Industry News, North America

How to Travel on a Budget in Canada


Centre Island, Toronto, Canada

Visiting Canada on a budget can be challenging, but with some planning and research, it can be rewarding and cost-effective. From exploring the natural beauty of national parks to discovering cultural attractions in urban centers, Canada offers plenty of options for budget-conscious travelers. Here are some tips for traveling on a budget in Canada.

How to choose the right time to visit Canada

The high season for travel in Canada is typically during the summer months of June to August, when prices for accommodation, activities, and transportation tend to be higher. To save money, consider traveling during the shoulder season, which includes the months of May, September, and October. During this time, prices are generally lower, and there are fewer crowds, making it a more peaceful time to explore the country. Depending what month you decide to visit, there are 4 distinct seasons and each one has something special to offer. For example, in the Fall, the leaves turn all sorts of different colours like yellow, orange and red, and tourists come to snap pictures. Also, there are a lot of different things to see depending on which coast of Canada you’re traveling to.

Yaletown, Vancouver, Canada

The West and East Coast of Canada 🇨🇦

The scenery ⛰️

The West Coast of Canada is known for its stunning natural scenery, including mountains, forests, and beaches. The East Coast, on the other hand, is known for its rugged coastline, rocky cliffs, and charming fishing villages.

The climate 🍁

The West Coast of Canada has a mild, rainy climate, while the East Coast experiences more extreme weather conditions with cold winters and hot summers.

The cities 🏙️

The West Coast is home to Vancouver, a bustling city known for its vibrant culture, while the East Coast has cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax, each with their own unique character and charm.

Seafood Boil in Vancouver Canada


The food 🍜

Both coasts offer delicious seafood, but the East Coast is particularly famous for its lobster, scallops, and other fresh seafood, while the West Coast is known for its sushi and Asian-inspired cuisine.

The activities⛷️

The West Coast is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities such as hiking, skiing, and surfing, while the East Coast is known for its historic sites, festivals, and cultural attractions.

Ultimately, both coasts offer a range of experiences and attractions, and a trip to Canada wouldn’t be complete without exploring both sides.

Marble Canyon, East Kootenay, BC, Canada


Travel by bus or train in Canada 🧳

Canada has an extensive public transportation system that includes buses, trains, and subways, making it easy to get around major cities and towns. Using public transportation is an affordable option for budget-conscious travelers, and many cities offer daily or weekly passes that can provide even greater savings. Additionally, using a bike or walking can also be an enjoyable and cost-effective way to explore local areas.

Travel by bus 🚌

Bus travel is one of the most affordable ways to travel in Canada. There are several bus companies that offer services across the country, including Orléans Express, Rider Express, Maheux, Greyhound, Flixbus, Ebus and many others. Fares can vary depending on the distance traveled, time of year, and availability. Booking in advance and being flexible with travel dates can help save money. For example, the average bus ticket price to travel from Ottawa to Toronto starts at around $47

Also, using an app or website can help you compare, find, and book cheap bus or train tickets and view the schedules easily. 

Travel by train🚆

Traveling by train can be more expensive than bus travel but offers a unique and scenic experience. The national rail carrier, VIA Rail, offers several routes across the country. Fares can vary depending on the class of travel, time of year, and availability. Booking in advance and choosing off-peak travel times can help save money. Canada is known for its scenic train routes, such as the Rocky Mountaineer and the Canadian, which offer stunning views of mountains, lakes, forests, and wildlife. Other popular train journeys in Canada include the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, the Polar Bear Express, and the Ocean train, which travels along the scenic coastline of Eastern Canada. Overall, train travel in Canada provides a unique and memorable way to experience the country’s natural beauty.

Tips for Budget Travel in Canada 👛

[VIDEO] Tips for budget travel in Canada

  1. Plan your trip in advance and book your tickets early.
  2. Be flexible with your travel dates to take advantage of off-peak pricing.
  3. Consider using a combination of transportation to get the best deals.
  4. Look for discounts and promotions, such as student or senior discounts.
  5. If you can’t take time off work, consider making your trip workation!
  6. Bring your own snacks and drinks to save money on food.
  7. Use public transportation or walk instead of taking taxis or renting a car.
  8. Stay in hostels or campgrounds
  9. Cook your own meals
  10. Look for free or cheap activities

Overall, budget travel in Canada by bus and train is possible with a little bit of planning and flexibility. Choosing the train or bus offers affordable and comfortable ways to explore the country. Oftentimes, it can be cheaper than traveling by plane. Either way, the important thing is to do your research.

Consider staying in hostels or campgrounds 🏕️

Accommodation costs can be a significant expense when traveling, but there are affordable options for budget travelers in Canada. Hostels are a popular choice, offering low-cost dormitory-style accommodations that can provide a social atmosphere for meeting other travelers and organizing group activities. For example, Hostelworld offers travelers the opportunity to connect to other travelers with an app, and make friends while you’re visiting your destination. 

For example, staying in Montreal in May can cost as low as $30 in a dorm, or you can opt to spend a little more by booking a room at a hotel which starts at around $80 a night. 

Campgrounds are another affordable option for those who enjoy the outdoors, with many parks offering low-cost campsites and amenities such as showers and picnic areas.

Cook your own meals 🍳

Eating out can be a significant expense when traveling, but there are ways to save money by cooking your own meals. Many hostels and campsites have communal kitchens where travelers can prepare their own meals, or you can purchase groceries at local supermarkets to make meals on the go. Additionally, packing snacks and drinks for day trips can help save money and keep you fueled for exploring.

Jasper National Park Of Canada, Jasper, AB, Canada

Look for free or cheap activities 🐻

Canada offers tons of free activities that can provide unique and memorable experiences for travelers. National parks such as Sépaq for example, are free for kids and tickets for adults are $9.25.  Hiking trails are a great way to explore the country’s natural beauty without spending money, and many cities offer free museums, galleries, and cultural events. Local festivals and events can also be a fun and affordable way to experience the local culture and traditions. For example, Montreal has tons of events all summer long. The Jazzfest, Francos de Montréal, Just For Laughs, just to name a few. 

In conclusion, traveling on a budget in Canada can be an enriching and cost-effective experience with some planning and research. By choosing the right time to visit, traveling by bus or train, using public transportation, staying in affordable accommodations, cooking your own meals, and looking for free activities, you can enjoy all that Canada has to offer without breaking the bank. Happy travels!