Toronto Budget Travel

Photo of Toronto Budget Travel by Quy Tran

Toronto, the most culturally diverse city in the world

Toronto, the largest city in Canada and the most culturally diverse. Home to a dynamic mix of tourist attractions, museums, and galleries, with dozens of distinct cultural neighborhoods. Toronto is a haven for foodies, serving up food from all over the world. You can travel the world without leaving Toronto. The kicker? – The city magically transforms season to season, from summer music concerts and festivals, to Christmas Markets and winter activities, leaving you with a new experience every season.

Toronto is also not a cheap place to visit. With an average home price hovering around $1M and rent prices steadily climbing, this translates to a higher cost of living, and more money spent on travel, entertainment and accommodations.

Want to travel without blowing a hole in your wallet? – We have you covered.

1. Skip the Rental from the airport

Toronto is a vibrant city and easily walkable by foot or public transit. Driving will just add to your stress, and the price of parking almost everywhere you go in Toronto will quickly put a dent on your bank account.

Catch a 25-minute train from Pearson airport to downtown Toronto (Union Station) every 15-30 minutes for under $13 CAD using UP Express (Union Pearson Express). Feeling fancy? Call an Uber or Lyft for around $50 to downtown with pick-up right at the airport passenger pickup.

Photo of Toronto Budget Travel 1/4 by Quy Tran

2. Avoid large hotel chains

Toronto’s charm is in its quaint neighborhoods and mom and pop shops.

Where name brand hotels can run you $300-$400 a night, an Airbnb could easily cost less than $150, and even less if you leave the downtown area. Choose hotels outside the city core if you enjoy the conveniences of a hotel but still want to save a buck.

3. Take the metro (TTC- Toronto Transit Commission), or bike around the city

Toronto has an intricate network of streetcars (trams), buses, and subways.

You can buy a presto card and load it at any vending machine in all TTC subway stations to access the TTC network. $3.25 for a one-way ride, or $13.50 for a day pass.

Bikeshare has gained popularity over the summer, with bike lanes expanding rapidly around the city. Get a 72-hour pass for $15, or $7 for a 24-hour pass, which allows convenient access to over 6,500 bikes and 625 bike stations. The access pass allows you unlimited 30-minute, station to station trips.

4. Trinkets and souvenirs

You can’t visit Toronto without visiting Chinatown and Kensington market, so you can use this opportunity to pick up your souvenirs. Its much cheaper than buying it at tourist attractions.

5. Eating out

The best part of being a tourist, and not being confined to a 9-5 job is that you can eat out whenever you want. When we travel, we eat at all crazy hours of the day, which often means eating out during off peak. Many restaurants will have lunch specials, happy hours, or late-night deals. Use Dealiem to find and locate these deals for you.

Photo of Toronto Budget Travel 2/4 by Quy Tran

Save up to 50% on many of your favorite dishes and drinks, like half-price wine, buck-a-shuck oysters, and burger and beer deals.

6. Tours and tourist attractions

Many tourist attractions will have free admission during specific times of the day. While tourist attractions are currently closed due to the COVID pandemic, you can also use Dealiem and select things to do in the drop down when the pandemic is over to find free things to do around the city.

The Aga Khan, the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Gardner museum, and even the Royal Ontario Museum will have free admission to parts of their galleries on certain days.

7. Self-guided Walks

One of our favorite things to do on vacation is to research a place, and then do a self-guided tour ourselves.

The Distillery District is a must visit iconic neighborhood with Victorian era charm, and has things to do year round.

Photo of Toronto Budget Travel 3/4 by Quy Tran

The Evergreen Brickworks offers fantastic views of the city, with amazing hiking trails that zip across the city.

Photo of Toronto Budget Travel 4/4 by Quy Tran

Kensington market, Chinatown, City Hall, and the Toronto Eaton Centre are other great walkable destinations and are located in relative close proximity to each other.