If you’ve ever planned a vacation or business trip from Canada to the United States, you probably know how painful it is to watch the expenses add up until it simply isn’t affordable. It starts with the currency exchange and just gets more expensive from there. There are ways to offset the extra expense of US travel, however, making it more affordable to head to the States for business or leisure.
8 Ways Canadians Can Make US Travel More Affordable
America may not be the cheapest place to travel to from Canada, but you can make it more affordable. Following are several tips to help you save money when you travel to the US from Canada.
1. Online Deals
There are fantastic promotions, discounts, coupons, freebies and contests to be found online, as everyone competes for Canadian tourism dollars. Quite often, these deals are offered specifically to Canadians. For example, the Visit Orlando website targets Canadians with special offers.
Follow American travel, tourism, accommodations, attractions and even restaurants on social media to learn about their latest offers. Plan your trip around the best deals and let the cost help you decide what to see and do. You could save hundreds of your vacation dollars with this tip alone!
2. There’s an App for That
3. Airline Luggage Fees
You can save on luggage fees by packing a compact, foldable bag to bring back purchases. There’s no reason to pay for extra luggage both ways when you only need it on the way back. Speaking of luggage fees, always check each airline you’re travelling on for size/weight/number restrictions. They can vary widely and you’ll want to be prepared.
With gas prices leaving us begging for mercy, a road trip may seem out of reach. However, gas in the US is cheaper by comparison, even with the Canadian currency exchange rate. You can save a considerable amount just by knowing the gas prices closest to where you are. The free Gas Buddy App will provide gas prices in both Canada and the US, so you can plan to fill up where it’s cheapest while you’re on the road.
You can also find local gas prices on Google if you search for the name of a gas station. In the example below, I searched for Esso and Google automatically included the price of gas for one station in proximity.
Driving can still be a less expensive option to flying, especially if you’re near a border crossing. You’ll save on luggage fees and be able to bring back items that are cheaper there, further offsetting the expense of visiting the US. When our gas prices go up and the value of the Canadian dollar falls, the cost of consumer goods also increases. All things considered, you could find some amazing deals across the border.
5. Get the Best Canadian to US Currency Exchange Rates
Currency exchange can break a Canadian traveler’s heart, especially if you travel often. Many Canadians assume their bank is giving them the best exchange rate, but they charge fees that can add up. You can avoid bank fees and get the best exchange rate by using a reputable Canadian exchange service.
“We provide fast, easy and convenient exchange services that always deliver the best currency exchange rates in Canada,” states KnightsBridgeFX.com. “In fact, we do the work for you as we monitor the rates of major banks and other financial institutions, allowing us to ensure we provide the best rates available. We have no transfer or transaction fees, providing you with the best value on currency exchanges in Canada.”
6. Use Your Reward Points
While using your travel rewards is obvious, you may find deals or freebies through other reward programs as well. Everything from car rentals to hotels, or luggage to theme park passes may be available through credit card, grocery store or other reward programs.
7. Company Connections
Use company travel partners if your employer is OK with it. Large companies often receive discounted rates on airlines and hotels. See if you can book through the company travel agency for even more discounts. If you’re attending a convention in the US, ask about local discounts for attendees. For example, Tourism Vancouver says convention delegates are eligible to receive exclusive discounts at participating member businesses, if they show their convention badge.
8. Make it a Working Vacation
Enjoy business discounts and tax deductions while on a working vacation. You can even start a blogging business and spend some time sharing your vacation experience. Don’t be tempted to try to fool Revenue Canada though. Carefully track your business expenses and keep them separate from vacation spending. If you’re not sure, check with your accountant when you return.
If you still can’t afford to travel across the border, explore our own beautiful country! There’s so much to see and do in Canada. If you have to travel from Canada to the US for business, try a few of these frugal travel tips to make it hurt a bit less. Wherever you go, I hope you arrive safely and enjoy your stay!
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