See the incredible Canadian National Parks on a budget
This is the big boy of the National Parks and also Canada’s oldest national park. It all started with prospectors searching for gold. What they found, however, was better. A steaming, relaxing, life-giving hot spring at the centre of jagged snow-capped mountains, broad U-shaped valleys, turquoise lakes, rich forest and meandering rivers. With some of the best activities in the world on offer, it is no surprise that over 4 million people annually visit here. But how to get the most out of it without splashing the cash too much?
Photo op: Take your camera with you and the chances are you could even make money out of the trip! There are so many classic views that you can either sit and admire for hours or take a few snaps to drool over at evening tea.
Wildlife: Hilariously, there was once so many elk parading around town that the park staffers were given sling shots to drive them out of town. Unfortunately, due to RSPCA regulations, this can not be recommended as a great free activity to do. However, if careful, you could follow the grizzly bears lead and gorge on up to 100,000 buffalo berries each day. That should save on dinner.
Where to stay: There are heaps of hotels, Inns and hostels to choose from. The hostels are probably the best option to cut back on spending. Take a look at Banff Hotelsfor a full list of options.
Squeeze your dollar: The free guided hikes offered by the Friends of Banff Park; the 50,000-plant Cascade Gardens, also free, at the foot of Banff Avenue; or the historic Banff Upper Hot Springs, located on Sulphur Mountain–it’s not exactly free but it is not costly at all considering its beauty.