Whether it be wild-camping, staying in hostels, taking advantage of new credit card deals to secure cheap international flights, or scouring for deals to events and sight seeing opportunities, there is oodles of ways to save a few bucks here and there on travel. The end result can add up to a lot of cash saved in the long run.
If you are eyeing up Montreal as a future destination, you have made a wise choice. Often tourist destinations can be costly to visit. While Montreal is still a popular spot in North America, it does remain a place that can be visited on a budget. The activities and places to see are never ending, and accommodations and food are affordable. Making it an attractive option for those looking to have some fun and interesting adventures while not breaking the bank.
Montreal is a city with a rich history
Montreal is one of the oldest cities in Canada, so it has something for everyone, but especially those history buffs, and gallery/museum crawlers. The scenery around the downtown and Old Port will take you to classic Europe, filled with ancient character buildings. The streets are lined with cafes and independent eateries covering a huge array of specialties.
Some of the best quality museums and art galleries in the world call Montreal home, as well as an outstanding network of hiking and biking possibilities. Then when the daily adventures are over, the city lights up and remains bustling throughout the night with all kinds of music venues striking up the band, or indoor/outdoor evening movie showings, impromptu street parties, tours, live theatre, “secret” bars and everything in between.
Although Montreal is likely still beautiful and packed with special events during the winter, we will use the spring-fall time as a benchmark here, avoiding the ice storms and typical Canadian deep-freeze.
Getting to and staying in Montreal, for cheap
Booking cheap flights has never been easier than it is today. If you are willing to sacrifice checking a ton of bags, or having printed boarding passes, and show up earlier than usual, you can get reasonably priced flights. Simply Google the cheapest ways to fly around Canada and you’ll likely find something within your needs and price point.
Accommodations in Montreal takes some searching, and as with any thrifty travel, has an element of risk. By this I mean if you aren’t willing to spend the big bucks and be guaranteed a hotel room that would be fit for Howard Hughes, you may or may not be comfortable with your arrangements! Be careful when looking at places that are super cheap. Be as certain as possible that it also meets or exceeds the comfort level that you are looking for, if not, move on to the next potential home-base.
If you are comfortable roughing it, Montreal is well known for housing several award winning hostels. Some of these hostels are expensive, but are quite modern and extremely well kept. Check out Hostelworld.com to see which one fits your budget. This is probably the cheapest way to establish a hub during your stay.
For the extra adventurous, check out couchsurfing.com to stay with hosts in the area, a great way to meet new people, and test out as many couches as possible before having to purchase your own.
Second cheapest option would probably be Airbnb. Montreal is an outstanding place for Airbnb, there is a massive selection so you will be able to find a well rated abode in the location that is closest to all the things that you want to do. Also, for things to do, Airbnb has an “experiences” section where you can find all kinds of activities to check out. I would recommend perusing the experience listings as well.
Eating in Montreal for cheap
Food is something the populous in Montreal takes seriously. You’ll find the greatest Montreal smoked meat sandwiches, decadent ice cream on every corner, and enough poutine to last you for the rest of your life.
Don’t skip Beauty’s diner either! Food in Montreal can vary in price. But the city is known for a relatively affordable cost of living (unlike Toronto) so cheap eats shouldn’t be an issue. Keep an eye out for places that have big, cheap sandwiches that are well made, and can fill you up for less than 10 bucks. If you’ll be cooking from your home-base while you are there, early in your trip stop into the Jean Talon market and stock up on all the goods you’ll need. Ask some locals where the absolute best food is, for the lowest price, and chances are they will have some favorite spots.
Cheap activities in Montreal
Activities wise, the city is your oyster. There is a million things to do in Montreal, and you can do them on the cheap. Make a list prior to travelling of all the things that you would like to visit.
For places that cost money, call them, or visit their websites and see when they have the best deals on such as half-price or free days etc. A tour of the city itself is free and can be fantastic with a large selection of markets and enough public/street art displays to keep you busy for days on end. The hikes are a great way to spend a day as well, for little cost. Mont Royal in particular, the trails are beautiful and the view from the chalet up top is well worth the hike.
Getting around in Montreal
Getting around Montreal can be done affordably with some preplanning.
Rule number one: unless it is absolutely necessary, do not have a vehicle.
If you are able, do your travelling on foot and by bike. The subway system, or metro, is vast, and will get you from A to B in no time for little cost. Traffic can pile up in a hurry there, so if you want to get somewhere quick the best way would be to rent a bixi-bike and hit the streets. Traveling by metro and bike is way faster, and cheaper than by car. If you must drive, for you Alberta people, it is illegal to make a right turn on a red light in Montreal, so don’t do it unless you want some nasty looks. And don’t worry, they do not drive on the other side of the road there.
In a nutshell, these are some simple ways to save a few bucks and still have a great time in Montreal. You’ll find you simply didn’t have enough time to do everything you wanted to do. Your list of activities evolves when you get there and discover things that you weren’t initially aware of.
Best of luck in your travels! Hope you have a terrific time.