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Where to bunk in Canada?
You’ve got plenty of options and your choice will depend on your travel style, your budget and–a detail that is often overlooked–which region of the country you’re planning to visit.
Most of Canada’s population is settled along the Canada-U.S. border. That means even in peak season you’ll be able to find a place to pass the night. You might have to venture outside the city centre for a budget room, or consider an alternative type of lodging, but there will always be room at some inn somewhere.
However, the further north you travel, the more limited your accommodation choices will become.
If, for example, you’re planning to travel to Churchill, Manitoba to snorkel with the belugas, or to visit the ancient aboriginal villages of Haida Gwaii in British Columbia, you can expect to find comfortable but not necessarily luxurious lodging. And you should definitely plan to reserve your room several weeks (if not months) in advance.
>>Use the search tool above to quickly compare room rates across Canada.
From budget to blue-chip, you’ll find a hotel in Canada to suit your mood and means.
The star-rating system in Canada is inconsistent and not particularly accurate. I have stayed in many excellent hotels that deserved a full-star rank but were denied it because of some minor and often irrelevant deficiency. The point: stars don’t tell the whole story about a property. TripAdvisor reviews, however, often do.
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When you’re comparing room rates, make sure you’re comparing apples and apples. Find out what’s included in the price: free WiFi? parking? breakfast? fitness amenities? phone calls? You don’t want to snag a great rate and then find out you’re going to be nickel-and-dimed to death once you’ve checked in.
Canada has a growing network of youth- and family-friendly hostels. Some are privately operated while others are part of the Hosteling International network. Hostels can be a good fit for solo and budget travellers and for those who prefer a relaxed and convivial atmosphere.
Most of Canada’s bed and breakfasts are clustered in eastern Canada, although there are more opening in the West every year. There are several helpful online directories to help narrow your search: I prefer BBCanada.com for ease of use.
B&Bs offer excellent value for money, considering extras such as breakfast, parking and wifi are often included in the room rate. But not all B&Bs are created equal: some amount to no more than a guest bedroom in someone’s house. TripAdvisor reviews are a great resource when you’re considering an unfamiliar property.
Lakeside cabins, ocean-front cottages, downtown condos, even pastoral farms are available for short- and long-term vacation rentals across Canada. This option is particularly popular with visitors to Vancouver Island, rural Ontario and Atlantic Canada, and with corporate executives on temporary assignments in major centres.
With the recent addition of bells and whistles such as WiFi and escorted nature walks at Canadian campgrounds, camping is enjoying something of renaissance in Canada.
In the provincial and national parks the season for tent camping generally runs from late spring to early fall when temperatures are milder, but RVers make use of the country’s many private campgrounds year-round. Permits are usually required for overnight camping; setting up camp in any empty green space is frowned upon and often against the law.
Resorts & lodges
Fishing, hunting, adventure and golf enthusiasts will find a wide range of Canadian lodges and resorts catering to their particular interests. Some operate seasonally; many are open year-round.
In addition, Canadian universities let out dorm rooms in the slow summer session.
>>Use the search tool below to compare rates at properties across Canada.