Some things I discovered while planing our trip:

• If you need passport or visa photos, the best price I found was at AMA (CAA). Plus, if you have a membership your photos are free.

• Travel Cuts had the best price for travel insurance by far - their best coverage was still close to half the price of any other quote I got. Plus, they offer budget plans with less coverage depending on what you want and can afford.

• We wanted to bring something 'Canadian' with us to Europe to give as a thank you gift to people we stay with. Because we're only going with backpacks, space is at a premium so it had be something very small. We ended up getting a bunch of Canadian flag pins from our local member of parliament office - they're free for people who live in the constituency.