Travelling Outside Montreal

Montreal is not Canada, and Canada is not Montreal. As you can see on this tourism website, Montreal has lots to see but during your stay in Montreal, you should try to see some other cities in Canada. Many students take weekend trips to Québec City, Ottawa or Toronto. At the Infotouriste Office (1001 Square Dorchester, metro Peel) you can get more information about these and other cities.

» Package Tours

If you want to travel to other cities or places in Canada, you might see advertising for tour packages offered by small tour companies. Many of these tours are good, but some are bad. If the price is very cheap, BE CAREFUL. Some of these companies do not have licenses and sometimes they do not give you the services they advertise, and sometimes their buses are not safe. Get as much information as possible about the tour company before you buy a ticket. Ask your classmates about their experiences. Remember, if it seems too cheap, it probably is too cheap.

» Travel Agents

There are many travel agents who can help you plan a trip outside the city. Concordia has a travel agent for students. They specialize in travel for students. It is called Voyage Campus (TravelCUTS in English). It is on the Mezzanine floor of the Hall Building. It is owned by the Canadian Federation of Students, which is Canada’s national student organization. They are open Monday to Friday 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. They can help you find cheap flights and travel using student discounts and hostels. They also sell travel insurance for students.

If you need to get an International Student Identity Card, Voyage Campus can help you. Check their ISIC information on their website.

TravelCUTS / Voyages Campus Website

» Bus

The bus is the cheapest way to travel to cities like Ottawa, Québec City or Toronto. All the buses from Montreal leave from the bus station [Station Centrale] which is above metro Berri-UQAM at 505 de Maisonneuve Boulevard east, at the corner of Berri street. To get schedules of most buses to places in Canada or the USA, go to the Greyhound Canada website and put in the city and the date you want to travel. For Québec City or other places in Québec, go to the Orleans Express website.

In Canada, there are no reservations for bus seats. It is “first-come, first-serve” which means you just have to buy a ticket and get in line to get a seat. For a long bus trip, you should bring a snack and something to drink, since there isn’t anything available for sale on the bus. It is also a good idea to bring an iPod or other mp3 player or a book. Large inter-city buses usually have bathrooms in the back. There is no smoking or alcohol allowed on buses.

» Train

Trains are usually a little faster and more comfortable than buses, but they are a little more expensive. However, Canada’s national passenger train company, Via Rail, often has a 35% youth discount if  you book in advance and show ID (you have to be under 26 years old). If you buy six tickets in advance, you can get a 50% discount. On long weekends and at holiday time, the trains are popular, so you should reserve you tickets in advance. Trains leave from Central Station [Gare Centrale] which is at 895 De La Gauchetière St. West, under the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, near metro Bonaventure. The station is connected to the Underground City.

You can take Via trains to Toronto, Niagara Falls, Québec City, and many other Canadian cities. You can buy food and drinks on the trains, but you can bring your own. Trains going long distances have restaurant cars and you can pay extra to have a place to sleep. There is no smoking on trains.

To go to the United States by train, you can take Amtrak trains from Montreal.

» Renting a Car

To do some travelling it is better to rent a car. You can do it if you have a driver’s license and a credit card. If you have an International Driving Permit, you can use it. When you rent a car, you need to get insurance for each day you rent the car. Some credit cards (especially gold cards) include rental car insurance when you use them, so check first because you can save a lot of money. Usually when you rent there is a daily charge and there may or may not be a charge for every kilometre.

When you get the car, you should have a close look at it to make sure there are no scratches or other damage. If there is any problem, make sure the worker from the car rental company makes a note of the damage. When you get the car, it is full of gas, and when you return it, it should also be full of gas. Some car rental companies have a free pick-up service. This means they will come to your home to pick you up to take you to get the car.

There are many car rental companies that rent many different kinds of cars. Here are some: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Discount, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Thrifty, Viaroute

These companies have older (and cheaper) cars: Bazoo, Rent-a-Wreck

» Airport

Montreal now has one airport for domestic and international flights: Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport. It used to be called Dorval airport, and some people still call it that. If you want to check flight schedules check this website.

To go to the airport there are different choices. If you have a monthly OPUS card, or a weekly or day pass, you can take the special STM Airport Bus (#747) to and from Montreal-Trudeau Airport. If you have no pass, you can pay $8 (coins only) on the bus. It has special racks for suitcases. The bus starts at the bus station at Metro Berri-UQAM, and makes several stops along René-Lévesque Blvd. (including a stop near Concordia, at Guy Street). Then  it makes one more stop at Metro Lionel-Groulx, then goes directly to the airport. Depending on the time of day, it takes about 20 minutes from Lionel-Groulx to the airport. You can get Express Bus 747  schedule here (pdf).

If you aren’t going alone, maybe you can take a taxi, since it is faster and more convenient. There is one price from downtown to the airport: $38.00 (plus tip). You can call a taxi company or catch one on the street. If you aren’t downtown, the driver will use the meter, which is $3.30 to start, $1.60 per kilometre, and $0.60 per minute stopped in traffic. If you live closer to the airport, the meter is cheaper than the $38 downtown price. If you don’t know the number of a taxi company, try calling 310-TAXI (8294).

» Airlines

To get information or to reserve flights, you can check these Canadian airline websites:

Air Canada flies all over Canada and to many international cities, too.

WestJet is based in western Canada, but flies to many Canadian cities.

Porter Airlines flies to Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

For other airlines, please search on the internet or check Expedia to find flights.

For information about these cities, click below:

Ottawa

Québec City

Toronto

Niagara Falls

Prince Edward Island (PEI)

Halifax

New York City

Boston

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