Canada is a fantastic country - vast, culturally diverse, full of friendly people and remarkable landscapes. But, it is not the cheapest place to travel on a budget. Read our top 10 tips to experience all Canada offers, without having to remortgage your house.
1. Look for the deals
If you're planning a trip and not planning to wing it day by day, use sites such as LivingSocial.com or Groupon. These offer fantastic deals for just about anything you can imagine. Perfect for discounted experiences, food and places to visit.
2. Sharing is caring
Utilise sites such as Kangaride. This brilliant site is for those happy to lift share. Simply upload details of where you are heading and how many spare seats you have or find a driver that's heading where you want to go. They have a 3-pronged safety point to ensure both the passenger and driver's safety. Social, affordable and a green way to travel.
3. Pump up the gas!
If you are considering driving, petrol isn't cheap in Canada. It's a very eco-friendly country and Canadian's are happy to deter excessive driving by implementing high fuel taxes. However, if you visit indigenous reserves with petrol stations, these are cheaper as First Nation Peoples do not have to pay taxes on their land. You also get to learn more about Canadian history, culture, see the stunning reserves, support these communities and possibly purchase some of their beautiful hand-crafted goods. This website lists all known First Nation Gas Stations: http://www.rezgas.com/main.php
4. Be chilled - slow down!
If you choose to drive yourself around Canada, don't speed. As mentioned previously, the Canadians take their environment seriously and are trying their best to keep carbon emissions low. Speeding is a big no-no. Police officers can arrest you and you will be fined. Speeding fines and punishments vary across the land. So our advice - just don't speed, it becomes a very expensive way to travel without the perks of 5 stars.....
5. The wheels on the bus go round and round!
A far cheaper method of travel (especially if you are prone to heavy footed throttle behaviour and want to avoid fines) is using the bus. They're pretty good too. Yes, it's a slower form of transport but plug your headphones in and enjoy the scenery – it won’t disappoint! The classic Greyhound bus (you can pretend you're in an American film) meanders right across Canada and there are many other companies in between helping ensure a safe passage through this vast country. They're clean and have air-con. On long haul routes the busses stop regularly for food breaks and, if you're organised, buying tickets in advance will ensure cheaper fares. Check out these companies if considering travel by bus:
albertabus.com, coachcanada.com or greyhound.ca
6. Clicketty clack - keep your train prices on track!
If the thought of buses and coaches fills you with horror, there’s always train travel. Travelling by train in Canada can be expensive, however with a little research there are plenty of economy trains which will allow you to enjoy a faster form of transportation and still enjoy the views. For example, from as little as C$25 the Quebec to Windsor Corridor is a viable option, and companies such as Via Rail offer the CanRailPass. Amtrack also offer great packages and prices. Well worth a look.
7. Pretty fly for a travel guy!
Internal flights can be a great solution for travelling from one side of Canada to the other, and in some instances, can be the cheapest form of travel. There are a few tricks to buying tickets as economically as possible. Keep checking flight prices - they go up and down like stocks. Check at least a couple of times a day and don't forget to clear your cookies. Your search engine may well return pre-viewed prices than the cheaper new ones. Airlines often lower their prices midweek, so remember to check on a Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning.
8. Board and pass sorted!
If you are a student or under 25 and planning to fly often, we suggest you apply for an ISIC card. It's a great card for global travel and is brilliant for travel across Canada. Also look at the North American Air Pass, this allows you to purchase vouchers for flights in North America and huge savings can be achieved by using these. Check out this site which helps you compare and find the most suitable pass for your needs: http://www.airtimetable.com/airpass_north_America.htm
9. Eat cheap!
Eating out in Canada can be expensive if you're not careful. Remember, menu prices do not reflect actual prices as VAT has not been added. You will also be expected to tip, in fairness this is how waiting staff make the majority of their wages and the service is usually excellent. Expect to tip within the region of 15%-20% in a restaurant and about C$1 per ordered drink. Self-catering is probably the best way to eat economically as the food in supermarkets is not taxed. Learn to be organised and make up a packed lunch or picnic! Also, look at voucher sites such as Groupon, eateries will always advertise discounts and vouchers on this site - an easy and cheap way to fill up!
10. Sweet dreams are made of these!
Accommodation varies greatly across any city in Canada. There is a lot of advice on the web and many travel sites with starred ratings which will help you choose. We also recommend checking out www.universityrooms.com for cheap, safe and clean accommodation solutions. The university rooms are often in city central locations and can work out as a far cheaper and more fun way of staying in a new place. With rooms in Corner Brook, NL, Edmonton, Kamloops, Kitchener-Waterloo, Montreal, Nanaimo, Ontario, Quebec and St Johns a large area of Canada can be explored very economically and safely. These are also great spaces if you are on a work trip and need city central accommodation to keep you close to the action.