Oh, Canada: By the Numbers

Welcome Home!

For weeks, I’ve been threatening to never leave Canada. The mountains! The space! The people! The wildlife! This was my first trip to Canada and everything exceeded all expectations. Alas, all good things must come to an end. My crossing from Kingsgate, British Columbia into Eastport, Idaho went as smoothly as possible, with only a few questions, no search, no paperwork needed for the dogs and no hassle. Victory! It’s nice to be home.

One of the most common excuses I hear from people about why they can’t/ won’t/ don’t travel is money. Believe me, freelance writing is no way to get rich. If I can afford to travel, so can you! Travel doesn’t have to be expensive! My whole month-long trip through Canada to Alaska cost me less than $1,400 bucks. Here’s the breakdown:

Time: 34 days, 33 nights

Distance: 4,300 miles by car, 109 miles on foot


Enter: Sumas, Washington/ Abbotsford, BC.

Provinces: British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta

States: Alaska! My 50th. 🙂

Towns: Squamish, Whistler, Williams Lake, Quesnel, Prince George, Vanderhoof, Smithers, Prince Rupert, Hyder, Alaska!, Watson Lake, Yukon. Fort Nelson, Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge, Jasper, Banff, Calgary, Field.

National Parks: Jasper, Banff and Yoho.

Exit: Kingsgate, BC/ Eastport, Idaho.

Gas: $797. Highest price paid: $1.81/ liter or $6.87/ gallon on the Alaskan Highway.


Free camp sites: 21 free nights! 97% of Canada is Crown Land- free for camping.

Paid camp sites: 3 nights ($81). Canadian National Parks are not cheap. Camping in Banff was $36 a night! A new record.

RV Parks: 4 nights ($90)

Nights at the Kicking Horse Lodge in Field: 5 (courtesy of dear Mom & Dad)

Food: $287. Restaurant meals: 4. That’s right. I only ate restaurant meals once a week! The rest were all grocery story meals cooked in the Teardrop.

Drink: $0. (Water for myself and the dogs, all free)

Souvenirs/ Miscellaneous: $65 (2 BC travel books, postcards/ stamps and stickers)

Canadian National Park Pass: $50

Cost to offset the carbon footprint of my trip: $28

Total: $ 1398

Seeing more of the World: Priceless!

Average gas price in Canada: $1.31 a liter or about $5 a gallon.

For more tips on cheap road tripping and free camping check out my previous posts: How To Plan A Killer Road Trip:$$$ and Boondocking 101: How To Camp For Free In Beautiful Places.

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
This entry was posted in Beyond the USA, Bowie & D.O.G., Photography, Road tripping!, Sustainable Living, Vagabonding 101. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Oh, Canada: By the Numbers

  1. Pigeon Heart says:

    so cool. 97% free camping is pretty amazing.

  2. Joni says:

    Thank you for breaking down the prices on some of your posts. They help people like me who WILL travel one day and it helps confirm that I will be able to do so.
    Take care,

    • You’re welcome Joni! A month on the road usually runs me closer to $1,000. Canadian gas and the sheer distance I covered o get to Alaska really bumped this month up quite a bit. Keep me posted on your plans! M

  3. Don West says:

    Great post! Thanks for the detailed expense breakdown.

  4. Alice says:

    Wow–makes this armchair hobo think travel might be possible.


  6. Sartenada says:

    What a great joy it was to read Your magnificent” accounting”. I do love it. We are doing the same when on car travel.

    • Haha my accounting is far from magnificent, trust me. The only thing I hate more than numbers is money. A daily journal helps with mileage and cash purchases, and bank statements take care of the rest. 🙂 Keeping track does help you cut down for the next trip. Once I saw how much money I was spending on eating out and staying at real campgrounds, it was a huge motivator to get into more dirtbag gourmet and boondocking!

      • Sartenada says:

        Thank You replying to my comment. In addition to You exact diary we add how the weather was with temperature, sunshine / rain and about what we loved and did not love. Those last things are important to when planning next travel.

        Canada seems to be very beautiful.

        Maybe You would like to check our car holiday Beyond the Arctic Circle in Finland.

        Here is the first post with links to next post.

        Beyond the Arctic Circle1

        Happy Travel.

  7. shigsy says:

    I’ve been curious as to what sort of gas mileage you get pulling the teardrop, and by my calculation, given your numbers above, it’s about 26 mpg, which is pretty amazing considering that you are pulling your house! Does that reflect what you’ve seen?

    Great blog and keep up the good work!

    • Yep, I get about 25 mpg, as long as I keep it under 60 and don’t power up hills. Slow and steady makes a huge difference in gas efficiency!

      • Dan Beideck says:

        Do you have any data on what you get (or got) when not pulling the trailer? Just curious how big a difference the trailer makes.

      • I never really kept track, but a few sources say a 2003 Impreza should get between 27 and 32 mpg. I haven’t noticed a huge reduction in gas mileage, probably because I take it so slow when I’m towing, usually around 55 max. Gotta love a Subaru!

  8. Anthony says:

    Still cheaper then here in South-Africa.

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  16. sina says:

    Hi there! Witch map did you used for finding grown land in alberta, brithish colombia and yukon? Thank you for your great advices. Kind regards sina from switzerland at the moment in jackson wy

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