This page is meant to collect general tips about travelling in Canada. These are things we experienced firsthand, and where it was complicated to get information about in advance. Remember that these tips were written in late 2012.
There are whole chapters about money in guidebooks. We found it very easy to pay in Canada:
- Take two (or more) Credit Cards along with you. Mix between Visa and Mastercard, we had some trouble with our Mastercard frequently crashing terminals. Make sure your credit limit is adequate, if in doubt, get a gold-card.
- Take your German EC-Karte along with you. You will use it to get cash money from ATMs in Canada, at a very good rate and with only a $2 fee for each withdrawal. Even with the fee, the rates we got were much better than if we had gotten the money in advance in Germany. Also you’re much more flexible.
- You will rarely really need cash. Some small B&B don’t take credit cards, but that’s it. Cash does come in handy in buses and for small amounts in fast food restaurants.
- Credit Cards are absolutely needed for a number of occasions: Booking hotel rooms, paying at automatic gas pumps, etc.
- Don’t get any cash in advance. Seriously.
Again, there are lots of hotels in guidebooks and every tourist information has dozens of leaflets about accommodations in the area. This might be helpful for people who travel without any Internet access, but we found it to be much easier, cheaper and better to plan to simply book online, mostly on booking.com. This way, you can compare hotels, read the reviews and have a look about their location on Google Maps.
Some people want to be offline on vacation, and I can really understand it. If, however, you don’t mind going online every now and then (or if you rely on the Internet to book rooms or upload photos), it has never been easier. Every hotel we stayed at, including really small B&B, has free complimentary WiFi nowadays. If the hotel charges a fee for using the Internet, just check for open networks from the neighborhood first (works great in big cities), or simply grab a cup of coffee at any of your favorite fast-food chains, all of which have free unlimited WiFi access today.
The obsession of people with bargains over here is hard to be understood. There are sometimes ridiculous deals, but it makes sense to use them. A few examples:
- Customer cards at chains like Safeway, Chapters, etc. Get one and throw it away after your holiday.
- Affiliations between different adjacent shops: Get 10% off your meal if you’re staying at Motel XY. Get 10% off your ice-cream if you just had lunch at the burger-shack next door. Keep those receipts, at least for a day.
Last update: September 28, 2012