From the wild seas of the Eastern coast through the bustling megalopolises of Montreal Ottawa, and Toronto, to Niagara Falls and all the way through Winnipeg to Banff and then through the Rockies to Vancouver, Canada is a big country and can seem daunting to cross. But there are many ways to make the trip not only a little more budget-friendly, but you'll get to see a whole lot more. Plan a route, bring your camera and have a look around.
Westjet and Air Canada are the only two airlines that operate all over Canada. They often run special deals every Thursday during which you can snag some pretty good deals. A word of caution, however, though tickets will be cheap, taxes are never discounted! Failing that, you can always check the many online discount travel websites that make it easy to search for the lowest fare either from a Canadian airline or another airline passing through Canada. Some of the better websites include cheapoair.com, airgorilla.com, hotwire.com, priceline.com, tripadvisor.com, and skyscanner.com.
If you are flexible with your dates and nimble with your bookings, then the train might be a great way for you to see ALL of Canada. Canada is well connected from Halifax to Vancouver by rail and even up North to Churchill (to see polar bears.) Even during the summer months when things can get busy, VIA Rail can offer discounts up to 75% off their regular fare. These are especially great if you want to see what's between Toronto and Winnipeg and on to Jasper/Banff/Vancouver. Both economy and sleeper cabins are available. It's not hard to find a train between Toronto and Winnipeg for $100 or Winnipeg to Vancouver for $130 (including taxes!)
The best deals are the ones you'll be the most cramped in. Canada, for some reason, hasn't come up with the idea of sleeper buses or “hop-on, hop-off” bus connections. Maybe because many in the Eastern or Western parts of Canada believe there's nothing in the middle. I highly encourage you to see the Great Canadian prairies up close and personal by taking a bus trip through the heart of the country. Plus, if you want to see polar bears, you need to go through Winnipeg anyway. Try Greyhound.com for all of Canada or Megabus for Eastern connections.
Although I've never done it, it's completely doable. Canada and Canadians seem to be well-disposed folks needing a ride. I have yet to try hitching a ride in Canada and am cautious about it. Further, I'm cautious of even giving a ride to anybody who might be on the highway. Who knows what kind of Zodiac they're planning, right? But, if you're adventurous, I've heard that truck stops are the place to hitch rides. Any number of long haul truckers or farmers moving grain can give you rides along the highway to the next town or further. If you want to see how it's done, check out ibackpackcanada.com. Please exercise caution if you do choose to go this route.
Believe it or not, seeing Canada by car can be very affordable. Buying a used car in Vancouver or Halifax could yield a good deal. With gas prices relatively cheap, you'd average about $100 between each major city and get to see the whole country close up and personal. You might even be able to tip some cows or roll a hay bail on your way. If you pack your own food you'll be able to have BBQs (another great Canadian meal) along the way and save cash to boot. Camp sites are spattered throughout the Canadian prairies while budget motels are pretty common along the Trans Canada Highway.
And there you have it, five ways to make travelling across Canada much more affordable. Have a safe and enjoyable trip!