Yrene lives in the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, and is the founder of BackcountryCanadaTravel.com. She was born in Switzerland, lived and worked on different continents and has travelled the world. Yes, that's me, an Entrepreneur, wilderness nut and animal lover who prefers off-the-beaten-track places. I write about things I love. Mostely.
To-Do List Before Travelling To Canada
This used to happen to me too. A few weeks before a big trip you start to wonder whether you’re ready for this, the big adventure, the unknown.
All these questions are 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 make you more 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 improve and so will your excitement for what’s coming.
Trip planning has to be taken seriously if you want to get the most out of your trip. Even a seasoned traveller is advised to have a to-do list before travelling to eliminate unnecessary travel stress.
Make Sure Your Passport is in Order
Of course, you know this already, that without a valid passport you won’t get very far. To avoid any hassles at Canadian customs, make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months before its expiration date. If you come to Canada for longer than 6 months, the passport should be valid at least until the day after you intend to leave Canada. Also, find out what kind of visa you will need to enter Canada, which will depend on your Nationality.
Make A Copy of Your Passport, Travel Documents and Credit Cards
To have digital copies of your passport, travel documents, and credit cards is a good idea. There is always a chance that something gets stolen or lost when you’re on the road. I always scan my travel documents to have a copy myself and I leave another copy with a family member or a friend.
Get a Credit Card if you haven’t got one already
Don’t come to Canada without a credit card. Whether you rent a car or book accommodation you will need a credit card. Credit cards and ATM offer the best exchange rates. Pick a card with low foreign transaction fees. I suggest that you have a credit card, an ATM card and some cash in Canadian dollars when you arrive in Canada.
Tell Your Financial Institutions 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 card will work when you’re on the road.
Take Care of Your Household Needs
Cancel newspapers, hold your mail delivery.
Automate Your Bills
Go paperless and set up online bill payments if you go for a longer 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 Travel Insurance! Most health plans won’t cover you overseas. Medical services in Canada can break your bank account if something unexpected happens and you don’t have coverage. Medical treatment for non-Canadians is very expensive. Travel insurance also covers you when your flight is cancelled, a family member dies and you have to come home, or something gets stolen.
Make a List of Valuables
Make a list of your 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
Thinking about communication is important to be on the to-do list before travelling.
Calling cards used to be the way to save. 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 family and friends. This messaging app lets you text, chat, share media and includes voice messages and video and is available for Android and other smartphones.
Check on available Travel Apps For Canada
Download any apps you might want to use on your trip, such as translators, maps, camping apps.
Check Your Driver Licence
Foreign driver licence issued in English or French are accepted to drive in Canada. If your licence is in another language, you will need an International Driving Permit.
Read about Canada and Invest in a Travel Book
To have a good guidebook is essential. What kind of book to purchase depends on the provinces you want to visit in Canada. You find some of my favourite travel books on Travel Resources.
Get a Map of the Area You’re Going To
I love maps and can study them for hours. Get yourself a map of the area you’re planning to visit in Canada and study it. Get to know the main destinations and try to plan a travel route. It doesn’t mean that you have to stick to it once you arrive, but having a rough idea helps.
Think about your camera
Make sure that your memory card is big enough and pack extra batteries. There will be situations when you don’t have access to power. You don’t want to experience want what happened to me in the Canadian Arctic. I was snapping pictures during the short flight from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean. When I left the plane, the battery on my Nikon was dead. Fortunately, I had my cell phone to take some pictures, but the quality of the pictures I took was not the best; it was extremely disappointing. Coming all this way to Tuktoyaktuk, a once in a lifetime destination, and not having my camera working made me sad.
Once you have crossed off all that’s on your to-do list before travelling to Canada, you’re ready to board the plane!
- Cell Phones In Canada – What You Want To Know
- How to travel stress-free with Air Canada
- 8 Tips For Finding A Job and Working In Canada
- How to prepare for life on the road again