Planning your first trip to Canada? You won’t be disappointed, as this is a land of staggering natural beauty, vibrant cosmopolitan cities and open, friendly people.
But it always pays to be prepared for any overseas adventure, so here are our top tips if you’re travelling to Canada for the first time…
Be prepared for the weather
Canada has multiple climactic zones, with different temperature and weather norms in each. You might be planning a trip to somewhere mild like Vancouver or Victoria, and have picked a warm time of year to visit. But this doesn’t mean that the weather won’t be changeable.
This is why it always pays to be prepared for all weathers, from freezing winds to scorching sunshine – and of course, snow! Check the conditions before you go, and pack accordingly.
Spring and autumn tend to be quieter and cheaper
If you want to save some money on flights and swerve the crowds, consider visiting Canada in either the spring or autumn. Go later in the year and you might even get to see those stunning autumnal colours and intense red leaves that Canada is famous for.
Check out the language
Most people speak English in Canada, but a lot of people also speak French – especially in areas like Quebec, and parts of New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba. If you’re staying outside of a big city in a French-speaking area, it could be a good idea to brush up on your French.
Double check the entry requirements
UK citizens wanting to visit Canada will need the following:
- Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA)
- Proof of full Covid-19 vaccination status (or test on arrival and during your trip, and self-isolate for 14 days)
- A passport valid for the duration of your stay
- A visa if you intend to visit Canada for a long stay.
Get your travel and healthcare insurance sorted
Canada has an exceptional healthcare service, but its only free for Canadians. So, make sure you get the right travel insurance sorted before you fly.
Read up on wildlife safety
Heading to Canada to see some of its fantastic wildlife up close? Just make sure you don’t get too close, as grizzly bears and other large mammals can be dangerous (although attacks are rare). If you’re planning to visit a national park, read up on the local advice – and take note of signage while you’re there.
Make a list of must-try dishes
Now for some of the fun stuff. One of the best reasons to go to Canada is the food, and there are some dishes you simply must sample during your visit. Add these to your must-eat list (you’ll thank us later):
- Pâté Chinois
- Beaver Tails
- Caesar Cocktail (like a Bloody Mary).
Get your tip money ready
Like in the US, tipping is standard in Canada. The average for restaurants is around 15-20% on top of the bill.
Don’t be caught out by sales tax
Thinking of doing some shopping during your tip? You should know that sales tax isn’t always included in the listed price of goods in stores, services and on restaurant menus. You can expect to pay around 10-15% extra in tax.
Focus on one or two areas
Canada is seriously huge, so you could spend all your trip travelling if you try to see too much of it at once. So unless you have months to spend, focus on just one or two areas. There’s always next time!
Get the most from your Canadian adventure with Blank Canvas. We can help you plan a bespoke trip that ticks all your boxes – get in touch to start planning.