• The TUGBBS forums are completely free and open to the public and exist as the absolute best place for owners to get help and advice about their timeshares for more than 30 years!

    Join Tens of Thousands of other Owners just like you here to get any and all Timeshare questions answered 24 hours a day!
  • TUG started 30 years ago in October 1993 as a group of regular Timeshare owners just like you!

    Read about our 30th anniversary: Happy 30th Birthday TUG!
  • TUG has a YouTube Channel to produce weekly short informative videos on popular Timeshare topics!

    Free memberships for every 50 subscribers!

    Visit TUG on Youtube!
  • TUG has now saved timeshare owners more than $21,000,000 dollars just by finding us in time to rescind a new Timeshare purchase! A truly incredible milestone!

    Read more here: TUG saves owners more than $21 Million dollars
  • Sign up to get the TUG Newsletter for free!

    60,000+ subscribing owners! A weekly recap of the best Timeshare resort reviews and the most popular topics discussed by owners!
  • Our official "end my sales presentation early" T-shirts are available again! Also come with the option for a free membership extension with purchase to offset the cost!

    All T-shirt options here!
  • A few of the most common links here on the forums for newbies and guests!

Flying into Canada (2018)

bbodb1

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
4,305
Reaction score
3,824
Location
High radiation belt of the Northern Hemisphere
Resorts Owned
RCI Weeks: LaCosta Beach Club, RCI Points: Oakmont Resort, Vacation Village at Parkway. Wyndham: CWA and La Belle Maison, and WorldMark.
After doing a bit of reading and searching on TUG about travel into Canada, I see a lot of info out there but a significant amount of it appears on the older side. Because rules and procedures change over time, I though it was time for an updated discussion on traveling into Canada from the U.S..

At present, I'm concerned about the following areas - each requiring some pre planning (I'm sure there are other aspects I have NOT listed here - please add to this list if you see items missing):
  1. Crossing the border
  2. Renting a car in Canada
  3. Other purchases in Canada - using banks and credit cards
  4. Cell phone usage
For our particular trip, we have a reservation at the WM in Blaine but have chosen to fly into Vancouver since it is so much closer than Seattle.

Crossing the border
We already have passports (current, and not expiring for several years), and Nexus cards so much of the concern here has been addressed but still having NOT traveled into Canada for many years, I am still a bit unclear if I need to fill out any customs forms prior to landing / entry. I've heard about an app that can help with this but is it necessary if I have Nexus?

A useful (?) website might be: https://travel.gc.ca/air

Renting a car in Canada
We have an existing reservation with Hertz (and we have used Hertz previously and have gold status) but are there other aspects to consider here? Is there any reason our current auto policy would not cover us in Canada in case of the unexpected?


Other purchases in Canada - using banks and credit cards
We have accounts with a major US Bank and have notified that bank we will be in Canada for a period of time. The bank told us they have an agreement with ScotiaBank so any ATM withdrawals performed at a ScotiaBank would NOT be hit with a non Bank usage fee. However, I am still a bit fuzzy on what will happen with credit card purchases. Would we be better off making an ATM withdrawal and pay in Canadian currency? The larger question here is what are the best practices when it comes to spending money in Canada? Still a lot of fuzziness here....

A useful (?) website might be: https://www.tripsavvy.com/debit-and-credit-card-tips-in-canada-1481710

Cell phone usage
Another big area of uncertainty here as we have learned our Verizon plan does NOT extend into Canada.


Note: just to reemphasize, this thread is meant to document what is learned as we move through this process of research and learning. No doubt, some of what is listed here could be wrong or outdated so as new or better info is discovered I'll add it here. Hopefully, this thread will benefit others traveling into Canada in the coming months.
 

WinniWoman

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
11,008
Reaction score
7,238
Location
The Weirs, New Hampshire
Resorts Owned
Innseason Pollard Brook
We were in Quebec City two years ago. However, we drove, so I can't help you regarding rental car coverage. I know our auto policy covered our car there. If you are paying for your rental with a credit card, check to see if there is rental car insurance included and that it covers internationally.

When we were in Canada, we used the hotel ATM to get cash (with no fees), but we mostly used a credit card with no (foreign transaction) fees that automatically converts the money when you use it.

As for the cell phone, my IPHONE- Verizon- did work while we were there, but not in all areas. If you are not too dependent on your cell (I know, I know...) perhaps just having a prepaid calling card for emergencies might be ok.
 

bbodb1

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
4,305
Reaction score
3,824
Location
High radiation belt of the Northern Hemisphere
Resorts Owned
RCI Weeks: LaCosta Beach Club, RCI Points: Oakmont Resort, Vacation Village at Parkway. Wyndham: CWA and La Belle Maison, and WorldMark.
So with respect to using a credit card in Canada, I am discovering that some of my credit cards will charge a 3% fee for use outside the U.S..
Not good, but a definite to-do is to find if any of my credit cards offer no fee for use in Canada....

