02 Jul Advice for those planning an epic trip to Canada
Canada has seen its stock rise in recent times, as its natural beauty, modern cities, and friendly people have been complimented by the reasonable stances it has taken on the world stage.
Whatever your reason for planning a trip to our well-mannered North American cousin, there are several things you need to keep in mind as you get on with the process – we’ll discuss them in today’s blog.
Get your eTA processed before flying to Canada
The days when you could simply book a plane ticket to Canada are now over. In the name of continental security, all travellers are now required to apply for an e-visa (called an eTA) prior to departing for Canada.
The process is fairly straightforward – log on to the site of an e-visa processor like E-visums.co.uk, fill out an application for yourself and any others travelling with you. After you have completed all fields, pay a fee of £19.95 and a few minutes (in 99% of cases), you will be issued your eTA.
In rare instances, you will be contacted within 72 hours to submit additional documentation before an e-visa can be issued, but for the most part, you should be issued your eTA fairly quickly.
Print out a copy or save the e-visa on your phone, and you will be good to go!
Focus on 1-2 regions at a time
Think you can drive to Calgary for a quick visit after spending a weekend in Toronto? You may want to recalibrate your sense of distance after landing in the Great White North. Canada is a massive country – to give you an idea of how far your afternoon drive to Calgary actually is, it would be the equivalent of driving your automobile from London to Ankara, Turkey.
Even if you drove in shifts with a friend without sleeping, it would take more than 36 hours to do. Realistically, you’re looking at three long days filled with nothing but driving, eating, and sleeping.
Knowing this, limit yourself to 1-2 regions when visiting Canada. If you land in Toronto, keep to Southern Ontario and Quebec. Starting in Vancouver? Dedicate your trip to British Columbia and the Alberta Rockies.
Unless you have months of time at your disposal, don’t try to see all or most of Canada in one go.
Bring clothing for all conditions
There are many stories of Americans from well south of the border who have driven to Canada with skis strapped to the roof of their car in July, expecting to carve some pow in the peak summer months, only to be disappointed to find conditions typical for that season.
While these tales illustrate that Canada isn’t a place where snow can be found year-round, visitors should be aware the weather can turn on a dime in this country. A series of muggy, 35 degree days can suddenly be replaced by blustery 16 degree days with the simple passage of a cold front.
Nights in the Canadian Rockies dip into the single digits regularly, and sometimes, at high elevations, snow can fall in the middle of summer.
While you shouldn’t pack your parka, it makes sense to make room in your suitcase for some sweaters, hoodies, and a light jacket when temperatures decide to get chilly.
Secure an international driver’s permit before your trip
Whilst you can get around Canada by bus, train, and plane, you’ll want to have access to a car to make the most of your trip here. In order to hire them, though, you’ll need to get an international driving permit to supplement your UK driving licence.
This can be done easily by applying for one through the Automobile Association, so don’t forget to get this done before the time comes to leave for Canada.