Travelling in Canada by bus or by train

Canada is a big country. At 9.98 million sq km, it’s the second largest country in the world, more expansive than the US, but not as big as Russia. So if you’re planning to see much of the country, you’ll need to allow yourself a little extra time.

With 3694 km (2295 miles) separating Montreal from Vancouver, you’ll also need to to figure out how you’re going to get around. Because you’ll definitely want to get around, to discover Canada’s many different regions, different environments, different accents, food and people.

Of course, there are a number of options when it comes to travelling in Canada. You can go by bus, train, plane, car, boat, bike, and so on. Despite the vast distances, travelling by air is perhaps the least common in Canada, as the price of airfare is exorbitant and oftentimes prohibitive. The most common mode of transportation in Canada is actually the bus. With numerous routes and bus lines in and between all the bigger cities, the bus turns out to be the most convenient and reasonably priced means of transportation.

Buses in Canada

Taking the bus in Canada is not only the most affordable way to travel, but it also offers the greatest number of destinations. Several bus companies offer to travel in Canada and to the USA.

  • Greyhound: They have more than 3100 locations in North America. You can get up to 50% discount by booking in advance. Discounts are available for students, families, web bookings.
  • Coach Canada: Fewer destinations than Greyhound. The company offers city sightseeing tours in Montreal, NYC, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
  • Amtrak: Serving a multitude of American destinations.
  • Orleans Express
  • Ontario Northland: Only for Ontario.

Trains in Canada

You can also chose to travel by train. They are a bit more expensive and somewhat slower than buses (especially when you consider the long distances between the bigger cities in Canada), but they are more comfortable. If you prefer to take the train, there is only one company: VIA RAIL.

If you plan to see a lot of Canada in a short period of time, you can get a CanRailpass. There are three different passes:

  • Base: Choose between 7 or 10 one-way Economy or Escape fare tickets. To be used within a 60 day period. Limited seat availability. Prices for Quebec City – Windsor corridor $329 /$439 , or for all of Canada $761 / $989. Discounts available for students and seniors.
  • Extra: Choose between 7 or 10 one-way Economy or Escape fare tickets—plus, Economy Plus fare seats can be booked as of 12:01 a.m. PT or 3:01 a.m. ET the day before departure. To be used within a 60 day period.Prices for Quebec City – Windsor corridor $406 /$549 , or for all of Canada $846 / $1099. Discounts available for students and seniors.
  • Unlimited: Travel anywhere on the VIA network, as often as you want (seats must be booked in Escape or Economy fare). To be used within a 60 day period. Prices for Quebec City – Windsor corridor $769 , or for all of Canada $1429. Discounts available for students and seniors.

Other ways of getting around

If trains and busses aren’t your thing, you may want to check out some of our other articles about travelling in Canada by planerenting a cargoing on a boatriding a bicycle.

Photo credit: Scott Webb (Unsplash)

About the Author:

Fred Hornaday took a road trip from California to Wisconsin for his first birthday party. Since then, his itch to travel has led him on numerous cross country and transcontinental adventures throughout North America and Europe. He met his wife in Germany, got married in Denmark, and honeymooned in Colombia. He knows a thing or two about international travel and relocation.

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