How to visit Canada on a budget

Five easy ways to save on your next Canadian adventure.
Canada person on a canoe
Taxes will be added to the final bill for many of your purchases in the country. This tax applies to clothing, accommodation, and dining. The added tax can increase your bill up to 15%. Follow these money-saving tips while you are in Canada to help keep costs low while also maximising your stay.

Coupon sites

If you are planning your stops ahead of time, spend time browsing coupon and discount sites such as Living Social and Groupon. These sites will give you a variety of great listings on some of the top restaurants and attractions in your destinations, while also helping to keep the budget down.

Travel during summer

The Canadian cold and snowy winter often leaves residents trapped indoors for a significant period of the year. Therefore, it is not surprising that once their short summer rolls around, they like to make the most of it. Cities will often jam pack their summer with free festivals and events, such as Heritage Days (Edmonton), Kits Days (Vancouver), and Caribana (Toronto).

Outdoor activities

Canada is a vast country and this gives tourists plenty of outdoor exposure. Rent a pair of skis or snowshoes and enjoy the free use of trails -- opposed to relying on expensive downhill lift passes. Or during the summer you can bike, hike, kayak, or canoe and explore Canada’s beauty without the price tag.

Generally, the cost of rental equipment will be under 80 CAD for the whole day, which gives you the freedom to explore many other areas at no further cost.

Most major cities will offer free walking tours. Take advantage of this opportunity as they are a great way to explore and get a feel for each location and its history. Most tours will only last you a few hours and you do not need to book in advance. These tours will also provide you with local tips and hotspots to visit during your stay.

Street food

Save a few dollars on meals by purchasing lunch from street vendors. The major cities will have plenty of street vendors to choose from, with many selling hot dogs and sausages for as little as 2.50 CAD.


The most affordable way to travel from Toronto and Montreal is by the Megabus. This bus service runs in Ontario and Quebec with some tickets for as little as three dollars if booked in advance.

If you plan on travelling between cities and provinces keep eyes out for people sharing their vehicle. Craigslist, Couchsurfing, Kangaride, and Facebook are all great domains for ride-shares in most major cities. Uber is also now available in 16 cities across Canada.

If you are planning your own road trip across the Great White North in a hire vehicle, fuel will take up a significant section of your budget. Keep your eyes peeled for native reserves. Here you will find the cheapest places to buy gas in Canada. These areas generally have lower taxes and therefore fuel is significantly cheaper. As a bonus, these stops will help you experience the vibrant cultures of Canada’s First People.

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Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.