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The Ultimate Guide for Planning your trip to Canada

Travelling to Canada can be a daunting prospect, especially on a budget. But we’re here to tell you why you should and how you can do it.

Author: Camp Canada
23 Jan 14:50

You may have once been in a coffee shop talking to your friends about going on an adventure. You may have even dreamt about Canada, specifically.

What if it could be a reality?

You may think that there is too much hassle involved with organising a trip to Canada. But, we’ve made an ultimate guide on planning a trip to Canada that can help.

Whether it’s how to apply for a visa, how to get a job or how long it’s going to take to get a postcard back to your family, we’ve got you covered.

Why should you go to Canada?

You already want to go to Canada. That’s why you’re here. With Canada said to be the ‘cooler cousin of America’, and having a reputation of friendly locals, safe cities and long summer days, why wouldn’t you?

It’s rumoured to be one of the healthiest places in the world too according to Huffpost. (But don’t let that put you off, they also eat the most Mac and Cheese in the world too!)

And, with famous faces like Jim Carrey, Michael J Fox, Celine Dion, Keanu Reeves and James Cameron coming out of Canada… there’s all the more reason to visit.

From January to August of 2018, Canada welcomed a whopping 21,844,493 holiday-makers into their country. A number that has been growing for years.

This comes as no surprise because in 2016, Lonely Planet featured Canada within their Best in Travel 2017 book.

According to The Weather Network, Canada were awarded "elongated birthday party," and "plenty of pocket money to spend on Canada's exciting fusion food and mysteriously underrated wine." The country was also applauded for "dynamic cities," "inclusiveness," and "impeccable politeness”.

But if that’s not your ‘taste’ then what other reason than for the politeness? A world where everyone is nice and ends their sentences with the famous ‘Eh’. We can’t think of anything better.

Make the most of research and comparison sites when booking.

When you’re looking to book your trip, definitely spend some time doing your research.

There's plenty of sites out there that will price-up flights and hotels, comparing them to get the best deal. But, sometimes you can find a better price elsewhere.

Sites like Sky Scanner, Google Flights and Kayak can provide plenty of flight options for you to choose from. Kayak will even provide a price forecast and alert system for when prices drop. So you can really make the most out of your ‘dime’.

Other comparison sites let you price up accommodation and car hire such as HotelsCombined, Trivago and Kayak. Don’t be pulled into the cost of a hotel when you get get the same room, cheaper on a comparison site like these.

If you’re wanting a more personalised travel package, you could try visiting Canadian Affair. They are self-professed travel experts that help you choose flights, hotels, car rental or entire holiday packages.

The options are endless. So get online and make the most of research and comparison sites.

Have you thought about working in Canada?

When travelling to Canada, the most worrying aspects can be money and work. There are plenty of ways to get some more money while your in Canada or find a job before you get there. This ultimate guide will help you out.

If you decide to find a job before travelling to Canada try job sites and job boards such as Indeed.com. This is an international site trusted in many countries. They offer companies and employees the opportunity to job match with advertisements online.

But, if you’re not sure where exactly to look first, it is said that Ontario is the best state to find work, according to The Loop.

This isn’t to say that you won’t find good work elsewhere, but it is a good starting point for where to look.

If you don’t want to find work before travelling, and have money to do so, you could always network when you’re there. According to The Harvard Business School via Moving 2 Canada, 65% - 85% of all jobs are found through networking.

So, get out there and improve your ‘elevator talk’ so you get get your job while you’re adventuring around Canada.

Plus there’s always summer camps too…

You’re going to need a visa, but here’s how to get one:

Before travelling to Canada you need a visa. This can depend on how long you intend to stay and what you want to do while you’re there. There are student visas, work visas, extended stay visas and more.

Different visas needed for different occasions and these can vary in cost. First, decide if you want to work in Canada or not.

Head to the Government of Canada’s website. Choose ‘immigration’, ‘visit’ and then ‘find out if you need a visa’. This will take you to a small questionnaire that tells you which type of travel documents you need for your visit to Canada.

The most used document for travelling to Canada is an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

An eTA will lets you travel around Canada as an international wanting to visit. It will also sometimes be in place of a work permit, for example if you are a short-term researcher.

Through the Government of Canada’s website, you can contact a Help Centre and check the status of applications. This way you’ll never be in the dark about your visa.

Summer camp in Canada is a little different. We work with a visa exemption, specifically for the camp counsellor program. This means you won’t need to apply for a working holiday visa for Canada, nor join the waiting lists, you can work in Canada without a visa at all.

We sponsor your working time in Canada and will provide the documents for you to obtain your working visa exemption at the border. It’s the only working program of it’s kind and it’s a great way to have the best of work and travel in Canada.

How long can it take to get to Canada?

A long time.

