BY: CAROLINE ROLF
There is so much to explore north of the 49th parallel – Canada is an abundance of beauty, but factors including distance, cost of travel and the unpredictable weather make it difficult to travel around Canada. The funds needed to discover a country as big as Canada can add up quickly, but if you do your research and preparation, you can enjoy everything from the European charm of Quebec to the magnificence of the Canadian Rockies and everything in between – for cheap.
Flying to Europe may be expensive, but once you’re there, jetting around within the continent is inexpensive and easy. Too bad Canada doesn’t offer ultra-budget airlines. Still, affordable flights aren’t impossible to find if you’re willing to do your homework. Websites dedicated to finding you the best deal on air travel like YYZ Deals will alert you when a cheap flight is available within the country and abroad. These deals can be found throughout most of Canada’s major cities and could save you hundreds of dollars. In Canadian terms, that’s 25 traditional poutines.
EMBRACE THE ROAD
We can thank the Trans-Canada Highway for giving us the freedom to throw our belongings in the backseat and drive our way across this spectacular country. Crossing from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia, the Trans-Canada Highway winds its way through all ten provinces, nearly touching the Atlantic and Pacific oceans at its ends. A unique option for road travel is HitTheRoad.ca – a transportation service that is essentially paying you to see the Great North by matching you with a car whose owner needs their vehicle relocated, but don’t want to drive themselves. The service will cover most car-related expenses, including gas. That’s enough to fuel Canadians with 1,200 timbits.
Don’t think of hostels as the flea-ridden flophouses for young and rowdy Canadians looking to party abroad. Think of hostels as a location to meet other travellers and swap great advice on local must-see destinations and money-saving tips. Before you set off, read reviews on sites like HostelWorld.com and steer clear of places that boast pub crawls and after-hours hangouts. You could find yourself saving half of hotel costs, or even more if you stay in a dorm. Take note Canadians, you could get yourself at least 20 of the finest snow brushes with savings like these!
DO REJECT RESTAURANTS
Eating at restaurants will give your stomach a nice break from canned beans, but your wallet will wear thin quickly if you eat out too often. Combat this by shopping at local grocery stores to save money and become more aware of the ingredients going into your meals. If you stock up for a few days worth of meals, you can save a bundle and expand your taste of Canadian cuisine across the country. Luckily for Canadians, grocery stores from coast to coast carry the liquid gold that keeps us regular.
PUT IN WORK
If you’re planning to travel Canada for an extended period of time, you could see your money dwindling fast no matter how frugal you try to be. Consider volunteering for the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms or Help Exchange that will enable you to visit more rural parts of this vast country. These openings often include free food and accommodation. A little labour could earn Canadians enough to stock up on the exquisitely rare ketchup chips.
TAKE THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED
Sticking to major cities in Canada will give you a little taste of everything, but venturing into the glorious outdoors will offer you something no city can provide. The soul of Canada can be found in its most untouched regions within nature. Big cities come with a heavier price tag, smells and tourists galore. Any one of Canada’s 45 National Parks is proof that there is beauty to be found far away from the city lights. Admission to these parks will be free come 2017, saving you buckets of pennies by exploring the great outdoors.