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Old 03-22-2015, 01:08 AM   #1
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Tips and Tricks About Canadian Travel

We are looking to spend about a month in Canada with a week each in the areas of Toronto, Prince Edwards, Ottawa and Montreal. I know our DirecTV system won't work so that issue is solved. We expect to cross over at Port Huron, MI and then back into the US via Canadian 14/I87 south of Montreal.

So...there are a few areas of information I'm looking into.

1. Verizon service. I'm pretty familiar with adding the Canadian features to my present phones that provide specific minutes, text and data limits. Is there a better way for to go?

2. Cash. Is it best to carry US currency or Canadian?

3. Credit Cards. I certainly need to double check my specific cards but in general, are there strange fees and extra charges using a US issued credit card in Canada?

4. CG service. A quick spot check of CGs along that route seems to indicate that there are a significant percentage of them that do NOT have 50 amp service. Was I just "lucky" seeing that pattern or is that more typical than in the US. BTW...that also seems a bit more true in northern NY state.

5. Insurance. Again, I will certainly double check with my policy but; Typically, are there any auto insurance issues with a US auto policy.

Any other tips and tricks are appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:50 AM   #2
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Tips and Tricks About Canadian Travel

Canadian currency!

It's worth less than US these days, good for you. :-)

Should be no special charge on your CC other than the currency conversion rate.

Your car insurance should work just fine in Canada unless your policy excludes coverage in another country (doubtful). You should check just to be sure.

Btw, let me know if you need info about MTL/surroundings.
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Old 03-22-2015, 07:41 AM   #3
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I'm pretty new to RV'ing, and haven't yet taken an RV trip to Canada. However, I am very experienced at international travel, and have begun investigating some of your questions about Canada, so a few comments:

1. Its not completely friendly between US and Canadian cell phone providers. Verizon covers only US in their normal plans (as you said, you can "add on"), while AT&T seems to have plans that include Canada. However, for me the bigger issue is not phone calls, but rather data usage for smart phones. That can be *very, very* expensive. Verizon does offer a $25/month global data option that gives you 100 mb of data per month, which is enough for at least email. I've begun looking at Canadian providers and swapping out Sim cards...but that's another complicated story.

2. Always use the local currency. If you try to use US (which some locations near the border will offer), they'll build in an atrocious exchange rate. That raises another question, which is where to get cash. I get cash all over the world using my bank atm card to get local currency. There will often be a fee, and an exchange rate add on (up to a few percent), but it will *always* be better than what you get at the booths or other "exchange" locations. There are some, like Fidelity and Schwab, that have no foreign exchange rate add ons for their debit card and refund any atm charges globally, which is what I use. Note that the atm charge is different from the exchange rate add on (which is a "hidden" percentage).

3. Yes, any credit card will work, but there will often be a foreign exchange rate add-on which is "hidden". For example, most American Express cards add 3%. I strongly adivise looking for a credit card with "no foreign transaction fee". I use the Barclay Arrival+ card, for example.

4. Please be very careful assuming your insurance will cover Canada...you need to ask. I have State Farm, and they operate in Canada and will provide (for free) Canadian insurance cards for use (I asked). This may be my inexperience driving around Canada, but in the rest of the world this would be a big mistake to assume coverage.
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Old 03-22-2015, 07:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Sky_Boss View Post
We are looking to spend about a month in Canada with a week each in the areas of Toronto, Prince Edwards, Ottawa and Montreal. I know our DirecTV system won't work so that issue is solved.

Just out of curiosity, why do you think your DirecTV will not work in Canada?

BTW, you'll be real close to a couple of really nice aviation museums while up here too.
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Old 03-22-2015, 08:01 AM   #5
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Just out of curiosity, why do you think your DirecTV will not work in Canada?
x2. My understanding of DIRECTV is that as long as you can see the satellites, you'll get at least some coverage. There are local channels that have restricted coverage, which is handled by a "beam" type signal from the satellites. I've heard that described as being like a flashlight where you only get your local coverage if you're inside the area covered by the "flashlight".
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Old 03-22-2015, 08:18 AM   #6
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Passports are a must have unless you own a Passport Card.

