Why Canada? Full of natural beauty and plenty of activities for fans of the outdoors, Canada is a great vacation spot. From skiing and snowboarding to kayaking and canoeing, to spotting grizzly bears and the Northern Lights, there are many things to see and do here. Add in metropolitan cities like Montreal with its shops and exciting nightlife, and Canada has something for everyone.
This Canada travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
Canada, our home and Native Land. It's a big country, the second largest in the world. It will take a lifetime so when planning your vacation, make sure to take distance into consideration.
A flight from Toronto to Vancouver is 5-hours non-stop. From the East Coast to West it takes an entire 8-hour flight.
This Canada travel guide will help you plan your next trip.
- Currency: The official currency is the Canadian Dollar and 1 Canadian Dollar is equal to 0.76 USD. U.S. Dollars are accepted in Canada, though change will be in Canadian Dollars.
- Power: Power voltage is 120V at 60 Hz.
- Entry: To enter, you will need a U.S. passport valid for at least 6 months after your departure date.
- Getting Around: The best way to get around is by public transport or renting a car but beware, Italians are hairy drivers!
- Sales tax: The tax for goods and services is set at 5%, though different providences may charge up to 15%. For more information click here
- Best Sim Cards: Sim Cards are a bit more of a pain and more expensive in Canada than other countries, but you can get them. Rogers and Bell are the main providers.
- We use KnowRoaming $3.99 per day Unlimited data. PlanetD readers receive an extra 50% off using promo code DDSave50
- The Capital City of Canada is Ottawa – See the Best Things to do in Ottawa.
Budget: You can find a number of budget hotels and hostels for around 20-65 Canadian Dollars. Enjoy dorm-styled or private rooms, common areas, shared kitchens, free Wi-Fi, and easy access to city or scenic locations. .
Mid Range: For mid-range hotels, expect to pay 100 to 200 Canadian Dollars per night. Stay in hotels with private rooms, free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, complimentary breakfast, and a restaurant and bar.
High End: Upscale hotels will range from 230 to 500 Canadian Dollars, with the top hotels going up to over 1,000 Canadian Dollars per night. Take in the best with top-of-the-line hospitality and room service, upscale private guest rooms, spa services, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness centers, fine dining, and more. Certain hotels near the water also provide kayak services.
If you are starting your trip in Toronto check out our suggestions for where to stay in Toronto
The food in Canada has a wide variety of influences, including French, English, Scottish, and First Nations cuisine.
Poutine (fries, gravy, and cheese curds) is a popular dish here, while Nova Scotian lobster rolls are another. If you’re looking for some snacks or desserts, try a Montreal bagel (a sweeter version of a New York bagel, usually topped with sesame or poppy seeds) or a butter tart (eggs, butter, and sugar baked in a pastry shell).
Canada has many great restaurants and cafes where you can try some Canadian food. Expect to pay around 65 Canadian Dollars for a day of food.
Canada's national drink is the Bloody Caesar, it's like a Bloody Mary but it is made with Clamato juice. Give it a try, you'll love it.
Getting to Canada: The Toronto Pearson International Airport is the busiest airport in Canada and is just a 30-minute taxi ride to downtown or you can take the UpExpress leaving the airport every 15 minutes to downtown.
The Vancouver International Airport and the Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airports are two alternative options, especially when traveling to those cities.
You can check for the best flights to Canada on Skyscanner.
Transportation: Canada is a massive country and if you want to get around from Province to Province, the best bet is to fly.
Trains are a fast way to get around, especially in larger cities but trains are more expensive in Canada compared to places like Europe and Asia.
If you want to go from Toronto to Vancouver at a more leisurely pace, take The Canadian, an 86-hour trip where you can enjoy beautiful scenic vies, dine and sleep in a bed in your private cabin, and enjoy stops at Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Jasper.
Buses: Buses are a good way to get around. You can take the Greyhound or the Megabus and it is a cheap option to get from city to city.
Major cities have rapid transit and light rail systems to get you where you need to go quickly. A typical fare is 3.64 Canadian Dollars.
Taxis: Taxis are an alternative way to get around. Prices typically start at 3.50- 4 Canadian Dollars and increase 2 Canadian Dollars per kilometer traveled.
Uber and Lyft are widely used in major Canadian cities.
Car Rental: To rent a car, you must be at least 21 years old and have a U.S. driver’s license as well as proof of auto insurance. If you are under 25, you will usually get an Underage Fee applied to your rental cost. Prices start at 35 Canadian Dollars per day.
Canada has a varied landscape and climate. What you pack depends on where you are going.
If you travel to cities like Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal in the summer, it's hot and you can dress as you would in any major metropolis around the world.
If you are going to the Rocky Mountains, the North or East Coasts, it can be cool any time of year so pack in layers.
Nights can get cool even in the middle of summer.
- Hiking Boots: Keep your feet comfortable with a sturdy pair of hiking boots.
- Layers: Be prepared no matter the weather by bringing clothes with layers.
- Waterproof Coat: As it can rain, a waterproof coat is a good item to bring.
- For winter travel to Canada, check out our tips for how to survive the winter deep freeze.
- Dress in layers and be prepared for cool nights, (even in the summer and especially in the mountains.
When to Go
- Canda has four seasons and there is no bad time to visit Canada if you are prepared for the weather.
- Summer (June to August) is a good time for road trips, canoeing, hiking, and exploring cities.
- Winter (November to February) is great for skiing, ice skating, and winter carnivals.
- Spring (late March to May) can be unpredictable with a mix of snow, rain and warm sunshine and the same can be said for Autumn (September/October) although Autumn is usually dry.
Things to Do
- Whistler, BC – Largest Ski Resort in the World, Hiking and Downhill Mountain biking, Bobsledding, snowmobiling, outdoor fun. Our particular favourite is snowboarding in Whistler.
- Walking with Polar Bears in Manitoba.
- Kayaking the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia.
- Quebec City is Canada's most European destination and one of the oldest cities in North America established way back in 1608
- Aboriginal Experience – Canada's First Nations People are welcoming and are a fascinating culture to visit. There are many chances to immerse in aboriginal culture in Canada.
What not to Miss
- Niagara Falls – The Canadian side of Niagara Falls is an amazing destination with magnificent views, nightlife and lots of things to do.
- Icefields Parkway – One of the world's most beautiful drives is from Banff to Jasper and not to be missed.
- Cabot Trail – Incredible scenic drive on the East Coast with whale watching, lobster fishing and awesome views.
Places to Stay
Fairmont Lake Louise: Fairmont Lake Louise. I don't know if there is another hotel in the world with a view like this. It's worth the spurge to spend a night here when visiting Banff.
Ritz Carlton Toronto: The Ritz Carlton Toronto is in the heart of it all near the Entertainment District, Harborfront and CN Tower. Pure Luxury in Canada's Largest City
Prince George Hotel Halifax: Located in the heart of Halifax this grand hotel is pure luxury and walking distance to everything.
Whenever we travel we make sure to start with these companies. We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices as well as great customer service. We have used every one of these personally and continue to do so.
Booking.com: This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It is usually the has the cheapest prices, especially in Europe and we love their interface. Not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
Trip Advisor: What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation. TripAdvisor is where we go when we want to compare prices with multiple accommodation providers.
Air BnB: Airbnb is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It can sometimes be cheaper than hotels and it is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
Skyscanner: This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
Hostelworld: With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
Rome 2 Rio: If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs. I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
Get Your Guide: For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world's largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
World Nomads Insurance: When traveling you should always have travel insurance. We have found the best bang for your buck is by far World Nomads.