Welcome to a new series we’re running on Why Wait, called How Much Does it Cost to Travel?
The goal of this series is to provide you with real budgets people have used for trips they have actually taken. This could be anything from a long weekend in Miami to 6 months backpacking around South East Asia. It’s our hope that by shining a spotlight on what people are actually spending- and the value they get for it, you will have a better idea of what it really costs to travel.
All of the travel budgets will live on this dedicated page.
If you’re interested in contributing to this series please send me an email using the contact form on the site.
Today’s budget is from Rachel of the Blonde Wayfarer blog.
Where did you go?
Montreal, Canada. I’m a teacher so I need to plan my trips around the school calendar. Every year, I have a short autumn break in November. I didn’t have enough time to fly to France (haha), so I decided to check out Montreal for a long weekend! I had a wonderful time. Montreal is a great city for solo female travelers. Fantastic food, fun museums, busy nightlife, etc. And autumn was stunning. Colorful leaves everywhere!
Briefly, what was your itinerary?
I only stayed in Montreal. I didn’t even do a day trip. To be honest, I wanted to go to Quebec City, but didn’t have time! My city stay in Montreal lasted four days, which turned out to be the perfect amount of time. I saw all the main attractions, including The Old Port of Montreal, McGill University, Mont Royal, and Notre-Dame Basilica, and still had a few hours to spare for other activities.
How much money did you spend overall?
Flight: $200. Sadly USA-Canada flights can be expensive. Keep in mind I used $100 in miles for this ticket, so I would’ve been paying $300 if I didn’t have Chase Sapphire on my side.
Accommodation: $372. I stayed at M Montreal – which is a super chic and fun hostel – but I booked a private room. Hence the higher price. I would’ve saved more money if I stayed in the dorm.
Metro Fare: $12. I used the metro the last two days of my trip.
Souvenirs: $50. I bought a Christmas ornament for my tree, and a Montreal Canadiens Hat. Which I lost a month later. Boo.
Activities: $135. $40 for a local food tour and $95 for a Montreal Canadiens hockey game.
Food: Around $80. M Montreal’s free breakfast definitely saved me some money!
How much did you spend on transportation?
Both the flights and metro cost approximately $212. I walked a heck of a lot to avoid paying for cabs.
What kind of accommodation did you stay in?
I stayed at M Montreal, which is a highly ranked hostel and a load of fun. I love hostels, but I’m at an age (sigh) where dorms don’t appeal much to me anymore. So I stayed in a private ensuite room. My private room cost $77 on Wednesday and Thursday, but then jumped to $105 on Friday and Saturday.
What sort of activities did you do?
A lot! Some activities were free. For example, hiking to the top of Mount Royal was a wonderful way to spend a Fall afternoon, and the experience didn’t cost me a single penny. However, I also budgeted for a food tour at Mile End and a Saturday night hockey game. Actually, that last part’s a lie. The hockey game I splurged on a whim after I met a fun travel buddy on my food tour. Which leads us to …
What did you splurge on? Was it worth it?
The Montreal Canadiens game. I definitely wasn’t expecting to spend $95 for tickets, but after I formed a bond with another traveler (you know how it is), we both decided to go. I’ve loved hockey ever since I was a little girl. My dad always took me to Flyers games in Philadelphia. So I knew I wouldn’t regret experiencing a hockey game in Montreal. I had an amazing time. The fans, the atmosphere, everything was fantastic. It was well worth the cash.
I suppose you could count booking a private room instead of a dorm bed as “splurging” too. For me, it was totally worth it. I still met people, but I also had my privacy to unwind in the evenings. Plus, not dealing with snorers paid for itself, trust me.
What did you scrimp on? Are you happy with that decision?
I scrimped on food a little bit. I’m very shy about solo dining in restaurants, especially fancy ones, so I tried to eat in more affordable “low key” cafes. I even ate a banana and nutella crepe for dinner one night! I’m totally fine with my decision, though. I feel like I experienced Montreal’s amazing food on my Mile End tour.
And I scrimped on taxis. My own two feet worked just fine.
Did you purchase any special souvenirs?
Yes! I bought a hat at the hockey game! I lost it in New Jersey, though. Oh well.
Did you do anything special to save up for this trip?
Not really, which is bad, because I had just moved into a new (and pricey) apartment. Normally I set aside $20 – $40 a week for travel, but …
Do you have any regrets regarding how you budgeted this trip? Would you do things differently next time?
Sort of. In the future, I would track my spending a bit more carefully. I didn’t “cut” any purchases when I decided to go to the hockey game, which meant I had to watch my cashflow in December. I’m mindful of my budget on longer trips, but since this was a long weekend to Montreal, I found I didn’t care about my spending habits. I do the same exact thing when I go to New York City or Philadelphia for an afternoon, because my mind rationalizes that I can’t do much damage to my bank account in a short amount of time. Uh. Wrong.
Anything else to add?
Count your money, but not calories in Montreal. Poutine is awesome.