Traveling to Canada is an experience worthy of any bucket list. But forgetting to pack the right items can turn any dream vacation into a tourist’s worst nightmare.
We’re sharing our expert packing tips for traveling to Canada so you can spend less time and money shopping for things you forgot and more time enjoying your destination.
Traveling to Canada? Make Sure You Pack These Essentials!
Before You Travel to Canada
Before you travel, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with Canada’s weather and seasons, local laws (e.g. legal drinking age and limits, fireworks, driving, etc), crime rates, and potential safety hazards you’ll encounter.
Find out where to go in case of an emergency and how to contact local law enforcement. Also, consider the types of activities you’ll be doing, such as backpacking in the mountains or traveling between cities.
A little planning can help you identify risks and things you might need to pack for your trip. As an added precaution, it’s a smart idea to purchase the best travel insurance to help cover medical-related costs, missed flights, stolen or lost luggage, and trip delays.
Whether you’re there for a few days or spending the whole month in Canada, the last thing you want is to incur surprise expenses that can ruin your trip.
Ready for a quintessential trip to Canada? Make sure these six items end up in your luggage!
#1 – Travel Insurance and Personal Documents
Your travel insurance information and other documents are arguably the most important thing you’ll pack. Passports, IDs, visas, itineraries, and emergency contact information should be within arm’s reach at all times.
If you’re flying, you’ll want to keep these items in your carry-on. Making digital copies gives you an eco-friendly backup in case your carry-on were to become lost or stolen.
#2 – Clothing for Every Season
Though known for the cold weather, Canada has a varying climate that surprises many travelers. The country experiences all four seasons, with temperatures ranging from 70-86℉ (20-30℃) in the summer and 5℉ (-15℃) or colder in the winter.
Non-coastal areas may have snow on the ground for up to six months. Coastal regions like British Columbia tend to have cold, rainy winters, while interior provinces may experience extreme heat in the summer.
In general, you should pack the following clothing items regardless of season or location:
Clothing you should pack for Canada
➤ Rain jacket
➤ Extra shoes and socks
➤ Long-sleeve shirts
For summer trips, bring along a bathing suit, towels, sandals, and short-sleeve shirts.
Winter requires quite a bit of bulk. Warm hats, fleece-lined gloves, scarves, a balaclava, thick socks, boots, sweaters, a heavy, waterproof coat, and base layers should be on your packing list.
#3 – Medical Needs
Medications can be packed in a carry-on or checked bag. Make sure your prescriptions are in the original bottle in case you need to refill or replace them on your trip, or prove to customs exactly what the prescription is.
It’s also a good idea to pack a small first aid kit for emergencies. At a minimum, you should include bandages, a thermometer, disinfectant, anti-diarrheal medication, and sunburn care, but you can add to it as you see fit.
#4 – Money
Your credit card should work in Canada, but it’s smart to have some Canadian cash on hand for emergencies. You can call your bank and pre-order cash before your trip.
The amount of cash is up to you. However, you might want to have enough to cover two nights’ stay, cab fare, and a few meals in case you run into trouble with your credit card.
#5 – Backpack or Daypack
Whether you plan on sightseeing in the city or exploring the wilderness, backpacks make it easy to bring along the essentials. Pack extra clothes, snacks, water, money, documents, phone chargers, and other items you’ll need within arm’s reach.
If you think you can travel with only a backpack, and aren’t keen on traveling around Canada with heavy luggage, it can be incredibly liberating and exciting being able to live out of just one piece of luggage.
When you’re hauling heavy bags it’s awkward on public transport, inconvenient to drag across town, and airlines will hit you with extra fees. You’re less likely to travel off the beaten path with all that weight, and it’s difficult to find your things when and as you need.
#6 – Silica Gel Packets
This one is a secret weapon for serious travelers in Canada, especially during the winter!
Cold temperatures and moisture can damage camera gear and electronics. Adding a few silica gel packets to your equipment can help absorb moisture and mitigate your risk of damage.
Consider stashing your electronics in Ziploc bags and adding a couple of gel packets to each. Not to mention it’s an easy way to recycle those seemingly useless packets rather than tossing them in the trash.
Pack for Canada Without the Guesswork!
If you’re traveling to Canada, the best thing you can do is pay attention to the time of year and typical weather conditions. Planning your activities ahead of time can also help ensure you’re prepared for the Canadian environment.
With a little forethought and research, you’ll be less likely to overlook little items that can make a big impact on your comfort.
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