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Old 05-10-2015, 04:24 PM   #1
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Motorhome travel from the U.S. into Canada

I have done a little research into the regulations that govern driving a motorhome and toad from a city in the U.S. crossing the border into Canada to spend a week or so in Toronto to visit friends. We are also planning a trip to Alaska in the next several years that would also involve travel through Canada. The information that I read at the U.S. Customs and Canadian Customs websites led me to believe that travel into Canada in a motorhome is not an easy or convenient task.

We travel for 3 months at a time, so always have a fully stocked pantry, refrigerator and freezer. We also carry wine and liquor to avoid having to perhaps pay higher prices on the road. From my interpretation of the rules, we could only take in 1.5 liters of wine/liquor per person and any meat products have to be in the original packaging that state the country of origin. Also, any fresh produce would not be allowed. I prepare food at home, like chili, meatballs, casseroles, taco meat, etc. to save time while traveling. This is obviously not in the original packaging. Also, I store ground meat and chicken in individual one pound packages, thereby removing the original packaging. My interpretation of the regulations is that I would not be able to take my prepared foods or individual packages of meat into Canada and most of our stock of wine/liquor would need to be gotten rid of. We would need to restock in Canada and then possibly face some of the same limitations when coming back into the U.S.

Am I misinterpreting the regulations and making this process seem more difficult than it really is? I would certainly appreciate any comments or advice from those of you who have made similar trips into Canada from the U.S.

Dee Jones

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Old 05-10-2015, 05:51 PM   #2
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There are rules going both directions dictating what you can bring and what you cannot. It has been our experience however that what ever you have in your fridge they do not bother with. Except poultry products like eggs, chicken and lamb, etc. those seem to be a no no at this time. If you have pet food, or any meat, you must have the original labels showing origin or they will take it.
Liquor, anything over the allotted amount, they may charge you duty on. Key is be honest and don't try to BS the agents. They usually know the answers before they ask but if they catch you in a fib, things get nasty.
Not as bad as it sounds, there are thousands crossing the border daily. They are usually very fair to deal with.

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Old 05-10-2015, 05:54 PM   #3
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I am Canadian and in all my years of travel I have never been asked about food at Canada customs. Usa customs ask almost every time. At can customs its usually how long was I away how much did I spend and how much booze do I have. Might be a different line of questions for American s I dont know.
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Old 05-10-2015, 08:25 PM   #4
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A few years ago DW & I and the kids decided to just pop over the border into the U.S. As we pulled up and presented our passports I was asked the routine questions, then asked if I had any firewood on board. My reply was " Oh Crap!" Which resulted in being pulled over for and secondary inspection and the loss of our fruit, rice and vegetables that weren't in their original packaging. The amounts were small just a couple of days worth.
Plus we had to turn around and dispose of the firewood before crossing back.
All because I forgot to check and clean out my RV before leaving my DW's cousin's place and storing the firewood and food there till we returned.
Do you have some place to store your food while visiting Toronto?
Also please remember that your 2nd Amendment right ends at the Canadian Border. Make sure that everyone and everything is aware of that and your RV & Toad are 2nd Amendment free when you visit.
Do hope you come for a visit soon.

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Old 05-11-2015, 06:07 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by dennis45 View Post
There are rules going both directions dictating what you can bring and what you cannot.
It's been my experience that you'll come under far more scrutiny entering back into the US than you will entering into Canada.

BTW, I don't know if it's 'official' or just policy, but they don't seem concerned with open bottles, just the full sealed ones. Many, many times I've declared something like 'one full litre from duty free and two or three part bottles from the trip' and the agent has never even questioned it.

As was mentioned, be brief, but be HONEST.
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:25 AM   #6
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I only answer specific questions, with a specific answer. No embellishments. Usually a yes or no is good enough.
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Old 05-14-2015, 12:07 PM   #7
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Made the crossing more than a few times and never had an issue. Follow the crossing rules, be polite, brief and don't lie. Border security are good people with a tough job. That being said make sure you do not have firewood or guns on board. Either of those could cause a bad day. With the anti gun position of the Canadians we now pretty much avoid the country as ability to defend ourselves is important to me. To bad, I really like the people and their country. But it is their country.
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Old 05-14-2015, 12:18 PM   #8
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The poultry restrictions are new and you can read about it here....http://www.inspection.gc.ca/animals/.../1421341727507
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:59 AM   #9
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The last time I travelled into Canada I needed:

1) An endorsement from my insurance carrier for both my motorhome and my toad

2) A limited amount of alcohol

3) No raw potatoes (that is province dependent) ...

When I returned to the US there were stringent questions on uncooked meat (particularly beef)

and to quit saying "EH" ....
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:33 AM   #10
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while we do not travel through Canada as often as others here, we do every other year. We declare our weapons, pay the fee at the Canadian border, show our passports and answer their questions. The only time we had any issues was coming back into the US at Sumas WA. They did not like that fact that we had dog food inside the coach with the bag in the underside storage. Guess that we have just been 'lucky', but we keep in mind that we are traveling in THEIR country.
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:47 AM   #11
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Wow! How big is your refrig/freezer? If you prepare a 3-month quantity at home it's got to be big! Do you carry 3 months' worth of fresh produce?

I would suggest that you deviate somewhat when you know you're crossing the border. Just use up your fresh and prepared things before crossing and buy again after crossing.

A trip to Alaska is not an inexpensive trip. Yes, Canada stores might be a 'little' more expensive but this is not the time to try to cut back on money. This is a whole different trip and way of doing it. Each year there are different food rules for transportation across. Read up before you go and eliminate the things on the list and you will have no problems crossing. Thousands are able to do it.

Crossing borders is a very easy thing to do. Make it a good experience; not a worrisome one!
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:23 PM   #12
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Is a passport required for entry into Canada and the return entry to the 48 and or Alaska? Also, someone said something about "declaring weapons". As was said earlier, would like to carry a pistol when traveling.
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by SDCOToyhaul View Post
Is a passport required for entry into Canada and the return entry to the 48 and or Alaska? Also, someone said something about "declaring weapons". As was said earlier, would like to carry a pistol when traveling.
Passport or enhanced drivers license now required. DO NOT try to carry a pistol into Canada. You can take some shotguns but they must be declared and paperwork filed. http://canada.usembassy.gov/travelin...to-canada.html
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Old 05-21-2015, 06:04 AM   #14
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The enhanced drivers license is only available in states adjoining Canada. For others, there is the passport card which is for land travel only, but half the price of a full passport Passport Card

Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
Passport or enhanced drivers license now required. DO NOT try to carry a pistol into Canada. You can take some shotguns but they must be declared and paperwork filed. Bringing Weapons Into Canada | Embassy of the United States Ottawa, Canada

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