Why are books so expensive in Canada
Across North America in four weeks: that's what the road trip costs
The best way to discover Canada and the United States is by car. Petrol is relatively cheap, there is a great variety of landscapes, the roads are mostly in good condition and well developed, there are only traffic jams around the big cities and cheap places to sleep are lined up next to each other along the highways.
A road trip across the continent is a dream for many North America fans. But what does a vacation in Canada and the USA actually cost? I break this down very precisely in the travel expense guide.
This is what a vacation in Canada and the USA costs:
Table of Contents
the essentials in brief
In this article you can find the detailed cost of a four-week road trip from Montreal to Vancouver for two people. The exact route of our trip through Canada and the USA as well as lots of tips and tricks can be found in this article. During the trip I kept a detailed record of all expenses, so that there are guaranteed no hidden costs. From coffee at the gas station to the tourist attraction, all expenses are taken into account.
iBecause of the Exchange rate fluctuates again and again, all expenses are given in the respective national currency, i.e. in US or Canadian dollars, and are only converted in the total. In this way, the prices remain up-to-date over a long period of time. The conversions in this article are based on an exchange rate of 0.887 euros per US dollar (USD) or 0.687 euros per Canadian dollar (CAD).
You can find an exchange rate calculator here, for example, in which you can convert individual prices to the current exchange rate.
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That costs the journey
Flights to the east coast from Canada or the USA are often available for relatively little money. We are for around 400 euros per person flown with Air France and KLM from Frankfurt to Montreal and back. When searching, it is worthwhile to keep an eye on several cities that theoretically offer themselves as a starting point for the trip, e.g. Toronto or Boston.
Since it became clear to us relatively late that we would drive across the continent one day and our originally booked flight was not from Vancouver back to Germany, but from Montreal, we had to book an additional domestic flight back to the east coast. He got us again (with Air Canada) 310 euros per person cost. If you want to drive the same route, be sure to check whether a fork flight is cheaper.
iIn this article I will explain to you how you can always find the best flights: This is how you are guaranteed to find the cheapest flight. 8 professional tips.
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That costs the entry to Canada or the USA
If you travel to Canada by plane, you need one eTA (7 CAD)Anyone entering the USA by plane needs one ESTA (14 USD). Both documents are a registration of entry to be applied for in advance. The approval must be available at the latest on departure, but does not entitle you to entry. The local authorities grant permission.
According to the Federal Foreign Office, those who enter by land do NOT have to obtain the permits in advance.
The Land entry into the United States costs 6 USD. There is no extra cost to enter Canada.
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That costs driving a car
That costs the rental car
North America is not only ideal for long road trips, but of course also for road trips with the campervan or motorhome. So we were faced with the question: Camper or rental car & motel and we decided on the latter because even the cheapest mobile home or campervan variant would have become significantly more expensive overall.
By the way, I explain why this is so in this article: Motorhome vs. rental car and hotel: This is the cheapest way to travel
Unfortunately, this didn't make it cheap: We have for the rental car for 28 days 1000 CAD paid. In addition, however, there is the fee for the One way rental - 1000 CAD additionally.
Total costs: With taxes and one-way rental, the rental car, compact class, a Chevrolet Trax, cost us CAD 2300 (1580 euros).
Important: When choosing a rental car, you should make sure that no mileage limit is set in the contract. If you plan to drive from Canada to the USA or vice versa, you should also get confirmation that you are allowed to do so.
You pay that for gas
Gasoline and diesel prices in the US are quoted in gallons. One gallon is around 3.79 liters and currently costs between in the Midwest, the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains$ 2 and $ 2.55. The table of the US Energy Information Administration provides a daily updated fuel price overview by US states.
Canada not only uses the metric system to indicate distances, but also uses the liter as a measure of volume. So north of the border you only have to convert the currency. We paid between 1.04 CAD and 1.28 CAD for a liter of fuel. You can find the current average gasoline price here.
What that means
Refueling is cheaper in the USA. Converted to the euro price per liter, we paid between 0.53 USD or around 47 euro cents and 0.67 USD or 60 euro cents. In Canada, converted into euros, it was between 71 and 88 cents. Refueling is therefore significantly cheaper in both countries than in Germany. By the way, you can find the exact route here.
Total expenditure for gasoline over 8000 kilometers, in euros: 388.
