Canada travel guide




Canada Travel Guide

Costs, money & banks

Credit cards and ATMs

One of the quickest and easiest ways of obtaining money in Canada is through an ATM , particularly if your home bank ATM card is on the Cirrus or Delta networks. It's also virtually essential to have at least one credit card to reserve and prepay for hotels or car rental, where otherwise you're likely to be asked for a big cash deposit: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners are widely accepted. Credit cards can also be used to obtain cash advances over the counter in most banks but there will invariably be a minimum amount you can draw and you'll pay credit-card rates of interest on the cash from the date of withdrawal. If you have a PIN you can also obtain cash from ATMs with your credit card. With other credit cards, state bank cards and ATM cards, you should check with your bank before leaving home.

Tips And Taxes

There are several hidden costs to take into account when travelling round Canada. Tips and service are generally not added to restaurant bills; it's usual to leave fifteen percent, even after the cheapest meals. More importantly, though, virtually all prices in Canada for everything from bubblegum to hotel rooms are quoted without tax . This means the price you see quoted is rarely the price you pay, and round-figures prices of things costing, say, $5 or $55, end up being ludicrous sums like $5.63 or $59.94.

Average Costs

Canada is generally good value, a fact which becomes evident from the minute you wake up: cheap Canadian breakfasts are the stuff of legend, dishing up coffee, bacon, eggs and toast for around $8 or less, while healthier snacks like soups and salads cost from about $5. Bus fares are reasonable, the twelve-hour journey from Vancouver to Calgary, for instance, costing about $115 one-way. Trains cost a good deal more - around $200 for the 24-hour trip from Vancouver to Edmonton - but usually much less than internal flights, though charter companies like Canada 3000 are bringing prices of these flights down: Vancouver to Calgary, an hour's flight, will cost around $120 excluding tax on an early-morning or late-evening charter.

Room rates start at around $15 for a hostel dorm, and about $35 for a double in the grottier hotels. In most parts of the country, you should find perfectly good motel rooms from around $45. Basic town campgrounds are never expensive, and provincial and national sites start from as little as $10; in fully serviced commercial places it's rare to pay more than $25. Accommodation prices are higher from June to early September, and throughout the more remote areas of the north, particularly the Yukon and NWT.

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