Thanks for that info, Mary Ann. Adding those items to the list!
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,509
Reaction score
10,398
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
After doing a bit of reading and searching on TUG about travel into Canada, I see a lot of info out there but a significant amount of it appears on the older side. Because rules and procedures change over time, I though it was time for an updated discussion on traveling into Canada from the U.S..

At present, I'm concerned about the following areas - each requiring some pre planning (I'm sure there are other aspects I have NOT listed here - please add to this list if you see items missing):
  1. Crossing the border
  2. Renting a car in Canada
  3. Other purchases in Canada - using banks and credit cards
  4. Cell phone usage
For our particular trip, we have a reservation at the WM in Blaine but have chosen to fly into Vancouver since it is so much closer than Seattle.

Crossing the border
We already have passports (current, and not expiring for several years), and Nexus cards so much of the concern here has been addressed but still having NOT traveled into Canada for many years, I am still a bit unclear if I need to fill out any customs forms prior to landing / entry. I've heard about an app that can help with this but is it necessary if I have Nexus?

A useful (?) website might be: https://travel.gc.ca/air

Renting a car in Canada
We have an existing reservation with Hertz (and we have used Hertz previously and have gold status) but are there other aspects to consider here? Is there any reason our current auto policy would not cover us in Canada in case of the unexpected?


Other purchases in Canada - using banks and credit cards
We have accounts with a major US Bank and have notified that bank we will be in Canada for a period of time. The bank told us they have an agreement with ScotiaBank so any ATM withdrawals performed at a ScotiaBank would NOT be hit with a non Bank usage fee. However, I am still a bit fuzzy on what will happen with credit card purchases. Would we be better off making an ATM withdrawal and pay in Canadian currency? The larger question here is what are the best practices when it comes to spending money in Canada? Still a lot of fuzziness here....

A useful (?) website might be: https://www.tripsavvy.com/debit-and-credit-card-tips-in-canada-1481710

Cell phone usage
Another big area of uncertainty here as we have learned our Verizon plan does NOT extend into Canada.


Note: just to reemphasize, this thread is meant to document what is learned as we move through this process of research and learning. No doubt, some of what is listed here could be wrong or outdated so as new or better info is discovered I'll add it here. Hopefully, this thread will benefit others traveling into Canada in the coming months.
My experiences are recent, and all through entry in Vancouver (by air).

1. Crossing the border. No need to fill out anything prior to entry. There are kiosks you will use to scan your passport and fill out the declaration form online when you arrive in Vancouver. That is the form you show the Customs agent (along with your passport) and give to an agent as you exit the baggage claim area. No app necessary.

2. Renting a car. We have used both Hertz and Budget. We go with whoever is cheaper. Unfortunately we have had two small fender benders (no other car involved, just scraping the car against a pillar in a parking garage). In both cases we did NOT get our car insurance company involved. We paid out of pocket, submitted the claims to our credit card company and got a full refund. You just need to be sure to put the car rental on a credit card that does NOT have a foreign transaction fee, but does cover any accidents.

3. Credit card purchases. Just be sure you have a card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee. If you don't, an easy, and cheap, one to get is Capitol One. No yearly fee and no foreign transaction fee. I've never used a debit card in Canada as I'm sure there would be a fee attached. The last two trips I haven't even bothered to get Canadian money as I tend to use my credit card for everything. I do like to tip in cash, but I was told that Canadians prefer to get American dollars due to the exchange rate. Our daughter lived in Canada for several years while attending school and pretty much never used cash. She did use her debit card as she had a Canadian bank account.

4. Cell phone usage. With Verizon we have an add on plan called TravelPass that costs us $5/day, for the days we use it, for phone calls and texts. I was sure the plan used to be $2 - $3/day, but even at $5/day it's not bad. You can go into your account online and add it yourself.
 
Last edited:

bizaro86

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2008
Messages
3,761
Reaction score
2,608
Location
Calgary, AB, Canada
If you have a US debit card, it will only work if it has a visa/Mastercard logo on it and you use it as a credit card. If you say "debit" to a cashier, they will try to process your card through the Interac network, a low cost processing system used by Canadian banks. It won't work, which will be a delay.

