Monday, September 8, 2008

Canada ~ some travel tips


Tomorrow we will head south of the border – back to the US. We compiled a lit of some “tips”, should you decide to head up this way to Canada. It is by no means complete nor exhaustive, and feel free to post a comment or email us if you have some tips to share.

1) The daily entry fee for Canadian National Parks is expensive – for example, Jasper was $8.90 per person per day – ouch! They do sell a year-long family pass, for about $132 CA. Here’s a big tip – e-bay! The park passes are sold on e-bay for a fraction of their cost, and with a little patience and perseverance, you can save a few bucks. When we came to Canada two years ago, we purchased the annual park pass at the park, for $125 (2006 rate), and sold it on e-bay for $71 when we returned home. This year, we decided to buy our park pass on e-bay, and purchased it for $60.. We actually sold it again for a few bucks when we left the national parks for good! (It expired 9/30/2008, so there was little time remaining.)

2) The National and Provincial Parks provide all the firewood you want – however you need to purchase a “fire permit”. It costs anywhere from $7-10 per day. (In fact, you’re not allowed to bring barked fire wood into Canada - bark beetle issues - so this works well.) If you plan to spend a few days in one park, you can buy a fire permit per day – you do not need to buy one for your entire stay, unless you plan to have a fire everyday.

3) If you’re heading into National Parks try and stock up on as much food as possible in the surrounding towns – we were flabbergasted by the hike in grocery prices in the parks! $6 for a small bag of chips – no kidding!

4) Private campgrounds often charge for additional people over two-adults, including children. No tip here, just be aware.

5) If you’re staying near the Canadian/US border, ask locals about going over the border to get gas (and beer). We saved about $30/tank when staying in Creston, and – no kidding – about the same for a 12-pack of beer. (In Jasper, Brad found a 12-pack of, what he would call “bad beer”, for $42. He hasn’t stopped talking about it since!)

6) Speaking of gas, if you are hunting for low gas prices, we found that Save-On Foods and Extra Foods have “gas bars”, where after you fill your tank, you get 5.5% of the amount you spent on gas as a coupon to use in their stores. They seemed to have the lowest gas prices in the areas we visited, and their food stores were large, clean, stocked and reasonably priced.

2 comments:

AJZ said...

Hi Brad and Suzzane, I hope you enjoyed your Canadian portion of your trip!

Ok, the parks do up the prices, but I have yet to see a 12 pack of beer for $42.00, this must have been a hotel liquor store. Most 12 packs run $20- 22.00. Yeah, it's a lot more that Usa, but that's what we pay. The beer is probably tastier... hehe.

On a Brighter note, there are no Rats in Alberta!

Have fun!

Suzanne and Brad said...

Hi AJZ!

The $42 beer was at Jasper NP - and Brad's still talking about it! :-)

Perhaps the boys in "Rat Patrol" get a break in the beer prices!

Take care as well!

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