Canada is a gorgeous country full of modern cities, friendly locals, and breathtaking natural environments. However, there are a few things you’ll need to know if you’re setting off on an expedition to the Great White North. Follow these tips and tricks to make sure you’re Canadian adventure is the best it can be.
#1 Make sure you have the right paperwork
Before you even set off on your holiday, make sure you have a Canadian visa. If you’re traveling from outside of the U.S. into Canada, the chances are you’ll need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before entering the country.
This visa is easy to apply for online, and all you’ll need is a bank card, your passport, and an email address. Most holidaymakers will hear back about their visa within a few hours. An eTA allows you to stay in the country for six months at a time, which is ideal if you’re planning an extended getaway. U.S. citizens do not require an eTA when traveling north across the border.
#2 Consider Travel Insurance
Another vital piece of documentation is travel insurance. Adventurers planning on skiing, hiking, or participating in other potentially dangerous activities would be wise to purchase travel insurance in case something goes awry. Travel insurance is also essential in case you lose your belongings or if something gets damaged in transit.
#3 Bring plenty of warm clothes
Canada is known for its chilly weather and frequent snowfall, so you’re best off bringing some warm winter clothes when journeying to the Great White North. Even during the summer months, temperatures can drop into the high 40s in some regions, so make sure you dress accordingly. Montreal is a popular tourist destination, despite Quebec being one of the coldest provinces in the country. If you’re exploring the city, and don’t feel like lugging around your heavy winter clothing, swing by a Montreal luggage storage facility to drop off your extra gear.
#4 Indulge in Canadian cuisine
One of Canada’s best-kept secrets is its tasty local cuisine. From Canadian bacon to beaver tails, you’ll likely fall in love with a food item while traveling across Canada. Arguably Canada’s best regional cuisine is poutine. Native to Montreal, poutine consists of fries smothered in brown gravy and topped with cheese curds. If you’re in Montreal, make sure you swing by the world-famous La Banquise restaurant to sample dozens of variations on this delicious delicacy.
#5 Stop by Tim Hortons
Tim Hortons is a staple in Canada, with thousands of locations dotted across the country. This coffee shop chain is a must-visit for tourists visiting Canada and is a great way to warm up while vacationing in some of Canada’s colder cities.
#6 Prepare for long travel times
Canada is the second-biggest country in the world, stretching over a whopping 5,000 miles from coast to coast. For travelers looking to visit multiple major cities during their stay, the quickest and easiest way is to fly. For example, flying from Vancouver to Montreal takes about five hours, and the next best alternative is a 40+ hour drive. If you’re based in Vancouver during your vacation, you can always stash some of your belongings at a Vancouver luggage storage service, so you won’t have to worry about losing your bags when flying across the country.
#7 Save money by using hostels and room renting services
Spending some time exploring the best of Canada can be costly, and a great way of saving money while in major cities is though hostels and room renting services like Airbnb. Most major Canadian cities feature Airbnb, and these generally tend to be cheaper and better equipped than most hotels.
Hostels are a great choice if you’re exploring on your own, with rooms to share at a fraction of the cost of a hotel. Most major cities have several hostels, and if you’re hopping between different accommodations, you can store your luggage in Toronto, Calgary, and many other cities, to make your adventure less cumbersome.
#8 Learn the local languages
While most Canadians speak English, it’s worth noting that in some parts of the country, especially in Quebec and New Brunswick, French is the first language, and some locals may prefer to converse in their native tongue. As 98% of the country can speak English, you’re unlikely to encounter any difficulties, but be it may be fun to learn the odd French phrase while on your travels.
#9 Stop by some of Canada’s stunning national parks
No Canadian excursion would be complete without checking out some of the country’s sublime national parks. Canada contains a massive 9% of all forests on the planet, meaning you won’t be short of serene natural areas to explore. Whether you’re looking to hike up the Canadian Rockies at Jasper National Park in Alberta or observe some unique local wildlife at Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan, there are dozens of amazing parks to discover in the Great White North.
#10 Get to grips with Canadian currency
You’ll want to make sure you exchange your local currency for Canadian Dollars before setting out on your travels. If you’re heading into Canada from the U.S, the exchange is currently about $1 for every C$1.4, but this can change drastically. This exchange rate is worth considering when paying for items while shopping, as you may be spending less than you think.