Canada isn’t the first country most international travelers have on their bucket list, but perhaps it should be somewhere near the top. No matter where you’re from, what you enjoy, or who your traveling companions are, Canada has something to offer. Just make sure you plan ahead before visiting!
Why Visit Canada?
Whether fashion and shopping are your thing, or you like outdoor adventures, Canada offers visitors a little bit of everything. Here are some of the top reasons why you should visit:
- Canada features an astonishing 45 national parks, including some world renowned ones like Rouge National Urban Park in Toronto and Glacier National Park in British Columbia.
- Canada has an awesome festival culture. Whether you like music, films, or food, there are plenty to choose from.
- How many places in the world can you see the Northern Lights? Well, Canada is one of the few.
- Toronto – Canada’s largest city – is one of the most culturally diverse places in the world.
These are just a few examples of what makes Canada such an attractive travel destination. Visit for yourself and you’re sure to discover your own list of favorite sights and sounds. We’ve visited several times, and we had a great time – especially on our road trip from Maine to Nova Scotia.
5 Tips for Safe and Smooth Travels
Canada is a fairly safe and approachable country, but you will want to plan ahead to ensure you make the most of the experience. Here are a few suggestions:
Make Sure You Have the Right Documentation
The first step is to make sure you have the right documentation to enter Canada. The type of documentation you need differs based on your citizenship and country of origin.
“A Canadian eTA, or Electronic Travel Authorization, is a required travel document for citizens of eTA eligible countries,” Official-Canada-eTA.com explains. “If you are a citizen of a country that is visa-exempt in Canada, or if you are a legal resident of the United States, you will need an eTA to travel to Canada.”
If you’re a U.S. citizen, you are exempt from needing an eTA.
Know What to Wear
Temperatures and climates can differ pretty dramatically across Canada, so it’s important to check weather forecasts prior to travel and to pack for a wide range of conditions.
If you’re traveling during the winter months, you can definitely expect cold weather and snow – but the severity will depend on where you travel. A winter in Winnipeg, for example, will be much different than a winter in Vancouver. Regardless, you’ll want a waterproof jacket, gloves, a hat, and a good pair of snow boots. (Since these items can take up a lot of space, we recommend wearing them when you travel.)
Plan Your Transport in Advance
Much like the U.S., transportation options vary across Canada. Major cities all have different transport options – including trains, subways, buses, and streetcars. In rural areas, you’ll almost certainly need a rental car (prices here). Taxis and Ubers are also available in all towns and cities.
The good news for Americans is that U.S. driver’s licenses are transferable. (Though you will need to learn some of the different laws and rules.) If you’re from another nation, you’ll want to verify whether your license is legal in the country.
Keep Some Canadian Currency on You
While large cities such as Toronto – as well as border towns – will accept U.S. currency, it’s not widely accepted in other parts of Canada. Smaller towns and remote areas may only deal in Canadian currency – so it’s a good idea to keep some on you at all times. Credit cards are widely accepted, too.
Try These Foods
Unbeknownst to most, Canada is actually quite the foodie nation. In addition to having a great craft beer culture and lots of excellent food trucks, there’s also plenty of gourmet dining. Here are a few foods you need to try:
- Poutine: This dish is a conglomeration of fries, melted cheese, cheese curds, and gravy. It’s heaven on a plate.
- Caesar Cocktails: Trying your best to drink like a Canadian? This cocktail consists of vodka, clamato (that’s tomato juice mixed with clam juice), hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. It’s kind of like an extreme Bloody Mary.
- BeaverTails: Want a sweet treat? This Canadian classic consists of fried dough with the toppings of your choice – like Nutella, cinnamon and sugar, or even M&Ms.
This list could go on and on. If you’re unsure of what to order or where to go, just ask the locals for recommendations.
It’s impossible to see all of Canada in one trip! But don’t get overwhelmed. Make a plan and focus on quality over quantity. Don’t worry about seeing everything – just be present. As you discover the wonders of this great country, you’ll return over and over again.
Bryan has visited exactly one more country than his wife, and she won’t let him forget it! Also an avid photographer, he enjoys entrenching himself within the local culture in order to learn more about the people of a place. He is the co-founder of Budget Your Trip and loves a good adventure, an exotic meal, or a passionate conversation about global events.