Know Everything Guide to RVing in Canada
With Canada celebrating it’s 150th birthday this year, now is a great time to visit. Use this guide to make a trip to Canada a breeze.
Are you planning to join in on the birthday party of the year? We are, of course, referring to our neighbors to the north — good ol’ Canada. They are ringing in their 150th year as a country and we could not be more excited about what they’ve planned to properly celebrate this momentous occasion.
Chances are you fellow travelers and RVers will be heading up north yourselves to see how Canadians party and to grab some quality maple syrup while you’re there. This is the perfect opportunity to get on the road and have an adventure!
We’ve already put together for you our top picks for celebrating the land of the maple’s sesquicentennial (now that’s a million dollar word), so be sure to check that out here! From the party headquarters of Ottawa, to the smallest communities in the country, the celebrations will be aplenty and 100% guaranteed memorable.
Even though it may not feel like it, Canada is a foreign country. Though we sometimes pretend, it really is not just an extension of the United States and thus, traveling there is a bit different than packing up your bags and heading out West.
To give you an idea of some of the differences you will encounter during your travels, and to help you navigate smoothly through them, we have put together a travel/RV guide. Read through this and take notes (or even print it off and bring it with you!) to ensure that you celebrate the party of the year in style (and safety).
Border patrol does require proof of your citizenship, and a passport is the best way to prove that, so be sure to pack yours with you.
Keep in mind that it will take some time to cross the border, so don’t set any time sensitive plans in stone for the day you’ll be travelling across the border. The Canada Border Services Agency website has a great tool on their website that shows the current border wait times so you get an idea of what you are getting yourself into. It is updated hourly to allow you to plan your crossing time around that.
It won’t take long for the reality of being in a foreign country to hit you — in the form of a speeding ticket. Once you cross over that border into Canada, you have left behind our old, trusted mph and jumped into kmh (kilometers per hour). Most cars with analog (and some with digital) speedometers will only show miles per hour, so below is a simple math equation (we recommend doing this on your phone, not in your head) you can use to convert kilometers per hour into miles per hour:
1 kmh = 0.62 mph (roughly)
A few common speeds:
50 kmh = 31 mph
80 kmh = 50 mph
100 kmh = 62 mph
120 kmh = 75 mph
Though many businesses (especially those near the U.S./Canada border) will accept our dollars, you will want to get some Canadian dollars for those that don’t honor U.S. dollars. Though likely to slightly change, the current exchange rate of Canadian dollar to U.S. dollar is:
$1 Canadian = $0.75 U.S.
With all the gorgeous sites there are to see in the stunning country of Canada, and with fabulous celebrations spread across the entire nation, stopping at gas stations is going to become part of your routine.
And with our help, you won’t look like an out-of-towner (unless they spot your license plate). To save you the trouble (and embarrassment) during your first gas station stop, we’re here to let you know that gas stations list gas prices by the liter, not by the gallon like you’re used to in the U.S.
Apparently a trip to Canada requires a lot of math, because we’ve got another handy math equation for you to use to convert liters into gallons:
3.8 liters = 1 gallon (roughly)
Clearance for your RV
To avoid major damage (and possibly the end of your vacation), be sure you are aware of the fact that overhead clearances for RVs are displayed in Canada in meters, not feet.
Here we are crunching numbers again, this time from meters to feet:
1 m = 3.28 feet
In other words, a bridge that has a clearance of 5 meters means a clearance of nearly 16 feet.
Similarly, weight limits will also be different. Canadians measure weight in Metric tonnes, not pounds.
1 Metric tonne = 2,240 pounds
It’s a good idea to be prepared ahead of time that at restaurants and stores, you may see your bill have up to 15% added on for taxes. Canada adds a federal sales tax to all goods and services in their country, and many provinces have their own taxes in addition to that. In short, be prepared to shell out some extra cash.
While you can still get away with this in some cities in the United States, Canada is strictly against texting while driving, so have your co-(non-driving)captain take care of cell phone use.
Also, remember our talk about how Canada is a foreign country? Don’t forget that it’s also a foreign country when it comes to your cell phone bill. Roaming charges will surely put a damper on your vacation, so contact your cell company before you leave and figure out a good plan to use while you’re traveling.
As you can see, Canada is a bit more foreign than you might have thought! And with all of this knowledge in your back pocket, your adventure up north to celebrate the glorious country of Canada is sure to be a fabulous one.
Check Out These Canadian Road Trips
- A Trip Through Quebec is a Bucket List Adventure
- A Canadian Maritimes Road Trip
- A Trip to Ontario Offers Something for Everyone
One thing that will make you feel at home in Canada is the KOA campgrounds. Did you know that we have over 30 KOA campground locations in maple country? Hop on to our website and check out the variety of accommodations we have in Canada that will make your trip even more enjoyable. With locations near all the major celebrations in Canada’s 150th birthday year, you won’t have to miss out on any of the excitement, and are sure to have many adventures of your own!
Born and raised in the Big Sky Country of Montana, Leslie K. Hughes is a writer, editor, and communication specialist who calls Arizona Home. Leslie has over 10 years of experience in working with words and helping people use the magical English language to grow their businesses. When not traveling and choosing “cake over steak,” Leslie serves her fabulous clients as Copy Girl.