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Canada travel tips: the best tips for traveling to Canada

by Catherine Carey | August 3, 2023
Visit Toronto with our Canada travel tips

Canada is known to be one of the most breathtaking lands for all nature lovers. Some of the places in Canada to visit are the majestic Rocky Mountains, the wilderness of Banff National Park and the stunning coastal landscapes of British Columbia.

It has also got vibrant cities that allow you to see how different cultures fuse in traditional and modern cities. Toronto, Montreal, and Québec offer multiple things to do and fun activities. You will also get to know the rich heritage of Canada’s indigenous people, the First Nations communities. 

Are you traveling to Canada? Then don’t forget to apply for Canada visa or ETA Canada. This Electronic Travel Authorization will allow you to discover Canada as a tourist and stay for up to 6 months. 

Apart from the Canada visa, make sure you comply with Canada entry requirements to guarantee you enjoy the most out of your trip.  You can also check our guide on How to get a visa for Canada to learn all about the types of visas for Canada

Do I need any vaccines to travel to Canada?

If you wish to travel to Canada, you are not obliged to be vaccinated. However, the following vaccinations are recommended: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies and Influenza.

It is best to check with your international vaccination center to see if you need specific vaccines.

Do I need a SIM card for Canada? 

Yes, you need a SIM card for Canada. You might find it difficult to find a cheap SIM card in Canada, but you can opt for an eSIM, which is the cheapest option.

You can find SIM cards from companies such as Telus, T-Mobile and Airalo. You can buy a prepaid SIM card in airports, mobile stores and amazon. It is best to buy it from a mobile store, where you will need your passport to buy one. Nevertheless, this option can be really expensive for just 1GB of data.

One of the best options is to get an eSIM card from Airalo, Holafly or Nomad. For example, you can get up to 10GB for 35$. Holafly can give you unlimited data for 5 days for 27$ or 54$ for up to 20 days. Nomad offers up to 12GB for 36$.

What should I pack for Canada?

A vital Canada travel tip is to know what to pack and take to Canada. Depending on the season you travel to Canada, you should wear colder clothes or warmer clothes. During summer, you should take short-sleeve shirts, hiking shorts, flip flops and a bathing suit. If you plan on hiking, you should take hiking shoes. 

Regardless of the season, it is always recommended to take an umbrella and a wind or light jacket because Canada is a country where the weather is changeable and can vary extremely in short periods.

During winter, you should pack thermal underwear, winter jacket and trousers, scarf, gloves, heavy wool socks, and snow boots. Keep in mind that temperatures in some regions can drop to -14ºF or -28ºC. Remember clothes-layering is key for winter.

You should also pack some sunglasses, a sunhat and sunscreen. Apart from this, always pack a little first aid kit.

Parliament of Canada

Is Tipping mandatory in Canada?

Tipping is very common. Although it is an option, it is customary and expected to leave a tip. If you don’t leave a tip, you will be implicitly saying that the service was bad or awful.

It is expected to tip in services in the hospitality industry like: Food or grocery delivery personnel, bartenders, hotel staff, hair stylists and taxi drivers. As a guide, you can give a 15-20% tip in restaurants, 15-10% to bartenders, and taxi drivers around 10%.

Canada travel tips: going camping in Canada

One of the best things to do in Canada is going camping in Canada. In order to do this, here are some Canada travel tips for camping: 

  • You must get a Discovery Pass to gain access to parks in Canada.
  • You need a camping permit for backcountry and front country camping zones. 
  • You should pack the following: tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, pillow, flashlight, water purification tablets, camping utensils, bear spray and insect repellent.
  • Quiet hours are generally from 11pm to 7 am. 
  • fishing permit is a must in provincial and national parks if you want to catch fish.

What is the currency of Canada?

Canada currency is the Canadian dollar, CAD(C$).

  • 1 euro = CAN$ 1.60
  • 1 dollar = CAN$ 1.00

We recommend having quarters and loonies on hand, as they are useful for everyday use.

The best places to exchange currency are financial institutions and authorized currency exchange offices. It is best to avoid doing so in shops, hotels or restaurants. It is advisable to carry part of the cash already exchanged from your home country. Credit cards are accepted in most establishments.

