Little over four months after I’ve returned from Canada, it’s time to talk business. I’m very much aware that this is one of the posts you are most interested in but isn’t there a saying about keeping the best for last? 😉
But here we go; How much money did I spent on my roadtrip from Vancouver, over Vancouver Island, through the Rocky Mountains, to Calgary.
As usual, I’m going to split up my costs into different categories and then give you a summary of all those at the end. I’m not going to stop you from scrolling all the way down immediately, but do take into account that the information of how I came to spending a certain amount on a certain part of the trip might be very useful.
I think by now you know the drill on how I book my flights.
(If not, head to my other travel budget posts!)
Considering we wanted to spend as much time possible discovering sights along on the road, we opted to fly to Vancouver and fly back home from Calgary (or vica versa if that would have been cheaper). This way we wouldn’t have to spend a day driving back to Vancouver and we had our entire two weeks to discover that one route. If you have more time, there is another route back to Vancouver that’s also definitely worth it, but we simply couldn’t squeeze it in.
When we first started searching for flights to Vancouver/Calgary, we were looking for flights departing from Amsterdam mostly. There were direct flights to Vancouver and that sounded like the easiest and least stressful option. But the prices remained high, so we had to look for other options. And then suddenly we found a bargain flight from Brussels, over London Heathrow, to Vancouver and from Calgary, over Montreal, back to Brussels for 456,72 euros. Okay, we had to struggle through a lay-over but for about 300 euros less, we decided to take the risk.
My first go-to place for hotels is still booking.com, so most of our hotels/ motels were once again booked through that website. About nine months prior to departure we booked most of our accommodation and to our surprise many options were already fully booked.
For Vancouver we couldn’t find a hotel within our budget that pleased us, so we checked the options on Airbnb. There we stumbled across the place of Howard and Claire and we immediately fell in love with it. And they were also the sweetest, most helpful people so it was the best choice we could have made.
In the Rocky Mountains we also encountered some problems, also because most of the bed and breakfasts in the area only seemed to start their reservations for the summer after the holidays. But we didn’t dare to wait that long so we were very pleased when we found Julie and Nic’s place on Airbnb. We spent three lovely nights in their freaking awesome basement apartment.
And our last issue we had in Lake Louise. There simply aren’t that many accommodations there and the hotel that we liked, Mountaineer Lodge, was already sold out on booking.com. Fortunately they still had availability on their own website so we went about it that way instead. Problem solved!
Prices listed below are for three people. Half of the time we had two double beds and the other half we got a pullout couch:
- 2 nights Hip Strathcona Sunny Garden Suite (Vancouver): €254,55
- 2 nights Capital City Center Hotel (Victoria): €247,29
- 1 night Bayshore Waterfront Inn (Ucluelet): €146,43
- 1 night Best Western Barclay (Port Alberni): €123,33
- 1 night Pinnacle Hotel Whistler: €124,95
- 2 nights Ace Western Motel (Clearwater): €229,2
- 3 nights Come on Inn-2 bedrooms (Jasper): €622,77
- 1 night Mountaineer Lodge Lake Louise: €203,37
- 2 nights The Gateway Inn (Canmore): €201,63
- 1 night Applause Hotel Calgary Airport: €125,31
Total: €2.278,83 (€759,61 per person)
So as you can see, hotels are quite expensive in Canada – not that I expected anything else-, but to my surprise I managed to stay around my maximum budget of 50 euros a night. Often we had a slightly cheaper option available but for this trip I agreed to go for the slightly more luxurious choice every once in a while.
When you always get great service and rates from one website, why change, right? So once again our rental car was booked through Auto Europe.
Before booking our flights, I also checked if there was a lot of difference in rental rates when we would return our car in Calgary instead of the pick-up location Vancouver. Often rental companies charge more for it so do keep that into account. But for our rental it was about the same. Lucky us!
For 609,15 euros we got ourselves a midsize, white Chevrolet Cruz with a no-own risk formula. We booked this around ten months in advance as well.
And once again we obviously had to fill that baby up to get places. After two weeks, we ended up with 2.597 kilometers on the meter. We filled her up six times for a total of 161,34 euros.
The Visa. A very important document that you cannot forget if you want to embark on a roadtrip through Canada as a foreigner. Through the website of the Government of Canada you can easily find out if you personally need one and you can then proceed to request your visa.
Fortunately this didn’t come at a great cost. For only 4,60 euros each we were allowed into the country limits of Canada.
