Canada’s many attractions top of the bucketlists of many RVers — and for good reason: It’s a great place to visit!
We've brought you many reports from our visits there, and even featured Canada on an episode of the RV Lifestyle podcast entitled “Why Canada Needs to Be On Your 2017 RV Travel Bucket List.” (It should be on there every year!)
The biggest thing you need to prepare for, however, is crossing the border.
I first brought you my tips for crossing in 2017, but things seem to always be changing when it comes to crossing over into a foreign country.
Fortunately, the folks at RecordsFinder.com are a great resource to consider bookmarking on your smartphone or tablet at https://recordsfinder.com/driving/usborder/.
The resource has details about crossings at:
- Washington to British Columbia
- Idaho to BC
- Montana to Alberta
- North Dakotaand Minnesota to Manitoba
- Minnesota, New Yorkor Michigan to Ontario
- Vermontand Maine to Quebec
When I talk about details, I mean live information about traffic, road conditions, border wait times, road directions, documentation and many more. Again, a great resource to keep handy.
Also, I thought it would be a great opportunity to also revisit my list of things to know when crossing:
- Do NOT try to take a firearm across the border (this doesn’t apply to hunters, etc. who have gone through the process to get permission, I’m talking about the average RVer going on a vacation). It will likely be the first question you will be asked by border guards.
- Don’t even think about trying to lie. Remember, the guards most important job is to protect the border so they are trained to look for “micro-tells” (aka signs that you’re lying). To help them do their job, and help yourself get back on the road faster, be sure to take off your sunglasses so they can see your eyes.
- Be mindful of what lane to use as an RVer. You will see signs for various types of crossing options, but there will be one for RVs.
- When you are in line, be sure to wait where you are supposed to, especially since those working border crossings can be especially touchy when you get too close and they aren’t ready for you. As Jennifer puts it, “the Type A’s have to cool it.”
- As you approach a booth or guard, turn down the radio and turn off your mobile phone.
- Be prepared to answer three questions: Where you live, how long you’ll be staying, and where you are going? Now, those three questions are generally the mainstays and by no means should be considered the exhaustive list. They may throw something at you like “What’s your license plate number?”
- Most of the food you would take camping will be permissible. For further questions, click on this link https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/3619/kw/food.
- You will want to make sure your pets are not only healthy, but look healthy. They definitely don’t want a sick animal being brought into their country. Be sure to carry a sheet with information about all of your animal’s shots. They may or pay not ask for records. We always have Bo’s vet paperwork with us but we’ve never been asked to show them at the border. Still, it’s better to be prepared.
- You are allowed to carry bear spray into Canada, as long as the label clearly states that’s what it is.
As far as what to bring, keep in mind you will need a passport. This has changed. In the past, you only needed a driver’s license. Make sure the passport isn’t expired and have it ready to hand to them when you approach the booth. When we last renewed our passports, we also paid a little extra for passport cards. These wallet-size travel documents can only be used at land border-crossings or ports-of-entry by sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. But it provides a smaller, more convenient form of ID than the bulky passport books.
The question of whether or not the border agent will enter your vehicle when crossing over is another common one. Going to Canada, I can tell you it’s never happened to us. Coming back, however, is another story, and I would say probably every third or fourth time we cross I am pulled over to the side at the U.S. border and our RV inspected – especially when I’m traveling alone.
Got more questions? For more information, be sure to click here for more on traveling into Canada. The government has a very helpful list that is constantly updated.