6 Things you need to know for a great trip to Canada: If you are a regular reader of Mudpie Fridays you will know that Kipper and I travelled to Whister for my brothers wedding in the Summer. We had a great time during our stay. If you are considering a trip yourself then I have complied this list to help you make the most of your visit including making sure all your documents are in order including an eTA.

You need an eTA.

Like many other countries you will need to make sure you have the right travel documents when you visit. As well as a valid passport you may also need a visa or a Canada eTA – Electronic Travel Authorisation. Which you need to apply for in advance of your trip. Applying for an eTA for Canada is very straight forward we did ours online with it only taking about five minutes to complete the form and costing £19.95 per person. The best bit is that its emailed directly to you super quick. You can find out more on the Canadian Government Website.

The country is vast

When you are planning your trip and the places you want to visit its worth bearing in mind this country is vast. Having predominately travelled in Europe I did not appreciate how far apart everything was until we were there. Plus the traffic in some of the larger towns such as Vancouver is inhibiting. It took us over an hour to get out of the immediate airport area. Take this into consideration when you are planning your activities. The last thing you want is a stressful holiday trying to fit everything in.

Because of the vastness you may want to consider multiple trips. The only way to really see both the east and west coast is to consider internal flights or train travel. This is not a country you can turn up in and hope it will all work out like a city break to Berlin.

Pick your time of year

Canada can be very cold. After all it has an amazing ski season. What I did not appreciate the impact this has on the Summer weather.  Based in the mountains we found that Whistler was colder than we expected it to be. Plus it was wet! So my advice if you are travelling is to make sure you take layers regardless of the time of year.  In the winter is gets very cold both in Vancouver and Toronto where we have also visited. Expect temperatures as low as -30 degrees and the associated problems with getting around in these weather conditions, although they are much more equipped to handle it than us Brits!

Get your head round the currency

The currency is the Canadian Dollar and it looks a but like Monopoly money. Its plastic coated and comes in various colours including red green and purple. Coins are similar to the UK in as far as they have a two dollar coin normally with a polar bear on it which is silver and gold and a one dollar coin that’s gold. Both resemble their British counter parts. One thing that took me a little while to get my head round is the way that prices are rounded. This is because the smallest coin denomination is five cents. However things may still be priced in odd pennies. When you pay in cash the price is rounded down to the nearest five cents. However if you pay by card you will pay the exact amount!

Tax and tips

Unlike the UK you are expected to tip regardless of the service. Something we struggled to get our heads around. For average service the expectation is 15% which by definition means that if it wasn’t great then you should tip 10% and 20% for good service.

There is also a sales tax which catches you a little by surprise as its not advertised. So the price that is marked up on the good is not the price you will pay. The sales tax is dependent on the are of Canada you are in. Vancouver was 8% but it can be as low at 5% or as high as 15%. Worth thinking about when you set a spending limit for the kids!

You will need health and travel insurance

The Canadian healthcare system is only for the Canadians. Which means that you need to make sure that your travel insurance will also cover your medical bills. Otherwise should you need to visit the doctors or hospital you could end up with a large bill.

Have you visited Canada ? Is there anything else you think that should be added to this list? Did you get caught out by the tax and manage to get your eTA.

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54 Comments

  1. Margaret Gallagher Reply

    Another beautiful place – have been several times as i have friends there

  2. Marjie Mare Reply

    I have visited Canada several times. Actually, I have two cousins living respectively in Montreal and Gatineau. After reading your post, I think it’s time to book a trip and visit them.

  3. Definitely things to think about when traveling. The money system seems difficult enough. I’d probably never pay with physical money because of that reason, I’ll just use card.

  4. Oh yes! Tipping is very important in US and canada. But I really hate the currency conversions during any international trip! Veyr informative most 🙂

  5. FlySoulmates Reply

    Good tips especially about Esta. But as far as I know, not all countries need Esta. Thank you for explaining the taxes. I was surprised, when I went there and I got different price at the till.

  6. Fiona Cambouropoulos Reply

    Such a lovely country. I vivited once in winter on business when I was a Tesco buyer, I thought then I’d return one day but still haven’t made it. Reading this I’d like to go back. It certainly was cold but they are very set up for managing that.

  7. Canada is great country to visit, so much to see and great foods to taste.
    Your tips are very helpful, especially for those who have never been to the country.

  8. My parents and sister’s family are in Canada so we are planning to visit them next year. Thank you for all these information. Great help especially when we need to start preparing our requirements!

  9. Lovely post on travelling to Canada, I did not know that we needed to tip around 15%, so I can be prepared when I do head there.

  10. I’m from the USA but have never been to Canada. The way things are in the states, I can imagine Canada having everything pretty far apart. Sounds like you found a great wya to bridge that gap!

