Monday, September 21, 2015

Things I learned while visting Canada - pt. 1

Last year I spent a couple of weeks traveling in Canada, mostly British Columbia and Alberta. I've noticed a number of differences between Canada and the US. To start off these are the things you should and should not bring with you to Canada.

Things to bring to Canada:
  • A passport. A current passport is required to enter Canada and re-enter the US. Takes about 6 weeks to get a new one issued.
  • A driver's license. Again a current one if you are going to drive in Canada
  • Proof of auto insurance.
  • Cash. A couple hundred in either US or Canadian. The Canadian dollar is worth a little less than 1 American dollar. Right now 1 Canadian dollar is worth 75 American cents. So get Canadian money. You can exchange money at most big banks on the American side of the border.
  • An ATM card. Most big American banks have some sort of arrangement with one of the Canadian banks. I bank with Bank Of America and they have a deal worked out with ScotiaBank. A little research will save you a lot of hassle.
  • Credit Cards. Canada's economy is very much like America's and plastic is accepted everywhere.
  •  Your smart phone. Before you arrive in Canada make sure your have gotten an international plan added to your phone other wise the roaming charges are like $2.00 a minute. I had the misfortune of having my smartphone stop working just after I crossed into Canada. No Verizon in Canada, who knew?
  • Smartphone Apps. There are smartphone apps that will make conversion between metric and Imperial or SAE (what we use in the states). Also an app that will do currency conversion.
  • If possible, a laptop. I spent most of my time in Western British Columbia, around Vancouver. There are Starbucks and McDonalds every where, just like here in California. The advantage of Starbucks and McDonalds is they all have free WiFi and with a laptop you can plan your trip, make hotel reservation, get your email, etc.

Things to NOT bring to Canada:
  • Recreational drugs. If you have to be told this you should stay your stupid American ass home. This is not going to end well for you.
  •  Firearms. The Canadians don't have a problem with guns, many own guns and go hunting but the Canadian government likes to have the guns registered, they don't want unregistered guns coming into their country. If you are one of those "They can have my guns when they pry it from my cold dead hands." type then maybe you should continue to exercise your 2nd amendment right at home.
  • Alcohol and tobacco. Not sure what this is about. I guess they really to tax these and don't want untaxed coming into the country. Either way their country, their rules.
  • More than $10,000. What kind of fool travels with that much cash? 
  •  Your bad attitude. Canada is a country of nice friendly people, why spoil their day with you being a shit. Leave it at home.