A theme of this grand odyssey has established itself early and with gusto, this being the need to exist on a budget.
After several days of parking fines, plush ferries, and one hygienic intervention courtesy of Airbnb, the need assumed an ever more pressing gravity upon arrival at the first major city on our route: Vancouver, BC.
We scrimped so hard that I thought it appropriate to share tips on the subject. So, here is how we coped:
- Accommodation: Overnight parking on Granville Island. Pay the measly sum of $15 for 24 hours of quiet luxury in one of Vancouver’s most under appreciated hideaways. Escape the downtown tourist trap and take in views of the city’s less trodden waterways, all only a quick jaunt over the Granville Street Bridge from Vancouver main.
- Washing: False Creek Community Center. Three minutes’ walk from the car park mentioned above, this charming centre complete with community vibe offers hot showers, a sauna, and fitness centre – all for $4.75. BYO soap.
- Travel: Mobi Vancouver Bike Share. Though you have to download an app for this activity (the phone battery required for which ofc comes at a premium when sleeping in a car park), you won’t regret it when you’re cruising through some otherwise out of the way neighbourhood in search of falafel and feeling the wind in your hair. Cost: $7.50 for 24 hours of max 30 mins rides.
- Nature: Stanley Park. Cruise through Stanley Park’s 405 hectares of lush woodland for your dose of pollen and panoramic views of the city & Bay. Remain in the car to avoid parking fees, or else it’s a quick park and dash to Prospect Point Lookout for your required photographic memento.
- Culture: Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG). Swing by CAG for a taste of Canadian contemporary art from emerging local artists you might not have heard of. Enjoy all this visual stimulation without reaching for your purse because admission is 100% free.
- Coffee/snacks: Nelson the Seagull. Coffee here is deliciously inexpensive. Lots of space for digital nomads to recharge their batteries and ponder the point of their pursuits. Offset the indulgence of your coffee break by participating in the cafe’s scheme of paying for an extra coffee, so that someone unable to afford it can collect one free of charge.
- Materialism: Haven; Livestock; Neighbour; Roden Gray. Sample the high life by visiting Vancouver’s wealth of hip stores for clothing/furniture/books etc, and leaving without actually buying things.
- Food: Freshslice Pizza. $1.50 per slice and, as one google reviewer put it, ‘Delicious. lol’.
- Entertainment: Live music at Guilt & Co. Rest your weary bones in this dark and cosy joint, and enjoy live music most nights of the week. Come thru when the entrance fee is ‘pay what you can’, and whatever you decide to fork over goes straight to the performer(s).
There you have it. Not an exhaustive list but you will be pleasantly exhausted should you try to cram all the above into one short city break. Get in touch if you know of any other fun & free Vancouver fundamentals!