The Rocky Mountains.
A dream roadtrip right?!
Here are the important things to keep in mind when planning and budgeting for a Canadian roadtrip! (In the summer)
If you are travelling from the UK, you will need a tourist visa to visit Canada. Well, technically it is an ‘Electronic Travel Authorisation’.
Make sure you arrange this before you travel and have a confirmation either printed or on your phone. You can fill out the form easily enough online and it cost me less than £5.
Once you have your ETA it is valid for 5 years!
Do your research into a few different companies before choosing on your method of transport.
We hired a car through AVIS which we picked up in Vancouver and dropped off at Calgary Airport. It cost about £400 for 10 days which we thought was pretty cheap! We had an epic Dodge Charger with a 3.6l engine so I felt like Lewis Hamilton for the week haha.
Top tip: Remember to take photos/a video of your vehicle when you pick it up from the rental company so you can prove that any existing marks or scratches were not your fault in case you get questioned at the other end.
Another top tip: BEWARE OF ONE WAY CHARGES! Some companies charge you for picking the car up in one location and dropping it at another. Our charge was only a small random amount of about $14 which we had been told about but I have heard of people being charged an unwelcome surprise of $300 at the end of their trip.
There were also loads of campers/RVs on the road, it is a very popular option in Canada. Choosing this option will also save you a lot of money on accommodation…
BOOK IN ADVANCE!
We didn’t book this trip until about 6 weeks before we went. People I know have planned a similar trip up to a year in advance.
Accommodation sells out very quickly, especially in the mountains and in a couple of places we had no choice but to pay some pretty extortionate prices. See below where we stayed:
Vancouver: Blue Horizon Hotel
Revelstoke: The Stoke Hotel
Lake Louise: Lake Louise Inn
Canmore: Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge
Calgary: The Westin Calgary
Read more information about our entire trip and what we did here
NATIONAL PARK PASSES
You will need a pass to enter the National Parks in Canada – we visited Yoho, Banff and Jasper National Parks. To save us having to stop at the entrances to all of the parks, we stopped at the Roger’s Pass Discovery Centre, explained where we would be going and they sorted us out with a 6 day pass for a total of $93.60 between us.
As you might expect, you can go for hours without seeing a petrol station, so I would advise you always fill up when you see one.
We drove 2,200km in 10 days and the fuel cost us just under £150.00.
- Find hotels that include breakfast to save you buying it out. In the mountains for example, if you don’t have breakfast included, even the supermarkets are really expensive. (Lake Louise)
- Compromise – my focus on this trip was the amazing scenery and new experiences, not fancy dinners. So if you are tight for money then be prepared to sacrifice a posh dinner for something cheaper. Food was probably the biggest expense of our trip once we were there, because visiting the lakes and mountains etc. is obviously mostly free.
- Spread your costs – often through Booking.com you can pay straight away or pay at the property. We did a mix of both so that by the time we got there half of the trip was paid for.
Here is an approximate breakdown of what the trip cost the two of us in June 2018:
(we were kindly treated to our stay at the Westin so this cost covers accommodation for 10 nights)
Car hire: £400.00
Spending money: £1500.00
APPROX TOTAL PER PERSON = £2550.00
Have I missed out anything that you want to know? Let me know in the comments below!