Monday, December 21, 2015

Visiting Canada (a few suggestions)

1. You pay $1 dollar (minimum) or more for gas in Canada.  Top off your vehicle prior to crossing the border.  They don't sell it in gallons.  Posted rate is in liters.  1 gallon = 3.78 liters.

2. Only a few credit card issuers no longer charge a conversion fee.  Twenty-five years ago you could use your card in Canada and the bank didn't charge for the currency exchange.  Now, most cards have a built in charge if you use the card in Canada. Check with your issuing company before you travel.  I've found the fee not punitive, but a fee nevertheless and you need to be aware, especially on small purchases.  As a side note.  If bringing a long gun into Canada.  You can process the application on the same day of travel at the border. The 60 day permit fee is $25 Canadian.  They will accept your credit card.

3. Spend your Canadian dollars in Canada.  At today's bank rate you receive $1.39 Canadian for each U.S. dollar converted.  You convert $100 (US) and receive $139 (Canadian).  If you return to the states and convert Canadian money to U.S. currency you will receive $.72 (US) per Canadian dollar converted. At some locations the conversion back to U.S. dollars can be considered punitive in what they charge (if you live away from the border it may be hard to find someone that will accept them).

* Conversion rate charges vary.  You normally can deduct $.03 off posted rates you see on the internet when checking currency values. Some money exchanges/banks have a walk in fee of $10 or higher before they apply the $.03 cut per dollar. In my region the local bank recommended I use the exchange at the mall if I wanted best value.

4. Does your health care policy cover you in Canada? Contact your insurance provider. Medicare only under very strict conditions will pay any cost associated with heath care in Canada. 

5.  Is your automobile insurance valid in Canada?  Contact your insurance provider.

6.  Do you have a Passport (flying or driving) or Enhanced Drivers License (driving only)?  The old days of returning to the USA and flashing your drivers license is no longer.  Many border states can issue you an Enhanced Drivers License.

7.  Be aware of the value of goods you can purchase in Canada and return to the U.S. duty free.  $200 exemption per visitor just for a day trip.  This will help you spend those unwanted Canadian dollars.

8.  kilometers to miles.  Just multiply kilometers by 6 and round off the result.  100 km/h X 6 = 60mph.  I've used this basic formula in my travels in Europe and Canada.

9.  Canada did away with the penny.

10. Does you GPS cover Canada? 

11.  Does your cell phone provide coverage in Canada?  I have a Verizon pre-paid plan and I have to activate additional roaming (*228) before entering Canada.

12.  As in the states some regions outlaw the use of a radar detector.

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