Canada is a country many people don’t realize is worth exploring. It is the second largest country in the world and has many fun cities to see as well as a variety of geographic areas like the famous and photogenic Rocky Mountains. There are fishing villages, lakes, prairies, ice fields, glaciers and abundant wildlife. Don’t forget one of the most scenic national parks in the world called Banff national park. The cities of Vancouver and Toronto are full of fun and interesting things to see and do, and the winter sports world in Canada is top notch, featuring some of the best skiing, ice skating, snowboarding and much more. The best time visiting Canada is in the summer when the snow melts and the greenery of the country are astounding compared to the towering Rocky Mountains and blue lakes.
Canada is not small, and the easiest way to get around is to fly. Flying can be pricey and if you’re trying to stick to a budget, then driving or using the train are probably your best options. If you drive your personal vehicle, you will obviously save money, but renting a car is another good way to get around and car rental deals can be found online or by a quick rental car company search. Because Canada is so large, it is best to focus on a particular area that you would like to see. This way you can save money by not having to fly to your Canadian destinations. Car fuel will be kept at a reasonable rate and amount because you are staying in the designated area.
Bus connections usually connect the major cities too. Traveling by bus is easy and inexpensive and will get you from city to city. Consider renting an RV too. RVs have sleeping accommodations and often basic kitchens and even restrooms which can save hotel costs and will allow you to branch out further from your designated area. Trains do travel across Canada and take a variety of routes in different lengths. Trains may not be the least expensive, but it is convenient and a great way to see the sights across such a vast country.
Where to stay
The major cities are the most convenient place to stay. Toronto and Vancouver often have hotel deals that can be found. A plus is that all amenities of the hotel and a large city are right at your fingertips. Canada also has hostels which are even less expensive than hotels. These are generally for students, travelers, and workers. Some hostels have lounge areas, decks to look at the views, inexpensive food, private rooms, WIFI and many other perks making them an excellent choice for those on a budget.
If you have or have rented an RV, many of the national parks throughout Canada have places for RV hookups, saving you the cost and trouble of finding a place to stay. Camping is another great option during the warmer summer months as it is budget friendly and a smart way to explore the beautiful outdoors in which Canada is famous for.
Food, dining, and meals
Travelers can stretch their budget further by not dining out for every meal. Buying some groceries and cooking your meals at your campsite, RV or mini-kitchen will save you lots of money on meals during your trip. If you want to eat out, avoid the large chain food restaurants that you will see everywhere. Local options have higher quality and are less expensive because they are in competition with the chain restaurants. These types of eateries are more abundant in and around the larger cities but will be harder to find in rural areas. While in Canada try a few of their traditional dishes such as Poutine which consists of French fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy. Croquignoles is a homemade donut that is deep fried in shortening and Nanaimo bars is a dessert with custard or vanilla filled squares, all traditional favorites in Canada.
Attractions can put a damper on your budget, but there are some great attractions for free or that are inexpensive. Banff National Park does have entrance fees, but most national parks do have minimal entrance fees, and the park is famous throughout the world for its beauty. Whale watching is another visitor favorite, and it doesn’t matter which coast of Canada you are on to see them. Whales migrate, so make sure you’re there during the migration season to see them from the shore or take an inexpensive short boat excursion out to see a few. Humpback whales and Orca whales have been seen before and make sure to bring a camera.
The city of Halifax located in Nova Scotia is a great starting point for your trip. There are lots of smaller towns in the area, and all have a rich maritime history with lots to do see and discover. There are hiking trail galore throughout Canada that is free and the Hatley Castle in Victoria, British Columbia has a free museum. The West Edmonton Mall draws about 28 million people to its doors to see a free dolphin show, watch a submarine sink into a lagoon, walk through a pirate ship and enjoy the 6-million-square-foot mall that has an indoor water park, a golf course, over 700 stores and over 100 restaurants.
Other ideas and tips
While visiting Canada, there are a few other things to consider for more money saving ideas. Pack a cooler with you in your car or rental car to bring snacks, drinks and even meals along for some savings. Obey the speed limits or you may get a speeding ticket! This means obeying the speed limit signs that are posted, NOT following the flow of traffic which can get you into trouble. Research hostels along the way. These are inexpensive options and can be found in many places.
Try exploring by train. Many trains stop at several cities and offer package deals that include day trips and excursions along the way. Bring and use a GPS so you don’t get lost and waste all of your fuel and money. In Canada you must have car insurance, so shop around for deals before you go or you will end up paying the premium price last minute to get your car or into Canada. Canada’s great outdoors are the reasons people visit, and there are many beautiful and free things to see and do. Visiting Canada can be done well and on a budget and provide memories that you will treasure the rest of your life.