Canada is part of North America and one of the largest countries in the world. Spanning almost 10 million square kilometers there are many different regions including The Rocky Mountains, The Arctic, The Canadian Shield, The Great Lakes and The St Lawrence Lowlands. Home to Niagara Falls, national parks, beaches, islands, volcanoes and a few big cities; you will find a little bit of everything while backpacking Canada.
How To Get There
Because Canada is so big, you will find many routes in and out of the country. Be sure to know all of your options before booking a flight or picking a boarder crossing. Check the Canadian Government’s website to determine if you need a visa or eTA (electronic travel authorization) before you depart.
Best Time To Travel
This will widely vary depending on where you go and what you plan to do. Southern areas will have a milder climate year round with four distinct seasons. Northern parts of Canada endure a very dark and cold winter. This is followed by a warm summer with up to 20 hours of sunlight per day. Depending on your desired activities, you can find things to do year round while backpacking Canada. The seasons are:
Average Daily Budget
Our average daily budget was $155 CAD ($115 USD) per person per day. This estimate is based on staying in an Airbnb or budget hotel and taking public transit. If you plan to rent a car and stay in nice hotels you can expect your budget to increase substantially.
Our average daily budget breakdown:
- Transportation: $30 CAD ($23 USD) per person per day
- Food & Drinks: $55 CAD ($40 USD) per person per day
- Accommodation: $40 CAD ($29 USD) per person per day
- Tours & Activities: $30 CAD ($23 USD) per person per day
Agoda is perfect for finding everything from hostels and B&B`s to 5 star hotels. You can search by map or by price and they typically have free cancellation.
Budget: $25-45 CAD ($20-35 USD) per night. Dorm room (single bed), Airbnb rooms( double occupancy), or a campsite (double occupancy).
Mid range: $75-175 CAD ($58-136 USD) per night for 2 people. Hotel, Bed & Breakfast, or Airbnb.
While backpacking Canada you will find a wide variety of cuisine from all over the world. It is common to have a Thai, Indian, and Italian restaurant on the same street. That being said there are some dishes that are distinctly Canadian.
Some of our local favorites:
Poutine: French fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. You can also get poutine with pulled pork, bacon, or many other options added on top.
Montreal Smoked Meat: A cross between corned beef and pastrami made by salting and curing beef brisket with spices.
Bacon: Everyone loves bacon!
Caesar: A cocktail containing vodka, clamato juice, hot sauce, and worcestershire sauce. Usually served with a celery stick in a salt-rimmed glass.
Split pea soup: A hearty soup made from split peas, ham, carrots, onion, celery, and spices.
Montreal-style bagels: Smaller, thinner, sweeter and denser than regular bagels with a larger hole. They are always boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked in a wood-fired oven.
Butter Tarts: A small pastry tart consisting of butter, sugar, syrup, and egg filled into a flaky pastry and baked until the filling is semi-solid with a crunchy top.
Plane: You can find domestic flights between many cities in Canada; however they are not usually your cheapest option. There are only a few Canadian airlines meaning the prices are monopolized.
Bus: The Greyhound Bus system runs between most large cities. It will be more time consuming but likely more affordable that booking a flight.
Public Transit: In most large cities you will be able to get around on public transit for under $10 CAD ($7.78 USD) per day.
Taxis/Uber: Uber is usually quite a bit cheaper than a taxi. Download the app Here. This is a good option in a larger city when public transit isn’t feasible.
Rent a Car: You can generally rent a car for $40-50 CAD ($31-38 USD) per day. If you are under 25 the price is substantially higher. Check what kind of coverage you have and if you get unlimited kilometers beforehand to avoid getting surprised with fees upon arrival.
Packing for a trip to Canada completely depends on the season you choose to travel in. If you plan to be there in the winter bring a warm winter coat (the bigger, the better!), good winter boots and a variety of mitts, hats and sweaters. The average summer temperature is between 20-30 °C depending on which area you visit.. but we have been known to have snow storms in June! No matter what time of year you travel the weather can be slightly unpredictable. Make sure to bring a jacket and a warm layer in any season.
- Get a hotel with breakfast included
- Take public transit instead of taxis
- Stay in dorm rooms, Airbnbs, or campgrounds
- Bring carry-on sized luggage to avoid fees on domestic flights
- Make at least 1 meal per day yourself
- Search online for Groupons or discounts for activities
- 18% gratuity is standard for restaurants and some other services