To get to Vancouver Island and then a few days later back to Vancouver, we also had to take a ferry. Sadly this isn’t for free, so that was another cost to be considered.
If you’re travelling without a car, you don’t really have to make a reservation in advance. But since we did have to bring our Chevy and we would be taking the ferry back on busy Labour Day we decided not to take any risks and book our spot in advance online. Through BC Ferries you can easily make your reservation. You only have to pay a small reservation fee and then the rest of the price has to be paid right before boarding the ferry.
For those two ferry rides we paid 159,54 euros.
Entrances and activities
As you have noticed over the last few months through my many posts, we didn’t stay inside our hotel room for those two weeks. Most of our activities considered of hiking so by purchasing the Discovery Pass, which allows entrance into all Canadian National Parks, most of our activities were financed.
But in the cities Vancouver and Victoria we also had a few other activities. The biggest cost was the Whale Watching Tour, but we also spend a few dollars on gondola’s and viewing decks. It was all very much worth it though.
Prices listed below are in Canadian Dollars, taxes included.
- Lookout Tower Vancouver: $18,4 x 2 = $36,8
- Ferry taxi Vancouver: $7
- Bike rental Vancouver: $52 (one bike and one tandem) / 3 = $17,33
- Whale Watching Tour: $127,05
- Discovery Pass: $136,41 / 3 = $45,47
- Sea to Sky Gondola: $46,15
- Jasper Skytram: $49,40
- Shuttle Bus Sunshine Village: $36,75
Total: $365,95 = €249.74
Food & Drinks
While on previous trips I didn’t really spend much time considering what food I ate, aside from some local specials, this time around food was a very big part of our trip. It even became a running joke to always discuss dinner while we were having lunch.
For breakfast we opted to eat out only a few times. We had amazing – and big – breakfasts in Medina Café in Vancouver, Jam Café in Victoria, Smitty’s in Jasper and Coyote’s in Banff. The other mornings we just enjoyed our bowl of cereal or oats in our hotel room. This saved us some time and money and allowed us to try some Canadian cereal as well.
Lunch was usually not a pretty big deal. We bought some fruit, mostly apples, and I had brought some energy bars in my luggage from home and that usually sufficed.
But then dinner was the big occasion. We always went out for food in the evening. My friend spent a lot of time before departure looking up amazing places where we could have dinner. That not only saved us a lot of time finding a place to eat but also made sure that we didn’t end up in a shitty place. I had so much great food those two weeks I still can’t believe it. It was de-li-cious every single time! I swear I still dream about some of the dishes I had back then!
Thanks to our sober lunches and often breakfasts, the cost of food was still within limits. I must say that is also because I don’t drink wine or beer and mostly just stuck to the free tap water that they offer in every restaurant. I also never chose a steak which is often the more expensive option.
But for 356.65 euros my belly was full those entire two weeks.
For me, it’s still impossible to come home from a trip empty handed. Sure, the best souvenirs are always the memories – and the thousands of pictures – of my travels, but some cliché souvenirs always have to make it into my luggage and back home. Plus, I also like to give something small from abroad to my family and friends.
Once again I bought my postcards for my collection, but other than that I got lots of maple syrup (duh!), a little bear statue, a key chain, and some bottle openers. This all cost me 35,93 euros.
And then there are always some small costs that do add up in the end. These here are also in Canadian Dollars, taxes included.
- Canada Line (Vancouver public Transport): $9,2
- Car park: $14,33
- Random tips: $1,66
Total: $25,19 = €16,91
And that’s every single euro I spent on this trip. Time to add it up!
(PRICE PER PERSON)
- Flight: €456,72
- Hotels: €759,61
- Rental car: €203,05
- Gas: €53,78
- Visa: €4,60
- Ferry: €53,18
- Entrances: €249,74
- Food & Drinks: €365,56
- Souvenirs: €35,93
- Miscellaneous: €16,91
As you can see, a very reasonable price for this two week roadtrip. I had given myself a budget of 2.500 euros so that worked out just fine once more. I must mention though that my budget was a helicopter flight over the Rocky Mountains included. In the end we decided against doing that since we weren’t really convinced of the offers, so that was a big chunk of money that immediately became available again.
In every way this was once again a very successful travel experience. I got to see so many beautiful places, hiked through the most beautiful scenery, and I had many laughs with the best of company. It was so great that we are finalizing our plans to go on another adventure together. The same time next year you’ll most likely find this crew driving through the gorgeous fjords of Norway. Something to look forward to!