You may want to get a PIN for your credit card, they are ubiquitous here and you may have problems if you don't have chip and pin. That is more likely for unattended purchases (gas pay at pump, transit ticket machine, etc)

Whoever told you that Canadians prefer to get USD as tips was either mostly wrong or had just been tipped in USD and was being polite. Most service workers would be inconvenienced, as they would need to convert the USD to spend it. Generally speaking for small amounts that's a terrible value, to the point it's not worth doing.

To the OP, I would check whether the rental car is allowed into the USA. Some (especially franchises) don't allow their cars into the USA for liability reasons. Medical claims are so much higher in the US due to health care there, so one place I know says they get cheaper insurance by not allowing the cars into the US.

Depending on your cell phone usage, you could get a pay-as-you-go SIM card. It would be more than a similar plan in the USA, but probably still cheaper than paying for roaming. 7-11 sells them, for one easy place to stop.
 

T-Dot-Traveller

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
4,696
Reaction score
3,663
Location
Canada
Resorts Owned
Mayan Palace Regency
Taranova
Not that this is a biggie -
Canada no longer uses pennies . Cash transactions are rounded up or down to the nearest nickel .
Credit card & debit transactions are processed to the exact amount .

Canada has a VAT - which is a combined 12 % in BC
Gasoline is sold in litres .

Milk is sold in bags - true ( but mostly east of Manitoba )
This is why there has to be a 260% duty on imported milk - to pay for the bags . LOL
 
Last edited:

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,509
Reaction score
10,398
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
If you have a US debit card, it will only work if it has a visa/Mastercard logo on it and you use it as a credit card. If you say "debit" to a cashier, they will try to process your card through the Interac network, a low cost processing system used by Canadian banks. It won't work, which will be a delay.

You may want to get a PIN for your credit card, they are ubiquitous here and you may have problems if you don't have chip and pin. That is more likely for unattended purchases (gas pay at pump, transit ticket machine, etc)

I don't have a PIN for my credit card and had no issues using it in Canada. I used it at gas stations, again with no issues.

Whoever told you that Canadians prefer to get USD as tips was either mostly wrong or had just been tipped in USD and was being polite. Most service workers would be inconvenienced, as they would need to convert the USD to spend it. Generally speaking for small amounts that's a terrible value, to the point it's not worth doing.
The person who told me that was someone who worked at a bank. I had gone in, with my daughter who had an account there, to get some cash and I mentioned I was using it for tips. He was the one who told me they valet would probably rather have the U.S. dollars. So, if he was wrong, I apologize to those I tipped. I just did some checking and it appears that it's different in Vancouver than in other parts of Canada. There it seems to be more "accepted" to tip in USD, especially if that is all you have with you.

To the OP, I would check whether the rental car is allowed into the USA. Some (especially franchises) don't allow their cars into the USA for liability reasons. Medical claims are so much higher in the US due to health care there, so one place I know says they get cheaper insurance by not allowing the cars into the US.
I would be very surprised if Hertz didn't allow cars to go into the U.S. But it's a good idea to check.

Depending on your cell phone usage, you could get a pay-as-you-go SIM card. It would be more than a similar plan in the USA, but probably still cheaper than paying for roaming. 7-11 sells them, for one easy place to stop.
Again, look into the TravelPass for Verizon. For $5/day, only for the days you use it, you get voice and text (from your existing plan).
 
Last edited:

bizaro86

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2008
Messages
3,761
Reaction score
2,608
Location
Calgary, AB, Canada
The bank employee is wrong. He doesn't get tips, and probably can convert money at preferential rates as a bank employee. A valet will very likely end up paying $3-$5 in fees to convert money. A bank employee would likely just see the spread and figure they'd prefer it without considering the practicality.

I've seen Americans cursing at gas pumps here that wouldn't take their card with no PIN. Once I paid for a tourists rental car gas and he sent me the $ via PayPal as it was late at night and the station was unmanned, so no option to go in. I'm glad to hear that never happened to you, but that doesn't make it bad advice.
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,509
Reaction score
10,398
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
The bank employee is wrong. He doesn't get tips, and probably can convert money at preferential rates as a bank employee. A valet will very likely end up paying $3-$5 in fees to convert money. A bank employee would likely just see the spread and figure they'd prefer it without considering the practicality.

I've seen Americans cursing at gas pumps here that wouldn't take their card with no PIN. Once I paid for a tourists rental car gas and he sent me the $ via PayPal as it was late at night and the station was unmanned, so no option to go in. I'm glad to hear that never happened to you, but that doesn't make it bad advice.
Never said any of your advice was bad. I honestly wouldn't know how to get a PIN for a credit card here.