How to travel to Canada? 

The easiest way to travel to Canada is by air. You can fly to several major international airports such such as Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, and Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. You can also get to Canada by car, bus or train, especially if you are from the US. 

To travel around Canada is quite easy and comfortable. There are multiple good options:

  • Plane: people often travel between major cities by plane.
  • Trains: they are safe and comfortable. It’s often cheaper to buy train tickets in advance.
  • Bus: it is often the cheapest way of travelling between cities and the only way of getting to smaller towns if you’re not driving a car.
  • Public transport: all cities and most major towns in Canada have a public transportation system with one or more ways to travel, such as bus, train, subway, light-rail trains and streetcars (trams). To use public transportation, you must buy a ticket or a transit pass. This last one gives you unlimited use of public transportation for a certain period and it is the cheapest option.
  • Taxis: they are quite expensive, and only used as a last resort by Canadians.

Things to do in Canada

There are multiple things to do in Canada. Some of our Canada travel tips when it comes to things to do in Canada are the following. You should definitely explore its natural beauty through Niagara Falls or skiing in the western mountains. If you are more into exploring the cities, there are also things to see. For example, Toronto has the CN Tower an important landmark of Canada.

You should also attend one or two theatre festivals such as Ontario's Stratford Festival and the Shaw Festival in scenic Niagara on the Lake. There are also some children's festivals like the Calgary International Children's Festival and the annual Saskatchewan International Film Festival for Young People.

Visiting the province of Saskatchewan, apart from being an impressive area, if you are lucky, you will be able to see the aurora borealis. Remember, the Aurora Borealis season is from mid-October to the end of November.

Toronto Harbour in Canada

When is the best time to travel to Canada?

Being a really large country, there are a lot of climatic differences by region.

In spring the days are rainy, but the temperatures are pleasant. If you are going hiking or are a nature lover, it is a good and colourful season.

Summer generally has a mild Mediterranean climate (if you don't travel too far north), with warm temperatures and longer days. The climate is the most favourable for visiting cities and national parks. It rarely gets above 27 degrees Celsius.

In autumn the weather is still good, as long as you don't go north (where it starts to snow in autumn), and there is little rain. Temperatures are still pleasant during the day, and the number of tourists is lower which makes it the best season to explore forests and other landscapes.

In winter the temperatures are really cold, especially in the north, and the days have a few hours of daylight. But if you want to see or practice snow sports, this is the perfect time of year. The ski season runs from November to March and can reach minus 30 degrees Celsius.

How safe is Canada?

Is Canada safe? Yes, Canada is a very safe country. It is world-renowned for peacekeeping, respect and tolerance. There are no problems with insecurity, the country's crime rate is very low and crime is almost non-existent. However, when it comes to security we give you these Canada travel tips:

  • Do not leave valuables in a car that could attract unwanted thefts.
  • Avoid dangerous areas. Although there are no urban areas that are recommended to avoid, each city has its areas which are more prone to crime. It is always advisable to ask at the hotel or at the nearest police station which areas should be avoided.
  • Presence of pickpockets. Although in very important urban centers, such as Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal, the "snatching" of bags is occasional, you should always protect your valuables. Have an eye on all your objects at all times.
  • Leave bicycles locked. Although it is not common to steal, it is best to leave bikes parked in designated places and with a padlock.
  • It is advisable to have travel insurance (as medical assistance for non-residents is NOT free. If possible, it should cover theft or loss of valuables.

More Canada travel tips 

Here you will see some other additional Canada travel tips to keep in mind:

  • If you are traveling to Canada from North and central America, you won’t need a power adapter. If you come from Asia or Europe, you will need an adapter for type A and B plugs
  • Although it isn’t a huge problem, you should be aware of grizzly bears, black bears, brown bears, mooses, and other large mammals while hiking.
  • Canada is enormous, so you should concentrate on visiting one province or territory at a time. Don’t expect to see all of Canada in one trip.
  • Don’t expect all Canadians to speak French or English. Canada’s regions are very diverse.