I'm 14/15 y.o Australian and I am currently saving up to go backpacking in Canada in 2008. I have decided that I should start saving now so I don't miss out due to lack of finances.
I would like to go for 2-3 months, flying to Vancouver and then travelling to Toronto (by bus/train) leisurely seeing the sights. I would be staying in backpacker hostels. Can someone please give me a few pointers?
About how much money (US$) will I need?
What is the legal drinking age in Toronto and Vancouver? (I have read many different answers from various sources, ranging from 18-21)
Will I have trouble travelling on my own as a 19 year old female?
Thanks for any info.
That's great that you want to come over to Canada. Good idea to start saving now. You will also earn interest on your savings. In terms of money the Canadian currency is in Canadian $ and not US$. Therefore, you would have to purchase Canadian $. It will actually be cheaper for you than purchasing US$ since our dollar is lower and you will actually get more on your dollar which is quite low these days.
I live in Montreal, Quebec which is a 4.5 hour drive from Toronto where you will be. If you decide, perhaps you can come see Montreal which is a smaller city and lots of fun. I believe the drinking age is 18 years in Montreal. Even if you don't speak French you will be okay since Montrealers will speak English to tourists.
I have been to Toronto and Vancouver. In Toronto, I usually stay with friends so I would not know much about accommodations. I was in Vancouver 25 years ago (before your time-ha ha) but went on a school exchange with the concert band. In both cities there is lots to do and see. Vancouver is quite beautiful with the mountains in the background.
Both cities, however, can be quite expensive but if you check carefully you can find some deals.
Sorry, I can't tell you much about those two cities. You can also search the Internet for information on all Canadian cities. However, I can give you information about Montreal if you decide to come. We do have a youth hostel downtown and I'd be happy to show you around.
Best of luck on your quest and hope to see you in 2008!.
drinking age in Ontario and BC is 19 - if you're looking for some good budget accoms, may I suggest staying at a University dorm - they're usually empty in the off season (late May to late Aug) and a great bargain... in Toronto there is U of T, York University and Ryerson Tech... in Van there is UBC and Simon Fraser University... you may also be able to subsidize some of your time here by working - try the Okanagan Valley in BC or Niagara area in Ontario; both have fruit harvests in the fall and may be looking for people...
and i HIGHLY recommend Montreal, as the previous post suggests. No trip to Canada would be complete without a taste of French culture and you're so close anyway...
...and don't miss the Calgary-Banff-Lake Louise stretch on your way from Toronto to Vancouver!
The Rockies in Canada you can't miss...I've been living in Canada for 14 years and I still find the Rockies fascinating. So don't miss it!
since you are so close to vancouver island i would recemend taking a 1.5 hour ferry to vancouver island and see Victoria (where I live) i am in australia now but from canada and you always take for granted what you have back home until you travel. Ferry only costs 8-10$ one way and theres public transit (one bus) that waits at the ferry and drives you all the way down town (or you aussie call it.... the city) there are a few backpackers in victoria. One is called "the backpackers Inn" and has a bar in it called sukasa...pretty hip place. I go there sometimes to have a drink... theres a few more but that one is the nicest and one block to town....
sounds like a super fun trip Very smart move planning ahead!!!
My advice to a 19-year-old female Austrailian backpacker- don't hitchhike alone. If you want to get around Western Canada without a car (to rent a vehicle here you have to be 25) take the Greyhound. You could probably get a discount and a pass. Check the website: www.greyhound.ca If you are going long distances, though, it would be better to fly. West Jet and Zip (part of Air Canada) are the discount local carriers. You can book online at www.travelocity.ca I have travelled myself alone when I was 19 without much problem, and it is easy to meet friends along the way. I often meet Europeans and Aussies in the Canadian Rockies. By the way, I admire you for such prudent planning! Oh, and in Alberta the drinking age is 18. No provinces/territories in Canada have a drinking age of older than 19.
You definitely don't have to be 25 to rent a car. At least not in Ontario. It's actually 21. Car is an annoying and expensive was to see the country anyway.
You can go to www.greyhound.ca and find everything you need. You can get a special pass for just over $100 to take you anywhere in the country for a certain period of time. If you are a student they have discounts and sometimes companion fares.
Hostels around here vary, but here in Toronto it's about 10-20 dollars. You won't have any problem with age. The drinking age everywhere is either 19 or 18 (in Quebec)
I would also recommend seeing the Maritime provinces, especially Halifax. It's gorgeous, especially in the summer. No need to hitchhike here at all...you can take the bus to all the main cities and some of the smaller ones.
How much money you need depends on what you want to do. You might even consider biking as an option, depending on if you're the camping type.
Have fun, preparing is one of the best parts!
West Coast: Victoria, BC is worth a visit. It has a very British influence from high teas to architecture. Vancouver is more progressive. I would suggest China town to try something different.
I lived in the Okanagan Valley (BC) and it is a great place to stop. The summer is hot and the lakes/parks are beautiful. Actually, the Okanagan is a chain of five glacier carved finger lakes (very narrow, very deep). The fruit season begins early July (usually cherries) until the end of Sept (apples). Yes, plenty of employment but the fruit picking is challenging and the wages are less than stellar. From the Okanagan,
Don't forget to stop in Banff and Lake Louise. These areas are stunning. In fact, Lake Louise is the only place I have ever been that looks exactly like the postcards! It takes your breath away. As an aside, jumping in that lake will do the same!
I have lived in Calgary (Alberta). The annual stampede (rodeo event and chuck wagon races) is worth seeing. Look up the Calgary Stampede on Google to get the dates prior to your departure.
I live in Winnipeg (Manitoba - Central Canada). This is a pleasant place and I love it but this is not a tourist mecca. In fact, it is pretty much empty between the Rockies (a series of five mountain ranges) and Ontario - although some of my stubble-jumping friends would argue differently. In Ontario, please stop at the capital - Ottawa. I love running and I ran the canal. It starts downtown and goes for kilometres! Also, all of the museums, parks and sights are not to be missed. I enjoyed the Peacekeeping monument (having done peace-keeping and peace-making missions).
In Quebec, I was fortunate enough to visit Quebec City. It was absolutely beautiful and Carnivale (street party) was in full swing. The ice scuptures were amazing. I found Montreal lacked the Quebecois flavour since it is an anglo community. C'est dommage.
The Maritimes are the friendliest place you will ever visit. I lived in Halifax (Nova Scotia). Be sure to sample the seafood!
I am in the military so I have lived all across Canada and travelled to other places as well.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you need further assistance.
I went to Toronto 2 months ago, but only for a week. i went to the usual sights - CN tower, niagra falls, skydome etc. i found it to be an extremely pleasnat place to stay, there as no trouble there atall. being a 17 year old female, i found no problem being there, as you yourself said you were worried about be a 19 year old female there. the streets are safe during the day and even at night. there are lots of shops, hotels, restaurants and an excellent public transport system - no need for cars.
i found that i needed around $75 - $125 for the week, the food is extermely cheap and everyone is friendly. the only thing you wanna worry about is the fact that the flight will probably work out to be about £1000! but im sure u can get cheaper ones!
you will also wanna check out niagra falls - amazing!
depending on how long you want to go for, saving up now is a brilliant idea - i wish i had when i was ur age. u dont wanna miss out on thigns because u dont have the money, although dont waste it all on stupid things - have an idea of what u want to spend. dont stay in expensive hotels, hostels are briliant value for money and are full of people in your position.
hope this helps, sophie.