Planning a trip to Canada – This is EVERYTHING you need to know

Planning a trip to Canada

Canada is one of the most incredible countries in the world. The great thing about Canada is that is has something for everyone. Nature lovers can head out to the Rocky Mountains for sightseeing and wildlife spotting. Those looking to get immersed in the culture, can travel to Montreal, the French Capital of Canada, and for everyone else, there is Vancouver. This article will tell you everything you need to know if you are planning a trip to Canada.

Tourist visas for Canada

A Tourist Visa for Canada is called an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization). An eTA can only be completed online and only costs $14 USD (at current, the rate could change). Everyone planning a trip to Canada is required to have an eTA with them on arrival. Please note, this may change depending on your nationality. For more information visit the official Canadian Government website.

Currency in Canada

The currency in Canada is Canadian dollars. You can use the XE Money Converter website to find the current exchange rates for your currency. Keep the exhange rate in mind when creating your travel budget.

Arriving in Canada

Planning a trip to Canada

The major international airports in Canada are Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal. From these international airports, you can catch buses, taxis or a domestic flight to another part of the country. I recommend flying into Vancouver and travelling to the Rocky Mountains from there.

Getting around Canada

Planning a trip to Canada

Air Canada is the major airline for the country and the major bus line is Greyhound and Coach Canada.

Bus travel is cheaper than flying but does take longer.

In the big cities, the best public transport option is the train or bus, but if you’re feeling confident you could also rent a bike and ride around the city.

If you are only planning a short trip to Canada, it is best to fly because the country is vast and you don’t want to waste your precious time on commuting to places you want to see.  If you are staying for longer and want to save money, the bus is the best option.

Accommodation in Canada

Planning a trip to Canada

Each destination in Canada has lots of different options when it comes to accommodation, ranging from Airbnbs to hostels to luxury resorts. The price will vary depending on the quality of the places and on your budget for travel.   

I recommend using Airbnb or booking.com to search for accommodation. If you book with booking.com using this link, you will receive $25 cash back after your stay.

Booking.com

Bucket List Experiences in Canada

Lake Louise

Planning a trip to Canada

Lake Louise is one of the most scenic destinations in the world. With electric blue glacier-fed Lakes, Rocky Mountains in every direction and an incredible range of wildlife, it’s easy to understand why. I called this place home for over 18 months and it will always hold a place in my heart. See my Backpackers Guide to Lake Louise here. 

Lynn Canyon Vancouver

Planning a trip to Canada

Located in Vancouver, Lynn Canyon makes the perfect day trip for those looking for a nature escape. See my Backpackers Guide to Vancouver.

Kelowna

Planning a trip to Canada

Kelowna is a small city found in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada. The Okanagan Valley is well known for its sunny weather, stunning scenery and views, award-winning wineries, hiking trails, fruit orchards and campsites -perfect for the outdoor types.

Downtown Kelowna itself is filled with great restaurants, cool bars, museums, art galleries, boutique shops and more. Located on Okanagan Lake, you can be sure that you will find plenty of fun things to do in Kelowna – such as fishing, boating, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, beach volleyball or swimming – something for everyone.

See my Backpackers Guide to Kelowna.

Johnston’s Canyon – Banff

Planning a trip to Canada

Johnston’s Canyon is found just outside of Banff National Park. The hike leads you through a canyon past a series of waterfalls. In winter, the falls freeze, attracting ice climbers. See my complete guide to Banff. 

Revelstoke

Planning a trip to Canada

Revelstoke is a town in the south-west of British Columbia, Canada. Surrounded by mountains and breathtaking scenery, the destination is ideal for an outdoor/adventure enthusiast. See all the best things to do in Revelstoke.

Moraine Lake

Planning a trip to Canada

Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake in Banff National Park, outside the Village of Lake Louse, Alberta, Canada. The lake has a surface area of 50 hectares and is located in the beautiful Valley of the Ten Peaks.

