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How much do I need to travel Canada

30th October 2019

Canada, the land of perfect ski slopes, unlimited poutine and wombat’s long-lost cousin, the beaver. Planning a Canadian adventure is incredibly exciting, especially when it comes to choosing the perfect accommodation, planning your day trips and sussing out the best places to eat your bodyweight in pumpkin spice and Montreal smoked meat (perhaps not at the same time though). This excitement tends to dry up though when it comes to the dreaded B-word - budget. 

Why can’t we just book our holidays and let a magical fairy accountant deal with the budget? How is a humble traveller that is exploring a great land for the first time meant to know what goes into a budget for Canada? 

Well, we’ve got some good news and some bad news. Good news is we have the solution to your budget woes in the form of our holiday budget planner. Bad news is it isn’t a magical fairy accountant, but rather some high-tech software that crunches data from Numbeo and our foreign exchange rates to spit out your holiday budget. 

Close enough to magic if you ask me. Before we dive into the budget planner though, let’s chat about the components of a Canadian holiday budget. 

What goes into a budget for Canada?

Every travel budget is unique to the traveller. Some like to travel in luxury and spare no expense, others take the road less travelled in seek of new adventures and cheaper prices. However, regardless of your travel style, everyone faces a few core expenses. 

Transport

Flights are a necessary evil, especially for Aussie’s. Depending on your final destination, your Canadian flights can take anywhere between 14 and 24 hours - the Pacific ocean is surprisingly large. With this in mind, you’re flights will often be the largest chunk of your holiday budget. 

Once you arrive in Canada you’ll have a few transport options. If you’re staying in a city, public transport is definitely your easiest and most affordable option. However, if you’re planning on exploring a bit further afar, car hire, trains (hello Rocky Mountaineer) and domestic flights are your best bet. If you’re looking to save money, car hire might be your best bet. However, if you don’t have much time on your hands a flight is the way to go. Just remember Canada is similar to Australia in that it is HUGE, so cross country travel can definitely add up. 

Accommodation

The CAD and AUD are relatively on par. I say relatively because their value fluctuates, but you can rest assured that the exchange rate is far more forgiving than say the USD or GBP. 

With this in mind, accommodation expenses are relatively similar to what you would expect to pay in Australian cities. Hostel- hoppers and villa-lovers alike will find accommodation to match their tastes and budgets. 

Tip - In Ontario, everyone calls a holiday house a cottage. So, if someone recommends you a great cottage, rest assured it won’t be a dilapidated little shack in the countryside. 

Food 

There are a few things to remember when it comes to budgeting food (and everyday costs) in Canada. 

  1. The price you see on the menu is not the final price you pay as you’ll need to add tip and tax. The tax amount on all goods and services (like our GST) is not included in the marked price and varies between states. 

  2. Tipping is a necessary evil for most service related purchases. At a bar and restaurant between 10% and 20% is standard depending on the quality of the service. It certainly is an art, though, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice on where and when you need to tip. 

  3. Like Australia, the price of food varies between big cities and smaller towns - a standard supermarket shop will cost more in Toronto then it would in a smaller city like Halifax. Make sure you account for this when planning your holiday and creating a budget. 

  4. Mountain pricing is a thing. If you are hitting the slopes and staying in a ski village, be prepared to pay more for everything. Mountains incur more costs because they are harder to get to, and they don’t have as many competitors so retailers and restaurants can charge more without worrying about losing business. 

These points aside, Canada has a vast array of food options. While being heavily influenced by their American neighbours, bigger cities are hotspots for immigration and, as a result, boast an eclectic food scene. 

Activites

Canada has a lot to offer for every budget. Love the outdoors? Spend next to nothing hiking, bear spotting and exploring. Prefer to shop? Top up your Travel Money Oz Currency Pass and get ready to shop ‘till you drop. 

If you are skiing, however, make sure you account for extra expenses such as mountain passes and equipment hire. 

Pre-departure expenses

Regardless of what you plan on doing, travel insurance is a must. If you are skiing, make sure your policy covers you for snow sports as well. 

You’ll also need a Canadian Visa, which costs $7 CAD and is valid for five years. 

How much does a Canada Trip cost?

Que our holiday budget planner a.k.a. Magic fairy accountant.

First time holiday budgeting? No stress, here is a step-by-step guide. 

Step 1 

  • Enter your travel destination
  • Let us know how long you’ll be away
  • Choose your currency. In this case it would either by AUD or CAD
  • High five yourself for biting the bullet and starting your budget

Step 2

Time to start dreaming about all of the poutine, beaver tails, maple bacon, smoked meat and fries you plan on eating. This is a judgement free zone, so be honest. Our tip? Try and put yourself in a holiday mindset. Holiday you won’t want to cook dinner and will definitely opt for that late night poutine. Trust us. 

