Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Budgeting for Yukon!

I can’t believe we leave on our Yukon adventure in 2 days! There’s so much to do – like make a few batches of granola bars, make sure my kombucha will stay alive, write at least 3 blog posts for while I’m gone – plus we still have to clean out my car and pack.

The last week has been filled with running errands: trips to MEC, finalizing accommodation, getting my car tuned up, and buying dry goods that we want to bring up with us. I’m a bit concerned about how cold it will be up north. We’re a bit spoiled with weather here on the west coast, and I’m afraid I don’t really know what the cold feels like.

With all of this planning, you’d think we’d have a budget in place for this vacation, but we didn’t … until last night. I know, I feel a bit ashamed about that. But I had a rough idea of how much it was going to cost (a lot), and once I actually plugged those numbers into a spreadsheet, our 3+ week trip is actually turning out to be quite reasonable.

The first column below shows our combined expenses, and then the next column is obviously what we are projecting it will cost us individually. $2,000 for a 3-week holiday is okay with me!

Yukon Trip
Accommodation $1,350 $675
Car Maintenance $400 $200
Gas $900 $450
Food $700 $350
Entertainment $300 $150
Supplies $200 $100
Miscellaneous $150 $75
$4,000 $2,000

A few things to note:

  • All of our accommodation is booked. We are alternating between camping, AirBnB, and hotels for the first 2 weeks of our trip. The last week we’ll actually be staying with RD’s family, so accommodation is provided. :)
  • We took my car to a mechanic who did my 100km service, an oil change, and made sure the car was running smoothly for our trip.
  • Without any deviation from our route, we will drive approximately 6,900km. Chances are we will be well over 7,000km once the trip is over – which is a crazy amount of driving. But the drive is part of the adventure.
  • We chose to stay at AirBnBs so that we could have access to a kitchen. My hope is that we’ll buy groceries and be able to make our own breakfast and lunch most days. I’d definitely like to go out for dinner when we’re in the bigger towns, but for some of the more remote locations, we will have to plan. We have packaged dinners for the nights we’re camping.
  • Most of our entertainment will be free because we’re there to hike and explore. :) I don’t really anticipate doing anything that would cost a lot of money, but have budgeted in $300 just in case.
  • We bought some supplies – like warm gloves, energy bars, coffee, bear spray (just in case), and other miscellaneous items from MEC.
  • I added a bit of money for Miscellaneous expenses because you just never know. We’re not big into souvenirs, but I know we’ll buy fridge magnets, and I might get a few Christmas gifts while I’m up there too.

If you have any tips for our trip, or places we must see, please let me know. Neither of us have been up north, and we are open to all suggestions! :)

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. J says:

    I think your food will be double what you have estimated

  2. Annie says:

    So envious right now! They’re in the midst of Royal fever and a beautiful fall this year. I agree with J in that I would budget more for food (and possibly for gas if you’re going north, it’s not cheap, although cheapER at this time of year).

    What to see? The Dome in Dawson if you get a chance – I don’t know what your itinerary is – (particularly if it’s clear it’s the perfect spot to see the Northern Lights), a Northern Lights tour if you can’t get to Dawson, but on a clear night you can see them anywhere really. Carcross, Skagway (Alaska, 2 hrs drive and the drive is GORGEOUS during the fall – plus you can eat at the delightful Sweet Tooth Café or The Star for Thai food ), walk around Whitehorse and say ‘hi’ to the crew at the library for me ;)

    Just enjoy the size and scope and beauty. It’s like nowhere you’ve ever been before. It’s amazing…Have a FANTASTIC trip – safe travels and look forward to hearing all about it. x

  3. KC says:

    Definitely double your food and gas budget. Remember that food is more expensive to be shipped to the Yukon. Gas is pretty steady but has been known to spike unexpectedly and will take a long while to come down. If you come under budget for the gas, you can use that as extra food or extra unexpected side trip.

  4. sara says:

    where are you camping? you know that all Yukon campgrounds close this weekend, right? and a lot of the tourist stuff have closed down, like the white pass is done for the season. it’s not that cold yet up here, so a light jacket will be fine, mornings are obviously a little cooler, around -3 right now. have fun! take lots of pics!

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Hey! Yeah we knew ahead of time that the campgrounds were going to be closed. We had planned on camping at Liard Hot Springs but it was snowing when we got there so opted for a hotel room instead. :) Everywhere else we’ll be in AirBnBs until we hit Smithers, where we might do an overnight hike depending on the weather.

  5. Rose says:

    You’ll be driving through my town on the way! Quesnel! If you get a chance stop for dinner at the cariboo pub. I would stop in PG for supplies if you’ve forgotten anything. Food in the north is crazy expensive- so bring as much as you can with you.

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