CANADA SOLO TRAVEL GUIDE

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO! CANADA TRAVEL GUIDE 2024
PLAN AND BOOK YOUR CANADA SOLO TRAVEL

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WELCOME TO THE CANADA!

Gwen in Vancouver BC Canada

Hi! I’m Gwen, and my passion is using my 28 years of solo global travel and sustainability knowledge and experience to help the solo over 50’s be and stay adventurous through solo travel with their eco-friendly, responsible travel foot forward. Here is my travel guide to Canada, all from my Canada solo travel, so you plan and book your Canada solo trip with ease. What are you waiting for?

CANADA: DID YOU KNOW?

About Canada

Canada – meaning “Village” in Iroquoian, is the second largest country in the world (behind Russia) with the largest coastline. Canada is considered the most educated country – more than half of residents have college degrees. 

Canada is also home to 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Old Town Lunenburg and the Historic District of Québec, maple syrup, Niagara Falls, Toronto, the northern Rocky Mountains and Banff National Park, hockey, Vancouver, legal marijuana, Montreal, the CN Tower, Whistler skiing, Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, Kids in the Hall and SCTV, beer, Tim Hortons, polar bears, glaciers, and more lakes than the rest of the world combined.

A-maze-ing Laughter statue_Vancouver BC Canada

Languages in Canada

The official language is English, although French is the official language of Québec.

Canadian Culture

The culture is European-influenced – mostly by the English and French – and its indigenous people. Canada is considered progress and diverse, as it provides nationalized health care and a great education and national park system.

Canada legalized marijuana and same-sex marriage; has strict gun laws and outlawed capital punishment; and, it accepts many immigrants – all to promote a just society under a national constitution. 

Oh, and when they travel they are not afraid to display their Canadian flag on their luggage or bags (probably so others don’t mistake them for Americans).

Native american wall mural_Vancouver BC Canada

Popular Activities in Canada

Being such a large country under a multi-cultural identity, Canadians enjoy diverse set of activities, such as watching and playing a lot of hockey, hiking, skiing, fishing, rodeo, sailing, football, ice skating, whale watching, gambling, producing great comedy, music and film, making and drinking beer and wine, and enjoying fine dining or eating weird things like cheese curds on top of fries and gravy – just to name a few.

Popular Canadian Beer and Wine Tours

CANADA TRAVEL PLANNING

Canadian Currency

The Canadian dollar (CAD or C$) – exchange rates are usually favorable for U.S. citizens. Check throughout your travel planning phase on any exchange rate changes.

Tipping in Canada

Traveling in a new country is easier when you know the country’s tipping etiquette in advance as each country has its own rules.  That said, country rules and norms can shift, so here is an international tipping resource for over 70 countries to use as a general guideline that I have found is constantly updated. 

What’s not on there is how to tip a concierge, beauty salons or spas, travel or tour guides, etc.  For these extras, it is acceptable to tip 10% at minimum. Remember, tipping is for good service only.

Additionally, you should always tip in the local currency (if tipping in cash), and do not be offended if your tip is refused as it may not be the norm. I feel it’s always better to offer a tip for good service than not, unless I know it will be considered offensive, like in Japan.

Sashimi_Vancouver BC Canada

Canadian Holidays

It’s a complete bummer to spend time and money on the holiday of a lifetime only to show up at a key attraction, or try to access travel or banking resources, only to find them closed due to a national or local holiday.

Therefore, a key activity to do in your early Canada travel planning stage is to know the national and local holidays in Canada.

CANADA TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

Travel Documents for Canada

From the U.S., you will need a valid passport valid at time of entry with a passport expiration date greater than 3 months from your return to the U.S if you are transiting in route to Europe from Canada. A Canada travel visa is not required for U.S. citizens if your stay is less than 6 months. The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when traveling to Canada. It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.

If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

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Vaccinations for Canada

There are normally no vaccinations required for Canada. The U.S. State Department provides up-to-date required vaccination information to visit Canada. It is advised to always check for any Canada travel restrictions and required vaccinations during your planning stage and again before you leave.

If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

Whale watching boat on water_Vancouver BC Canada

CANADA TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Electronics for Canada

Want to use your 110 V electronics while traveling in Canada? Canada’s voltage is 120V, and the standard frequency is 60 Hz and use both Type A and Type B adapters, like the U.S. Therefore, U.S. electronics (hair dryer, clippers, curling iron, etc.) should not require a voltage converter in Canada.

