The Secret to Touring Canada on a Student Budget

Do you want to take a break between semesters, without breaking the bank? A lot of us like to travel, but the biggest thing people need for traveling is money. We are students, and we have to save our money for education.

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Even though I’m a student, I have traveled many places in Canada since I came here three years ago such as Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Kingston, Niagara Falls, Guelph, Orangeville, Sudbury, Parry Sound, French River, Killarney, Welland, Hamilton, Peterborough, Lewiston, and my next trip will be to Halifax. Here are my tips to travel on a student budget.

  1. Get the best cheap transit.

It depends where you will go for travel. For example, if you want to travel to Sudbury,
IMG_20151010_142533-01          I recommend you go by bus instead of by train because VIA train is more expensive than Greyhound bus. However, if you want to save money on a hotel, you can go by VIA train. The VIA train will leave Union station at 10.00pm and it will arrive at 5.00am, so from Toronto to Sudbury you can sleep overnight and save one night’s hotel rate.

Hitchhiking might scare you if you believe every movie you watch. It used to scare me, too until I discovered that it’s a free way to travel where the only major risk is that nobody will stop to pick you up. It also may not be a good choice in wintertime because waiting in the cold is not fun at all, right?

Rideshare can be a good choice for you to save money on transportation. Ridesharing is when people drive to a place, and they want people who are going in the same direction to join in and share gas money with them. One website that lists Rideshares is Craigslist, so if you have never signed up just click here to go to see it. Traveling by Rideshare is not only cheaper for travel, but you can make new friends while you are traveling as well.

Vancouver is a beautiful place that a lot of people want to visit, but it’s difficult to go there by car because it will take at least 5 days to drive there from Toronto. How you can do that for this trip?

11909365_399551940168507_1407835093_nFlying is the best choice to save your time, but you don’t have to bust your budget to travel by airplane. Booking tickets early and flying during low season can help you save money on your trip. In some situations you can’t wait for discounted tickets, but you can still plan to book your ticket to fly on Tuesday because Tuesday is the day with least demand, so the ticket will be cheaper than flying on another day of the week. Consider this next time before you book an airplane ticket for your next trip!

  1. Plan your accommodation before you leave your place.

Canada has a lot of free parks, so camping might make your trip more interesting and can help you stay within your budget. If you are afraid of wild animals for example, bears, rattlesnakes, moose, wolves, cougars, snapping turtles, I don’t recommend you go camping. It’s also not very comfortable to do this activity in the winter.

Hotels offer good deals via travel websites such as Expedia.ca, Hotwire.com, and Hotels.com that can save you a lot of money when booking online.

IMG_7601Couchsurfing is a good choice of accommodation to keep your money in your pocket, but some people might not be familiar with this website. Couchsurfing is a network of people who all contribute to a sharing economy when it comes to places to stay. A Couchsurfer can browse any number of Couchsurfing host profiles and send them a request to ‘surf’. The host can accept or deny the Couchsurf request after reading the Couchsurfer’s profile to see what they think, and they also can be your good guides because they are a local people.

  1. Pack food for yourself.

Making plans to take your own meal with you is one of the most important ways to save money on your trip. Eating at a restaurant is much more expensive than buying ingredients at a grocery store. Try to stick to foods that can keep for a few days without refridgeration, for example, canned food, nuts, dry snacks, and bread. After travel costs, food is the biggest pull on your budget.

By planning ahead to find the cheapest trip options, you can save enough money and feel great about bending your student budget around your work hard play hard mentality. The only question you’ll have is “Where should I take a trip to next?”

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About Jarucha Janmekha: His friends and family call him Oh, he’s a Humber College student and world traveler who likes to do interesting things as thriftily as possible. He also loves to eat good food, enjoy something new, and have fun with new people.

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