The Cheapest Places to Travel From Canada
“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world,” said Mary Anne Radmacher, an American writer and artist. The benefits of travelling are undeniable: restoration of energy, improvement of communication and planning skills, experience of other cultures and lifestyles. Although most people understand those advantages, they also disagree with the high cost of those life-changing trips.
That is also one of the reasons why many Canadians decide to go on domestic vacation (which can be marvelous no doubt, think Vancouver Island, Quebec, East Coast). But if in some cases travelling abroad might seem unaffordable, with proper planning, even distant, exotic destinations become possible.
Moreover, several places with breathtaking views, tropical or Mediterranean climates, and rich cultures are advantageous for the Canadian dollar. When you travel to southern destinations your money supports places whose economy is primarily holding on tourism.
For this particular guide, we decide to focus on countries where Canadians go to relax or live during exhaustingly cold winter. That does not mean travelling to Paris or Rome is more expensive than tropical destinations. Yet, compared to Caribean destinations, European countries often mean exploring and constantly moving from one museum to another, which for most people does not count as vacation.
Why Trust Us
We love travelling and wish to share that passion with our readers. That is why researching the cheapest places to travel from Canada we included not only our favourite countries, but also those approved by a majority of other Canadian travelers. We collected reviews and stories from travelers on Expedia, TripAdvisor, and personal blogs.
Finally, we included average flight and hotel prices, as well as the best time to go to each place.
How to Save While Travelling
We could not bring enough attention to this particular point. That is where budget-friendly, stress-free travelling begins. Planning your trip at least a few months before you head to an airport allows you to scan deals, wait for sales, subscribe to newsletters to receive price updates from hotels and more.
The best seasons to travel are spring, fall and winter. Hence, if you plan ahead, you could use Black Friday season to book your hotel and other accommodations on such websites as Kayak or Expedia. The same applies to booking your flights or train tickets (think travelling through Europe).
Establish a budget:
Setting a certain number of how much you could spend during your trip is essential not only for solo travelers, but also for families. If you are not staying at an all-inclusive resort, you could count approximately how much you would spend on food, shopping and excursions while abroad and start saving before your trip.
Travel during slow seasons:
Most Caribbean countries have pleasant, dry and warm weather during winter months. At the same time, it is often the cheapest time to travel. Travelling during late fall or winter also means avoiding pressing crowds of tourists and lower prices on accommodations and flights.
Consider other stay options:
Hotels are resorts are convenient, especially when you travel with kids. However, staying at Airbnb often might be a cheaper and more authentic option. Only make sure the country you are travelling to is safe to stay and explore on your own.
(Travel safety tips for Canadians
Travel with a group of friends:
Another tip to save money and potentially have a safer trip overall is to share cost, housing and experience with a group of close friends or family.
Compared to such popular destinations as Cuba or Mexico, Bermuda does not come to mind as a budget-friendly vacation place. Do not rush to such conclusion, this little island can surprise you with not only the scenery but also the prices.
The island is known for its pink sand beaches, clear, turquoise blue ocean water and many attractions. Due to the small size of the island, you could see the whole place within a week. That alone makes Bermuda attractive to travelers who do not only spend vacation laying on a beach, but also wish to explore.
Most hotels in Bermuda are located along the south shore along with the main sightseeing attractions. For instance, scuba divers would enjoy coral reefs and shallow waters with perfectly clear visibility. Some reefs are even accessible from shore at Church Bay.
Other popular sights are the National Museum of Bermuda, Underwater Exploration Institute, Botanical Gardens, lighthouses, crystal caves, underground saltwater pools and more.
Average flight prices: $400-500 round trip
Average hotel prices: from $170 a night and up to $542 during hot season as per TripAdvisor.
Best time to go: between late April to mi-October
Another country with vibrant culture and nature is Colombia. With so many festivals happening every year, it might appear as one ongoing party (the annual Carnival is one of the largest festivals in South America).
It is no wonder Colombia is such a diverse country. It is located at the crossroads of Latin America and the broader American continent. Hence its culture was influenced by Native Americans, Spanish and Europeans, African, and Caribbeans. Further, such factors as industrialization, globalization, and other political, and economic changes have left their mark on the country’s development.
Streets of the cities, such as Bogota or Cartagena, are colourful and vibrant, famous for cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, traditional food and of course Colombian coffee. (Make sure to add Bogotá Botanical Garden with almost 20,000 plants to your list). If you want to travel during the least expensive, and still warm months, February would be the best time to go.
