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Getting Around

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Apparently it's a bit of a secret: Canada is a massive place. Loads of people don't really understand how big it is until they set foot on Canadian soil and realize just how much land (and water and trees) there is to cover. There are lots of options to help you get around so we've put together our advice to help you see what you want with the time and money you have. Be sure to check out the discounts on travel in Canada that you can get with your HI membership card


Canada has two major Airlines - Air Canada and WestJet. This is the most expensive way to travel in Canada and because there are only two national airlines, fares don't typically budge too much, but it's worth comparing both to see if you can score a deal. If you're flying between major cities, especially a few provinces apart or coast-to-coast, fares can range between $300 and $500 each way, but you'll get there within a few hours, as opposed to a few days to a week if you were to take a bus or drive. Porter Airlines operates in Eastern Canada and the northeastern United States and often posts sale fares between cities like Toronto, Montreal, New York, Boston and Chicago.


We have trains here, too! Train travel in Canada isn't as extensive as it is in Europe but it can still be a great option. VIA Rail has routes throughout the country, but many of those are in Ontario and Québec - which makes the train a good bet between Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa. You can get out to Nova Scotia, Alberta and British Columbia by train as well, but prices start to creep up the farther you go. That said, there's something pretty amazing about riding the train through the Rockies (VIA Rail goes through Jasper, Alberta). VIA Rail's route between Toronto and Vancouver takes about three days, while Toronto to Montreal takes about five hours. HI members get 12.5% off the best available VIA Rail rates.


Greyhound operates throughout Canada with nearly 1,100 destinations. The bus is often the least expensive way to get around, however it can also be one of the slowest (especially on routes with many stops) and least comfortable. It's a great, cost-effective option if you're travelling within a province or smaller region, and while it's the cheapest way to get across the country, it'll take you three days to get from Toronto to Vancouver. HI members get 25% off Greyhound rates.


The options don't end with the obvious choices. You could also rent a car, get in on a hop-on/hop-off backpacker tour, take a ferry, call shotgun on a ride share, walk, cycle, kayak, snowshoe or simply invent your own brand new way to locomote.

There's no "best" transportation option in Canada - it all depends on where you're going, how much time you have, how much money you want to spend and what kind of experience you're looking for. The options here are our best bets - customize them to your needs, use your HI membership to save where you can and you'll be set for an amazing Canadian adventure.

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