Shots and documents for any pets.

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Old 03-22-2015, 12:42 PM   #7
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As mentioned above , Dish and DirectTV will both work up here. Only your local channels using "spot Beams" for your home area may not be received.
Passports very important crossing both ways. It's a great time to come to Canada as the US dollar is worth more right now and will buy you more in Canadian dollars than it would have in last few years.
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Old 03-22-2015, 05:26 PM   #8
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2. Always use the local currency. If you try to use US (which some locations near the border will offer), they'll build in an atrocious exchange rate. That raises another question, which is where to get cash. I get cash all over the world using my bank atm card to get local currency. There will often be a fee, and an exchange rate add on (up to a few percent), but it will *always* be better than what you get at the booths or other "exchange" locations. There are some, like Fidelity and Schwab, that have no foreign exchange rate add ons for their debit card and refund any atm charges globally, which is what I use. Note that the atm charge is different from the exchange rate add on (which is a "hidden" percentage).

The US dollar is worth more than the Canadian dollar these days, which means for each US dollar, you will get around 1.20 - 1.25 US dollar !

You can probably get Canadian currency at your US bank (as Canadians, we can easily get US money at our local bank). If not, stop by a Canadian bank and do the exchange maybe ?
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Old 03-22-2015, 06:08 PM   #9
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Regarding DirecTV...

It was my understanding that even the satellite beam for non-local channels was also shaped to avoid Canadian territory. If not...

If we can get the major feeds my wife will be happy...thus will I.
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Old 03-22-2015, 06:13 PM   #10
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Skyboss at the least you will be able to pick up Canadian locals on your batting. When you are in Toronto you will probably be able to get Buffalo NY locals
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Old 03-22-2015, 06:26 PM   #11
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As mentioned try to get a card where there is no foreign transaction fee. Most of the big card companies charge 2.5% or more for converting the currency at the exchange rate at the time of use.

No firearms - check with the CBSA to see what the rules are. I believe firearms are not allowed unless you can show you are going to a firearms event.

Be prepared for higher fuel prices. Mostly will be offset by the extra value in the US dollar but there can be sticker shock at the pumps.

When you are returning to the US make sure you know what the requirements are for fruit, vegetables and meat. Pretty open coming into Canada but the US has some very tight confusing rules. In some instances you cannot bring back to the US vegetables produced in the US but purchased in Canada.

You may want to add a visit to Quebec City. It is very charming and worth a couple days of touring. Parts of it remind me of Europe.

Have a great tour.
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Old 03-22-2015, 06:42 PM   #12
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Quebec is a very scenic city. If you speak French your visit will be much more pleasant.

Do Canadians tip their servers in Canadian restaurants and clubs?
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Old 03-22-2015, 08:23 PM   #13
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Quebec is a very scenic city. If you speak French your visit will be much more pleasant....
Quebec City might be a bit of a stretch for our calendar. If we spend a week in the other 4 places that only gives us a couple weeks to get down to Lewisburg, WV for a NKK Rally. But...I will keep that in mind.

I don't speak French. I tried taking it twice and was still spelling "yes" as "wee". LOL I figure Montreal could be a challenge all by itself.
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Old 03-22-2015, 08:39 PM   #14
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The US dollar is worth more than the Canadian dollar these days, which means for each US dollar, you will get around 1.20 - 1.25 US dollar !

You can probably get Canadian currency at your US bank (as Canadians, we can easily get US money at our local bank). If not, stop by a Canadian bank and do the exchange maybe ?
I'm thinking maybe going to the bank is best for cash. My Capitol One CC doesn't charge any fees for purchases but if I were to use it for getting cash I pay a hefty transaction fee and interest starts immediately at over 24% and I would still probably have an ATM fee too. I am looking into a debit card instead for getting cash. That would probably be best even when I pay ATM fees.
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