Average flight prices: $600 or less round flight
Average hotel prices: starting from $70 and going up to $180
Best time to go: December to March
The Dominican Republic
Three places come to mind when we think of affordable all-inclusive vacations, Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Depending on the season you could fly to the Dominican Republic, for a week-long stay, for as little as over $800, (January is the least expensive month to fly).
You could get your tickets to fly straight to Santo Domingo, the country’s capital, and make it an inexpensive, but memorable visit. The architecture dates back to the 1400s and an afternoon stroll among those buildings, characterized by baroque structures, villas, and ornate details, is an experience of its own.
If all you want on your vacation is to sip a pina colada by the pool or lay on a beach, Punta Cana is a hot tourist spot with numerous resorts and attractions. When you decide you need a break from laying on a sandy beach, choose one of the waterfall hikes that are nearby Punta Cana resorts.
Average flight prices: depending on the season you could find tickets for as low as $271 to $547
Average hotel prices: it is best to find a deal where flight tickets are included with a resort stay. But if you decide to pay separately, you can find a hotel room for as low as $70 to $100.
Best time to go: November to April is the best time to go to the Dominican Republic to avoid rainy seasons.
The Bahamas islands’ culture is fascinating to explore whether you are going for a resort vacation or travelling independently. Influenced by British, American and Africans, including migrated freed slaves from the United States, the Bahamas is a colourful, bright and musical place with breathtaking scenery and many secluded beaches for private getaways.
If a quiet vacation is not in your plans, the capital city of Nassau offers loud and ongoing beach parties. White sand beaches and cerulean blue ocean water are available to those in a need of relaxation.
A few other things you could engage in when on Bahamas are learn the history of pirates, meet with the swimming pigs of Exuma (take a boat out to Big Major Cay, also known as Pig Island), or go snorkeling.
To travel more budget-friendly to the Bahamas, choose an all-inclusive vacation package instead of independent travel.
Average flight prices: $400 to $600 depending on a season.
Average hotel prices: vary from $124 to $700.
Best time to go: to visit the Bahamas during its finest weather go between November and late April.
Canadian snowbirds often choose Costa Rica as their winter escape. The reasons are valid enough: comfortable weather, white sand beaches, and activities for both explorers and laid-back travelers. The fact that Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Central America only adds to the overall appeal.
When you go to Costa Rica learn one useful phrase: “Pura Vida”. It does not only stand for a simple greeting phrase but also indicates the philosophy of life. As per National Geographic, Costa Rica was named one of the happiest countries in the world. The magazine explains that the locals enjoy the simple pleasures of life to the fullest, and value family and community connections.
Fortunately, you can be a part of such celebration of life. Costa Rica is known for national parks where you can entertain yourself and your family with hiking, river rafting, zip lining, and cave tubing, as well as watching wildlife such as sea turtles, sloths, macaws and more.
Average flight prices: $560 per round trip.
Average hotel prices: depending on the season a night costs $90 to $200.
Best time to go: the driest and brightest weather in Costa Rica is between December and April.
The Republic of Cuba is famous for its historic figures, involvement in the Cold War, Spanish-colonial architecture, cigars and rum, ‘Havana’ song and of course affordable all-inclusive vacation packages.
For instance, a place like Varadero offers comfortable all-inclusive resorts and sandy beaches, at the cost as low as $30 a night at a three-star hotel, and $200 for a luxury hotel room. Book in advance and you could find flights for $400 or even less.
If you wish to avoid crowds, travel to Cuba in the middle of April. The weather settles down, and although the sea might feel cooler, the air temperature is comfortable, (plus, you won’t be bothered by bugs).
Average flight prices: $400 or under.
Average hotel prices: starting at $30 a night.
Best time to go: mid-April to avoid crowds, peak season—December to March.
Mexican culture, and especially cuisine, long ago penetrated other countries. No wonder Mexico is one of the most popular destinations among Canadians. Such spots as Tulum, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun are both favourite and affordable. If you are staying at one of those spots you can experience a beach vacation along with various activities such as whale-watching, water sports, exploring ancient ruins, festivals and water sports.
Hotels are fairly affordable and you could easily find a room for as low as $50 a night. Based on some travelers’ reviews, if you want to see as much as possible of the real Mexico, submerge into its culture or visit at least a few cities and sightseeing sites, forget all-inclusive and book a standard hotel room in Old Vallarta.
Average flight prices: depending on the season and booking time you could find tickets from $547 to $760.
Average hotel prices: starting at $50 to $121.
Best time to go: the dry season in Mexico starts in December and ends in April, hence, those months would be the best time to travel there.
