Travel is something I always would love to do more of but there always limitations on what you can do depending on the budget that you have. During our recent trip to Hamilton & Toronto, Ontario we found ourselves looking for the most cost effective ways to travel. We found that most of our cost went into transportation, and if I were to travel to Hamilton, Ontario again there are for sure a few things I would change in terms of transportation.
I feel like on this trip we did a lot of, “That wasn’t the best idea”, things. This allowed us to learn the hard way, unfortunately spend more money then we had expected, but overall learn from our mistakes. Which best of all, now I can share that wisdom with you.
As we were flying from Abbotsford, BC to Hamilton, Ontario you can see that it was quite the trek. So let’s talk about everything from getting there, where to stay, the best ways to travel once you are there, and some cost effective activities to do while visiting. I hope you can take advantage of these budget friendly ways to explore and discover Hamilton, Ontario and have a great stay.
Thank you so much to Flair Airlines and Carmens Hotel for partnering with me on this post. As always all views and opinions are my own.
How to Save Money When Travelling to Hamilton, Ontario
Fly into Hamilton, Ontario
If you are coming into Hamilton, Ontario from across Canada the most affordable flights are hands down by Flair Airlines, relatively new airline. Flair Air prides itself of being a budget friendly way to travel and provides the most affordable flights when searching for flights into Hamilton. Another bonus, is that you can fly to and from smaller airports with Flair Air, instead of having to go to Toronto, spending money a taxi, gas, etc to get into the city of Hamilton.
A little bonus: As a mother, I loved seeing how many families were using the airline, making me feel comfortable and welcome to return on a trip with my children. The flight attendants were all very accommodating and friendly making the atmosphere relaxed and enjoyable.
Transportation to Your Hotel
If you aren’t an avid taxi user you will be surprised, like I was, at the cost that it is to take a taxi places. Gulp, that was expensive! This is one area where if we planned better we could have saved a lot of money. Think hundreds. Since never visiting the city we weren’t sure what traffic was like and avoided renting a car in fear of stress. Mistake. Renting a car would have saved us not only getting from the airport to our hotel the first night, but as well would have led to a lot more freedom while travelling the city and saving money overall. If renting a car isn’t an option for you, look up the bus schedule (which I learned is very easy to do from your phone gps) and get familiar with it. You could be spending $3 to get to point A – point B instead of $50.
Keep in mind that if you are arriving late at night and renting a car isn’t an option then you may have to go with a taxi ride that first night as public transit won’t be available.
Choosing Your Hotel
Since the public transit is so great in Ontario it makes it easy for anyone to get around from their hotel. Determine your needs for your stay and save money by choosing a location that makes the most sense. We stayed at Carmens Group, a Best Western Premium Hotel, and loved that the location was easy to get into both Hamilton and Toronto. As we spend a day in both cities, it was important for us to be in area with easy access to the train to Toronto as well as close to the Downtown Hamilton area. Carsons is a very reasonably priced hotel for families on a budget, they have a gym, pool and very delicious Italian restaurant.
Book a Room With a Kitchenette
Transportation and food are always where you are going to spend the most money travelling. You can save money on meals if you are planning ahead on your meals and using what is provided for you at the hotel. Even though it might cost a bit more to book a room with a kitchenette it will save you money in the end if you utilize it, even if it’s just for one meal a day.
Travelling into Toronto, Ontario
If you decide that you also want to visit Toronto, Ontario as well as Hamilton (not a bad idea) then this tip is for you. There is a train that can take you from Hamilton to Toronto. The train takes about an hour and costs under $15 to get there. It was $48 for the two of us to get a return ticket. This is a huge saver. Compare that to a $150 + taxi ride, that we had to take because we missed the train (I told you we learnt things the hard way). Make sure to arrive on time, as the train leaves right on schedule, leaving about once every hour.
Transportation around Downtown Hamilton
We got to spend a day Downtown Hamilton and one of the first things I noticed was the bike share program. If you haven’t used one of these before, they are amazing. Not only do you get to save money here, but you also get a wicked workout and get to see more of the city. Goal for my next visit is to take the whole day to tour around the city like I did in Portland, Oregon on a recent visit. You can look up the app and download it before your visit to get an idea of how much it costs and where you can find different bike stations.
Did you know that Hamilton, Ontario is known as the “Waterfall capital of Canada”? I didn’t either. Not until I started researching places to go in Hamilton and realized that there are a large number of gorgeous waterfalls that are all relatively close together. We didn’t have time to see them all but we did get to visit one. Keep in mind, when you search these waterfall locations, you will have to hike to the base of them, where appropriate footwear. (Another moment that could have been better planned on our end)
Both of these waterfalls are on the same trail. The first one was right near the start of the Chedoke trail and then the second one is the base of the main Chedoke Waterfall. Both so beautiful.
Discover Locke Street
The Locke Street Shops are absolutely worth the visit. We spent a few hours walking up and down the little strip popping into the cutest boutique shops along the way. You can spend a whole afternoon popping into one shop to the next.
Picnic by the Waterfront
Pick up some food from a local grocer and bring it down to the waterfront. There are such gorgeous views that you can soak up while you snack and connect with the person you are travelling with.
Fly Back Home
Before you go, keep your eye on the flights both to and from Hamilton on Flair Airlines website. Follow their social media updates to ensure you are going to get the best deal at the time of travel. Book a round trip and plan your way back to the airport ahead of time to make sure you are getting the most budget friendly return.
* Side note: Don’t leave your wallet in your hotel room only to find out once you arrive at the airport, it is not cost effective to pay the taxi driver to turn around and get it (learnt that the hard way, face palm!)
I hope this has inspired you a little bit to plan ahead, I sure wish we did! Next time I head back into Hamilton you better believe I will be following these tips, saving money where I can. Happy travels!
Share with me in the comments below any of your favorite places to go or things to do in Hamilton, Ontario.