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Old 10-01-2015, 06:25 PM   #1
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into Canada, back into US...

HI
We just spend some time in Canada, on Prince Edward Island thru Maine, and back into the Detroit area thru Ontario.
This was our first time - here are some facts about Canada:

-applied for passport cards several months ago, arrived in several weeks.
-looked online for info about passage thru borders to Canada, confusing.
-border entry into Canada was thru Calais, Maine:
-no problems, no one entered the rv or tow car, only asks to see the
passport cards and asked a few basic questions about how long for the
trip, where to, etc... basically waived us on our way.
- did NOT inquire about any insurance for either vehicle, only the tag#
- did NOT inquire about our pet(yorkie)
- did NOT require to see each person on board
- did NOT enter the vehicle or inspect anything
-drove through Canada provinces with no issues; road signs are fairly normal, except many in French in the Ontario province, though most have the English version as well.
-used credit card(walmartcc) for most any transaction; with a chip card you must insert card into reader, sometimes press an 'ok' button, and if from the US you must also SIGN the receipt. Walmartcc website will update the actual exchange rate charge, versus what your receipt reads(Canada dollars). Walmartcc website will also eventually add the 3% exchange fee, but the exchange rate is $1US to $1.25CANADA, so everything is 'cheaper' with US dollar rate.
-used CASH in some rare places, such as laundry coins, etc; most rv parks will provide a 1 to 1 cash exchange rate in these situations, so you are paying slightly higher cost. We came back into the US with about $2.50 in Canada coins. Never dealt with or actually saw any Canada 'cash'.
-Canada fuel pricing is for LITERS, and priced in CENTS(though they don't even actually have a 'cent' coin!) - so you must calculate several items in order to get the GALLON and DOLLAR exchange rate. If you're using your card at the pump it's not really an issue, but if you are using US DOLLARS, as I did once for my toad, it can take a few minutes to work it out.
-we exiting Canada thru the PORT HURON bridge north of Detroit. This was NOT the same experience as entering Canada!
-We were asked for our passport cards, and asks to see each person,
in person, at the front of the coach, thru the window, to the lady at
the custom window. She did not come out....at least at first.
-she asks the typical where, why, and how long we were in Canada
-she asked about the food items, which I responded with a NO, and
then she looked across me to my wife and asked the same question
again, which my wife then admitted that we had some 'bagged
salad', as though she was nervous that they were going to 'catch us
and jail us' for being dishonest.
-she then asked for the big one - the dog's 'vaccination' papers!

-she DID come around, come in, and inspect the interior and fridge, micro, and
maybe other things(she made us stay seated)... but apparently nothing
triggered her need to arrest us!

well, we finally made it trough, nervous, but happy.

All-in-all, It's a good ride and time in a different 'country', most things are pretty normal, a few differences, nothing major.... enjoy! : )
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Old 10-01-2015, 07:35 PM   #2
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Thank you for taking the time to review your trip. Good info.
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Old 10-01-2015, 07:51 PM   #3
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It appears at times that the Customs folks are tougher on their citizens than folks from other countries.
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Old 10-01-2015, 08:06 PM   #4
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True. I'm Canadian, and have never been boarded going either way !
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Old 10-01-2015, 08:23 PM   #5
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thanks, and I'll also add:
-KingTailgater with Dish worked well no matter where we were, programming 'state' used was whatever US state we were North of/Closest to. I received local channels from Bangor for most of the trip, Niagra on the western end.
-paid $60, yes $60! dollars to cross back on bridge from PrinceEdwardIsland(PEI) to NewBrunswick. fortunately, that's only $45 in US : /
-great place to see: GrandFalls NB
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Old 10-02-2015, 08:18 AM   #6
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Cell phone/internet while in CA:
I'll admit that I'm somewhat tech oriented(I run a tech startup), but the usage of cell phone/internet while in Canada is not easily understood, and the carriers certainly don't make it easy or economical.
We have both Vz and Att iPhones, which we use constantly while traveling in the US and rarely have any issues. To find information about using your device in CA is not easily found with either carrier, and the additional 'international' or 'global' service is not easily added. You would think all you had to do was to go online to your account and add it, but I found it a hair-pulling process, and certainly not customer centric.
With the small amount of internet 'data' they provide, it really just causes you to limit yourself to even having your phone ON, much less browsing the net, because your scared to blowing up your next bill with all the scary rates per mb of overage. And, there's simply no easy way to find even how much you've used(plus, that requires use of your already limited data!)...
I don't understand why they can't just offer an increase of cost of your current plan, while you're in CA, rather than requiring each device to purchase it's on plan with such limited data.
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:21 AM   #7
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Try being a Canadian and travelling in the States! Talk about our Government gouging us for travelling in the US, and that's just when your a few feet over the border. You'd think by now they would make cross border travel more accommodating. Wouldn't be so bad to stay at home, but nothing beats a US State park...
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Old 10-03-2015, 01:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterT View Post
Cell phone/internet while in CA:
I'll admit that I'm somewhat tech oriented(I run a tech startup), but the usage of cell phone/internet while in Canada is not easily understood, and the carriers certainly don't make it easy or economical.
We have both Vz and Att iPhones, which we use constantly while traveling in the US and rarely have any issues. To find information about using your device in CA is not easily found with either carrier, and the additional 'international' or 'global' service is not easily added. You would think all you had to do was to go online to your account and add it, but I found it a hair-pulling process, and certainly not customer centric.
With the small amount of internet 'data' they provide, it really just causes you to limit yourself to even having your phone ON, much less browsing the net, because your scared to blowing up your next bill with all the scary rates per mb of overage. And, there's simply no easy way to find even how much you've used(plus, that requires use of your already limited data!)...
I don't understand why they can't just offer an increase of cost of your current plan, while you're in CA, rather than requiring each device to purchase it's on plan with such limited data.
Whether red and white or red white and blue, a phone company is still a phone company. They don't generally care to make you happy or things easy. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

