• Ala Grace

Vancouver On A Budget

This being the second time in the 6 months of being in Canada we've had a brief stay in Vancouver, the first being when we initially flew into Vancouver from Brisbane, Australia. That flight took us 13 hours and 30 minutes - so fair warning to those of you looking to make the snow change to Canada, I would thoroughly recommend a lay over to break up the monotonous flight pattern!

I have to admit my first opinions on Vancouver were a lot like my thoughts of Sydney, Australia. Busy. Commercial. At times dirty. Hustle and Bustle. Multi-Cultural. Some of these points can been seen as a negative but I would thoroughly recommend visiting these places to gain valuable perspective on the things we have a tendency to take for granted. You will witness more home-less people on the streets and setting up camp in parks than ever before! Traveling can be draining in many ways, physically and mentally not to mention a quick and efficient way to deplete ye old wallet! So many of the activities we have done are affordable and completely in your reach.

If you had only a small amount of time in Van I would thoroughly recommend visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge! An experience that I will surely never forget, the time I went was just before Christmas, so not only did we walk across a 140m bridge suspended above gushing rapids but we also climbed the most glorious tree houses all covered in the glistening lights of Christmas!

I would also suggest looking on Groupon for ticket deals within entry to this attraction or really any where you plan to adventure, I can not profess my love enough for how handy Groupon is - it is a terrific tool to have in your arsenal whilst traveling on a budget!

The View From A Top Of The Tree House

Looking Over The 70m High Capilano Suspension Bridge

If sticking to ground level is more your style than possibly a bike tour around Stanley Park is more your pace? There would have had to been at least one bike shop on every block we walked upon in down-town Van. Another trick of the trade is to pop into the local Tourist Information Centre in where you are visiting. Where you will find brochures and booklets on the specific City you are in. Usually you can find coupons for discounts like Bike hire and many more! Tandem biking had always been on our to-do list so whilst we had the opportunity we thought it was a smart idea to do the biking tour ourselves.

The one time I actually decided to steer in the font was the one time we almost ran into all the other riders on that path and have two fully grown adults thrown off their bike - yes everyone I am extremely talented, as you can tell.

NOTE TO SELF: Do not underestimated how heavy a tandem bike really is.

Our most recent four day stint in Vancouver meant that we only had a few days to enjoy what the locals call 'North Hollywood'. I have been told this name comes from the fact that Vancouver is a common area for Television and Movie production, I would imagine that Hollywood values the vast space that Vancouver offers not to mention when you cast a multi-million dollar movie such as 'Deadpool' or 'Fifty Shades Freed' - both of which have been filmed in Vancouver - the hundreds of jobs that ensure a great production comes to pass will become locally available resulting in a booming economy and local profit! As you can imagine the movie junkie in me was absolutely amazed by even walking on the same pavement as those movie maker master-minds - Try saying that 5x faster!

Never fear astronomical lovers we also visited the Science World British Columbia, just to mix it up not mention we travel in a pack of four - two of us being two nerdy boys with an obsession with all things mechanics and science! This 15 minute walk from down-town, $25 per adult admission saw us spending 2 hours inside this life sized play ground, all from walking through the various exhibitions and lectures.

Don't underestimate the miraculous ability just walking the streets and window shopping or sitting in the park under the sun whilst eating home-made sandwiches can have in relieving those cabin-fever blues! Try taking the Sea bus from Waterfront Station in down-town Vancouver to Lonsdale Quay North Vancouver. This 15 minute ferry ride will take you to what I consider to be one of Van's most unknown hidden treasures! Plus I am a sucker for a good market stall and a waffle ice cream cone. Hey look, I didn't say I was the greatest at budgeting did I?

When it came time for us to seek accommodation in Vancouver it became apparent pretty quickly that the further you travel from down-town the cheaper the places seemed to be. Again just like in my last blog entry I mentioned the marvels of AirBnB so with a little research we found a modern 'bunker-style' condo in the neighbouring suburb Burnaby. And with the affordable availability of trains and buses we just made the commute into where we wanted to adventure that day! I would also recommend the HI Hostel for your accommodating refuge, Hostel's usually have such a bad wrap but all the experiences I have had been clean and comfortable. After all it is what you make it!

Here's the thing right, when you are looking for places to stay don't forget that they are really only a place to rest your head. So make the cuts where you can in order to spend where your wishes lay.

Until Next Time

- Liz x

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