Boab Forgot to Plan
and Sleeps in the Truck
Wild life are masters at cheap Banff lodging. But unless you are part of wild life in Banff you will need to find accommodations in or near Banff if you plan to stay overnight.
You have a wide variety of low cost lodging to select from. But if it is during one of the peak seasons, you had better plan ahead if you are on a budget. As lodging gets scarce, the lower-cost and best-value options disappear early. This means arriving early for campgrounds that do not accept reservations and making sure you have reservations ahead of time for lodging that does accept reservations.
A word of caution. Always check the refund policy when you make any reservations. Some of those policies can ruin a budget if you have a change of plans.
For the budget minded, the lowest cost Banff accommodations are in the campgrounds, but you have to bring your own tent or RV. The Tunnel Mountain Campgrounds are close to town and on a bus line that takes you to most of the town attractions.
A close second for cheap Banff lodging are four and six person dormitories in the hostels. Some hostels have motel-like rooms also, --- but these are more expensive. Some people like the pot-luck socializing a hostel provides. Make sure you bring some ear plugs if you plan to sleep in a dorm and snoring neighbors are a problem for you.
If camping or hostels have no appeal, you may find the best place for the budget-minded are the bed and breakfast lodgings, especially if you factor in the cost of the included breakfast that they usually provide.
As you move up to more conventional accommodations in the hotel categories, the prices spike. Banff Townsite has a no-growth policy and except for expansion of existing facilities, no more hotels, motels, etc. will be built. Combine this with no rent controls, the owners can charge pretty much what they wish and they often do during busy times. If times aren't as busy, try to negotiate --- no hotels like empty rooms. I've talked to some walk-in visitors who, during slow times, got a room for less than half the first quoted price.
Low cost Banff lodging, at least by Banff standards, is available. You will find what you need to know to find that lodging on this website.