Remember, most smart phones, tablets and laptops don’t require a converter, but double-check your device(s) before you leave home.

Although you don’t have to bring an adapter, check your electronics – if you have one requiring a 3-prong outlet you may want to bring a Type B adapter just in case.

If you are going to another country in addition to your trip to Canada, you can check this international travel adapter guide to make sure you’re prepared.

Cyber Security While Traveling

Having a virtual private network (VPN) service and portable WiFi is always a good idea to not just stay connected, but stay connected securely in your hotel and all public spaces, like airports, train stations, and restaurants.

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CITY GUIDES & ITINERARIES

Use my solo travel guides, itineraries, travel tips, day trip ideas, and recommended things to do in these top Canadian destinations, all from my travel in Canada, to plan your best Canada solo travel.

The more I travel in Canada, the more that gets added to this Canada Travel Guide. Keep checking back.

Vancouver B.C.

I recently visited Vancouver in 2022. Until I write about it, here are my recommended things to do in Vancouver I enjoyed.

Top Things to Do in Vancouver

It has been many years since I was in the following Canadian destinations. If revisit these destinations in Canada, this will be updated. Until then, here are my recommended things to do in each Canada destination (from what I’ve already enjoyed or would do when I revisit).

Montreal

Recommended Things to Do in Montreal

Toronto

Recommended Things to Do in Toronto

Niagara Falls

Recommended Things to Do in Niagara Falls

HOW TO BOOK CANADA TRAVEL

It’s important to book the top three travel necessities early: flights, accommodations and ground transportation.

No Canada guide would be complete without the booking tools below. These, along with fun Canada things to do and ecotourism ideas, will allow you to realize your solo trip to Canada.

Cheap Flights to Canada

With the ever-growing demand for airline tickets to Canada, flights book quicker these days. Find cheap flights to Canada now.

Don’t Wait to Book Your Flight to Canada

Canada Places to Stay

Second in importance to buying airline tickets to Canada is finding the best place to stay in Canada for your Canada solo travel. Develop your Canada travel itinerary now and find the best Canada travel accommodations to knock one more travel planning item off your solo travel list.

Find the Best Solo Travel Accommodations in Canada

Getting Around Canada

Canada has all forms of transportation, including Carpoolworld, Uber, Lyft, and other possible regional ridesharing services and apps (research in advance if they are in your destination area).

Of course, you can easily get a taxi or find a rental a car in Canada if it better suits your Canada travel itinerary.

Find the Best Deals on Canada Rental Cars

Canada also has regional buses, one major passenger train system, VIA Rail, and a luxury passenger train, Royal Canadian Pacific.

Things to Do in Canada

Here are some of the top things to do in Canada to book for your solo Canada trip.

Popular Canadian Food Tours & Activities

CANADA ECO-TRAVEL IDEAS

There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in Canada. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources, you can use to book your travel.

Air Travel Tips

Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.

Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Ground Transportation

Try to avoid flying in Canada by taking a regional bus, the VIA Rail train, or luxury passenger train, Royal Canadian Pacific.

When booking a rideshare in Canada, select the Uber Green option, instead of a traditional rideshare, to support the use of electric cars and carpooling for cleaner transportation in Canada.

The best eco-friendly forms of ground transportation in Canada are public transportation, walking, or renting a bicycle or electric scooter. Lime also has electric scooters to rent in Canada for fast and clean commuting in select cities.

Explore Canada Bike and Electric Scooter Rentals

False creek ferry on water_Vancouver BC Canada

Accommodation Tips

Look for Canada accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:

Green Globe – Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for Canada Green Global members.

Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.

Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.

Docked sailboats downtown_Vancouver BC Canada

LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for Canada certifications.

Green Lodging Program – Audubon International has an environmental stewardship certification through third-party verification. Search its certified members directory.

GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.

Another way to find accommodations in Canada implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is to reserve a Booking.com Travel Sustainable accommodation. Booking.com started the Travel Sustainable program in 2022.

Find Your Travel Sustainable Stay in Canada

Eco-Friendly Things To Do

Canada has ecotourism ideas available to explore for your next vacation.

