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Old 03-20-2017, 07:08 PM   #1
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Travel to Canada - $$$

We are traveling to Canada this summer and would appreciate advice on handling money (I understand the credit card option). ATM? Bank?
Also, anyone have advice re: ATT cell phone usage in Canada? We normally bank online and text. I can forego the blog for 6 weeks if need be.
Thanks!
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:20 PM   #2
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AT&T will work with all major CDN cell phone services. Check with your current provider for a roaming plan or possibly purchase a SIM card from a major service provider in your destination. Roaming is not universally available for smaller cell providers in all areas.
For cash ?? I use an ATM card in the U.S.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:21 PM   #3
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We were in Canada for a few weeks last Summer.
MasterCard works.
Discover cards do not work
We exchanged U.S. currency at a bank in Canada. The exchange rate was fair. They charged a fee since we didn't have an account with them.
We used our MasterCard as much as possible so that we didn't have to do more cash exchanges.
Our last morning in Canada we filled up with gas and bought some snacks to finish off our Canadian cash.
We have Verizon for our cell phones. My wife's phone worked perfectly they never were able to get mine to work. We both had identical phones. We did have to get an international plan for the time we were there.
We went to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:22 PM   #4
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My Grandson just spent 2 days in BC. Every phone call he made was $1 per minute.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:36 PM   #5
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We went through Canada to and from Alaska last summer. We had a Credit Union Visa card with no foreign exchange rate we used everywhere. We did exchange for a small amount of cash after crossing the border. Probably won't bother doing that again this summer when we return to Alaska. (Just couldn't get enough). One mistake I did do was not having a roaming plan with our AT&T cell phones. When we had a small emergency back in the states it cost us $1.00 a minute. Mostly limited internet especially in the Yukon, but we could always do quick email checks at Tim Hortons.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:43 PM   #6
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Casinos will exchange money at a good rate and without a charge. Just don't put it into the machines.
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:55 PM   #7
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Check with your Cell provider. Many have plans that allow calling in Canada and Mexico at a nominal extra cost.
As far as money goes, your ATM card will work at pretty well any machine in Canada. Your debit cards should also work, although I would confirm that with your bank. Canada is much more " debit friendly " than the US.

As for Credit Cards, no issues with Visa or MCard. Amex is widely accepted although some merchants will not take Amex due to the higher fees charged.

Diner Cards are not common. One thing to watch with Credit Cards, is that some charge a " foreign currency " fee in addition to the exchange rate.

Fuel company cards may not work. Canada has Shell, Chevron, and Esso / Exxon stations among others, but there can be issues using the US cards sometimes. Your Visa or MCard is fine.

There are some Pilot / Flying J outlets. Not sure about Loves, TA or others.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:00 PM   #8
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I used my AMEX for fuel in with no problem, used my Visa everywhere else. Also used US dollars for small purchases.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:04 PM   #9
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X2 on Casinos to exchange at. We've had some with a great rate and exchanged there. Not all the same but ....
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:24 PM   #10
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We spent about a month in Canada (BC, Alberta, Yukon, & NW Territory) going to and from Alaska last summer. We used Verizon for our internet for a $1 a day charge when free Wi-Fi was not available in the campground. This might have been $10 in total for the 30+/- days in Canada. This fee is now waived under the new Verizon plans. We use AT&T for our cell phones and bought the unlimited Canada plan for $20 a month if I remember correctly. Long story (for another day) on why we use Verizon for data and AT&T for voice. As far as cash and credit cards go we used our airline VISA card with no fees and exchange at the daily closing rate with no upcharge. We never used any Canadian currency as VISA is very widely accepted. We did go to the casino in Dawson City and exchanged $40 US to Canadian at a favorable rate. We had no luck so did not have to deal with reconversion of Canadian currency. I would not worry about Canadian currency as even remote areas truly are part of the cashless society we have become.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:32 PM   #11
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Other than a relatively small amount of CAD that we picked up at a Canadian Bank, we financed purchases with our credit card. This worked well for us.

Regarding cell phone usage, we have AT&T. In spite of purchasing an international plan before we left, we had nothing but trouble! The carrier in Canada kept sending us over usage warnings. We racked up a very big bill that I had to talk my way out of with AT&T. I do not plan on using my AT&T account in Canada again. If I need to communicate via phone, I will purchase a prepaid phone on their network in Canada (can't remember the name). Other than that, I will find a hotspot at a Starbucks, library, or ?? and just use email.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:38 PM   #12
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Canada and Alaska

Lots of good info in this thread we are traveling through BC to Alaska in june for the first time, I need to call AT&T i didn't think about roaming.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:41 PM   #13
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If using the wonderful Provincial parks to stay, many of them just have the 'iron ranger' and you put you nightly fee in it. Therefore, we got some cash at a Canadian bank for the best rate we found. Some grocery stores have you insert a coin to use the cart and it's returned when you return it - Canadian cash. Many laundries use Canadian.

Our Visa credit card was used as much as possible and it had no foreign exchange charge on it.

You're visiting a different country. Why wouldn't you use their currency? Have you ever been asked in the U.S. to substitute another coin when you try to pass off a Canadian coin when buying something? U.S. doesn't deal with Canadian money so we shouldn't expect them to do so either.

When we returned into the states around Glacier Nat'l Park, we had less than $10 Canadian left - should have used it up in Canada. Anyway, we stopped at a bank to see if they'd exchange it and it was a definite 'no'. We then went to Glacier Nat'l Park and were speaking to a ranger about it. He suggested we drop it in the donation box in the Visitor Center as they always get Canadian coins. He said they have a way of exchanging them. We felt good about our donations.
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Old 03-21-2017, 05:47 AM   #14
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We travel to Canada frequently. Our cells are with At&t & they offer a program called passport. It is $40US per month. It offers unlimited texting, telephone calls are a $1 per minute & if you have a hotspot there is no fees. A month is the shortest period of time you can take.
We generally pay for everything with a credit cards & incur foreign transaction fees. Not huge amounts.
The biggest surprise was using the 407 toll hi way to avoid Toronto traffic. Ontario & the US have a reciprocal agreement & we received a bill for $125 Cdn for using the toll from Hamilton to hwy 400 just north of Toronto. It is around 60 kilometers or 36 miles. Ouch!
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