Canada Gap Year Travel
Canada is one of the most popular gap year destinations for people of all ages from students to people taking a year off work to travel the world. Another growth area is the large number of families taking a year off to travel. This can often be a very complicated situation involving making arrangements to do with work, accommodation, children, schools and finance.
Once people have travelled across Canada and are ready to move on, making travel plans to far flung destinations online is relatively straightforward and Air Canada operates from various Canadian cities and offers last minute deals to various parts of North America and Europe.
Canada is the second largest country in the world with over 9.9 million square kilometres of land divided into ten provinces and three territories. As a popular gap year destination, Canada offers something for everyone including various outdoor activities and sports, wildlife expeditions, conservation projects, volunteer work and paid employment based on certain conditions. As well as gaining new experiences and doing something worthwhile, taking a gap year in Canada also has the added benefits of making new friends, developing confidence, boosting self reliance, learning new skills and developing a deeper understanding of the environment as well as of other cultures and people.
Travelling across Canada’s huge land mass can be achieved in a number of ways. Canada has 22 international airports and 518 airports in total serving over 150 countries as well as all major destinations within Canada including Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City, Halifax, St. John’s, Regina, Saskatoon and London.
An alternative to air travel is going by rail and Canada’s extensive and advanced rail system allows people to travel in comfort between all major cities with many trains offering sleeping cars and bedrooms. For people travelling by road, Canada offers the Trans Canada Highway which allows people to travel across the whole country. Canadians drive on the right hand side. In terms of visas, people from most Western countries and the US do not need visas for any stay up to 180 days although it is always best to check beforehand in case the rules have changed. Canada also offers a wide variety of accommodation for all pockets ranging from dormitories to 5 star hotels.
Canada is a bilingual nation with English and French being the dominant languages. The currency of Canada is the Canadian Dollar and ATM (automatic teller machine) machines are commonplace as are MasterCard and Visa credit cards. Canadians are a friendly people and together with their love of outdoor pursuits, they also enjoy good food and drink. The legal age for drinking is 19 in most provinces except for Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta where it is 18. Canadian meat, seafood and cheese delicacies are a mixture of French and English cuisine mixed with a little bit of American burgers and steaks.
As with any gap year trip, it is always wise to plan ahead in terms of travel insurance, booking accommodation for the first few days, keeping important numbers and addresses, retaining copies of important documents and information on email as well on paper, second credit or debit card for backup and trying to travel light with a good quality rucksack. A gap year to Canada can be a rewarding experience and for further information, see my Canada travelogue.