Canada U.S. Border

Since it’s so close to many states, Canada should be in the cards for your next vacation road trip. Summer road trips are great. It’s the perfect way to go at your own pace and Americans are great at it, but not too many of us think about crossing the border into Canada or what you need to know and bring.  Here are some of the essentials, as it is another country after all.

1. Bring your passport or enhanced driver’s license or NEXUS card.

The days that you could cross to Canada with just your birth certificate or driver’s license are over. Now ID’s like your passport (which you should have regardless) and or an enhanced driver’s license or a NEXUS card is needed.

2. Your U.S. driver’s license is perfectly transferable to driving in Canada.

You can use your U.S. driver’s license, so no worries to cross over to Canada with your state driver’s license as it works just fine. Just keep in mind that traffic regulations are different and once you cross, the speed limit is in kilometers, not miles.

3. Are you a Green Card holder?

Good news if you are Green Card holder. You are welcome to visit Canada, even in the case that your country needs a travel visa to enter.

4. U.S. Dollars vs Canadian Dollars

Most places near the border in Canada will take the U.S. Dollar at a not so favorable exchange rate, so visiting the ATM and pulling some CAND might be a good idea.

5. Make sure you have international service for your phone.

As you know, international calling and texting can be expensive, but if you have T-mobile’s plans geared towards travelers, you will stay connected without high costs.

6. Yes, the drinking age is 18.

Don’t go crazy over this one, especially if you are under 21. Everything in moderation is always a good idea. 

7. Does your health insurance work in another country?

Be sure to see if your health insurance works in other countries (most is partial or no coverage at all). Find out if travel insurance companies offer health coverage in case of an emergency. Also, note that even the Canadian health system is free, but it’s only for Canadian and most countries with Universal Healthcare are under no obligation to cover foreigners. 

8. Tell your credit card company you’re traveling. 

Letting your credit card company know that you will be in another country is a good idea, however, note that foreign transaction fees will apply. Whether or not you travel a lot, get a credit card like Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or another card that you can get points for. You will earn points for future travel with no foreign transaction fees and other useful perks.

9. No Maple syrup and Ginger Ale aren’t flowing everywhere.

Nope, there is not. While driving with my kids over to Toronto (and saving 2,000 dollars to fly out of Toronto Pearson International Airport!), we joked quite a few times that Canada will have plenty of Maple syrup and Ginger Ale shops everywhere. Well, that’s not officially the case, although, we did stop at Tim Horton’s (like Dunkin Donuts) and we had some really good Canadian Maple donuts!

10. What to know when traveling with minors.

If you are traveling with kids or your grand kids over to Canada, make sure you have the proper paperwork to get in the country.