Yrene lives in the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, and is the founder of BackcountryCanadaTravel.com. She was born in Switzerland, lived and worked on different continents and has travelled the world. Yes, that's me, an Entrepreneur, wilderness nut and animal lover who prefers off-the-beaten-track places. I write about things I love. Mostely.
Canadian Travel Company for Budget Backpackers – meet Jared from Out Here Travel
Canada has only a limited offer in ways of budget travel for backpackers. Therefore I’m excited to interview Jared about his new travel company Out Here Travel.
After many years in a conventional job, Jared decided to share his outdoor experience and the amazing country Canada with travellers and adventurers from around the world and start a Travel Company.
Yrene: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your passion for Canada?
Jared: I grew up a short drive from downtown Toronto, Ontario; a lively metropolitan city with amazing restaurants, entertainment and luckily not too far from what I consider the best part of Canada – the great outdoors. My father loves canoe trip camping. When I was six years old I found myself with him on a nine-day adventure in Temagami, a place in Northeastern Ontario. It was majestic. I fell in love with the backcountry, outdoors, adventure and Canada! From the smell of the forest to the crackling of a campfire.
What’s your background?
My first summer job was guiding kids on multi-day canoe trips in the backcountry of Ontario, including famous Killarney and Algonquin Park. After going to the University of Western Ontario, I spent some time in business consulting followed by many years at a large technology company. I lived in San Francisco for five years, but am ecstatic to be back in Toronto and exploring Canada. Most recently I was in Haida Gwaii, BC, the Mountain River, NWT, not to mention exploring all the east coast provinces.
How did you get into this? Where did the idea of starting ‘Out Here Travel’ come from?
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go backpacking growing up. While travelling I would always ask my international friends what they thought about Canada and if they planned to visit. The answers were consistent – it is too hard and expensive to get around without a car. I don’t know where to go beyond the big popular cities (e.g., Toronto, Montreal). There aren’t any backpacker travel companies that appeal to my desire for flexible travel.
I love Canada and know the far-flung places. It dawned on me, why not fix this and help folks have a great Canadian experience, reconnect with nature and disconnect from technology.
What are your trips like? How are they different from others?
This isn’t a conventional tour – but a hybrid of transport with guided support. Our buses take you to far-flung places, cool cities, and beautiful national parks across the country. We help arrange accommodations for you – many in advance which you can change. We provide you transport to all the cool spots and activities on optional day trips. But the trip is built around flexibility and providing you a good amount of control. Want to stay in different accommodation nearby or go on a different hike on a day trip? Cool! We will get you there (within reason of course).
What part of Canada are you operating in? Where do the trips start? Where do your trips go?
We operate in the central and east coast of Canada – Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland. You can venture to all of those regions, or a subset depending on the trip length and starting point. We visit large cities like Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, and Quebec City (not to mention taking you to the surrounding areas). We explore more out of the way regions like Algonquin Park, the Laurentians, Gaspesie, Cabot Trail, Tadoussac, and the Bay of Fundy.
Our trips generally start in Toronto, Montreal or Halifax, but if you want to get picked up along the route just give us a call, shoot us an email and we will see what we can do.
How long are the trips?
Summer trips are between 14 and 26+ days long. Our winter trips are shorter and usually about 5 days, built around specific activities like dog sledding or skiing. We believe in helping you experience the places. We don’t rush and usually spend two nights in each spot.
What is included in the price of the trip and what additional expenses should I expect?
Our trip fees cover transport for the entire trip including optional day trips to cool hikes, national parks and activities. We also help book and arrange our preferred accommodation for you along the route.
However, accommodation, food, and paid activities (e.g., rafting) are not included in our price. You pay the provider directly. Lots of activities are free, accommodation will be reasonable (e.g., hostels) and if you are on a tight budget, you’ll be able to go grocery shopping and cook your own meals.
What type of accommodation do you stay at?
You get to stay in a variety of types of accommodations. Our recommended accommodation in cities are hostels. In the far-flung places, it varies between lodge style hostels, camping or cool rustic cabins. Most of the time you can choose your own accommodation – but the options recommended and availability will vary depending on the location and season. High season is notoriously tricky and difficult to find great places to stay. Also, don’t worry about tents when group camping is an option. We have you covered.
How many additional guides will you be working with? What’s their experience level and what is the minimum skills required of the guides?
This upcoming season, I will be your guide! Want to get to know me before joining up – just shoot me an email and we can chat. All guides will be well versed in Canada, experienced travellers, have real Canadian camping experience, and most importantly be awesome friendly people that want to show you a great time.
What’s the general profile of your participants?
Our trips are built for backpackers and adventurers that like immersing themselves in local experiences but also want flexibility and options. The majority of travellers will between 20 or 30 something. Many folks will be solo travellers, while others will be in two to three-person groups. Activities vary in physical capability requirements. You don’t have to be an Olympian or anything, just in reasonable shape to enjoy them.
What is the group size of a trip? Maximum numbers and client-to-guide ratio?
Each trip will have one driver guide that will take you to all the amazing spots, day trips and activities. For summer trips there will between 15-20 people with you. We think that this is an optimal number for social dynamics and trip flexibility. Winter trips will usually be smaller.
What is your commitment to responsible tourism or ecotourism?
We are strongly committed to responsible tourism and ecotourism. This includes taking care of the outdoors. We are strong proponents of no-trace camping, keeping a low carbon footprint, and working with local activity and accommodation providers. However, there is still lots for us to do to formalize this.
Any last words?
For anyone that has the opportunity to visit Canada – whether with Out Here, another provider, or on your own – have an unbelievable time and keep on exploring. Let us know your favourite experiences or reach out with any questions you might have and we will gladly answer as best we can.
Travel, paddle and adventure on.
Interested in learning more about Jared and his favourite places and experiences around Canada? Check out his blog Out Here Travel.
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