The countdown for Canada's sesquicentennial is on! On July 1, 2017, Canada will celebrate 150 years since Confederation - when three colonies got together to form one united maple-syrup-hockey-and-poutine-loving country. From coast to coast, Canadians are going all-out with special themed events, activities and cultural exhibits. The country’s capital city of Ottawa is the focus of the birthday hoopla, with 12 full months of events. Check out our About Canada section for places to visit, things to do and where to have fun in Canada.
Canada will receive millions of visitors this year. Travelling is never easy, it takes preparation. It happens to each of us. A few weeks before a big trip, you tend to start to wonder whether you are ready for this, the big adventure, the unknown. All these questions invading your brain. "What if...? "What when...?" Don't worry, those feelings are totally normal. To have a to-do list before travelling will keep you focused and keep you relaxed.
Add to the to-do list before travelling whenever you think of something you should do before leaving home. As you get ready and work off the list, your confidence will grow and so will the excitement for what's coming.
Every trip planning has to be taken seriously if you want to get the most out of it. Even a seasoned traveller is advised to have a to-do list before travelling to eliminate unnecessary travel stress.
Here are a few tips for anyone planning a trip to Canada this year;
Make sure your passport is in order
Of course, you know this already, that without a valid passport you will surely not get very far. To avoid any hustles at Canadian customs, make sure your passport is valid for at least six months before its expiry date. If you come to Canada for more than 6 months, the passport should be valid at least until the day after you intend to leave Canada. Also, it’s important to find out the type of visa you will need to enter Canada, which will also depend on your nationality.
Make a copy of your passport, travel documents and credit cards
Having digital copies of your passport, travel documents, and credit cards is a good idea. There is always a good chance that something might get lost or stolen while on the road. Always scan and your travel documents, have a copy yourself and leave another copy with a family member or a friend.
Get a credit card if you don’t have one already
Don’t come to Canada without a credit card. Whether you are renting a car or booking accommodation, you will need a credit card. Credit cards and ATMs offer the best exchange rates. Pick a card with low foreign transaction fees. We suggest that you have a credit card, an ATM card and some cash in Canadian dollars when you arrive in Canada.
Tell your financial institution about your travel plans
Let the bank and credit card companies know that you are travelling to Canada. This ensures that your credit card and ATM will work when you’re on the road.
Automate your Bills
Go paperless and always set up online bill payments when going for a long trip. This ensures that you won’t miss any payments when you’re away from home.
Get an International Student Identity Card
Students should get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) for discounts throughout Canada. Backpackers planning to stay in official HI hostels should also get an International hostel Membership Card.
Buy Travel Insurance
Don’t save on the travel insurance. Most health plans won’t cover you overseas. Medical services in Canada and anywhere else can break your bank account if something happens and you don’t have coverage. Medical treatment for non-Canadians can be expensive. Travel insurance also covers when your flight is cancelled, a family member dies and you have to come home, or something gets stolen.
Make a list of your valuables
Make a full list of the valuables that you’re taking on your trip, like electronics. Take photos of your items and write down serial numbers. This will serve as a record for your insurance company and police should anything be stolen.
Sign up for a Skype Account
Communication is important on your to-do list before travelling.
Calling cards used to be the way to save, but those days are long gone. Now we have Skype to avoid high international roaming charges. Create a Skype account for free. Skype allows you to chat, talk or video chat over the internet with other Skype users for free.
WhatsApp is a widely used APP for travellers to keep in touch with their family and friends. This messaging App lets you text, chat, share media and includes voice messages and video and is available on Android and other smartphones.
Check your Drivers Licence
Foreign Drivers licence issued in English and/or French are accepted to drive in Canada. If your licence is in another language you will need an International Driving Permit.