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12 things to know before heading to Canada

Canada, known for its stunning landscapes, friendly people, and multicultural cities, is a popular destination for travellers worldwide.

However, before you embark on your journey to the Great White North, you should know several essential things to make your trip a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Here are 12 things to know before heading to Canada.

Consider the visa and entry requirements
Make sure to research your nationality’s visa and entry requirements before planning a trip to Canada. Tourists, students, and workers are subject to distinct rules and restrictions in Canada. Many visitors from visa-exempt nations can enter Canada without a visa for short visits, but it is critical to double-check the exact requirements before your trip. More information is available on the Canadian government’s website.

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Get Canadian travel insurance
Non-residents may face high medical bills in Canada. Travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost luggage is strongly advised. Comprehensive travel insurance gives you peace of mind during an unanticipated event during your trip.

Prepare for adverse weather
Canada has a varied climate, but it is most known for its harsh winters. Pack warm clothing if you are visiting Canada during the winter months. Even if you visit Canada during the summer, bringing a light jacket or sweater is a good idea because temperatures can dip at night.

Canadians are courteous
Canadians are well-known for their courtesy and friendliness. It is critical to return this kindness. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way, and it’s polite to hold doors for others and apologize if you accidentally bump into someone. Being polite is ingrained in Canadian society.

Canada has two official languages
In Canada, both English and French are official languages. While most Canadians speak English, the province of Quebec is primarily bilingual. Although knowing a few basic phrases in both languages can be useful, English is widely understood throughout the country.

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Explore transportation options
Canada is a large country with various transportation alternatives depending on your destination. While major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal have large public transportation networks, you may need to rely on rental vehicles or regional flights in more outlying places. Plan your mode of transportation accordingly.

Check the alcohol age limit
The legal drinking age in Canada varies by province or territory, however, it is normally between the ages of 18 and 19. If you intend to consume alcohol, you must be informed of the precise age limit in the place you are visiting.

Be ready to tip
Tipping is common in Canada, and it is typical to leave a gratuity of approximately 15-20% of the bill in restaurants, pubs, and for different services. When budgeting for your trip, keep gratuities in mind.

Plan to pay sales tax
In Canada, most goods and services are subject to sales tax. The tax rate differs per province, so factor it into your budget. Some provinces have no sales tax, while others have provincial and federal levies. The sales tax rate varies per province, however, it is normally between 5 and 13%.

Know the metric system for measures
Canada predominantly uses the metric system. To navigate and communicate efficiently on your trip, become familiar with metric units for temperature (Celsius), distance (kilometers), and volume (liters).

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Explore Canada’s nature
Canada has some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world. There is lots to see and do outdoors in Canada, from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes. Bring adequate equipment and be mindful of wildlife if you intend to go hiking or camping.

Familiarize with the Canadian currency
The Canadian dollar (CAD) is the country’s currency. Banks, foreign exchange bureaus, and some hotels will exchange your currency for Canadian dollars. Credit and debit cards are commonly accepted, but having extra cash on hand is a good idea, especially in more distant regions.