YVR Airport Tips & Tricks

yvr airport tips and tricksLocated 30 minutes outside the city, Vancouver International Airport {YVR} is Canada's second busiest airport after Toronto, serving 119 cities worldwide. Although I dabble in the occasional departure out of Seattle and Bellingham, Vancouver's airport is my first choice for convenience and services. Beyond the efficiency, I'd be remiss not to mention its serene and welcoming West Coast design, brought to life with calming nature sound effects and complimented by water features and foliage throughout. No wonder it was ranked the top airport in North America in the 2010 and 2011 Skytrax survey.

The more I frequent YVR, the more services I've learned about and partaken in. Here are some features and opportunities you might not have known exist at Vancouver's airport:

YVR Tips & Tricks

  • Need a massage or last-min mani pedi? Indulge at one of 4 Absolute Spas in the domestic or USA departure terminals, in addition to a day spa and salon in the Fairmont Vancouver Airport.
  • Have an early flight? Stay at the fabulous and convenient Fairmont Vancouver Airport, connected to the airport. Wake up refreshed and walk right to your flight.
  • Healthy pre-flight? Get to the airport early and visit the Fairmont's health club. A $15 drop-in rate offers you a workout, hot tub, sauna and shower.
  • Have some time to kill? Take a self-guided art and architecture, sustainability or family fun tour.
  • Get caught up on current events, work, emails and social networking with free wifi.
  • Need dry cleaning or alterations? Drop off your items pre-flight and pick them up post-trip.
  • Want to live the jetset lifestyle? Check out the Plaza Premium Lounges in the domestic, international and USA terminals. From $30/person for 2 hours, includes: showers, wifi, salad bar, hot meals, bevvies, etc...
  • Forget your toiletries? Grab toothpaste last-minute at the Pharmasave in the domestic terminal.
  • Food, on the fly. No food on your flight and no time to brown bag it? YVR's Food On The Fly program offers passengers the option to select their own meal from any restaurant or concession and take it with them on their flight, specially packaged in a travel-friendly bag.
  • Need a little support? Most people don’t realize that YVR has its own Chaplaincy, offering spiritual counseling, emotional support, assistance---and even weddings---to travelers passing through YVR.

Getting To & From YVR Canada Line The Canada Line train is the most efficient and cost effective way to get to and from the airport. From YVR into downtown it costs $8.75 {$3.75 + $5 surcharge} and takes about 30 minutes. Trip Styler Tip: If you plan on taking local transit more than once while in Vancouver, to save on the fare and the $5 surcharge, buy your pass in a translink faresaver book {sold in books of 10 by number of zones based on where you need to go, below} in advance at an authorized dealer. Going to downtown Vancouver, the price per ticket works out to $3.15 with a booklet vs $8.75/person. At the airport there is a 7-11 convenience store in the Domestic Terminal on the lowest level that sells these passes. Note that from YVR there are three possible zones: 1 zone = Richmond 2 zones = Vancouver 3 zones = North Shore

Taxi To/from downtown, a taxi is about $30 + tip.

Limo To/from downtown, a limo is about $45 + tip.

Driving & Parking It's easy to find short-term parking at YVR, it's just a tad expensive starting at $4.25/half hour. Long term parking is $15.75 daily or $102 weekly. Bonus, check conditions before you arrive during normal business hours by calling 604-276-7739.

[photo of and by YVR]