Thanks to its uniquely quirky cities, incredibly vast landscapes and its proximity to the United States, Canada is a great place to go on your next vacation. Before you set off on your Canadian adventure, though, it is worth doing a bit of research and planning to make sure your trip goes as smoothly as you would like.
Travelers who disregard this advice in favor of winging it are likely to fall foul of some of common Canadian travel mishaps such as bringing unsuitable clothing for the weather and badly misjudging the distances between major cities. If these things sound like things that could happen to you, don’t worry – we have put together this useful list of tips to help you avoid the pitfalls you may run into in the Great White North.
Know Your Distances
Canada is a country of vast proportions. Don’t fall into the trap of looking at the seemingly small area on the map and being overambitious with your itinerary. Made up of 10 expansive territories and covering an area of 3,855 million mi², Canada is the second-largest country in the world after Russia. The distances between major cities are nothing to sniff at, so make sure that you’re fully aware of how long it is going to take to get from A to B before you add Vancouver and Montreal to the same trip.
Go at the Right Time
Summer is by far the busiest time of the year to visit as a tourist. As well as all the other foreigners who flock to Canada in June, July and August, many Canadian tourists also take advantage of the good weather to travel around their vast country. If you don’t mind the crowds, this information probably won’t influence your decision on when to go. If you want a little piece of the country for yourself, however, visiting in spring or fall offers a good tradeoff between tranquility and good weather.
Bring Plenty of Layers
If you’re visiting from the United States, the climate in Canada might just catch you unawares. Due to its higher latitude, the weather in the United States’ friendly northern neighbor is quite a bit colder than you are probably used to. When packing your bags, make sure to include a few extra layers than you think you might need, even if it is summer. When it comes to planning for the Canadian weather, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Brush Up on Your French
While the first language in most parts of Canada is English, French is the mother tongue of around 20 percent of Canadians. If you have plans on visiting Montreal or other cities in the provinces of Quebec or New Brunswick, it’s likely that you will run into a large number of French-speakers. Although a lot of them can speak English perfectly well, your attempts to parlay in the local lingo will be appreciated by the natives.
Soften Your Arrival with Weed Delivery
If you didn’t know it already (we’re guessing that you probably did!), cannabis is completely legal in Canada as of 2018. What does this mean when it comes to finding your favorite strain of marijuana? There are websites full of online dispensary reviews from across Canada to fill you in. Here is a good one, from there you can be sure you’re ordering from a quality dispensary.
What better way to chill out after an arduous journey? Roll up to your hotel, take a shower, then smoke a fat joint to kick the vacation off. The many cannabis home-delivery services that have sprung up in every major city in the country now mean that it’s possible to order some weed to your hotel so it’s waiting for you when you get there.
Get the Lowdown on the Areas to Avoid
As a general rule, Canada is very safe for tourists. Like any big urban area, however, Canada’s cities have places that it is best to avoid if it can be helped. In Vancouver, for example, try to steer clear of the Downtown Eastside area, which is known for its homelessness and drug problems. In Toronto, look out for the Scarborough, Regent Park, and Parkdale neighborhoods, especially at night.
As mentioned, Canada is a huge country. If you are traveling long distances between cities or if you plan on getting out into nature far off the beaten track, keep in mind that many of the more remote regional towns and villages may not have their own ATM. Make sure to carry enough cash to cover you for however long you plan to be on the road.
Don’t Miss British Columbia
Canada is a beautiful country and as you know, massive. There are many places you could visit but one you should not miss. The part of Canada you need to visit is British Columbia, it’s without a doubt the most unique and beautiful part of the country.
If you’re coming from the east flying, you’ll see the incredible rocky mountains on your way between Alberta and British Columbia. Compared to the rest of Canada, British Columbia is like another world. A place where the mountains meet the sea and natural beauty is unmatched almost anywhere in the world and definitely in the rest of Canada. Make Vancouver your base and explore, you’ll be glad you did.
Take a Train Ride
Since Canada is so large, you’ll be tempted to fly to most places. Taking a train across the country might be long but taking a train between Calgary and Vancouver might be one of the best moves you ever make. To see the rocky mountains up close and then wind your way down to the coast is an incredible experience.
Another popular place to take the train is between Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec. It’s a bit long in the car and almost not worth it to fly, the train is your perfect choice.
Don’t Rush Things
Most don’t understand just how big Canada really is. A common mistake is trying to do too much in too little time. Due to the distances, you’ll waste half your trip in transit. Pick an area and enjoy it if you don’t have a long vacation planned. If you are coming and you can swing it, schedule at least two weeks for your trip.
Ideally you’ll have more time but within two weeks you can spend a week in the Toronto, Ottawa & Montreal area then fly to Calgary and take the train to Vancouver. It’s still a bit tight but doable. Trying this on less time is just asking for a trip spent waiting in airports.
If you get your preparations bang on, a trip to Canada is a trip to remember – for the right reasons! Get it wrong, however, and you could soon find yourself up the proverbial creek without a paddle. The people in Canada are famously welcoming and will take care of you should you need assistance at any point, but by sticking to the tips and advice laid out above, you should be alright on your own!