Originally Posted by Als3rdhand
Hi Fellow RV travelers. I am planning a Circle Lake Superior trip this coming Sept. '13, and have a few concerns. We of course would like to camp/RV along our route in Ontario and found some great web sites to assist us, but my concern is, will I have cell phone service. I understand that I will need to use roaming, but I was wondering what reception is like, and will I have any access to WIFI? Also, I have concerns regarding electric hookups. 110 vs something else? Will I need to make special preparations for electrical hookups? Lastly, do you have any other words of wisdom for the inexperienced RV traveler outside the US. Oh yes, We will not forget our passports!!
Thanks for your assistance in advance.
You may find some 110v service on busy campsites with a heavy load, but Canada has the same nominal voltage (120V) as in the US (Not 110v). It is rare to find 110v service, maybe at the long end of some rural lines. Electrical hookups are the same as the US.
I see some people commented about using verizon cell service in Canada. Verizon is one of the very few providers in the world that use CDMA for new service. Telus and Bell have older CDMA legacy systems still working, but all new services (4g) are on GSM. And Rogers is GSM. So you are likely to get better cell service with a GSM phone. You can also buy pay-as-you-go sim cards online or in Canada. (Sim cards only work on GSM capable phones and must have an unlocked phone for other service providers.)
Roaming charges are out of sight, like others said, best to turn at least your roaming data off and keep voice and text calls to a minimum unless you want a huge bill.
There are many places you can get free WiFi, but most campgrounds have crappy WiFi just as in the US. You can look at the Canadian providers web sites and see the various cell coverage areas. I suspect there are spotty areas along highway 17 but best to visit "Bell.ca" and "rogers.com" sites to see coverage maps. (telus and bell use the same towers for the most part) Bell Canada owns Virgin Canada and you can get a virgin sim card - think it is about $30 for voice & data.
Many others have pay as you go sim cards also. You can get online or at many 7/11, Mac's Milk, Walmarts, Best Buy etc. They are available almost anywhere and is a much cheaper option than paying the roaming charge.
Just need an unlocked GSM phone to use a third party sim card. But forward you US phone to the temp number in Canada if you do not want to incur roaming charges, but you will likely incur LD charges for incoming calls on your US phone bill if you do this. Best to leave a voice message on your US phone with your temp tel nunber and let the caller incur the LD charge.
Re passports. US citizens DO NOT require passports to visit Canada, however if you are planning to go home, it is a good idea to have a passport, Nexus card or and enhanced DL. Otherwise US Border services might give you some anxious moments. So best to have one of the aformentioned documents. But you said you have passports so you are OK.
And as in the Johny Cash Song, "just leave your guns at home son, leave your guns at home" and things will likely go smoother.
Good luck and have a good trip.