As for the travelling. The US and Canada are not really all that different except perhaps Quebec with the french language thing. We have a lot of the same stores, our currencies although different are really similar. At least we are talking a common vocab (dollars and dollars). The laws are probably easier to be on top of up here because there far fewer jurisdictions to deal with. I would also suggest that this is a very safe country to travel. Safer in fact than maybe in the US but I'm not trying to start an argument about such. It always feels a little less safe whenever you are away from your own nation I suppose. Hope you had a good time and will visit again in future (we could use the $$ lol).
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Old 10-03-2015, 05:53 AM   #9
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yes, we had a great time, great sites, and never felt out of place anywhere - we'll come back again : )
If you look at the Custom's websites you get the idea that it might be more difficult than it really is. Most is common sense, but your first time can be a little nervous since you don't really know what to expect.
Cheers!
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Old 10-05-2015, 02:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterT View Post
yes, we had a great time, great sites, and never felt out of place anywhere - we'll come back again : )
If you look at the Custom's websites you get the idea that it might be more difficult than it really is. Most is common sense, but your first time can be a little nervous since you don't really know what to expect.
Cheers!
And the truth is that even if you do everything spot on you can still on occasion get a Border Agent that is being a complete jerk and just looking for someone to lump on. Their power is pretty much absolute. I have gone back and forth many times over the years and I still get a little uneasy at border crossings regardless of direction. Fortunately, incidents like that are fairly rare. Your best defense is to be patient, scrupulously honest and non argumentative. Now days in the computer era, the more you travel back and forth without incident, the better your profile is and the less likely you are to run afoul when crossing in future. That does work both ways however and if you get caught playing fast and loose with the rules, that can come back to haunt pretty quickly. Like you say mostly common sense.

Glad you had a good time. It is always nice to hear that people visiting from abroad had fun and will come back again someday.
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Old 10-05-2015, 06:06 AM   #11
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Wow, we took almost the identical trip as you folks. Metro Detroit to PEI.

Our experience was very similar, except the U.S. Customs boarded us and looked in the refrigerator on the way back through Maine.

We found it easiest on us and the Border people to have the plate numbers for the RV and Toad written on a sticky note and stuck to the top of the Passports when we handed them over. The agents explained to us that their cameras are looking in the center of the vehicle for the plates and since we tow a Jeep Wrangler, the tag is offset to the left. They greatly appreciated not having to walk the the back to write down the tags. We were essentially "waived through" each time. No delays, no drama whatsoever.

We can't wait to go back. The land and the people alike are beautiful. So clean, so healthy, so friendly, so green.... I could go on and on. It was one of our favorite trips.

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Old 10-05-2015, 06:43 AM   #12
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I'm pretty sure traveling in Canada is much safer than traveling in the US. Hope to get up there sometime. Funny, I live in Saint Paul, MN and have never been to Canada.
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Old 10-05-2015, 07:07 AM   #13
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actually, they asked me for our tag/plate numbers, I hope I got them right from memory, but otherwise they didn't look for themselves.
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Old 10-05-2015, 07:14 AM   #14
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That was hilarious...thanks for the share....
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