Canadian Rockies Travel Budget

canada travel budget by laidbacktrip | how to travel in canadian rockies on a budget
 

Find out how much things cost in Canada in our comprehensive budget travel guide and read how much we’ve spent road tripping in the Canadian Rockies.


Canada is not a typical budget-friendly country, that's for sure. But with careful planning, we were still able to enjoy its beauty without robbing a bank.

Please note that we visited Canada in a party of four and if you're on a tight budget we do suggest to find fellow travelers to share the cost. Be aware that in Canada you will find prices in shops without GST so you'll pay more at the counter than advertised.

GST and provincial taxes are different in every province.

Prices below are in US dollars - $ and Canadian dollars - C$.


COST OF TRAVEL

In total, we traveled 12 days in Canada before we crossed borders to the USA.

Our total spending was $78 per person per day without flight tickets and insurance. We do not calculate those two items as it is too individual.

Total cost is calculated for two people.

TOTAL: 1892 USD


Flight tickets

Return flight tickets from Munich to Seattle cost $685 per person. Sometimes it is cheaper for us to drive from the Czech Republic to Germany or other neighboring states and park a car there than to fly directly.

Also, flight tickets to Seattle, USA were less expansive so from Seattle we took a bus to Vancouver.

TOTAL: 1370 USD

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VISA AND PERMITS

When traveling to USA and Canada, as citizens of the Czech Republic, we don't need to apply for a tourist visa (check online if your country is in Visa Waiver Program), and we could stay in the country up to 90 days.

The only fees are ESTA when traveling to the USA by air - $14 and ETA for Canada - C$7.

TOTAL: 28 USD


Accommodation

We slept in a campervan, and the rate usually was C$25 - 40 per night per one unserviced camping spot (you will pay the same price per spot for 1 to 4 people).

We didn't make reservations in advance so purchasing mobile app WikiCamps Canada for $2.79 was very helpful to find the right place to spend a night. 

TOTAL: 390 USD


TRANSPORT

Renting a 5-seat campervan turned out to be a great idea.

It was four of us, and two could sleep inside the car and two in the folding tent on the roof.

The car rental including all fees cost us $111 per day (the same car which sleeps two people cost around $99). The fuel in Canada cost around C$1.1 per liter. We drove a little bit less than 2500 km in Canada, so the total bill for fuel was C$357.

For the bus from Seattle to Vancouver, we paid $17 per person.

TOTAL: 801 USD

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EATING OUT

Except for one or two meals out we cooked for ourselves.

Eating out in Canada is expensive when not considering fast foods where we usually don't go. Prepare to pay for lunch without drinks C$15 - 30 per person in a no fancy restaurant.

TOTAL: 100 USD


GROCERY

We did a lot of shopping during our travels.

Cooking was much cheaper and also more convenient than eating out as we slept in camps. Food prices are very similar as in Europe or the USA. The shopping cost more in smaller tourist mountain towns such as Jasper.

We also had to purchase gas and few things for cooking in the camp.

TOTAL: 400 USD


ACTIVITIES

We were self-sufficient with our car and didn't feel it's necessary to buy a tour in the Canadian Rockies. You can surely do whale watching near Vancouver, or walk the icefield on Athabasca Glacier but for us, it was too expensive for what it had to offer. The only activity we paid for was the soak in Miette Hotsprings and Radium Hotsprings. Visit cost approximately C5-10 per person plus rental if you don't have swimsuit or towels. 
To visit parks, we had to purchase Discovery Pass valid for two years. The pass cost C$136.40 and is valid for the group (car up to seven passengers). There were no other entrance fees as we stayed outdoors only and were not seeking any cultural activities this time.

TOTAL: 143 USD


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GEAR

Bear spray was around C$40, and although we did not use it, we felt much safer with it. It is good to have reliable windproof jackets and warm sleeping bags if you are camping.

The temperature drops significantly at night.

TOTAL: 30 USD


EXTRA COST

We never leave our home without travel insurance which is designed to help cover your expenses if something goes wrong on your trip. We have a great experience with World Nomads Travel Insurance.

It cost us $50 per person per our whole trip.

TOTAL: 100 USD



WHAT TO PACK FOR THE CANADIAN ROCKIES

Here is 7 essential things you need to pack for the Rockies.

  • Bear Spray | You are in a Bear Country, make sure you carry a bear spray. You can buy it in outdoor shops around Canadian Rockies, just don't be surprised to pay double the price.

  • Headtorch | You need to have at least one headlamp when camping.

  • Windproof and Waterproof Jacket for Him & for Her | It can rain anytime, windproof jacket is a must for your trip.

  • Hiking Boots for Him & for Her | Quality, waterproof, and broken hiking shoes are essential to enjoy hiking in the Canadian Rockies.

  • Stove & Gas Cans | The only way how to prepare your food and tea in the campsite is by using a portable camping stove with gas cans.

  • Tent | Backcountry camping in the Canadian Rockies is an unforgettable experience, make sure you have proper gear and equipment.

  • Sleeping Bag | Warm and cozy in your down sleeping bag, it's light and easily foldable.

You can read a more detailed all season packing list we've created for the Canadian Rockies.


WHERE TO STAY IN CANADIAN ROCKIES

We’ve recommended five hotels below, one hotel for each destination.

These are our overall favorite picks:

Calgary | Are you tired after a long flight and don't want to drive? Stay at the Wingate by Wyndham Calgary Airport.

Banff | Banff Park Lodge is an environmentally friendly hotel located in the town center surrounded by stunning scenery.

Lake Louise | Stunning views of Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier from Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise will blow you away.

Jasper | Are you looking for a hotel with an excellent location, cozy rooms, sauna, and steam room? Stay in Jasper Inn & Suites.

Golden | Soak in the Golden's history tied to the Canadian Pacific Railway and the logging industry. We recommend you to stay in Best Western Mountainview Inn.


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