Vancouver is the second most expensive city in Canada after Toronto. However Vancouver rarely ranks in the top 50 of worldwide city surveys. Overseas visitors will find Vancouver much cheaper than all the main European and Asian cities and better value than popular American destinations such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

A strong Canadian dollar means higher prices for visitors but unless you are planning to buy a house in Vancouver, prices for most things are moderate.


Accommodation rates in Vancouver


After your flight, accommodation will be the priciest part of your trip. Staying downtown is the most expensive option when staying in Vancouver but it is also the most convenient. You’ll cut down on travel costs and food and travel expenses aren’t much more expensive than in the surrounding cities and suburbs.

Like most places the accommodation prices sky-rocket in the summer and the best deals to be had are from October to April. All accommodation prices quoted below are the peak season rates and include taxes.

     › Hostels (dormitories): $35 a night
     › Hostels (private rooms): $80 to $100 a night
     › Bed & breakfasts: $160 to $300 a night
     › Three-star hotels: $180 to $250 a night
     › Five-star plus luxury: $400 plus a night


When looking for a room make sure you add the tax and service fees (which are about 15% of the basic room rate) before you make a booking.


Food


If money is tight, it is possible to eat out in Vancouver for $30 a day without resorting to fast food value meals. But if you want to live a little, a budget of $40 to $50 a day is more realistic.

A coffee and a muffin from a coffee shop will set you back about $7 for breakfast. Vancouver’s numerous sushi restaurants offer lunch specials and bento boxes for under $10 and lots of cafes offer soup and a sandwich for around the same price. In the evening you can enjoy a main course at a good ethnic restaurant for under $15. Alcohol is expensive and a beer or wine with your meal will boost your bill significantly.

     › Small cappuccino: $3 to $3.50
     › Small latte: $3 to $3.50
     › Muffin: $2.25 to $3
     › Burger meal deal: $6 to $7.50
     › Pizza slice: From $1.50
     › Bottled pop/soft drink: $1.90 to $2.50
     › Bottled juice: $2.20 - $2.50
     › Bottled water: $1.20 to $1.50
     › Six-pack of cheap brand beer: $11 to $13
     › Six-pack of micro-brew beer: $13 to $17


The Cost of Travel in Vancouver


Public transit is cheap in Vancouver. One transit ticket is good for use on buses, the SeaBus and SkyTrain and you can use the same ticket within a single zone for 90 minutes. If you plan to do a lot of travel by public transit, buy a book of FareSaver tickets to save money.

     › One zone travel: $2.50
     › Two zone travel: $3.75
     › DayPass (all zones) $9
     › One zone FareSaver tickets (10): $21
     › Two zone FareSaver tickets (10): $31.50


Vancouver Taxis


Short trips across town (5km) in light traffic will cost just under $15 including a tip.


Gas


Gas prices in British Columbia are more expensive than cities in eastern provinces. Prices at the pump are much cheaper than in Europe but around 25% more than the United States. Over the last 3 years, prices have yo-yoed between $1.05 a litre to $1.45.


Entertainment in Vancouver


     › Cinema tickets: $9 to $12
     › Galleries & museums: $10 to $20
     › Other visitor attractions: $12 to $28


Outdoor Equipment Rental


It’s easy to enjoy the outdoors in Vancouver. There are several bike and in-line skate rentals close to Stanley Park and kayak hire is available at Deep Cove, Granville Island, Sunset Beach and Jericho Beach during the summer.

     › Bike rental: $17 to $40 for a half day
     › Inline skate rental: From $5 an hour
     › Kayaks rental: $30 to $38 for two hours


Taxes


The BC sales tax of 12% is applied to most goods and services.


Tipping


The standard tip rate is 15% for taxis, bars and restaurants.