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What does it cost to visit Canada?

Have you looked at what a Euro buys in Canada these days? Or even a battered US dollar?

Sure it might cost you a little more in airfare to get here, but once you’re on the ground you may find your travel budget goes further.

There’s accommodation to suit every taste and budget–hostels, B&Bs, cottages and luxury hotels–and dining options than run the gamut from greasy spoon to silver spoon. And there’s always plenty of cheap-and-free stuff to keep you solvent too–check out the official provincial tourism sites for ideas.

A budgeting primer for Canada

For a long time the Canadian dollar was disparaged as “the Canadian peso” because it was worth so much less than an American dollar. But since the U.S. economy bobbled, the Canadian dollar has been hovering near par–which at least makes it easier to do currency conversions in your head.

Right now (March, 2011) if you figure on $1 CDN = $1 U.S. dollar, plus or minus a nickel, you’ll be in the budgeting ballpark.

Remember: if you travel in the high seasons–Christmas (December), Spring Break (March-April), summer (July-August) and Canadian Thanksgiving (October), you’ll need deeper pockets.

Unlike in Europe, Canadian stores do not have defined sale seasons. Major retailers in particular always seem to have at least some of their merchandise “on sale.”

That said, you’ll generally find summer clothing cheapest at the end of summer (August/September) and winter clothing cheapest in spring (March/April).

Depending on which province you are visiting, sales tax of up to 15 per cent may be added to your purchase. To the annoyance of many, the price you see on the ticket is not the final price you will pay at the register.

Typical costs:

Note: Canada is a big country and prices vary by region and season. These numbers are meant as a helpful rough guide.

Breakfast (not in a hotel): $5-$10

Quick lunch (food court/street food): $5- $10

Restaurant lunch (without alcohol): $12-$25

Pizza slice: $2.50

Dinner (casual restaurant, without alcohol): $12+

Dinner (upscale restaurant, without alcohol): $20+

Hostel room: $22+

Budget hotel room: under $100

Moderate hotel room: under $150

Luxury hotel room: $150+

Public campsites: $17+

RV campsites: $22 (low) $44 (high)

City bus fare: under $4

Pint of domestic beer: $5

Highball: $6

Bottle of wine (budget): $10-$15

Bottle of wine (VQA): $18+

Museum/attraction entry: $10-$20 (watch for free days and student rates)

What else would you like to know the cost of in Canada? Please let me know and I’ll update this list.

Photo: meddygarnet