7 Things to Know Before Traveling to Canada

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Are you planning a trip to Canada but feel like you’re not yet fully prepared? Canada is a vast country, the second-largest in the world (land mass-wise), right after Russia. No wonder one can feel overwhelmed when planning a visit to it.

We hope this article will help you in your preparations, making it a bit more clear and easy! However, no matter how well you’ll do in crafting your itinerary, Canada will not disappoint. This country is famous for its friendly citizens, diverse landscapes, an array of natural attractions, and exciting multicultural cities.

Before you hop in to try the Canadian poutine, watch the spectacular northern lights (yes! You can do that in Canada), get a good view of Niagara Falls, or explore its numerous national parks, check our list of 7 things one should know before traveling to Canada!

totem pole
Totem pole

1. Canada uses an electronic visa system

Canada is using an electronic visa system since 2016. eTA Canada (Electronic Travel Authorization) is an online visa for eligible visitors entering Canada by air for leisure, business, or transit.

The Canadian government implemented the Electronic Travel Authorization to help travelers obtain the necessary entry documents in the easiest way possible and pre-screen the visitors before allowing them in.

The Canadian eTA serves a multiple-entry visa that permits you to visit Canada for up to six months at a time. Moreover, it stays valid for 5 years!

The electronic travel authorization (eTA) is electronically connected to the applicant’s passport, which means you don’t even have to print it out before your trip.

The eTA system works in such a way to allow travelers to complete the whole visa application process in just a few minutes from home. You can even use your phone to apply! The approved document will also be delivered to your email inbox in just 72 hours (sometimes even minutes after applying).

Remember to submit your eTA application at least 3 business days before the planned departure date. You can apply online on this website https://evisa.express/en/canada to receive your e-Visa to Canada as quickly as possible.

2. Be well-equipped for Canada’s weather

Canada winter
Canada in winter

The weather in Canada is as diverse as the country itself. From hot, sunny summers to harsh winters with blizzards and freezing temperatures. You must plan ahead before visiting to make sure you are prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

Canada is a vast country with some of the most beautiful landscapes globally, but sometimes those landscapes can be dangerous if unprepared.

One thing that anyone traveling should do regardless of where they’re going is to check out their destination’s forecast ahead of time on sites like Environment Canada, so they know what to expect when arriving. Remember to pack accordingly!

3. Canada has two official languages and dozens of unofficial ones used

Canada is a diverse country with an incredible array of cultures, languages, and traditions. The Official Languages Act recognizes English and French as Canada’s two official languages. However, there are actually more than 200 different languages spoken in Canada!

Because Canada has such a diversified culture, you will discover varying levels of proficiency in those languages, as well as a variety of dialects and a plethora of additional languages spoken.

4. Tips for services

The world is a big place, with different customs and practices in each country. Wherever you go, it’s important to be aware of the local culture so that you can avoid making any mistakes or offending anyone unintentionally. One thing that many people don’t know about Canada is how they handle tipping for services.

In Canada, if someone provides a service for you (such as at a restaurant), then 10% – 15% of your meal cost could be considered a good tip amount on average. If they provide an excellent customer service experience and the food was great too, consider tipping 20% of the price paid.

5. Traffic regulations

Canada is a beautiful country with some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in the world. The Canadian landscape can range from lush valleys to rocky mountains to wide-open prairies.

It can also vary depending on which province you are visiting, but we will get into that later. One thing that travelers might not expect about Canada, though, is how strict Canadians are when it comes to traffic rules and regulations.

Not using turn signals, using your phone with your hands, smoking with minors in the vehicle, or not having a seatbelt on while driving will result in an automatic fine. This includes adults riding in back seats without their own belts or children who are not yet big enough for them (although it’s recommended they wear one anyway).

Make sure to check the current rules and regulations for a smooth road trip.

6. Health insurance

The Canadian government offers free public healthcare coverage but only
if certain conditions are met (i.e., residency).

In other words, visitors from outside of the country must purchase their own private medical insurance, or they will have to pay out-of-pocket when seeking care.

Make sure to get medical care coverage for the planned trip to avoid any unexpected expenses.

7. Canada has 48 national parks ready to explore

Canadian lake
Canadian lake

Canada is home to some of the most beautiful national parks in the world. It’s no wonder that many people want to go see them! But with so much choice, it can be challenging to know which are worth visiting.

Don’t miss out on one of the most recognizable ones, i.e., the Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as one of Canada’s “Crown Jewels.”

With breathtaking views from Lake Louise, this park has something for everyone- whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or just a relaxing getaway.

Final thoughts

If you’re planning on traveling to Canada, don’t expect or plan to be able to see the majority of the nation in a few weeks. Traveling from one city to the next in Canada entails enormous distances.

If you have a limited amount of time, you should focus on getting to see or visit one or two provinces of Canada and visit all there is to see.

Hopefully, the above-listed information will help you prepare for your trip to Canada in the best way possible!

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Katarzyna Zyla

Travel enthusiast, member of a team of one of the leading tourist and business electronic visa service providers in the world.

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