Step 3

Shopping time!! Whether it’s new clothes or cheesy souvenirs, account for your retail therapy in this section. 

Step 4

This is for all of your transport outside of flights and major journeys (think Rocky Mountaineer). So basically, your day to day means of getting around. 

Step 5

The hard work is done! Here you’ll find a simple layout of your planned expenses in both Aussie and Canadian dollars. From here you can either go back and edit, or start saving for your holiday!

It’s important to note here that this only accounts for your most basic expenses. You’ll need to add in travel insurance and other daily expenses. It’s also worth having a bit of wiggle room in the kitty for unexpected expenses or particularly rampant shopping sprees. They happen, I’ve been there and it was both invigorating and overwhelming for my bank account. 

Canadian Holiday Budget examples

Here’s some examples of what the bones of your travel budget would look like. Please note all of these examples are based off seven nights accommodation and are quoted in Aussie dollars. Prices will, of course, vary with seasonality and availability. 

Lovey dovey couples retreat

These lovebirds are heading to Lake Louise, Alberta, for seven nights of romance, skiing and hot chocolate drinking. Rumours are he is planning on popping the question as well!*

Flights

$1633 pp

Sydney to Calgary return

Accommodation

$3300 

7 nights at a Lake Louise luxury cabin

Food

$150 per day 

You’ll need plenty of hearty meals and drinks to warm you up in winter

Activities

$200 per day +/-

Depends on if you’re skiing, and how much shopping you plan to do. 

Total for couple 

$9016

You can’t put a price on love in the snow, right?

 

*Can confirm diamond engagement ring is not included in budget as that would be a massive spoiler for the soon to be fiance. 

Family getaway

Mum and Dad are treating the kids to a week in Vancouver! Lucky buggers. This is a far cry from the camping trips I was used to as a youngin’. 

Flights

$4774 for 2 adults and 2 kids

Sydney to Vancouver return

Accommodation

$3500

Downtown hotel family room with kitchen. 

Food

$100 per day

You’re cooking breakfast and lunch, so dinner is your only splurge. 

Activities

$100 +/-  per day

Public transport and cheap attractions are your friend here. 

Total

$9674

The smiles on the kids faces makes up for the price tag...

 

Solo traveller

This lucky traveller is planning on ‘finding themselves’ on their first solo trip from home in Toronto, Ontario! Blue Jays and Maple Leafs tickets might be a bit expensive, the friends you’ll make at the hostel, however, are free of charge. 

Flights

$1250

Sydney to Toronto return

Accommodation

$300

Single bed in a downtown hostel that includes breakfast

Food

$50 per day

Supermarket snacks, cheap drinks and some late night poutine. 

Activities

$40 per day 

City bike adventures around TO with your new hostel mates. 

Total

$2180

That’s only like, two paychecks? Add another week, we know you want to. 

 

Last minute tips 

  • Budgeting doesn’t have to be a dirty word. It might not be the most fun part of your holiday, but it is one of the most important parts.

  • Research your ‘per day’ budget and include the things you really want to do. Once you know the costs, you have a goal to save for and some flexibility to work with

  • Most things are cheaper to book in advance (especially if you’re going near peak times) but some things can be cheaper to purchase in Canada. We recommend keeping an eye on sites like Groupon, as they can often have some epic local experiences for a fraction of the cost. 

  • Don’t forget to factor in your pre-travel costs (e.g. travel insurance, immunisations and visas).

  • Budget for cheap eats some days so you can treat yourself on others.

  • Don’t forget other cheeky costs like airport transfers, tours and tipping

  • Keep a safe distance from bears, Moose and fired up Raptors fans. They can’t be trusted. 


Flight costs based on search from www.flightcentre.com.au and are indicative costs only for travel dates 4 - 11 August 2020. Prices were sourced on October 14 2019. ^Accommodation costs are based on an average per night price for budget, moderate or luxury hotels, as indicated in the table. ~Food based on the average cost of 1 coffee, 1 fast food meal and 1restaurant meal per person, per day. 

COST COMPARISON TABLE: All costs are based on estimated approximate costs from major metropolitan cities. “From” costs indicate costs that start from the indicated price and may be higher than shown. Average prices indicate a typical estimated cost you would pay for the indicated item. Prices may vary from time to time, and in different cities and towns within Canada. 

This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs.  You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.  While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you. We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog.