Oh, Canada. There’s just oh so much to love about North America’s most northern country. It has some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, has plenty of cool cities, and offers a level of adventure that other countries just can’t match. And it’s a bit unusual, too; the vast majority of the country’s population live within one hundred miles of the US border, which means the bulk of the country is completely empty.
If you’ve never been to Canada, perhaps now is the time. No matter what type of trips you enjoy taking, you’ll find there’s something for you in Canada! In this blog, we’re going to run through some useful tips that’ll ensure your trip is nothing but fun, from beginning to end.
Do Some Research
As we said: Canada is big. And that means that, while you can just turn up and do your thing, you’ll be making things much more difficult for yourself. After all, there’s so much to see, and you won’t want to miss the parts that you will love to experience! So before you get too deep into the planning stage of your trip, be sure to conduct some research. It’s important to know the difference between the Eastern part and Western part of the country since they differ in landscape and culture. Once you’ve got a sense of what part of the country you want to visit, you’ll be able to dive deeper into the planning.
You’ll need to take care of some practical matters if you’re planning to visit Canada. If you plan them correctly, then you’ll make the beginnings of your trip much smoother. For example, let’s think about flights. No matter where you’re coming from (unless it’s near the border in the United States), you’ll likely have a long flight. And if you’re coming from Europe or further afield, you could have a very long flight. You’ll make things easier for yourself if you pick pleasant flight times (an appropriate time; minimal/no connections) and settle in for a day of rest when you land to help you get over jet lag (especially if you’re renting a vehicle).
Remember that you may need a visa or to get an eTA to enter the country, so be sure to find out more about this process well in advance of your trip. Once you’ve taken care of the practical parts of your trip, you’ll be able to get into the fun business of planning!
Where Will You Go?
So where are you going to go? Unless you have lots of time to play with, you’ll probably have to pick one part of the country to explore and make plans to revisit to see the other parts later on down the line. If you want to get a sense of Canada’s grand landscapes, then head west — Banff National Park is about as good as it gets, anywhere in the world. If you’re looking for a more low-key level of nature, but still plenty of fun, then look east; many people visit the area around Toronto, for example.
When Will You Go?
As with most countries, your experience of Canada will depend heavily on when you go. It’s much different visiting during the winter months compared with the summer months, for instance. That’s not to say one is better than the other. There are advantages to all seasons. If you’re visiting in the summer, you’ll be more likely to get some sunshine, and there’ll be more events going on in the major cities. If you visit during the winter, then you’ll have some areas (especially in nature) virtually all to yourself, and the costs will be cheaper, too.
So it really comes down to personal preference. But if you don’t have a personal preference, or you don’t already have cold weather clothing, then our vote goes for summer — it’s more likely that you’ll be able to enjoy all that Canada has to offer to the fullest.
Rent a Vehicle
As we’ve already said: Canada is big. Actually, that’s an understatement: it’s huge. As such, it’s recommended that you have a set of wheels for your trip. You won’t need one to get around Vancouver or Toronto or the other cities, but you will need one to get out of the cities and into natural areas. There are coach trips available that’ll take you from the city to the parks, but it’s much more fun to do your own thing.
A word of advice, though: don’t just rent any old vehicle. In Canada, you’ll likely come across driving terrains that are different from ones that you’re used to. For example, if you’re visiting Lake Louise (which we recommend!), you’ll be driving through mountain zones, and cars can function very differently in those landscapes. As such, a reliable car is essential. You might even encounter snow, even if you’re visiting in late spring, so make sure that you have everything you need to manage the weather correctly (such as the correct tires).
Into the Outdoors
Even if you’re not normally an outdoors person, you must visit the great outdoors in Canada. It will turn you into a believer in the power of the natural world. Seriously — just go, and thank us later.
A Sense of Adventure
Finally, our last tip is to ensure that you take a sense of adventure with you! Canada receives plenty of plaudits from travelers’ because of the endless amount of fun that the country has to offer. If you arrive ready to throw yourself into all that it offers, then you’ll be happily rewarded.
There’s no shortage of fantastic destinations all over the world. But there’s a reason why Canada routinely tops the list of people’s most favorite destinations. It offers something for everything, has great food and craft beer scene, and the people are oh so friendly. Who knows, after you’ve taken a short trip and seen what’s on offer, you might just decide to move there.