San Francisco, California
“If you’re going to San Francisco, Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair,” sang Scott McKenzie. Although a lot changed since hippies wore flowers in their hair, San Francisco is still a unique place that combines southern beach vacation and one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the United States.
The best time to travel to San Francisco, California, is fall. Crowds of tourists lessen, the fog lifts, while accommodation prices drop. Temperature becomes more comfortable for active hiking and exploring, yet still warm enough for swimming. Besides, this popular tourist destination offers views of eclectic architecture combining modern infrastructure and First Bay Tradition style buildings preserved from the 1880s.
If there is one thing to consider about San Francisco is that compared to the all-inclusive resort, this one involves more walking, and often on steep hills. At the same time, it is a budget-friendly place to travel to, and if planned thoughtfully you could enjoy both relaxing and exploring activities.
Average flight prices: depending on the season average flight prices vary from $156 to $635.
Average hotel prices: median, three-four-star hotels in San Francisco start at $160.
Best time to go: fall.
All-inclusive and beach-only vacation is not for everybody. Many travelers strive for a balance of relaxing and exercising while exploring on foot or by biking. Many of us also prefer to bring something more from our trips, but a few pictures by a palm tree, —a cultural experience. If you are one of those curious sightseers, then Lisbon is for you.
The best time to visit Portugal is either spring or fall. Hotel prices drop, while the weather remains comfortably warm. Crowds of tourists shrink, and you can enjoy cafes, museums and beaches without waiting in lines.
Lisbon, as a capital city, has a lot to offer, from colonialist history to ornate architecture, seafood and of course coastal nature. Book your tickets in advance and you could save on museums, churches, and other must-see daily passes.
Average flight prices: the cheapest time to go to Lisbon is in January and February ($700-900), while spring is more expensive ($1500 or higher).
Average hotel prices: $65 to $90 a night.
Best time to go: budget-friendly—winter, best weather—spring and fall.
Mid-November to January is exactly the time when many Canadians tend to find an escape from winter in places like Jamaica. It is a fairly affordable place to visit and like other resort vacation destinations, it offers white sandy beaches, pleasant weather, delicious food and fascinating culture.
Montego Bay is one of the most famous and favourite areas for many. Known for its British-colonial architecture, the city is ideal for those tourists who wish to explore in between hours of pleasant idleness. Negril, on the other hand, is chosen by diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.
Another reason why Canadians often pick Jamaica as their winter residence, is lower prices in comparison to other Caribbean islands. If you plan ahead, you will be surprised how much you could save on excursions, accommodation and other expenses.
That being said, winter is the cheapest time to go to Jamaica, (while our Canadian summer is not bad at all, right? It is winter gloom and cold we fight or exchange for a warmer, sunnier option).
Average flight prices: depending on the season you could find tickets starting at $300 to $790.
Average hotel prices: $125 to $200 for three-four-star hotels.
Best time to go: November to February.
Another US destination that boasts of being not only one of the safest, but also the one that offers a tropical climate, stunning landscape, sandy beaches and buzzing metropolis with shopping centers, high-rises, historic sites, hotels and more, is Honolulu.
Keep in mind that Hawaii does not offer any all-inclusive resorts, hence a hotel room or even an Airbnb are your best accommodation options. Plan your trip to Hawaii sometime between April and October, but avoid the hot peak summer months. Whether you decide to go in spring or fall, the weather will be pleasantly warm for swimming and hiking alike, but prices for rooms will be lower and tourist crowds smaller.
Average flight prices: $632 to $1500 depending on a season.
Average hotel prices: $190 to $300 for three-four-star hotels.
Best time to go: spring and fall.
Questions about cheap travel destinations
How long is the flight from Canada to Mexico?
Flying from Toronto to Mexico City takes about five hours. The flight duration from Vancouver only differs by half an hour. And, flying from Edmonton to Mexico is even shorter, it takes about four hours and fifty minutes.
Is that cheap to travel to the UK from Canada?
It depends on the season. You could find tickets to London for as low as $300 or as high as $1200. Going during winter months is always the cheapest, while summer and Christmas time might see higher ticket prices.
What is considered international travel from Canada?
Any travel, flying or driving, while crossing the Canadian border is considered international. Whenever you are travelling internationally you would have to make it through the officer check and present your citizenship and visa proof. That allows countries to keep trade and tourism as safe as possible.
What are the cheapest places to travel from Canada?
Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic are considered the cheapest places for Canadians to go on vacation. However, if you plan, search for deals and book during sale seasons, you could explore other Caribbean or even European countries for as much as you would pay in Cuba or Mexico.
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