Search Green Global and Green Key awarded members for eco-friendly activity providers in Canada. Some may also have the GSTC Certified logo.

Top Canadian Ecotourism

Eco-Travel Products

There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel, like bringing sustainable and eco-friendly products to protect Canada’s environment. 

For more ideas on how to travel with the planet in mind, read my 10 Easy Eco-Travel Tips and view my suggested Eco Travel Resources to learn more.

Seals on buoy on water_Vancouver BC Canada

CANADA TRAVEL SAFETY

Before You Go

Always consult your government’s Canada travel advisory for your Canada travel destination in the beginning travel planning phase and up to your departure date.

Buy Canada travel insurance and international medical insurance for your Canada solo travel to protect yourself and cover for emergencies.

Safety in Canada

For the most part, Canada is considered a safe place to visit.  Depending where you go in the Canada can affect your “safety factor”. Larger cities, of course, may require being street wise.  Smaller towns, not so much.  Whatever the Canada destination, please just keep in mind my standard tips for female and solo travelers are:

  • always carry photo ID with you; if you don’t want your passport on you at all times, at least carry a copy of it.
  • always be “street wise”.
  • always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you feel the need to imbibe or feel the need to “let loose” – you’re on vacation so have fun!
  • never leave your food or drink unattended.
  • keep your belongs on your person, or at least in your view in close proximity, at all times.
  • be open to meeting and talking with new people – that is where a lot of the travel experience lies – but be careful on how you divulge personal information.
  • research places in advance, if possible, so you know what to expect (i.e., “have a familiar view” – I like to Google the street view of new addresses I’m going to first).
  • if something, someone or someplace makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut – leave.

Fire Season Travel Tips

CANADA BUDGET TRAVEL

Best Time to Visit Canada

Similar to the U.S., Canada’s summer season is July to August – this is when school is out and many Canadian families take vacations as well.  This can drive up the prices and crowds.  

However, depending on where you go in Canada, snow can begin as early as October and last through April.  With the exception of ski resort areas and the Christmas, Boxing Dy and New Year’s holidays, the heavy winter months from December to March may provide the best travel prices. Note, travel in the Canada could also be crazy if the weather is really bad causing flight delays or cancellations.

Additionally, Canadian taxes can add to travel costs overall. In general, the best and less expensive times to visit Canada are when kids and college students are back in school, which would be September to early November and late April to May.  

Don’t forget to check the weather of where you’re going – that may also impact where and when you decide to go.

Yellow umbrellas Yaletown_Vancouver BC Canada

Budget Accommodations

Staying in Canada hostels could save you a lot of money on accommodations in Canada, especially if you stay in a dorm-style room. Save more money by booking well in advance.

Many hostels also offer private rooms, which I choose from time to time. Private rooms in hostels could possibly be cheaper than hotels in Canada – it depends on where you stay and how far in advance you reserve.

Don’t overlook exploring hostels in Canada if you’re on a budget.

Reserve Your Canada Hostel

Best Time to Book Travel

Canada can be pricey depending on your Canada destination. The sooner you book your reservations, the more you’re likely to save money and get the best flight, accommodation, and rental car choices and deals.

Ready to book solo travel to Canada? Don’t miss out and find the best Canada travel deals. The best time to book travel is now. Bundling flight, hotel and/or transportation reservations may even save you more money when traveling to Canada.

Book Canada Travel Early to Save Money

Dragon statue_Vancouver BC Canada

PERSONAL STORY

Considering my country borders Canada, it’s amazing how little time I’ve spent in Canada.  I’m not big on cold weather so perhaps that’s the reason? I do have to say that most Canadians I meet are just down right friendly and great people. They do know how to place importance on good living. 

Montreal is a beautiful city, especially Old Montreal. They have built their metro underground accompanied by much underground shopping. I don’t blame them – I’ve been in Montreal during Christmas and “cold” is an understatement. 

I’ve been to Niagara Falls and consider Toronto a kick-ass town. In Toronto, definitely go to the top of the CN Tower – you can feel tower sway slightly in the wind and the clear, Plexiglas floor sections do provide for a frightening view below.

Vancouver is also an amazing city. So clean, great people and food, and much to do outdoors year-round. I highly recommend a solo trip to Vancouver.

Next on my Canada bucket list is Nova Scotia. I also wouldn’t mind taking a train across the country.

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