Parking fees & public transport
Even if both the US and Canada are very car-friendly countries, In the big cities in particular, it makes sense to book a less expensive hotel or motel a little further away, park the car in a commuter parking lot and use public transport to go into town. Parking fees in the commuter car parks are low and some are even free.
In Montreal costs the day ticket for metro and buses of the transport company STM10 CADwho have favourited three day ticket 18 CAD. At the weekend you can drive it in pairs. We were able to save parking fees because we were allowed to park the car with friends.
In Toronto costs the day ticket for subway, trams and buses of the transport company TTC12 CAD. There are commuter parking spaces at the terminus of the subway. We have for a daily flat rate of 5 CAD parked at Finch Station.
In Chicago we stayed very close to a Metra train station and took the train to the city from there (Weekend ticket: USD 8, single ticket: USD 7.25). The day pass for subways and buses of the CTA costs 10 USD, but downtown you can get everywhere on foot without any problems.
In Vancouver we commuted from Scott Station to downtown. The day ticket for trains, buses and ferries of the TransLink transport company costs 9.75 CAD, the day ticket for parking in the commuter parking lot 3 CAD. You can find a very good overview of commuter parking spaces on the TransLink homepage.
In principle it is Use of the highways and interstates in the US and Canada for free. But there are exceptions. For example, a fee is due on parts of Interstate 90 around Chicago and along Lake Erie and on some highway bridges.
In a good one Map atlas (for example this one from Michelin) the Toll Routes are marked separately. You can bypass it in most cases if you accept a little detour. The fast payment roads only save residents with eToll badges in real time. If you don't have that, you'll have to pay cash in most places. Depending on how busy it is, this can mean that you are stuck in a traffic jam at the pay station.
Our total cost for motorway tolls, in euros: 23.30.
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This is the price of accommodations in Canada and the USA
We slept about half in tents and half in motels or hotels. Camping is particularly worthwhile in the national parks because campsites there are significantly cheaper than rooms. We booked everything on site - hotels and motels usually one evening in advance online via booking.com or hotels.com, tent sites on arrival. Exception: We have reserved the campsites in Lake Louise and Jasper a few days in advance using the Parks Canada booking system.
If you plan on camping too, have a look at the packing list for a camping road trip. In it I'll show you which equipment you need and how you can get everything in your luggage.
All costs listed below are valid for the entire period of stay.
2 nights Montreal: Private accommodation with friends.
2 nights Toronto:Park Inn Toronto Markham, double room with king bed, 180 CAD.
1 night Erie, Pennsylvania:Sara's Campground, campsite on the beach, 30 USD.
1 night Toledo, Ohio:Day’s Inn Maumee, double room with king bed and breakfast, 94 USD.
2 nights Chicago:Red Roof Inn Plus Naperville, double room with two queen beds, 148 USD.
1 night Houston, Minnesota:Money Creek Haven Campground, campground, 30 USD.
1 night Kennebec, South Dakota:Kennebec KOA Campground, 32 USD.
1 night in Custer, South Dakota:Buffalo Ridge Camp Resort, 31 USD.
1 night Cody, Wyoming:KOA Cody Campground, 32 USD.
1 night Yellowstone National Park:Lewis Lake Campground, 15 USD.
1 night Great Falls, Montana:Comfort Inn, double room with king bed and breakfast, 116 USD.
1 night Calgary:Wyndham Garden, Double Room with King Bed and Breakfast, 142 CAD.
3 nights Banff National Park:Lake Louise Campground, 93 CAD.
2 nights Jasper National Park:Whistlers Campground, 55 CAD.
1 night Cache Creek:Canada's Best Value Desert Inn, double room with king bed, 94 CAD.
5 nights Vancouver:Hampton Inn & Suites Langley, large double room with king bed, whirlpool (upgrade) and breakfast, 950 CAD.
1 night Montreal: Private accommodation with friends
Fees for the Reservation of tent sites at Parks Canada: 11 CAD per reservation.
There are picnic benches and fire pits at all campsites. In some places you have to Firewood buy another one Fire permit. That then includes the firewood. Both cost an average of around USD 6 and CAD 8, respectively. The places also usually have showers, washing machines, dryers and communal kitchens. Wild camping is not allowed.
In hotels and motels, tips of $ 1 to $ 2 per night are common, and more in fancy hotels. Similar to eating out, this is simply expected in both Canada and the United States. Because tips are an integral part of the wages of many employees. Tip is not included in the above prices but is included in the total cost.
Total costs for overnight stays, in euros: around 1560.
