Adventure Seekers Will Love This Budget-Friendly Canadian Destination

Traveling to Canada has always been relatively easy. The border is right there, most of the country speaks English, and apart from a few cultural and societal differences (universal healthcare, gun control, and legal marijuana), Canadians are very similar to Americans, only some might say, more polite. In addition, you can get a bang for your buck once you're in the Great White North. One Canadian dollar (which they lovingly call Loonies) is worth about 0.73 U.S. cents, meaning you can stretch your budget pretty far with such a favorable exchange rate. However, keep in mind that inflation in Canada has gone up significantly, just like in the U.S., so that might eat into your budget.

If you want to visit all the majestic beauty that Canada has to offer without breaking the bank, then your best bet to save a Loonie might be to eschew places like Ontario (Toronto), British Columbia (Vancouver), and Quebec (Montreal), and head to the province of Alberta. A quick look at hotel prices in Calgary, Alberta shows rates are significantly lower than in big cities like Toronto. For the same dates, and the same room, a night at Le Germain in Calgary costs $299 versus Le Germain in Toronto, clocking in at $369. Here's why the province that boasts beautiful National Parks like Banff and Jasper could help you stick to your budget. 

Alberta is perfect for budget adventure seekers

The province of Alberta boasts a lot of claim to fame. Capital city Edmonton and big city Calgary are the two most popular cities in Alberta: the "Great One" Wayne Gretzky became the greatest hockey player of all time while playing for the Edmonton Oilers, whereas the 1988 Winter Olympics were held in Calgary. However, if you're looking for a lot of adventure, the great outdoors, awe-inspiring vistas, crystal blue lakes, and incredible hiking opportunities, you can have it all in Alberta without breaking the bank. In the summer, without even leaving Calgary, you can hike for free the beautiful trails in Nose Hill Park, or rent a paddle boat, or canoe in Bowness Park. In the winter the lake freezes and is open for ice skating, which is free, as is tobogganing down the hills of Prairie Winds Park.

If you want to escape the bustling metropolis and head to the famous National Parks Banff or Jasper, you should. For the cost of a Parks Canada pass ($72.25) that grants you access to all Canadian National Parks for a year, you can hike Banff National Park which covers a whopping expanse of 4,127 square miles. You can explore glaciers, rapids, and even snowy mountain peaks. Don't forget the jaw-dropping Lake Louise! In Jasper, you can visit the Athabasca Falls, which soar 75 feet in the air, at no cost, and you may also spot rare wildlife such as caribou (aka reindeer), elk, and moose. 

You'll pay a cheaper tax rate in Alberta

Canada's taxation system varies from province to province, and Alberta only levies a 5% tax on goods and services, known as the GST  whereas Ontario levies a 13% tax on goods and services. With $1 U.S. dollar equalling about $1.36 Canadian dollars, per Forbes, that extra bang for your loonie along with the more favorable tax rate could translate to some massive savings in your pocket. But despite that, due to inflation, hotel rates as mentioned above are still a bit on the steep side. So why not forgo hotels altogether and truly embrace the great Canadian outdoors by camping? 

Alberta offers some incredibly affordable campsites throughout the province, like Fort Vermillion located on the Peace River, which is open from May 15 to September 30 and costs $0. That's right! Nothing, nada. Keep in mind this campsite offers no comfort stations (aka toilets) so you'd truly be roughing it. Leaves are two-ply, right? If you'd rather have a few comforts from home, then drive your RV to Cache Lake, where there are showers, comfort stations a visitor's center, and even cooking shelters for $30. Luckily, the province of Alberta offers a comprehensive list of low-cost camping options that allow you to book ahead of time and get all the info you need about seasonal openings and costs.