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The Best Ways to Travel for Students in Canada

Canada can be an amazing place to explore. From Niagara Falls to the Rockies to the beauty of British Columbia, the country offers innumerable types of terrain, urban areas, and attractions to attract tourists from far and wide.

Being a student can make travel in Canada challenging. Canada is not cheap, after all, and it is not as popular of a tourist destination as Europe, for example, which has decades of history in offering student discounts, youth hostel networks, etc. So what are students hoping to travel around Canada to do? Are there ways to save costs and still be able to experience the country?

Actually, yes. In this article, we will provide several tips on how to do so. 

The Best Things to Do and See in Vancouver
Relaxing in Sasamat Lake, Vancouver

Consider the Season

A careful consideration of what time of year you will be traveling could make a big difference in your accommodation options and your ability to get around. First of all, if you’re going to be traveling during high season, you will likely have to book everything in advance. 

Tourist sites, trains, and buses tend to fill up quickly during the summer, so you’ll need to have everything carefully planned out well before you head off on your trip so that you don’t find yourself suddenly stuck somewhere. And prices will generally be higher for most of the things that you want to do.

Now, if you’re in uni and you have to be in the classroom during the fall and spring, this can cause limitations. It is possible to travel during the summer, of course, but if possible you should consider another time.

Perhaps spring break? Think about exactly where you want to go and what the climate is like during different times of the year. Vancouver, for example, has a relatively mild climate, so traveling in the fall or spring could still be quite pleasant.

The Best Things to Do and See in Vancouver
The Inukshuk, Vancouver’s Silent Guardian

Look Carefully at Your Accommodation Options

Hostels are, of course, the big thing among students. But in Canada, you have to be careful about several things. First of all, not all destinations are popular enough year-round to justify the hostels’ staying open through the seasons. Be sure you figure this out in advance. 

Also, some places are considered obscure by the standards of international travel, so you might find yourself paying regular hotel prices for something that calls itself a hostel in certain areas. 

Camping is something to consider. It might not be the most luxurious option (although some people love it), but you’ll be eliminating the need for an accommodation budget if you can pull it off. Now of course this won’t be an option in the major urban areas; if you want to go to Montreal or Toronto, you’ll have to find a room somewhere. But in many rural areas, it could be a good alternative.

Couchsurfing is also becoming popular again now that the pandemic has passed. Some people are skeptical about this idea because of trust issues or a reluctance to stay with a stranger. But remember that accepted Couchsurfing members all get rated by the people who stay with them, and they know that their reputation is on the line when they host. 

And beyond getting a free place to stay, you get access to the best kind of guide you can ask for: someone who knows their city inside and out and doesn’t have a particular agenda to sell. So you could be opening up a whole new world for yourself.

The Best Things to Do and See in Vancouver
Grizzly Bears at Grouse Mountain, Vancouver

Consider Transportation Options Carefully

Canada is a big country, so if you want to go from one coast to another, for example, you will likely have to fly (unless, of course, you have months free and can drive around at will). If you’re going to get plane tickets, you should search for budget airlines. You should also try to get your tickets several months in advance as prices tend to go up sharply at the last minute. 

If you don’t have to fly, consider which parts of your trip you might take the bus for. Some bus companies offer student discounts, and this is generally a cheaper way to travel, anyway. And while it might not seem desirable to take a bus for a whole-day trip, taking one for just a few hours can be a reliable, cheap way to get from one place to another.

Trains are an option too, of course, but they’re usually not as cheap. You might be able to get a student discount for the train, too, although on average you’ll still be paying more than for the bus. It all depends on what your budget is and where your priorities lie.

Best Photo Stops on the Sea to Sky Highway during winter
The Suspension Bridge at the Sea-to-Sky Gondola Summit

Think about Getting a Side Hustle

If you’re in the middle of uni, your studies will likely be your main focus. But this doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to earn some money on the side. If you can build up a reasonable amount of savings for yourself, it could make your vacations infinitely more enjoyable. 

There are several ways that you can go about this: You can think about getting a part-time job in the evenings or on weekends while you’re not in class. If you’re in the Vancouver area, you can find jobs for students in Vancouver on Jooble easily. Depending on your skills, time, and needs, there could be a wide range of part-time jobs that could suit your schedule.

If you’re really in need of money, you could consider going about it the opposite way: You could get a more substantial job and take classes at night, thereby building up a greater amount of savings by the time you graduate. If you already have some skills and think you might be able to do this, it could be a good option. In this case, you’ll be able to travel the way you want.

The Best Things to Do and See in Vancouver
The Bears of Wonders Exploring Whistler, Canada

Think about Your Priority Destinations

Again, Canada is a big place that has a lot to offer. If you’re still a student, you’ll have a lot of time to see stuff in the future, so you don’t need to stuff all your travel into a student trip. But neither also should you simply stay home and let the world go by. 

It is when you’re young that you get the most out of many life experiences, so you should go out and see some of those sites you’ve been dreaming about. Just be sure to keep careful track of your budget, and choose places for your early trips that are high on your list, but not completely unreasonable. 

You’ll be sure to have a blast.

The beauty of the Sea to Sky Highway best photo stops on the sea to sky highway during winter
The beauty of the Sea to Sky Highway