities to have fun on the cheap. There are quaint neighbourhoods to explore, and plenty of galleries and museums to choose from. Jog or bike the Seawall, shop at Granville Market, dine on cuisines from virtually any culture in the world, and enjoy Vancouver's exciting nightlife.
Vancouver is a hub for Air Canada and WestJet, Canada's two major domestic airlines. All major airlines, including American Airlines, Air Transat, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, and KLM, also fly from Vancouver to a wide variety of destinations since YVR is Canada's west coast hub for international flights. Pacific Coastal Airlines is the main local airline, providing flights to the cities located on Vancouver Island and in other parts of the province.
There are so many flights arriving and departing daily that it's seldom a problem to find cheap airline tickets to Vancouver. But, with summer (July through September) being high season — and definitely the best time to take in Vancouver's numerous outdoor attractions and activities — it's wise to book tickets early if you're planning to fly to Vancouver at this time of year.
Vancouver has four seasons — winter, spring, summer, and fall — although winter (January through March) is not the snowy version the rest of the country experiences. In Vancouver, winter is more like a cold version of spring, with plenty of rain and only occasional snow, which melts almost immediately since the temperature seldom drops below 2°C. Canada's west coast experiences a rainy season from October right through March, so catching a flight to Vancouver in the fall or winter means you either need to be prepared to engage in plenty of indoor activities, or to love being out in the rain.
Spring (April through June) is generally lovely, with temperatures between 14°C and 21°C. This is a great time to visit the city's many gardens and parks, where flowers are bursting into bloom, but take your umbrella along because there is the occasional spring shower. Summer (July through September) is nothing short of divine in Vancouver, with plenty of sunshine. In July and August, temperatures often reach a balmy 26°C, which is perfect for the beach and for water sports. If you want comfortable weather and no crowds, September, with an average temperature of 18°C, is definitely the time for flights to Vancouver.
When flying to Vancouver, your flight will land at Vancouver International Airport (YVR.) From there you will have numerous options for getting into the city:
Public Transportation: The Canada Line light-rail transit route, which is part of the Translink public transportation system, is the cheapest and most convenient option. It whisks you from the airport to downtown Vancouver in about 26 minutes. You can access the Canada Line from inside both the domestic and international terminals of the airport and tickets can be purchased from automated machines. Discounted tickets are available for children, secondary students, and seniors.
Hotel Shuttle: If you are staying at a hotel in Vancouver, it may provide a complimentary shuttle to pick you up after your flight to Vancouver. This applies particularly when staying at a hotel near the airport. If so, after the flight lands, proceed to the shuttle bus pick-up areas in the terminal and use the courtesy phone to summon your hotel shuttle.
Taxi: Taxis may not be cheap at Vancouver airport but they are easy to find, at taxi stands right outside the exits. The average fare from YVR to downtown Vancouver is approximately $30 CAD, and takes about 30 minutes.
Car Rental: Rental cars are available on the ground level of the parkade from Avis, Budget, Hertz, Dollar/Thrifty, and National/Alamo.