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  1. Default Canadian trip planned, need info

    hey guys,

    i'm new to the site. i'm planning quite the road trip, and have been for some time now. I am in need of a little information on traveling across Canada. my plans so far are to start from where I live here in Colorado and head to western NY to visit family for a couple weeks. then I'm going to go into Canada through Niagara Falls and drive across to Seattle. Then from Seattle i'm going to come down through Oregon and northern California and then work my way back to Colorado. I'm leaving on june 29th and my deadline to be back to CO is august 10th.

    i'm just needing some information on travel across canada.

    - what do i need to do about i need to get it exchanged for canadian money?

    - will my debit card/Visa work in Canada just like it does here, or do i need to carry a bunch of cash?

    i've heard the Canadian Rockies are really cool...and i've never been to the west coast so i'm pretty excited about it all. any other suggestions about canadian travel would be greatly appreciated!

    thanks in advance!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia



    Before you leave, check with your bank if you will be charged extra for international transactions on either your visa or debit card. It could become very expensive. I find Visa charges quite a lot.

    If you are not charged extra, then just use your visa and debit as normal, as well as drawing out some cash to have cash on hand.

    However, if your bank, like mine, charges for international transactions, then you may like to think about how much money you require for the next few days, and draw it out in one lump sum, so you get charged only one transaction charge. Do not draw out more than you feel comfortable carrying.

    Exchanging money before you leave is another option, but it is more expensive than withdrawing it in Canada. Many places and services accept US dollars, but will charge a small fee for the exchange.

    And don't forget, there is a fee to change your money back to US dollars,

    When in Canada, make sure you are aware that you are in the land of fuel costing the equivalent of around $4 - $5 a gallon. (I have paid as much as $5.50.)

    And as far as the Canadian Rockies go... they are spectacular. I fear however, that you are not leaving yourself much time to really enjoy them.

    Lifey who has only recently driven to Alaska
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 06-22-2009 at 01:50 AM. Reason: Removed quote, in line response.

  3. #3

    Default Reasonable Charges

    I live in (Toronto) Canada and do a lot of shopping in the States using VISA. Visa charges me 2% premium for doing business with non-Canadian companies.

    I also use to live in (Dallas) Texas. When I moved to Canada, I used my American VISA all the time until I got my Canadian version. They too use to charge me 2%.

    So $20 fee to use a $1000, to me is more attractive then to carry a $1000 in my pocket, but double check with your VISA company as previously suggested. Also, American dollar is doing a good 10% better on average compare to Canadian, so no real lose.

    As for Canadian Rockies, Sorry, can't help you. I have only seem them through pictures posted by lifey (thanks for that).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Actually, the conversion rate is better than cash

    For all of the reasons provided above you should not carry "a lot of cash" -- Cash for some limited incidentals is fine. I've found that the credit card companies by and large pass on their preferred exchange rate and often it beats what you can find on a true cash conversion.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Let Them Know

    If you plan to be using your credit card out of country, by all means call the issuing company or bank before your departure and let them know roughly where and when you'll be traveling and that you will be using the card. We have had stops put on our cards more than once when we've forgotten to do this and relatively large charges started to show up far from our home. Very annoying, even though they claim they're just trying to protect us.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Oh yeah!

    Very good point -- we've had similar things happen to us too.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default plastic

    I do the vast majority of my purchases in Canada using a credit/debit card. As Mark mentioned, you get a much better exchange rate than at any place where you'll pay cash, and even when you factor in the transaction fee, you usually still come out ahead.

    I would however, that you should contact your bank and credit card companies to find out what their specific policies are. Some will have a percentage fee based on how much money you are spending, some will have a fee based on each transaction, and some will have both. If you do have a fee for each transaction, then I would recommend, as Lifey suggested, to use an ATM so you don't have pay the fee for every small purchase you might want to make. Of course, don't take out more than you think you'll need, or you'll end up having to pay to convert it back (or buy things you don't need just to get rid of your loonies!)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Just checking - do you have your passport? Unless you have an "enhanced" driver's license, you WILL need it to get back in to the US.

  9. Default

    awesome information guys, thanks a bunch. i'm going to call the bank and see what they have to say...didn't even think of that. and yes i do have my passport. got in in the mail a couple months ago. i heard that it took a while so i put in the application a long time ago.

    thanks a bunch for the information...anything else you guys think of as far as suggestions on traveling through canada let me know. or of any major sight seeing stops you think i should make.

    thanks again!


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