I went back and edited my post to add some information I found about tipping. It appears that in Vancouver there is more acceptance (again, maybe it's just people being polite) with receiving tips in USD. I honestly hadn't thought about them needing to pay to exchange the money. If/when I go back I'll remember that and get some Canadian money.
 

WinniWoman

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
11,008
Reaction score
7,238
Location
The Weirs, New Hampshire
Resorts Owned
Innseason Pollard Brook
So with respect to using a credit card in Canada, I am discovering that some of my credit cards will charge a 3% fee for use outside the U.S..
Not good, but a definite to-do is to find if any of my credit cards offer no fee for use in Canada....

Thanks for that info, Mary Ann. Adding those items to the list!

There are credit cards that charge no foreign transaction fees. Capital One Savor and Capital One Quicksilver (which we used there) are two of them. And they do not have an annual fee either. You can search on line for one that works best for you overall.

And yes- good idea to establish a pin # for the card just in case. The credit card company will assign you one. You can call them if they haven't.

https://www.creditcards.com/no-foreign-transaction-fee/

PS Many places in Canada will accept American dollars but that could work against you with the exchange rate. We had to pay for ice cream cones once in American dollars because we ran out of Canadian cash and the cones cost us more.
 
Last edited:

dsmrp

TUG Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2014
Messages
2,531
Reaction score
1,850
Location
MI Washington
Resorts Owned
Sheraton Vistana, Waikoloa Bay Club, Hyatt Pinon Pt
All good advice above about travelling in Canada/Vancouver re credit cards, currency, Verizon travel pass etc. Best to use your american debit card at an ATM to get cash, if you need it, and get charged perhaps a small transaction fee. There's so much border traffic between Bellingham WA and Vancouver, that using american dollars in Vancouver is accepted almost everywhere. Merchants will give you a few percentage less on the exchange, and give you your change in Canadian.

Word of warning, many Vancouverians drive into Blaine to Bellingham on a regular basis for gas and milk, cause it's so much cheaper in Washington. I've seen several cars & trucks with Canadian plates at Bellingham Costco and other large gas stations filling up multiple gas cans. So be sure to fill up in Washington before you cross into Canada.

Try to avoid crossing into Washington on the weekends, especially Sunday afternoon, if you can. Entry into the US is usually more much more backed up than going into Canada. Good thing you have Nexus. Be sure to smile for camera when they take a picture of your car plates :D. The WA state DOT has a website which shows fairly real-time border crossing wait times: https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/border

A few years ago, we flew to/from Italy to Vancouver because of the airfare. On our return we expected to be stopped at border for customs, but the guard just waived us on after a few cursory questions. It was late in the evening and we probably looked like "death warmed over" ;) after our long flights. We didn't have Nexus back then.
 
Last edited:

bbodb1

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
4,305
Reaction score
3,824
Location
High radiation belt of the Northern Hemisphere
Resorts Owned
RCI Weeks: LaCosta Beach Club, RCI Points: Oakmont Resort, Vacation Village at Parkway. Wyndham: CWA and La Belle Maison, and WorldMark.
.... I honestly wouldn't know how to get a PIN for a credit card here.....

There are credit cards that charge no foreign transaction fees. Capital One Savor and Capital One Quicksilver (which we used there) are two of them. And they do not have an annual fee either. You can search on line for one that works best for you overall.

And yes- good idea to establish a pin # for the card just in case....

Until yesterday, I had not messed with setting a PIN for my credit cards either but I did discover I can set/update PIN on the website for the two bank cards I will be using on this upcoming trip- no call - and long hold time - required! Of course, YEMV.

What else is strange here is that over the years, we have ended up with way more credit cards than we now need but in researching the benefits for the cards we hold, I am surprised that almost none of them had ANY benefits for travel into Canada. Eventually, I checked on a card we have had for sometime issued by Chase (figuring the largest banks would have the highest probability of issuing a card with foreign travel benefits) that we have rarely used over the years (but still open and active) and sure enough, it offers both NO foreign fees AND carries similar protection for car rental purposes for transactions we use in the U.S..

