Backpacking in Canada can be crazy expensive, but if you play it smart, and take advantage of the discounts available to you, you can make the journey quite a bit cheaper. There are countless discounts out there, many places don’t charge children, or offer a decent percentage off for being over 60 years old. But if you’re in your 20′s and you’ve got no kids and have yet to trade your backpack in for a fanny-pack, you might be wondering, what about me? Thankfully there are a couple discount cards out there to make life a bit easier while you’re on the road.
The international student identity card is out there for anyone 12 years old and up, in elementary, high school, college, university, or any type of post secondary. If you’re a student somewhere, you’re eligible. This card can be used in over 120 different countries around the world, including Canada. Discounts include anything from restaurants, accommodations, flights, tours, and shopping. The cost of ISIC card varies depending on which country you purchase it in, some schools give them away for free, others charge upwards of $20. Regardless of the cost of the card, the savings can be immense. One of the most popular places to save money with the ISIC Card is Via Rail, they offer some great student discounts for anyone considering traveling Canada by train. Visit ISIC for more information. Not a student? No problem, if you’re 26 years old or under, you’re eligible for the IYTC (International Youth Travel Card), which gives you the same great savings.
HI / YHA Card
The HI / YHA Card can come in handy anywhere there’s a hostel that is part of the HI or YHA Network, which as luck has it, is just about anywhere in the world. In Canada there is over 400 different places that accept the card, including every HI Hostel in Canada. On average you save $4 everytime you book a night in an HI Hostel. You might be thinking, couple toonies saved per night, not bad. But here’s when the big savings come in. When you travel by Greyhound with your HI/YHA card you can save 25% off one way and round trip tickets anywhere in Canada. You can also get 5% off any bookings made with Moose Travel Network. Big savings abound, and with a yearly cost of only $35, the card pays for itself after the first couple weeks. Visit HI-Canada Card for more information.
I’m sure there are a few other cards out there worth trying as well, but these are the only two I’ve ever personally had experience with. They’ve treated me well thus far and saved me a bit of coin on travel and accommodation and such, hopefully they can help you out too.