Flights to Canada can take upwards of 8 hours depending on budget and if you wish to take many flights, or not. Sometimes it can even take 23 hours with layover time.

Don’t forget to make use of the travel compare sites when looking for flights. Flight prices can vary by company and sometimes can be beat by other companies or a mixture, so always be on the lookout for the best deal!

But if you don’t like to use comparison sites, then ask us for a quote. Our in house flights team have access to some great deals.

Making sure you travel at a time right for you…

There is no doubt that Canada is beautiful throughout all four seasons of the year. But, with big differences between them, it is important to choose the right one for you!

Summer is a beautiful time of year to see the green across the national parks or walk around a city. Don’t miss the fantastic festivals happening across Canada such as the Celebration of Light or the Calgary Stampede!

‘Fall’ where the forests turn all shades of orange. Elk Ridge resort in Saskatchewan one of the best places for wildlife spotting, according to the Great Canadian Bucket List.

If you’re looking for a winter wonderland, then Canada’s got it. With almost eight-inches of snow guaranteed for the winter months in Toronto, get your puffer-jacket out and make snow-angels to be proud of. Don’t forget to find yourself in stunning festivals like the Niagara Falls Festival of Light.

And finally the spring months. These bring the Cherry Blossom Festival and other fun activities like kayaking or white water rafting.

Is there a way to travel within Canada for free?

Yes, there’s lots of options that are in the budget. Check out the Berg Lake Trail in the Rocky Mountains or a guided tour of the Canadian Parliament.

Every city will offer walking tours and if you’re great with research, then you’ll be able to run the tour yourself!

Also try hitting the ‘low season’ where the prices for tourism are slightly lower, through April and May.

You don’t need to speak French if you’re travelling to French-Canada.

It may cross your mind that in Canada there are French-speaking areas. And as much as it’s good to join in and try to speak the language, it doesn’t mean you need to speak French.

Being in these areas and having bilingual individuals around can be a benefit, but why not try and have a go.

Bon voyages!

How do I keep in touch from Canada?

When you’re there you can always keep in contact.

You can bring your cell phone, but we recommend keeping it on Airplane or Offline mode and use WiFi when it’s available. Lots of restaurants and cafes will have free wifi you can log into when having a coffee.

To call home, consider using international calling cards. Or calling through an internationally friendly app. But if you’d like to spend a long time in Canada, it may be worth getting a pay you go sim card or even a second phone, if it’s in the budget. It’s handy to have a Canadian phone number to chat with locals and new found friends.

There’s plenty of scenic postcards that you can send to your friends and family. According to Royal Mail, international standard delivery only takes 5 to 7 days.

Not that you’ll remember to write when you’re having the time of your life.

Working abroad is working towards a better you.

Working in Canada can really enhance your CV, your career and your future.

The process can make you a well-rounded individual with a range of cultural experiences under your belt.

Not only do you get the experience of living and working in a new country, future employers can see you’re an open-minded individual.

You’ll be enriching your CV with your travels in Canada.

Why wouldn’t you test the Canadian waters to broaden your career prospects and your future?

You could find yourself travelling alongside your best friend...

It tends to be like-minded people that decide to venture into the wide world and take on the challenge of travelling Canada.

When you’ve travelled abroad, you’ll become more open minded. Even after your elevated adventure has come to an end, you’ll continue to meet new people and make lasting relationships.

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to make new life-long friendships and memories to cherish.

We hope our ultimate guide for a trip to Canada has helped you in your travels.

Here’s some fun facts of Canada, if it wasn’t already cool enough:

  • There’s a bar in Canada called the Sourdough Saloon, in the Downtown Hotel situated in Yukon Territory. This bar will serve you a drink that has a real life human toe inside. The drink called the Sour-Toe Cocktail involves any drink, but according to Atlas Obscura, there’s one rule that must be followed. “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow—but the lips have gotta touch the toe.”
  • Canada was the first country in the world to make a $1million coin. The Royal Canadian Mint created this coin in 2007. Why? Because why not. You may be able to see one of these in a museum…
  • According to Top Moving, Canada is well-known for doughnuts because they have the most doughnut shops per capita. So you can get to Canada and grab one of the country’s favourites be it the apple fritter, glazed or Canadian maple.
  • With the help from History, we know the famous story of Winnie the Pooh came from a true story about a Canadian bear. The bear came from Winnipeg, and was named after her place of birth but called Winnie for short. She was taken to the London Zoo where her calm nature allowed children including Christopher Robin Milne to fall in love with her. It was Christophers’ dad A. A. Milne that then wrote the children’s stories.
  • A story was once covered by the BBC that included the arrest of a man who tied over 120 party balloons to a chair. He flew over the city of Calgary as a publicity stunt in 2015 to promote the his cleaning-product company.
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