Tips: Save when sleeping
The more you camp, the lower you keep your costs.
The further away from a city center you choose your hotel or motel, the cheaper it will be. If you don't want to live and commute out of town, an Airbnb room might be right for you. When booking, make sure that a parking space is included. They are very expensive in cities. A double room in the motel is available from around 60 euros, depending on the location. The cheapest chains are Motel 6, Motel 8, and Red Roof Inn.
iHotels are cheaper in the off-season, but many campsites are only open in the summer months - especially in the Rocky Mountains, where it can get very cold at night in autumn.
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That’s the cost of food in Canada and the US
Food is the most save and the most spendable item on this list. Eating out is expensive in North America - and the price on the menu is never what you end up paying. That’s on top of that Taxes and tips. A tip of 15 to 20 percent is common. You should only give less if the service is very poor.
Fast food restaurants, beer gardens, dinners and self-catering in the supermarket are cheaper. In motels there is often one breakfast in the form of thin coffee and sweet pastries such as donuts or muffins, sometimes waffles, bagels and cream cheese and cornflakes with milk.
Supermarkets It's everywhere. The prices are sometimes extremely different. One of the cheap supermarkets is Walmart; at the other end of the scale is the organic chain Wholefoods, which only sells organically produced goods. Fruit and vegetables are generally more expensive than in Europe and dairy products are not exactly cheap either. The prices for fast food are similar to those in Germany, only the range of fast food chains is much larger.
iBecause the prices differ not only from supermarket to supermarket and from restaurant to restaurant, but also from country to country and state to state - one of the reasons for this is the different taxation - it is very difficult to name generally applicable, comparable prices here.
Danger! All of the following examples are only guidelines for a rough overview and are simply given in dollars without distinguishing between US dollars and Canadian dollars.
Spending on food: a few examples
Filter coffee at the gas station (not necessarily recommended): 1-2 dollars
Donut and milk coffee, for example at the Canadian fast food chain Tim Horton: 4 dollars
Little sweet one breakfast with coffee in a café: 5-8 dollars
Finished or put together yourself salad from the supermarket: 5-10 dollars
Poutine (Canadian fries with cheese and gravy) at the food truck: 5-8 dollars
Burger in the pub, beer garden or diner: 10-15 dollars
steak in the restaurant, including taxes and tips: 25-40 dollars
beer in the pub: 4-8 dollars
Six pack Beer in the supermarket: 8-12 dollars
A bottle sparkling wine in the Liquor Store: 18 dollars
One gallon (4 liters) water: 1-3 dollars
Apples: 3-4 dollars per kilo
Bananas: 2-3 dollars per pound
Cherry tomatoes, 250 grams: 2-3 dollars
We usually either had breakfast in the motel or bought muffins, cookies or bread with jam in the supermarket. At lunchtime there was a picnic with items from the supermarket and in the evening we ate warm - mostly in cafés, beer gardens or fast food restaurants. A couple of times we barbecued over our campfire and every now and then we treated ourselves to a visit to a restaurant.
Total cost of groceries for two, in euros: 1191.
A few Restaurant recommendations can be found in this article: Road trip through North America. The route.
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Museums, national parks and co.
Entrance fees are not only due in the museum, but also in the national parks. You can find an overview of our expenses in this section. Unless otherwise stated, the costs apply per person.
In Montreal we have because of bad weather and on the advice of our host family Biodome (CAD 20) visited a small animal zoo. It is located on the former Olympic site and shows the living conditions on the American continent in different climate zones. A visit to the church also costs admission Notre Dame (5 CAD) in the old City.
To the Niagara Falls go the Parking costs (20 CAD per car) strong in the money. If you park a little further out, for example on Skylon Tower (day ticket 5 CAD per car), but can save a lot. Additionally, a small fortune can be spent in the city of Niagara Falls on the Canadian side of the falls. From Observation deck of the Skylon Tower (15 CAD) the view is awesome and the "Journey Behind the Falls" (20 CAD) leads closer to the waterfall than that Boat tour (20 CAD). Niagara Falls itself is a trashy mix of fun fair and amusement park. If you're into ghost trains, cabinets of mirrors and the like, you have even more options here to get rid of your money.
We have a stopover between Toledo and Chicago Warren Dunes State Park ($ 9) made. Just like the national parks, the state parks also cost admission. You pay per car. The passes are usually valid for several days and are then valid for all state parks in an American state.
