When the USA is virtually in your backyard, it’s hard to miss the opportunity to make a trip there.
While many Canadians travel to the USA several times a year, others are stuck at the planning stage. Visiting the USA is easy, exciting and fun as long as you know a few smart tips.
Here Are Our Top 5 Tips to Visiting the US from Canada
1. Know Your Limits
While the visa regime for Canadians traveling to the USA is very relaxed, some limitations still exist. One of them is the staying time. You can stay in the USA for 182 days without violating any rules. These 182 days are allowed for a 12 month period. If, for some reason, you manage to overstay these 182 days (which is almost 6 months), you might be denied entrance the next time you want to cross the border.
In case you already overstayed, you can apply for a US Entry Waiver of inadmissibility. The process might take up to a year, but in the end, you could get a second chance.
2. Take a Smart Approach to Duty Free
If the purpose of your trip to the USA is shopping, don’t come back to Canada the same day. Staying overnight at a nearby hotel might save you much more money than you’d spend on the room. Duty free limits for Canadians go up with each day you stay in the U.S. If you spend less than 24 hours, you don’t get any duty free allowance.
If you stay for 24 hours, it goes up to $200 per person. If you stay over 48 hours, it doubles up to $400 per person. Look for special offers and deals from the border hotels. By booking directly, you can get discounts and avoid third-party fees.
3. Avoid Using ATM Machines
ATM machines might seem very convenient since they allow you to skip the currency exchange hassle. However, they may take humongous fees. Besides charging a high currency conversion fee, they can shower you with several more unexpected charges.
Either convert your cash in Canada before traveling to the USA or use credit cards. Make sure the credit card you use doesn’t have foreign transaction fees.
4. Travel With Empty Gas Tank
While this sounds like strange advice, try to cross the border with the minimum of gas in your tank. The gas in the USA is usually substantially cheaper than in Canada, so you can save some money. Before leaving the USA, fill up the tank.
If you travel by car, don’t forget to check if your insurance covers you leaving the country. Is it sufficient for the areas you are planning to visit?
5. Plan Ahead
Whatever the purpose of your trip is, be it having fun at the nightclubs, shopping or sightseeing, plan ahead. While you won’t face a language barrier or too many law differences, you need to do your research. Here are some differences you should consider when planning:
- Measurement system (forget the centimeters and kilometers, say hello to inches and miles)
- Drinking age (in the USA it’s 21)
- When you spell something, the letter Z sounds like zee (not zed).
- The currency (CAD to USD)