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Getting to St. John's on a budget

by mjqd Online Now Apr 22, 2010 at 11:57 AM

We are hoping to attend a family wedding in St. John's next July. However, the costs seem to be outrageous from New Hampshire. We are a family of 2 grandparents, 2 parents and 4 children. We have looked into airfare,cheapest we've found is700 a person RT. We think maybe renting a van and driving to North Sydney and taking a ferry might be cheaper but it seems like a lot of time travelling, especially with the children.
Does anyone have any insight into another way that we have not considered, or are these the best options?
If anyone has any ideas or information I would welcome the input.
Thank you!

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6 Answers
  • TexasDave's Profile Photo

    Re: Getting to St. John's on a budget

    by TexasDave Online Now Apr 22, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    I think you pretty much have the only options already figured out- by either car/ferry or fly. As far as driving is concerned, if you all go in a large van and with possibly 4 drivers, why not do a large part of it overnight, everyone taking turns driving, while the kids sleep?

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  • bocmaxima's Profile Photo

    Re: Getting to St. John's on a budget

    by bocmaxima Online Now Apr 22, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Airfares are pricey to St John's from the US, yes. When I flew back last summer, I did so on Continental's flight to Newark, but got it through miles redemption. The base cost for it was a bit nuts. The cost mainly comes from the US - Canada part though.
    But, to get there, I went by WestJet from Quebec City and you may want to look into that. I think it was like CA$200 one-way. Quebec City also has a nice, quiet airport and isn't terribly far from New Hampshire. Their flights from Toronto are actually much cheaper though (less than200 and you go through there on the flight from Quebec City anyway), so you could do that as well, or Montreal, which is even closer. I mean, it's certainly better than driving all the way to St John's.
    http://westjet.com/
    AirCanada is also an option, but they're usually a little more expensive and WestJet is just such a good airline.

    I'm not sure if you've looked into it already, but the ferry's actually very expensive and takes a fairly long time, especially if you take to Argentia, which makes sense if you're going on to St John's.
    If you want to consider renting a van to go up there, you have to check with the company to make sure they allow the vehicle to be driven to Newfoundland, because a lot of them don't.
    One of the other issues up there is the rental cars, in that they limit you on the mileage. I found one company (Avis), renting from Downtown St John's (their airport location limited it), that had unlimited mileage.

    When I took my trip up there, I researched every possible way. You think it's expensive from New Hampshire, try from Arizona: nothing for under1000. Even when I made it a part of a more extensive trip and used mileage, I had to pay for part of it and researched all kinds of alternatives onto the island: flying to Halifax and driving up, taking the train out and the bus across the island to St. John's, etc. It's just better to fly.

    Hope that helps.

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  • GrumpyDiver's Profile Photo

    Re: Getting to St. John's on a budget

    by GrumpyDiver Online Now Apr 22, 2010 at 12:51 PM

    You've hit the only two options I am aware of - flying and ferry are the only two ways to get to the NFLD. July, unfortunately is high season.

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  • mjqd's Profile Photo

    Re: Getting to St. John's on a budget

    by mjqd Online Now Apr 22, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    Thanks for taking the time to answer. So there is no secret way to get there and save a ton of money? lol
    I guess we'll have to send regrets (for most of us anyways). It would be so wonderful for the whole family to go but the cost is prohibitive.
    I think that my husband and I will probably fly, attend the wedding and then tour the area, (as the retired grandparents in the family group we have the time and a bit more money than the younger members!)
    I will probably have a lot of questions about hotels, rental cars, and "must sees."
    Thanks so much.

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  • Lurchizo's Profile Photo

    Re: Getting to St. John's on a budget

    by Lurchizo Online Now Apr 22, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    I live in Fredericton, NB which is about a six hour drive from Derry and then you are six and a bit to Sydney, NS. The Argentia ferry takes about 14 hours but takes you right into St. John's. It has sleeper berths on it so you could do a straight drive to Sydney and then crash on the way over. Hopefully you have two weeks as I think that is a minimum for NFLD. It is a unique place with great people and I highly recommend that you get there at least once in your life.

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  • mjqd's Profile Photo

    Re: Getting to St. John's on a budget

    by mjqd Online Now Nov 17, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Well, we went to Newfoundland and loved it! Yes, it was expensive but so worth it. We decided to drive to Montreal, stay there for a couple of days and then flew out from there on Air Canada.
    The wedding was beautiful and we had the time of our lives. The bride and groom are both musicians, as were a lot of their wedding party and we were fortunate that every night we all got together and they would get out their instruments and play and sing at kitchen parties. It was such a great experience!
    We stayed in St. John's for the first 3 days and we loved it there. Then we drove out to the Bonavista area. The bride's family owns a cabin on a lake and we all stayed there for a few more days. The area was breathtakingly beautiful! We enjoyed every moment we were there. The Newfoundlanders were amazing people, so warm and happy. They were a joy to be with.
    I am proud to say that I am now an honorary Newfoundlander having kissed a cod at a screech in ceremony.
    We hope to someday return to Newfoundland, I wish it were cheaper to get there.
    Long may your big jib draw!

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