In Chicago we have a very informative 90-minute Architecture Cruise ($ 37) made and forward to the Plexiglass Observation Deck in Willis Tower ($ 20) married. Otherwise there is a lot in the city that you can see for free, e.g. the beautifully designed lakeshore and the famous bean aka "Cloud Gate" by British artist Anish Kapoor.
We have stops in between Chicago and the Rocky Mountains Badlands National Park ($ 15 per car), at the Mount Rushmore ($ 11 per car) and in Custer State Park in the Black Hills ($ 20 per car) made.
The pass for the Yellowstone National Park ($ 30) is valid for seven days and is paid per car. If you want to stay longer or want to visit other national parks in addition to Yellowstone and Badlands National Park, it may be worthwhile for you Annual Pass ($ 80). This so-called Interagency Annual Pass is valid for one year in all US national parks and National Historic Sites, but not in state parks. It is not tied to the license plate, but to the name - two names can be entered, which means that the passport is also transferrable.
In Canada's National Parks you don't pay per car, you pay per person and per day. The Banff National Park (CAD 9.80) You can cross without a permit, but you are not allowed to park your car anywhere without a corresponding passport. It is controlled. The permit is also checked at the campsite. Whoever has paid the entrance fee for Banff is also entitled to the Jasper National Park (9.80 CAD) to visit (and vice versa). And those who want to spontaneously extend their stay do not have to drive out of the park first, but can buy a new permit in the park.
Anyone staying longer or planning to visit other parks in Canada should consider purchasing one Annual pass (just under 67.70 CAD) think. All annual passes purchased or to be purchased in 2016 are valid for two years.
Canoeing (CAD 20 per hour per canoe) is one of the best things to do in the Canadian Rockies. Hiking and wonderful views are free. You can put tired legs in the after hiking Banff Hot Springs (CAD 8) relax. If you drive over the Icefields Parkways from Banff to Jasper, you will pass the Athabasca Glacier. Special buses depart from the Icefields Discovery Center to the Glacier Adventure (80 CAD) - You will be driven onto the ice field, you can get out and walk around on the glacier and you will learn a lot of interesting facts about glaciers, their formation and their decline.
In Vancouver there are lots of great free attractions - first and foremost Stanley Park. In addition, it is also worth visiting the Science World (25 CAD) - especially for children and very inquisitive adults, the flight simulation "Fly Over Canada" (23 CAD) and a Sightseeing flight over the city by seaplane (120 CAD).
Total admission expenses, per person, in euros: 368.
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If you plan to hike the more secluded trails through the Rocky Mountains, you should definitely go for one Bear spray gain. This is a special pepper spray that can be used to defend against bears. While the chances of encountering a bear are slim, the chances of it attacking are even less. But going hiking without a spray would be stupid. Cost: Around 40 USD, a little more expensive in the national parks. Attention: Must not be transported on the plane, not even in checked baggage.
A Road atlas (approx. 18 euros) helps you to keep your bearings. In contrast to the navigation system, you always have an overview of all possible routes and paths and see which sights, parks and so on are on the way. Makes the GPS superfluous and is much clearer, but of course also makes sense as a supplement to the GPS.
As far as travel guides are concerned, we rely entirely on the good old ones Lonely Planet familiar. It's available for Canada inGerman (27 euros) and in English (18 euros) and for the USA in German (29 euros) and in English (18 euros). There are also special travel guides, for example for British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies (17 euros, English) or for the national parks of Banff, Jasper and Glacier (15 euros, English).
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Kassensturz: The cost of a vacation in Canada and the USA
Total cost of our four week road trip through North America:
3640 euros per person
I hope I was able to help you plan your trip with the pricing examples and tips above. If you have any questions, I look forward to your comment or message.
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Bonus: infographic to download
... and the best comes for last: If you want to see all the information from the text in the overview again, you can download a compact infographic with the most important prices and facts here or save it on Pinterest.
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Continue reading? You might also like these articles
Our route through Canada and the USA: Road trip through North America. The route.
The luggage for a camping road trip: To the packing list.
Motorhome vs. rental car and hotel: what is actually cheaper?
The Rocky Mountains in winter: that's the price of a ski vacation in Canada
But would you prefer to go further south? That is what the vacation in Hawaii costs.
This article contains affiliate links. For example, if you book a hotel using one of these links, I will receive a small commission, 100 percent of which goes back to the blog. This does not change the price for you.
about the author
Anna | Anemina Travels
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