Traveling to Canada soon? Bienvenue! It’s an exciting time to plan a trip! While we’re sure that you’re crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s to make sure that you have everything booked and paid for, there is one thing you might be forgetting. Travel insurance is often the last thing that crosses your mind when you’re planning a trip. Still, it’s important because it provides you with peace of mind both before your trip and while you’re abroad. Let’s take a look at what travel insurance is, how much it costs, and whether you need it to go to Canada. Then we’ll also give you some of our best tips to make sure that you have the time of your life! Alternatively, if you are a Canadian traveling south for the winter, check out our information for Canadian Snowbirds.
Travel Insurance for a Trip to Canada
It’s probably no surprise to you that planning an international trip can cost a lot of money. But you’re investing in an experience that you hope will create memories that last a lifetime! Similar to when you’re making a large purchase, such as a home or car, you must consider how you’ll protect your investment in case anything happens. This is where travel insurance comes in. Whether you face a trip cancellation or interruption, or you face an unexpected medical emergency while traveling, trip insurance can back you up on any losses that occur while you’re away.
Do I Need Insurance to Travel to Canada?
No, you don’t need travel insurance to go to Canada. However, it’s in your best interest that you cover your trip investment. Unforeseen circumstances, like weather conditions or home issues that force you to have to cancel your trip, will leave you out of luck in getting a refund on the pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs. With travel insurance, the coverage allows you to recoup your at risk trip costs in the event you cancel or cut your trip short due to a covered reason.
Travel insurance also provides you with help in the event of potentially disastrous problems, like losing your passport or being the victim of theft. Many companies offer 24/7 concierge services that can help you work through the issues. While these are things that you hope won’t happen, it’s reassuring to know that you have someone in your corner to help you out if and when you need it.
How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost for My Trip to Canada?
When you begin to look at the cost of travel insurance, you’ll notice that there’s a pretty wide range of coverage options and fees. Your price will depend on the coverage options you choose, as well as the length of the trip, number of travelers, and their ages. Most travel insurance companies also provide emergency medical coverage that can go above and beyond what your domestic health insurance will cover (most domestic health insurers do not cover medical treatment in a foreign country). Basic travel insurance coverage is typically 3-4% of your total trip cost, while premium coverage can run you 10-12%.
As you start to research travel insurance, you’ll notice that there can be substantial pricing discrepancies from one company to the next. This is why you must compare options and pricing across multiple providers. Our handy comparison tool allows you to get quotes from a variety of top rated travel insurance providers. Easily compare and analyze them against your needs and coverage options, so you can determine the one that’s right for you. You can also easily purchase your travel insurance directly through the comparison tool with a lowest price guarantee, making it a one-stop-shop! Get your travel insurance for your Canada trip today, and rest assured that both you and your investment are protected!
With your travel insurance taken care of for your exciting trip to Canada, you can now continue with planning the perfect itinerary! To help you out, we’ve put together a list of our best ideas for traveling to Canada, so you can get the most out of it.
Money: Currency & Tipping
The official currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar. However, if you’re American, you’ll usually be able to use the American dollar at most places around the border cities and towns. If not, you can typically get a reasonable exchange rate from shopkeepers, while some may just take the American money instead. But you should note that the Canadian dollar is worth roughly 75 cents to the American dollar. However, this rate fluctuates, so you should check it before you exchange any money.
While most places in cities and populated areas take credit or debit cards, it’s useful to make sure you have cash with you. Especially when you’re out in rural areas, as you’ll never know when you’ll see an ATM again. When it comes to tipping, it’s expected in Canadian hospitality, tourism, and service industries. The typical rate is similar to the U.S., at 15-20% of your total bill.
One thing that you should note, and that may surprise you, is that all goods and services in Canada are subjected to a hefty Federal tax. In areas where there are additional local taxes, this can add up. So, don’t be surprised if you notice up to 15% extra charges for tax on your bill in some places!
What to Pack for Your Visit & Weather Conditions
While the temperatures and climate fluctuate across the country, your best bet is to pack layers and check-in on what temperatures and weather patterns are happening in your specific Canadian destination. Winters in Vancouver are very different than winters in Winnipeg, for example. Still, you’d be smart to make sure that you bring good quality snow boots and a waterproof jacket! Between the possible intense winter weather and rapidly changing conditions, it wouldn’t be surprising to see road closures while you’re traveling, due to heavy snowfall or avalanches. If you’re renting a car, make sure that it has snow tires, too.
And don’t forget your ski equipment! Canada is a ski and snowboarder’s wonderland. There are so many places that you can explore and engage in your favorite winter sport. However, if you’re planning on skiing or snowboarding while you’re in Canada, it’s a good idea to make sure you have emergency medical coverage. It will most likely be included in your travel insurance, but confirm that it indicates ski and snowboarding in the coverage fine print. Because of the added risk of engaging in these activities, it only makes sense to make sure you’re covered during an emergency!
Immerse Yourself in the Local Culture
While you’re in Canada, there are some things that you must experience while you’re there. In Quebec, the official language is French. While most people do speak English, especially in the urban areas, it’s an excellent idea to familiarize yourself with some basic French phrases. You should also get some delicious authentic poutine while you’re there! This dish is comprised of french fries covered in beef gravy with cheese curds melted on top. Then, visit Notre-Dame Basilica and take in the beautiful neo-Gothic building.
When you’re visiting Canada during hockey season, you just HAVE to get yourself to a hockey game. The country’s national sport is taken very seriously! Basically, no matter where you go in Canada, there’s an NHL team not too far from you. The Toronto Maple Leafs, the Ottawa Senators, the Winnipeg Jets, the Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames, the Vancouver Canucks, and, of course, the Montreal Canadiens all have huge Canadian followings and fan bases. If you have the opportunity to get to a game, do it!
Canada is a vast country – roughly the size of Europe, but with a population of under 36 million people. This means that there are tons of undeveloped areas and landscapes for you to see and explore. From the glaciers of the Rocky Mountains to the coastal rainforests of Vancouver Island, the countryside can take your breath away. Also, Canadian National Parks are everywhere, and one of the biggest national treasures. If you’re visiting in the summertime, however, be very cautious of bears. Clean up after yourself, don’t leave any food out, and use airtight containers. If you’re heading to Churchill to check out the polar bears, you should be extra careful. Polar bears are the only animal that’s known to stalk humans actively, so use your best judgment and stay safe!
Popular Destinations in Canada
When you’re planning to visit such a vast country like Canada, it can be overwhelming to figure out where exactly you should go. To help you make your decisions, we’ve listed our top 10 most popular places to visit in Canada. Plus, we’ve thrown in a few less-popular, off-the-beaten-track places if that’s more your speed!
Top 10 Most Popular Places to Visit in Canada
- Niagara Falls
- Vancouver Island
- Quebec City
- Prince Edwards Island
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- Baffin Island
- Lake Louise