Last Updated on September 13, 2023

Pristine nature and beautifully vibrant urban culture create a perfect blend of reasons to explore Canada. Whether you come searching for thriving wildlife, diverse landscapes, adventure activities across the scenic regions or enjoy the ultimate vibes of city life, Canada is always happy to offer you a wide range of experiences.

Is it the spell-binding northern lights? Or the beautiful cities of Quebec, Calgary and Vancouver? Or the never-ending festivities? There is literally so much to do and see in Canada, that it often starts with where to start and how to start exploring the wonderful country. And you also end up feeling overwhelmed by all the planning from obtaining your Canada visa online and listing out travel itinerary. But here’s the catch! A little research can do big wonders and will ease most of your confusions on your planned trip. So, we have put together a super helpful guide on all the essential things to know before travelling to Canada.

Get started with the basics of Canada

The capital of Canada is Ottawa and the other major cities include Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec, Calgary, and Edmonton. Each cities boast their unique charm with numerous sights to explore.

The currency of Canada is Canadian dollar. Check out the current exchange rates before travelling to Canada.

The majority of Canadian folks speak in English and French.

Canada Visa and travel documents are not required for American, Australian, and most of European nationalities. But do check for the latest updates and see whether you are eligible for a visa-free entry. If not, then apply for one as early as possible and make sure you provide all the accurate and necessary documents.

The standard voltage and frequency in Canada is 120 V and 60 Hz respectively. The sockets and power plugs are mostly of type A and B and type B works well with plug A. It is best advised to get a universal travel adapter before you leave for Canada.

Trip planning for Canada

Bleu Lavande, Quebec.
Bleu Lavande, Quebec. Photo credit Sophie Winegard

The best time to visit Canada

Well, there is nothing like the best time to visit Canada. The country is so diverse and vast that your trip mostly depends on what you want to do and where you want to explore.

  • June to August (Summer vibes)

June to August are the warmer months and are the most popular times to visit Canada. Summer in Canada is ideal time to travel and adventure for most tourists. Exploring the national parks make it an excellent option along with other major cities. Expect higher prices and more crowd.

  • December to February (Winter vibes)

Winter in Canada is extremely cold. But this also creates an opportunity to explore and enjoy winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, dog sledging, and much more. Do keep in mind that some regions of the country deals with extreme temperatures. It is a great time if you want see less crowds and low prices.

  • Shoulder season

Just like any other tourist destination, the shoulder season in Canada witness less traffic than summer and winter months. April and November are considered as not so popular months to travel Canada as they are often neither too hot or too cold to enjoy many activities. However, the prices are much lower compared to other seasons. So, if you are planning for Canada travel on budget, this may not be that bad!

Travel insurance for Canada

No matter from where you are traveling with your Canada visa, travel insurance for Canada is highly recommended. Yes, Canada boasts having one of the finest healthcare systems but it only applies for Canadians. This means one trip to Canadian hospitals may cost you a fortune.

Please keep mind that most insurance policies may cost extra if you plan on engaging in risky activities such as scuba diving, sky diving, etc.

Know about Sale tax

Canada prominently uses four tax systems namely: Provincial Sales Tax (PST), Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), Goods and Sales Tax (GST), and Quebec Sales Tax (QST). Different regions charge different tax rates and also use different tax systems. Make sure you know which tax you are paying for what commodity.

Learn some French

The most of Canadian population communicates in English, however, there are some locations where learning some French will help you a lot.

Moreover, if you plan on visiting the city of Quebec, French is the sole official language here. Most people in major cities are quite fluent in English but some countryside regions speak French-only.

Understand the Metrics

Although Canada uses the metric systems, most of the population uses a blend of two systems. You will see all the documents and signs using metric measurements, but many Canadians still use imperial systems. Don’t get confused, you can just ask any local or do some quick search on search engines.

Research on wildlife and unsafe neighborhoods

Canada is the ultimate paradise for nature lovers. With the vast and thriving national parks, you should be aware of the wildlife. When hiking in these parks and backcountry roads, be aware of black bears, grizzly bears, brown bears, elk, moose, polar bears in the north, and other large mammals.

The animals which you see mostly depend on where you go. Though the attacks are rare, it is good be cautious of such things.

If you are travelling alone, it is best to avoid shady and unpopular regions. Being safe is the priority in any trip and in any place across the world. Not every time, but in some instances, it is best to not go to these areas. Do some research and then hop in to explore.

Traveling around Canada

Whistler Trainwreck and Miller Creek Waterfall.
Whistler Trainwreck and Miller Creek Waterfall. Photo By Kim Jackson

Coming to getting around in Canada, before going to a specific destination it is best advised to do a thorough research. Though opting for an airplane is convenient for long distance traveling, each city has its own means of transportation such as train, bus, subway, etc.

Don’t forget that some cities do not have any connections at all. This leaves local buses and renting a car as your primary options. Renting a Car in Canada is a popular option for most tourists which not only gives a flexible exploration but also cuts in most of Canada travel on budget.

Few tips for Canada travel on Budget

To keep your budget on track in Canada, here are few tips for budgeting:

  • Make optimum use of public transportation or take a walk whenever you can.
  • Buy food at local markets. You will find a wide variety of delectable items at reasonable rates. You can also cook meals if you can.
  • Check for free events and festivals. Canadian cities feature festival almost every part of the year.
  • Look for last-minutes deals and discounts on travel, accommodation, and activities.
  • Go for couch surfing often. Camping is one of the best way to save on your money.
  • For covering long distances, look for rideshares on places like Craigslist, and travel groups and forums.

Canada is a highly advanced country and travelling to such places is not just about listing the places and making the bookings. The task is beyond any ordinary picnic and requires you to do thorough research. Every country poses challenges and Canada is no exception. A little learning and our guide will help you to have one of the most memorable moments in Canada!