Budget conscious Canadian travellers (like myself) are facing a bit of crisis at the moment. If travelling more is one of your New Year’s resolutions, you know by now that the Canadian dollar isn’t doing us any favours in many parts of the world. The loonie feels laughable up against our neighbours to the south, and it certainly isn’t faring well against the Pound or the Euro, so that means we have stretch our imaginations and think outside the box. There are plenty of budget friendly destinations for the Canadian traveller, and I’ve got 7 of them!
South Africa may not be the most convenient of destinations for the Canadian traveller, but if it’s on your bucketlist, now is the time to get the most bang for your buck. May through September is the best for game viewing, but South Africa is truly a year round destination. From Cape Town’s ultra chic cafes and pristine beaches in the south, to the misty Drakensberg mountains stretching from the Eastern Cape, to the sumptuous wine country and lush Garden Route, South Africa is both cosmopolitan and off the beaten path. How cheap is it? $1 CAD = R 11.01 ZAR
Okay, so it may not have snagged a Miss Universe title, but we still think Colombia deserves a crown. Known for its political instability over the years, Colombia has gained the love and respect of backpackers the world over, and is hailed as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Whether you’re wandering the colourful streets of Cartegena or peering down from San Javier with all of Medellin before you, Colombia will offer a feast for your eyes, ears and of course stomach! How cheap is it? $1 CAD = $2,282.93 COP
For reasons we can’t understand, Bulgaria is one of those epically beautiful countries that rarely makes it on any top travel list. This Neolithic nation, with staggering views of the Black Sea, boasts some of the most exquisite architecture, the highest biodiversity in Europe, and a culture so rich in diversity, you’ll feel like you’ve travelled to 10 different countries. From pristine forests, bursting with wildlife, to endless black sand beaches, put Mexico on the back burner and invest in a truly unique destination! How cheap is it? $1 CAD = $1.28 BGN
Seoul is often thought of as a great stop-over destination, but you’re missing out on so much more! From UNESCO World Heritage sites, to volcanic islands, opulent hot spring spas and dreamy ski resorts, South Korea is one of the most budget friendly destinations for Canadian travellers in 2016. How cheap is it? $1 CAD = 849 KRW
This pick should come as no surprise, as it’s also been rated a top destination for 2016! For travelers off the west coast of Canada, a ticket to Manila can be cheaper than one to London! There are literally hundreds of places to see, but staying away from city centres and spending time in rural areas means you’re only dropping $10-$20 for a guesthouse, and a few dollars per meal. Additionally, there are plenty of great packaged options if you want to see more than one or two islands. $1 CAD = 33 PHP
The average Canadian traveller knows the Greek economy took a serious nosedive this year, and with unemployment through the roof, tourism has been a welcome reprieve, especially on less touristy (but more interesting in my opinion) islands like Crete. Avoid travel to Europe in the pricey summer months, and instead opt for a ticket in shoulder season. There are plenty of alternative accommodation options (airbnb), and more qualified Greek historians on hand to show you why this ancient corner of the world is so important!
My friends and family know how completely nuts I am about Cuba. I’ve been there 9 times and I would love to go back in the next few years. Whether it’s cruising through the Viñales Valley in a gorgeous 1955 Cadillac, lazing on the sugary sands of Varadero, or watching couples dance across cobble stone streets to the sounds of the Buena Vista Social Club in Trinidad de Cuba, my love affair with this country will never end. There are plenty of all-inclusive package options available from Vancouver to Halifax, but if the all-inclusive deal isn’t your thing, consider a more adventurous option like a cycling excursion with a company like GAdventures. How cheap is it? $1 CAD = .71 CUC * (The Cuban Convertible Peso is matched with the US dollar, however, the CUC has far more purchasing power).