How to Travel Across Canada on a Budget (Even Without a Car)

Last Updated on January 5, 2021 by Charmaine | The Canadian Wanderer

As Canada is the second-largest country in the world, it is definitely expensive to go visit one city to the next. Sometimes, as Canadians, we joke that it is cheaper to leave the country (i.e. fly to Europe) than fly across our own country – but it is actually true. 

Today, I want to share with you some of my favourite transportation tools and websites that would make traveling across Canada a little more affordable. 

Public Transportation

Megabus

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Megabus is a low-cost bus service provided by Coach Canada. It operates in the UK, USA and Canada, but for this post, I’ll focus on Canadian and US destinations.

Popular Destinations: Toronto to Montreal, Toronto to New York or vice versa

Megabus crosses borders meaning you can go from a Canadian city to a US city and vice versa. All you have to do is to choose your starting city, and then see which places it goes from there. The bus goes to many tourist cities such as Niagara Falls, Montreal, New York, and Washington.

Depending on when you buy your ticket, prices can be ridiculously cheap! When they first opened their service in Canada, I remember tickets could be as cheap as $1! You might think it is a gimmick, but they actually made some tickets that cheap at some odd times of the site!

VIA Rail Canada

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VIA Rail Canada is a great way to see Canada especially if you have to travel long distances and don’t have a bigger budget for a plane ride.

Popular Destinations: Toronto to London, Ontario, Toronto to Ottawa, Montreal to Quebec City

If you do not want to spend so much money on buying a flight and want to get a chance to see Canadian landscapes, taking the train is a great option. In addition, VIA Rail always have a lot of great sales and if you buy it enough, you can find an incredible deal!

Ridesharing

Kangaride

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Kangaride is the English version of Amigoexpress, a site that was originally created for French travelers in Quebec. I used to use this site all the time when I went from Alma (a small city where I lived) to Quebec City and Montreal for the weekend. For a six-hour trip, I only paid $30 to my driver and another $5 for the service of the website! Since they have expanded to English, I suppose that you can get to a lot more places across Canada (and not just Quebec).

Popular Destinations: Montreal –> Quebec City

How to Purchase:

In order to use the site, you need to first buy travel credits. Travel credits start from $5 per trip, and decreases when you purchase in a bulk (ex. four or five travel credits in a pacakge). These would be used to reserve your spot when you find a rideshare that fits your schedule. One credit = one ride.

When you meet the driver in person on the day of the trip, you would pay the driver in cash. Each driver charges differently, however, most prices are pretty much the same with $5-10 difference. You would know how much they are charging on the site.

Prices:

The prices are super reasonable and it is a win-win for both the passenger and driver! On one hand, the driver can use the cash to pay for gas, and the passenger gets a ride! Plus, you can meet a new friend or two in the car!

They are also very safe. You won’t be released the information of the driver until you complete the booking and they have it everyone’s information on the system.

Student Rideshare

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So perhaps you have heard about this famous university you want to check out or you have a friend who invited you to a house party at their university. You might not even be going to the university but just want to check out the town! The only problem is… how are you going to get there without a car?

Well, tag along with students and meet new friends!

How It Works:

On Facebook, try to find a Facebook group for rideshare for a specific university. If you wanted to go to Queens University, type in “Queens University Rideshare” and see what you come up with. I tested it out and you can almost find one for major universities in Canada.

Popular Facebook groups:

Rideshare Queen’s University

University of Toronto Rideshare 

Rideshare / Ottawa / Gatineau/ Montreal / Toronto/ 2018

Montreal – Toronto Rideshare

Renting a Car

I am currently working in suggesting the best car rental companies. Please come back.

SAVE IT ON PINTEREST FOR A FUTURE READ!

Have you tried any other services that you would highly recommend for traveling across Canada and the USA? I’ll love to know!