  11. This is great tip for Canada, we are planning to visit Canada in the next few years. It is far for us so we plan to visit before we retire, else it is just too hectic to fly over. We certainly wanted to choose summer because we are from the equator and no 4 seasons. Winter in Canada would be too much for us.

  12. Explore The 6 Reply

    As a Canadian I’m a little biased, but Canada is one of the best countries in the world 🙂

  13. I went to Vancouver last month, and these tips are super helpful. Wish I read this before I left!

    • I live in Canada and your review was pretty accurate. I really have to explore of the country. I want to visit BC.

  14. I love these travel tips. I’ve wanted to take my family to Canada for quite a while. I’d never thought of the travel insurance issue, thank you for pointing that out.

  15. I had no idea that you needed an eTA! Great to know! It’s certainly been a LONG time since I last visited Canada, but I DO need to schedule another trip soon.

  16. So lovely. I’ve always wanted to visit Canada. I’ll save this for the future.

  17. Cityrocka Perry Reply

    I want to visit Canada so bad! I’m from New York, and find it to be so culturally diverse. I watch a few folks vlogs from there, and the food always looks so yummy 🙂

  18. I’m happy that you mentioned just how vast the country is. Seriously, like Russia, it’s almost hard to conceptualize the enormity of the nation until you get there!

  19. So many different parts of Canada to see, I have definitely seen some! Toronto is pretty great.

  20. Alyssa Dawson Reply

    Canada is such a beautiful country I can’t wait to travel there some day!

  21. Twinspirational Reply

    I haven’t been there, but I would love to. Thanks for the information you got here, the eTa, the taxes and currencies. It will be very useful for future reference.

  22. The weather tip is one I got from my cousin after their trip to Vancouver a few years ago during summer. She said it was always cold and overcast and even when it was sunny, it could rain at any time. In summer! I suspect the winters will be much more cold than I can tolerate.

  23. From Jess to You Services Reply

    I’ve only visit a few parts of Canada but I know I need to vacation to more parts of it too … thanks for the tips!

  24. I lived in Toronto Canada for a couple years and have visited there frequently. The city is clean but the service is terrible! They are not service oriented at all like the States. Also, they may seem nice and apologetic but they are not! It’s a very passive aggressive behavior.

  25. I would definitely keep this in mind.. Thanks for the tips. Canada is such a gorgeous country. I would love to explore there someday.

  26. Eve Morgan Reply

    I’ve wanted to go to Canada for ages, but it’s so expensive to fly there from the UK. The eTA tip is really helpful though. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Twinspirational Reply

    I haven’t been to Canada, I hope to visit and explore it someday. Thanks gor the guides and tips, it will be very helpful for others who are able to visit soon. 😘

  28. Shannon Gurnee Reply

    I would love to visit Canada again someday. These are some great tips. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Great tips especially the unseen taxes which can have an impact if you are on a budget!

  30. Those are some great tips – things you wouldn’t expect so it is great that you pointed them out 🙂

  31. I visited the beautiful country of Canada YEARS ago when I was 15 and I have always wanted to go back. Thank you for the awesome info, now I can plan my trip!

  32. Trent Peek Reply

    Looking at the picture of the airplane brings back memories. I use to fly in and out of Whistler using those planes to play golf at the nearby golf course in Whistler.

  33. Although I live in Canada i haven’t seen most of it. As you rightfully mentioned, Canada is huge and I would love to see a lot more.

  34. his place is so beautiful. I really wanted to place a visit someday. Thank you for this guide. You get me so excited to come in the place. It was awesome and stunning picture!

  35. Canada is a country I look forward I visit. I know it’s large but haven’t thought about it in the manner of places far apart from one another. Thanks for sharing your tips.

  36. Great information! It’s definitely important to know the exchange rate, the climate, and what to expect about tips and taxes.

  37. catherine santiago jose Reply

    Canada is one of the nicest place that I would love to visit and you definitely gave us a great tips or guidelines when making a trip into this place.

  38. Thanks for sharing some useful tip while traveling to Canada. Canada is in our bucket list from long. Hopefully we are planning to visit next year. I am bookmarking this post for future

  39. ELIZABETH O Reply

    This place is so beautiful. I really wanted to place a visit someday. Thank you for this guide. You get me so excited to come in the place. It was awesome and stunning picture!

  40. Rachel Craig Reply

    No, haven’t visited Canada. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. As best to be properly prepared.

  41. I have not been to Canada but it certainly seems to be so vast that you won’t run out of places to visit!

  42. Emma Betts Reply

    I went to Canada when I was young and loved it such an amazing place xx

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