Grabbing yourself a deal to get to Canada is the first step to an affordable holiday – making your money go further once you’re there is just as important.
When is the best time to find cheap flights?
Canada is so vast and has so much to offer that all season are a top time to visit. But the Canadian summer (June, July, August) is typically the more expensive time of year to fly. But then, even though it’s technically considered the low season for travel, the price of tickets in winter can also be high, due to enthusiastic snow-goers swooping in for the perfect powder of the Great White North’s many ski resorts.
To save the most on airfares, it’s a great strategy to squeeze in between the two peak seasons. This means booking your tickets for March to June, or September to December.
Air Canada serves all major cities in Canada from Australia, but you can also check out airlines such as Qantas, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, China Eastern and United Airlines. Generally speaking, you’ll pay the least for flights from Sydney to Vancouver.
You can also use Skyscanner’s tool to find the cheapest flights to Canada at any time of year.
Once you’re there
The good news for Australian visitors is that the Canadian and Australian dollar are almost at parity, so it’s relatively easy to work out exchange rates once you’re there. Also, the Canadians are incredibly generous with discounts for those over 60. Even if you’ve just turned 55, you shouldn't be afraid to flash your passport and ask for a discount.
To ensure your holiday money lasts as long as your trip, we’ve uncovered the best discounts on travel, accommodation, dining and national park entry across Canada.
Getting around Canada by rail is one of the truly great ways to travel across this vast country. With clean, punctual and spacious trains, you really don't need to opt for more than an economy fare when you travel with VIA Rail. Book a VIA Rail Corridor Service package and ride in comfort and style from Montreal all the way to the famous Niagara Falls. There’s also a 10 per cent discount to those over 60.
Buy VIA Rail tickets online or from outlets throughout Canada.
Best Western Hotels are commonplace in Canada and offer 10 per cent off rates. Many hotels also provide extras, such as early check in or late check out, room upgrades and complimentary breakfast for those over 55.
If you opt to jump on an iconic Greyhound bus while you’re in Canada, remember to ask for a senior fare if you're over 62 years of age. Already an affordable way to cross the country, you can save a further 20 per cent on an unrestricted coach fare.
If you’re planning on visiting several of the superb national parks (think Banff, Jasper, etc) then buying a Parks Canada Annual Pass could be cost-effective.
If you’re over 65, you’ll only pay CA$57.90, which includes international shipping and is accepted at more than 100 parks across Canada.
And for those heading there soon, to celebrate its 150th anniversary of confederation in 2017, Canada’s gift to you is free access to all Parks Canada places from coast to coast.
Other discounts on offer
Scattered across Canada are many hotels and restaurants offering seniors a discount, so long as you can show proof of age. Here are a few of them:
- Fairmont Hotels and Resorts – discounts vary depending on the establishment, so ask for a discount when booking
- Marriott Hotels – 15 per cent off your room rate if you’re over 62
- Radisson Hotels – 10 per cent discount on standard rates if you’re over 50 – select ‘Senior Citizen Rate’ under rate type when booking online
- A&W fast food restaurant – 10 per cent off food purchases if you’re over 60
- Golden Griddle – 10 per cent discount on meals (excluding alcohol) if you’re over 55
- Museums and galleries – simply ask for a seniors discount if you’re over 55 – savings and discounts vary. (Hint: galleries will often give you a discount on Wednesdays).
Free walking tours
Most major cities offer free walking tours, which are an ideal way to learn about your location over a few hours with a knowledgeable, local tour guide, plus they can point out the places where you will save money on food, drinks and other activities.
Canada is such a high-value destination, and these tips will mean you pay a lot less, so you can afford to see much more!