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Old 03-21-2017, 07:17 AM   #15
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Our biggest surprise was when Costco refused to let us use Costco's Visa Card in their warehouse or their gas station! Apparently Canadian Costco's didn't switch from Mastercard to Visa when their US counterparts did.

Canada is full of friendly people and wonderful scenery. Crossing into Canada we were asked how much alcohol we had onboard. I responded we had two bottles of wine. The customs officer looking very stern said "two bottles? Sir, that surely isn't enough wine for your 3 week stay, please feel free to purchase as much of our excellent Canadian wine as you like during your stay"
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:23 AM   #16
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Whenever we travel internationally, we just stop at an ATM and get cash as one of our first tasks.

The only time we ever had to use a currency exchange was in Tanzania.
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:31 AM   #17
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the new AT&T Unlimited PLUS plan, which you can switch to while your are traveling in Canada, provides unlimited talk, text, and even Data(22gb of 4LTE per month, then they may slow it down, and 10gb can be used as 'HotSpot', if needed)...
the coverage in Canada is pretty good and it's doubtful you'll see too many spots without coverage, unless you really get off the beaten path.

we're switching all 4 of our iPhones to this plan while we're there in June and July, and I confirmed that we can switch back to our original 16gb plan when we return, with no problems. The unlimited plus plan will only cost us about $50 more monthly while we are traveling there, but that's a windfall compared to what it used to cost in years before, and you can still do everything you normally do with your devices without having to worry about 'roaming', overages, etc...
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:43 AM   #18
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One quick note about using a U.S. credit card for fuel purchases in Canada. I found that most purchases had to be made inside at the counter; the U.S. card was not accepted at the pump. No big deal once I figured that nuance out.
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:49 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by affreeman View Post
Whenever we travel internationally, we just stop at an ATM and get cash as one of our first tasks.

Agreed! There is absolutely no reason to go to a bank in Canada to obtain currency other than to use the ATM. Your ATM card may not work at stand-alone ATMs found in gas stations, grocery stores, etc. And the rates at those are horrible, anyway. Go to any of the banks.

One tip--US debit cards will NOT work if you try to use them as debit cards at a merchant. Use them as VISA or MC instead, don't enter the PIN number. They will work fine if used that way.
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Old 03-21-2017, 10:08 AM   #20
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For Canada, the chip and PIN are more prevalent on credit card and debit card usage. For smaller $$ purchase amounts the RF tap is becoming common. So make sure your PIN is current and active.

All ATMS typically use the CIRRUS network so withdrawing CDN$ on US banks is not normally an issue (normal bank fees apply, applicable to your bank and any reciprocal arrangement).

For fuel stations, pay at the pump or inside before dispensing is mandatory in some provinces. As with the US there are truck stops (Flying J, Chevron, others) however they are not as great in number so planning your fuel stops is recommended.

Canada is not as populated as the US, cell coverage is good in Alberta (my province), and other provinces where major routes are located. Telus is a major cell provider in western Canada (Bell and Rogers are others, but I recommend Telus is you are looking to purchase a Canadian cell plan on an unlocked phone; check to make sure your unlocked phone operates on Telus frequency bands.)

As mentioned - check Canadian border regulations to ensure you are compliant with entry requirements to pass the border entry process.

Welcome; we are celebrating our 150 years young Canadian birthday this year.

Brian
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