Budget travel in Canada

Canada can be an expensive country to travel in even if you are crossing it on a backpacker’s budget. Here are some Canada travel tips to help you stay within your means and still have an exciting trip.

The biggest hit on your budget will be accommodations so try to do some couch surfing. House-sitting is also possible but it is not nearly as popular as it is in the United-States. Canadians are friendly and welcoming people and you might even meet someone that will offer you a place to rest your head. Better yet there are hospitality websites that put you in touch with residents that are willing to share their home with you. If you are going in late spring, summer or early fall, consider camping in one of the many national parks to experience the gorgeous Canadian wilderness (and save a few dollars at the same time).

If you have the time, traveling by bus or hitchhiking will definitely be easier on your budget than flying or taking the train. Some provinces (states) are generally easier to hitchhike in (British-Columbia, Québec) than others. Taking the bus across Canada can be somewhat tiring if you’re doing it non-stop. It’s good way to get a feel that you’re in the second largest country on Earth, however. An added bonus is that you get to see the diverse landscapes, cities and people that make up Canada.

As such, many backpackers start at one coast and work their way either East or West from there. While this will have you spend quite a bit of time in nature and rural areas, you will come across a few major cities. These Vancouver travel tips will probably help you in cities like Toronto, Montréal and Calgary.

Most of Canada speaks English except for Québec and parts of New-Brunswick where French will come in handy. If you’ll be passing by Montréal, you can get by with speaking English only but any effort you make to speak French will be appreciated by the locals. Montréal is a must-see city with its European influence and vibrant cultural scene.

Canadian money is in denominations of $100, $50, $20, $10 and $5 in bills and $2, $1, $0.50, $0.25, $0.10, $0.05 and $0.01 in coins. You will probably want to carry a change purse or make sure you have pockets in your traveling pants to deal with all the change you will get back. But change can be a good thing since many public transit systems in Canada require exact fare.

You can access free Internet at city public libraries, although some systems have a time limit of 30 minutes before it automatically logs off. Visit Vancouver’s tourist centers and website for a list of free activities going on around the city. If you are careful and mindful of your budget you should be able to visit Canada for about $80-90 per day and still have a wonderful time.

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