The Rocky Mountains

Planning a trip to Canada

The Rocky Mountain range spans the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. It is a region of alpine lakes, diverse wildlife and outdoor recreation sites with jagged, ice capped peaks.

Niagara Falls

Planning a trip to Canada

Niagara Falls is a Canadian city that is home to the famous waterfall of the same name. Elevators can take visitors to a lower, wetter vantage point behind the falls for a different view and a Cliffside park features a high tower with an observation neck of the entire cascade.

Lussier Hot Springs

Lussier Hot Springs is a natural hot spring inside Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada. You can swim in these natural hotsprings then jump in the nearby river to cool down as needed.

Grouse Mountain

Planning a trip to Canada

This 1,200 metre mountain expanse offers activities such as skiing and hiking plus breathtaking views of Vancouver.

Map of Canada

Budget for Canada

Creating a travel budget is essential to ensure you have the trip of your dreams, without overspending. This is everything you need to know about creating a travel budget. Below is budget specific information for Canada.

Accommodation

$ – Expect to pay $25 – $40 CAD for a bed in a hostel.
$$ – Expect to pay $100 – $200 CAD for a mid-range hotel or Airbnb.
$$$ – Expect to pay upwards of $300CAD for a luxury hotel.

Transport

Buses between cities cost about $100 per city. You can find out a breakdown of prices here.

Local buses and transport are easy to navigate with the metro and you can buy a single use ticket, a day trip or multi-pass depending on your journey and travel stay.

Depending on where you are travelling and for how long you might consider a hire car. Canada has hire cars at each major airport but there is a company called Turo that works in a similar fashion to Airbnb by allowing visitors to hire cars from locals. Everything from sports cars to campervans is up on the site and available across the Canada.

Food

The average price of a restaurant meal including taxes and tips is between $15 – $25CAD depending on where you decide to dine. Alternatively, if you are staying in a hostel or Airbnb with cooking facilities you could shop at a grocery store or local market. You must try these Canadian foods.

Best time to visit Canada

Canada is popular for its snow season between December and Feburaruy when the most snow is falling and ski season is in full swing. But the summer and autumn months of Canada are just as popular with beautiful weather.

Mid May to late June is a great time to visit Canada because the summer has just begun with nature in full bloom.  But if you want peak tourist season then July – August is the best time to visit. For the most popular locations and places you might to book at least 6 months in advance to be sure of availability and better prices. 

Tipping in Canada

A quick guide to tipping in Canada

Tipping 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the cost of the service is expected for many services you use when travelling to Canada including restaurant wait staff, bartenders and taxi drivers. Different tipping standards apply. For a full guide to tipping in Canada, click here.

Travel Insurance for Canada

Travel insurance is a necessity when planning a trip to Canada. I recommend World Nomads for insurance. If you are still unsure if you should buy travel insurance or not, read this. 

Safety in Canada

Canada is a relatively safe destination, but you should always follow these safety precautions:

  • Avoid flashing your valuables
  • Keep an eye on your belongings
  • Remain aware of your surrounding
  • Avoid unknown streets at night
  • Be aware of what wildlife is in the area as this is a safety risk in Canada.

Always check the Aus gov smart Traveller Website for safety advice when travelling. And for more tips for keeping safe when travelling, click here. 

Language in Canada

Canada has two official languages, English and French.  The majority of Canadians speak English but if you are travelling to the province of Quebec you will find most speak French.

Vaccinations for Canada

Check the Travel Doctor website to find out what vaccinations you need when planning a trip to Canada. If you have any further questions regarding vaccinations required for Canada, I recommend consulting a doctor.

Other things to know when planning a trip to Canada

  • The weather can change fast so it is best to layer clothing
  • Read up on the local laws regarding drinking age, speed limits and regulations about entering the country.
  • Canadians use the metric system for measurements, travel and weather.

Overseas Travel Checklist

Pin – Planning a trip to Canada

Planning a trip to Canada

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