How to road trip to Canada on a budget

Ever wanted to road trip to Canada? Our quick 4 step blog post will provide you with some essential trips to travel to Canada as an American, or anyone making the trip from the US to Canada. While Canada and US are extremely similar, there are several big differences that you may want to consider before hitting the highway and making your road trip to Canada as cheap and budget friendly as possible.

Step 1: Road trip Snacks

Every road trip begins with fuel, not only for your car, but also for your body. Coffee, a meal to go, and some important junk food to get you through the long drive. If you’re exploring North America but call Europe home, you might be surprised with the vast distances between cities. Expect to be driving for 8-12 hours per day to make any serious progress.

Remember that when you get to Canada make sure to stop at a convenience store or gas station and pick up some Canadian candy or junk food. I wrote a huge post on the Ultimate list of Canadian junk food and Candy as well as 17 Unique & Delicious Items of Canadian Junk Food which should catch you up to speed on some unique Canadian junk food.

If Jerkey and Candy isn’t doing it for you, don’t hesitate to find a Burger King or McDonalds and experience a slightly less authentic version of the Canadian Poutine (photo above).

canadian usa currency

Canadian USA Currency

Step 2: Road Trip Currency

If you’re used to paying in US dollars, Canada is going to be a treat for you. While there was a brief period in the last few years where the Canadian Dollar was on par with the American Dollar, it’s settled back to its relatively normalcy. 70-80 cents on the dollar. So if you have $1000USD, that will quickly convert to $1,310CAD. Just beware that there are certain things Canadians pay a LOT more for, and don’t forget to study the funny Canadian dollars.

Make sure you bring enough cash, while Canada has a ton of ATM machines, Debit terminals at restaurants, and accept Credit Card, there are still a bunch of bars that require cash only cover charge. Better to have too much on hand, any leftover cash can just be used to bet on sport games in Canada.

hotel bed vancouver canada

Step 3: Places to stay

Depending on your budget and what you’re most comfortable with. The main places to stay while road tripping in Canada are: Hostels, Hotels, Camping, or AirBNB. AirBNB is a superb option for experiencing life in a local city and the cost can be cheaper than hotels with much more of the amenities you might be used to. Use my coupon code for $40cad off your first AirBNB booking!

Check out some amazing hostels in Canada, or consider some of the following Hotels in Canada. Or if you’re thinking of doing something different, check out these unique accommodations in different parks across Canada. I personally recommend the Tiny House!


Step 4: Food & drinks

After you’ve finally checked your bags and rested after the long drive. The best way to experience Canada is by getting out into the thick of it. Find some local food, try some Canadian Beer, and rub shoulders with your neighbours to the North. Canadians are friendly people, and while there are countless things Americans notice that are different about Canadians and Canada in general, we’re pretty close alike. You’ll fit in just fine!

What are your favourite road trip tips? Share in the comments below!