This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Ever wondered if there's a big difference between the way Canadians and Europeans travel? Having spent time living on two continents, I've come to realize there's actually some really big differences between travelling in Canada and Europe.
I really didn't expect my travel plans to change that much when I moved from Europe to Canada a few years ago but looking back now, I've noticed huge changes to the way I travel.
In Europe, it was always so easy just to hop on a plane to a completely different country and I wouldn't really think twice about it but with expensive flights and limited vacation days in Canada, it's a completely different ball game.
If you've ever wondered how the two compare, here are some of the biggest ways my approach to travelling has changed since moving to Canada.
I explore my own province so much more
As someone that lived in the U.K. for most of my life, I've actually seen embarrassingly little of my home country. Taking vacations closer to home just didn't feel very exciting and accommodation in the U.K. can be pretty expensive.
The weather in the U.K. also leaves a lot to be desired even in the summer, so I had the mindset that I'd rather spend more money to travel somewhere with guaranteed sunshine, rather than spend a week in a rainy beach town.
However, travelling in Canada means I've taken so much more time exploring the country and the province that I actually live in, rather than opting to hop on a flight to a different country.
The weather in the summer in Alberta is so beautiful that I don't really feel the urge to head anywhere else. It definitely helps that the scenery is unmatched and there are so many outdoor activities to take advantage of.
Making the most of vacation days
In the U.K. I had around 20 vacation days a year excluding public holidays which feels like luxury now. I'd often just take a couple of vacation days here and there to just chill at home without worrying about making the most of it.
In Canada, the average amount of paid time off is just 10 days, according to Canadian Payroll Services, so there's definitely a lot less vacation time to plan for.
Having less PTO since moving to Canada means I have to be way more selective about using it so whenever I'm booking a trip, I really try to maximize weekends and holidays as much as possible.
I also realized that having less time off means you have to do a lot more forward planning. As many Canadians are in the same position with limited vacation days, hotels and flights can often be pricier. If you want to go camping, campsites fill up so quickly on holiday weekends too so I've learnt to book trips as soon as possible.
More frequent, smaller trips
One of the things I've really come to appreciate since moving to Canada is taking way more short weekend trips over long getaways. Having less vacation time makes you really appreciate the days you do have off so taking advantage of smaller chunks of the weekend to head out and explore is the best way I've found to scratch the travel itch.
Since moving, I've had way more weekend trips to different cities. Even just heading out to camp in the mountains on an otherwise normal weekend is a nice way to get a break from my regular schedule without having to eat into my precious vacation days.
To make it possible, I spend a lot more time looking at flight deals with budget airlines if I want to take a city break, or researching some of the most spectacular places to visit in the local area to plan out trips throughout the year.
Road trips over flying
When I lived in Europe, catching a flight was quite literally a breeze. They're pretty affordable and the big hubs like London have flights to basically anywhere you would want to visit in the world.
But anyone that lives in Canada knows the pain of flying in this country. For one, it's huge so even getting from one side to the other takes as long as some international flights. It's also so, so expensive and even budget airlines aren't that affordable sometimes.
I hadn't really done any road trips but now, it's hands down my favourite way to travel in Canada.
A group of friends and I did a road trip from Calgary to British Columbia by car and it was one of my favourite vacations ever. Yes, the days can be long, it can get uncomfortable and there are some incredibly dicey driving conditions, but we got to see so much on our travels that we would have never seen if we'd flown.
You can explore so much without a passport
Because of the sheer scale of Canada, the amount of things you can see and do all within the same country really blows my mind all the time.
When travelling in Canada, you can get to huge cities like Toronto or Vancouver, colossal mountain ranges, stunning European-style cities and soft, sandy beaches, without ever needing to grab a passport.
Even in my own backyard in Alberta, I can get to the stunning peaks and lakes of the Canadian Rockies, big cities and the incredible canyons and rock formations of the Canadian Badlands just with a short drive.
If you want to venture further afield, getting to the United States is also so easy by flying or by car so there's never a lack of vacation options close by.
Taking advantage of remote working
As mentioned, having less vacation days to use in Canada has really been an adjustment and one thing that has helped endlessly in this area is having the flexibility to work remotely.
Having the opportunity to work remotely has made planning long-haul trips so much easier. Being able to work for at least some of the time while travelling means that I know I don't have to use the majority of my vacation days on one trip.
Yes, the time difference can be painful and working odd hours isn't always the most fun but it's so handy to be able to work from a new location.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.