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The Great White North is great for good reason. More than 150,000 people visited Canada in December 2020 alone. They went across the country, taking in the incredible culture in Canada’s cities and the breathtaking beauty of the countryside.
Anyone can travel to Canada and find something they like. But don’t book your tickets right away. Rushing your trip to Canada means you will miss out on something.
Read about Canada first and then plan a trip to Canada. Here is your quick guide to visiting the nation.
Break Canada Down
Canada is divided into sections called provinces. Provinces function similarly to states in the United States, sharing responsibilities with the federal government while practicing degrees of autonomy. When traveling through Canada, you can think of these provinces, or you can divide the nation geographically.
The Canadian Rockies are located in Western Canada, not far from Vancouver. You can drive through the Rockies, taking in the incredible sites from your vehicle. If you like to camp or hike, this is the perfect place to visit.
Vancouver itself contains many important sites. The Stanley Park is a 1,000-acre urban park with a 400-hectare rainforest. Museum-lovers can go to the Vancouver Art Gallery, while foodies can visit Granville Island’s market.
Central Canada contains Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. You can spend several days in Toronto, including a day trip over to Niagara Falls.
Ottawa is Canada’s capital, so you can visit the national museums there. You can get a tour of Parliament Hill, where the nation’s legislators meet.
Montreal has numerous public events, like the Montreal Fireworks Festival. Architecture fans can tour the city’s many districts, seeing everything from colonial-era buildings to geodesic domes.
Eastern Canada is a large area with a mix of rural and urban sites. Nova Scotia contains beautiful ports and lighthouses. Newfoundland has seaside villages and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Northern Canada is a remote area that is difficult to see in one trip. But you can visit Whitehorse and Yellowknife. From there, you can see natural sights like the northern lights and the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.
Preparing for Your Visit
You can travel across the country, visiting all regions of Canada. In order to get a good sense of all of them, you will need a month, if not longer. For a weeklong vacation, pick one region and focus on it.
Do more research and break down what you want to do day-by-day. Try to see some urban sights and some natural wonders.
You need a visa in order to enter Canada. The tourist visa is called an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), which you can complete online. It costs seven Canadian dollars and requires a valid passport and credit/debit card.
All of Canada’s major cities have massive international airports. There are also a number of smaller domestic airports dotted throughout the country.
If you are focusing on one region of the country, you should be able to get around via car. You can rent a car out of any major airport. Within a city, you can use public transportation to get around.
You can take a bus to move from one city to the next. If you want to travel from one end of the country to the other, you should fly.
The climate in Canada varies greatly from region to region. Toronto and Vancouver are mild, though Toronto has very snowy winters. Up north, temperatures are cold with a lot of snow and ice.
You can visit the country at any point in the year. Read up on the weather conditions in the area you are visiting and pack accordingly. If you are visiting a southern city like Vancouver, pack a range of clothes.
Canada is a relatively safe country. You should practice basic discretion wherever you go. Avoid hitchhiking on rural roads, especially at night.
Budgeting Your Trip to Canada
Canadians use Canadian dollars (CAD), which are distinct from American dollars. You should carry some Canadian dollars on you. You can get a currency conversion here on the Internet, or you can wait until you arrive in Canada.
For cheap accommodation, you can stay in a hostel. You may find rates as low as $25 CAD. If you’re concerned about safety, you can stay in an Airbnb, which can run as low as $100 CAD.
Rates for a rental car vary depending on the company you are renting from. But buses and public transportation are cheap.
A meal at an average restaurant ranges from $15 to $25 CAD. The higher-end the restaurant, the more expensive it will be. If you are in a rental apartment or hostel, you can get groceries at a local market.
You should buy travel insurance, which covers lost baggage and medical costs. Rates vary depending on who your insurer is.
In general, you should be able to travel to Canada without breaking the bank. The more you do, the more you will have to pay. Keep to a weeklong vacation with a mix of urban and natural sights, and you should keep your prices down.
Planning a Trip to Canada
On a weeklong trip to Canada, you can get in a lot. You can visit the Canadian Rockies, then spend the weekend in Vancouver. You can see the cultural hubs of Toronto and Montreal, or you can admire quaint towns in Newfoundland.
Decide what it is you want to do and make an itinerary. Get your visa and luggage lined up. You can keep to a small budget, but plan out where you are staying and how you want to travel.
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