Welcome to the Great White North. The second largest country in the world, Canada is an incredibly diverse destination. Bordered by three oceans, Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic, no other country in our experience screams remote louder than Canada. Why? Only 35 million people inhabit Canada’s vast expanses.
To give you some sense of scale, this many people live in Tokyo. If you consider that about 90% of Canada’s population lives less than 2 hours’ drive from the US border, this leaves any outdoors fanatic an area bigger than the European union mostly devoid of population.
Canada is one of the last frontiers. It’s one of those places where a trek can take you hours away from the nearest other human being. Add to the mix four perfectly distinct seasons, French and English colonial architecture and a wealth of first nations scattered from coast to coast and you’ve got the ideal destination for your next epic road trip.
Read on for our Canada budget travel guide!
Region: North America
Population: 35 000 000
Languages: English, French
2% Latin Americans
Are you in Europe? Québec City’s historical center will certainly leave you wondering.
Dripping at a mere 160 000 cubic meters of water per minute, Niagara Falls are sure to keep you hydrated.
Lose yourself to the majesty of the Rocky Mountains in the wild Canadian west.
Head to the remote villages bordering the Saint Lawrence River, the largest in the world.
To travel cheap in Canada, one needs to be prepared. As a western country, its prices may spook off the hardiest budget travelers. Distances are great and public transportation is scarce outside of the major cities. Canada is a car country, especially if you want to leave the beaten path. Hitchhiking is a thing, especially in rural areas, and camping is possible, fun and safe in most of the country. The only restrictions to camping are towns and private properties. Always be sensitive about protected areas: do not light fires as the boreal forest is frequently subject to apocalyptic fires, caused by campers. Food costs will add up if you do not prepare your own meals, however national parks and museums are cheap to visit.
Due to the size of the country, your arriving airport will significantly influence your itinerary. Canada’s largest airport is Toronto (YYZ), however if you plan to visit the eastern half of the country on a limited time budget, you may find it’s a very long backtrack. Incidentally, Montreal’s airports (YUL and YHU) provide a better starting base for Niagara and central Quebec. Not a fan of huge polluted cities? Head straight to Quebec City’s YQB airport, the ideal gateway to Quebec’s green east. If your sights are set on west Canada, Vancouver (YVR) in British Columbia and Calgary (YYC) in Alberta are options. Have a lot of time ahead? Land in Vancouver, road trip the west coast, explore your way east, and fly out from Halifax (YHZ) in Nova Scotia.
Canada is one of the safest countries in the world. Most Canadians are very polite, they will wait in lines and not push or pass each other. The worst that can happen is that they use their legendary sense of humor to spite you if you don’t abide by their social codes. In the cities, don’t linger at night in the obviously shady areas. In rural areas, violent crime is nearly non-existent as a strong community spirit prevails. Cold can be lethal in the winter if you attempt to camp. Black, brown and polar bears all enjoy sharing a meal with the carefree camper who keeps food in his tent. Good travel insurance is always a must for the adventurous traveler in Canada.
When to go
Canada is one of the safest countries in the world. Most Canadians are very polite, they will wait in lines and not push or pass each other. The worst that can happen is that they use their legendary sense of humor to spite you if you don’t abide by their social codes. In cities, don’t linger at night in the obviously shady areas. In rural areas, violent crime is nearly non-existent as a strong community spirit prevails. Cold can be lethal in the winter if you attempt to camp. Black, brown and polar bears all enjoy sharing a meal with the careless camper who keeps food in his tent. Good travel insurance is always a must for the adventurous traveler.
Why we love Canada
It’s an endless playground. Stunning landscapes, varied people, seasons, culture, architecture, you name it. Want to spend some time on the seaside? Head out to Acadia, the French speaking part of New Brunswick with its hospitable people. Want to see some wildlife? Go see Dereck, in the Matane wildlife reserve. Want to get totally off the beaten path? Explore the north shore of the gulf of the Saint-Lawrence. Tourists don’t venture past the Tadoussac hub which is a shame as the region is possibly Quebec’s finest. Heading west? Vancouver Island is a must. Regardless of your choice, remember the only true Poutine is in Quebec.