Canada is massive – in fact, it’s the second largest country in the world in terms of area, only behind Russia. This means that getting around is often a lengthy process. The good news is that the Canadian transport system is incredibly good, so while the journeys are long, at least they won’t be too stressful. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about planes, trains and other forms of transport in Canada…
Travelling by Car
Many travellers in Canada decide to hire a car or campervan, thanks to the freedom it gives them to travel where they want, when they want. The roads of Canada are generally not particularly congested – except for the centres of the major cities – however expect to still be driving for a long time, thanks to the distance between different cities. Also, fuel is not particularly cheap in Canada, therefore adding even more cost to the trip. You should also take care in ice and snow, plus remember that Canadians drive on the right. Cars can be hired from the usual outlets, which are often found at airports.
If you are in a city, a taxi is often going to be your first port of call. If using a taxi, try to obtain a price before you leave, and use some common sense: if it doesn’t seem legitimate, don’t get in. If you want an estimate of how much your journey should cost, head to TaxiFareFinder.
Travelling by Plane
Due to the size of the country, travelling by plane is often best type of transport in Canada to get from place to place. There are airports in nearly all areas of Canada, and therefore using a plane is easy. If you are looking for the lowest price, the best place to start is usually WestJet, however it should be remembered that plane tickets are generally not that cheap compared to other countries. If you are more concerned with convenience, Air Canada offers the most amount of routes to domestic passengers.
If you are trying to get around the more remote parts of northern Canada, a small plane is pretty much your only option. These don’t even always land on airstrips – many of them are actually seaplanes that land on various bodies of water. Arranging flights on these is generally an informal process, which involves finding the pilots and seeing if they will give you a lift. You’ll find them by simply asking around the community.
Travelling by Bus
While travelling by bus might seem attractive to the pocket, it isn’t necessarily the best choice in terms of convenience and comfort. Sure, for short city journeys they are fine. But if you are planning on travelling from city to city in one, you should be prepared for a long, potentially uncomfortable ride. Like the USA, Greyhound provides the largest network of buses in the country, and fares can be very, very low. The routes aren’t too direct though, meaning that journeys take much longer than they would in a car.
Perhaps the biggest advantage to buses – especially over trains – is that you can simply hop off if you find somewhere that you suddenly decide you want to visit, without losing out on too much money. Of course, you’ll then have to wait for the next bus to arrive before continuing your journey though. We’d generally recommend staying away from buses when it comes to transport in Canada though, due to the long distances – air travel is a much better option.
Travelling by Train
Travelling by train in Canada is a funny one. On one side it is often a very expensive way to travel – something that any budget-conscious backpacker should be concerned with – but on the other side it offers a really scenic and relaxed way to see the country. This is especially true on routes such as the ones going through the Rockies, which is an area of extreme natural beauty. Therefore, it’s really personal preference whether train travel is for you.
Six Canadian cities also offer a rapid transit train system, making travelling around extremely easy, as well as pretty cheap. These cities are: Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Ottawa. A number of other cities are currently planning their introduction. These are often preferable to taxis, as they are much cheaper and also allow you to get used to the city much more.