Canada for Cheap

Back in May, I wrote about an awesome and super-cheap trip to Canada. If you are a fan of international travel for very little money, you’re in luck! I took another one this weekend.

We went to Nelson, which is a cute little mountain town about three hours north of Spokane.

Of course, we drove, because there is no other way to get there. $25 each for gas? Yes please.

And then we stayed in a great AirBnB, which was a studio apartment just a little bit out of town. $40 a night, plus we had a kitchen? Excellent.

nelson.JPGWith the basics taken care of, we headed out to explore the town. The first day was basically just us wandering around town, checking out little boutiques (so many kitchen stores) and looking at the lake, which was foggy and gorgeous.

A day of driving and window shopping wiped us out, so we decided on giant wraps for dinner. They turned out to be even more giant than expected, and easily served as a second meal the next day.

We stopped in at a grocery store for food and wine, then headed back to our room to watch Bridesmaids and read books, because we are really, really cool.

skiCoffee, pancakes and bananas made for a easy breakfast at our rental, and then we visited Whitewater Ski Resort for outdoor adventures. My travel buddy is an avid cross country skier, so I rented gear and tried to keep up. It was quite fun and also exhausting. Also I fell about eight times, including a face plant, which is a lot of falling for a sport which I previously thought of as very similar to walking.

So we ate some crackers and cheese and meat and then went back to town for beer. A hockey-loving sports bar was found, beers were drunk, and we sadly did not win a jersey.

We returned home for much-needed showers, dinner (the leftover wraps), and the first hour or so of the Democratic debate, before deciding to walk back to town for a storytelling event we’d seen in the town newspaper. (Frugal tip: always check the local events calendar. You’ll find the best things.)

The local storytelling guild had an evening of stories arranged, where they told folktales backed up by local musicians. We sat on a couch in the back of the room, ran into a friend from here in Spokane, talked to some stereotypically friendly Canadians (side note to any Canadian readers: how does it feel to be from a nation whose primary stereotype is “they’re all so nice”?) and enjoyed coffee and stories from around the world.

We walked back, watched some Mindy Project and finished the wine. Did you know that Canadian Netflix has all kinds of shows that aren’t available in the US? It’s great.

Our last day started out with breakfast (at home again, of course) and a trip to Oso Negro, a coffee shop every local we’d talked to said was a can’t-miss. We then visited the Ainsworth Hot Springs, which include finished pools and also very steamy caves. It was the great antidote to my soreness from the previous day’s ski trip, and we both felt like we were made of jello by the time we got out.

Another quick stop in Nelson for some lunch, and it was time to head back to the states. The whole trip was super refreshing, and it was great to get out of town. The fact that it was so cheap definitely didn’t hurt!

I spent a grand total of $130 on the weekend trip, including my half of the rental and the gas, as well as skiing and going out to eat. The current exchange rate is $1 CAD = $0.69 USD, so that helped. I love it when I can go on vacation and not have to worry about how I’ll afford it.

Do you have any favorite frugal vacation tips?

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