Just to document this a bit more, the cards I'll be using on this trip came from some of the largest U.S. Banks - Chase and BOA. Other cards we hold (all Visa's or MasterCard's) that I checked all either charged a 3% foreign transaction fee AND/OR do not offer the protections for renting a car we are used to in the U.S..
 

bbodb1

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
4,305
Reaction score
3,824
Location
High radiation belt of the Northern Hemisphere
Resorts Owned
RCI Weeks: LaCosta Beach Club, RCI Points: Oakmont Resort, Vacation Village at Parkway. Wyndham: CWA and La Belle Maison, and WorldMark.
As suggested previously, I have looked into Verizon's TravelPass and I think it will do nicely for our needs.
TravelPass is $5 per day per line if used.
I was also told that a day was defined as a 24 period starting with the first use so if my first usage was at 2100 hours, the $5 charge would allow me to use my line's assets (talk, text, data) until 2059 the following day all on that same $5.
TravelPass can be turned ON/OFF in my account via Verizon's website.
Therefore, if we are in Vancouver for 10 days but only use our TWO phones on 3 of those days, we should expect a TravelPass charge of $30.
 

bbodb1

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
4,305
Reaction score
3,824
Location
High radiation belt of the Northern Hemisphere
Resorts Owned
RCI Weeks: LaCosta Beach Club, RCI Points: Oakmont Resort, Vacation Village at Parkway. Wyndham: CWA and La Belle Maison, and WorldMark.
Something else I have discovered is the Hertz car rental counter in/at the Vancouver Airport is NOT open 24/7. Our flight will be arriving around 11pm and the Hertz Counter closes as midnight.
Given that we will have to get through customs after we land, even with Nexus cards, are we cutting this too close?
In other words, IF we land on time (scheduled 11:10 pm), do we have any chance of making it to the Hertz counter before midnight?
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,509
Reaction score
10,398
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
Something else I have discovered is the Hertz car rental counter in/at the Vancouver Airport is NOT open 24/7. Our flight will be arriving around 11pm and the Hertz Counter closes as midnight.
Given that we will have to get through customs after we land, even with Nexus cards, are we cutting this too close?
In other words, IF we land on time (scheduled 11:10 pm), do we have any chance of making it to the Hertz counter before midnight?
I've never come in that late. I have found the Custom's process the last two times I've come in to be VERY quick. What might hold you up is luggage. On our last trip we flew Alaska Airlines and they have a guarantee that if you don't get your luggage within 20 minutes of landing you get a $25 voucher. So luggage on this last trip was fast. The rental cars are a quick walk from the terminal. I assume you entered your flight number on your rental car reservation. You might want to check with Hertz to see if they do stay open later when they know they have a rental coming in on a late flight.

P.S. I don't think coming in with Nexus cards speeds up your entry. Even if there is a separate line (and I don't remember seeing one) everyone still has to go through the same steps. There are a huge number of the kiosks, so there usually isn't a wait for those, and during busy times there are generally enough Custom's agents to move you through quickly.
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,509
Reaction score
10,398
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
Until yesterday, I had not messed with setting a PIN for my credit cards either but I did discover I can set/update PIN on the website for the two bank cards I will be using on this upcoming trip- no call - and long hold time - required! Of course, YEMV.

What else is strange here is that over the years, we have ended up with way more credit cards than we now need but in researching the benefits for the cards we hold, I am surprised that almost none of them had ANY benefits for travel into Canada. Eventually, I checked on a card we have had for sometime issued by Chase (figuring the largest banks would have the highest probability of issuing a card with foreign travel benefits) that we have rarely used over the years (but still open and active) and sure enough, it offers both NO foreign fees AND carries similar protection for car rental purposes for transactions we use in the U.S..

Just to document this a bit more, the cards I'll be using on this trip came from some of the largest U.S. Banks - Chase and BOA. Other cards we hold (all Visa's or MasterCard's) that I checked all either charged a 3% foreign transaction fee AND/OR do not offer the protections for renting a car we are used to in the U.S..
It's not the issuing bank that determines whether or not there is a foreign transaction fee. What I mean by that is that both dh and I have Chase credit cards. Mine is a Southwest card and does charge the fee. Dh's card is a more premium card (higher fee) with United and his does not have the fee.
 

bbodb1

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
4,305
Reaction score
3,824
Location
High radiation belt of the Northern Hemisphere
Resorts Owned
RCI Weeks: LaCosta Beach Club, RCI Points: Oakmont Resort, Vacation Village at Parkway. Wyndham: CWA and La Belle Maison, and WorldMark.
I've never come in that late. I have found the Custom's process the last two times I've come in to be VERY quick. What might hold you up is luggage. On our last trip we flew Alaska Airlines and they have a guarantee that if you don't get your luggage within 20 minutes of landing you get a $25 voucher. So luggage on this last trip was fast. The rental cars are a quick walk from the terminal. I assume you entered your flight number on your rental car reservation. You might want to check with Hertz to see if they do stay open later when they know they have a rental coming in on a late flight.

I'm hoping we can get away with carry on luggage only for this trip so that will remove the need to stop by the luggage claim area. Glad to hear the rental cars are a quick walk - and not a long haul - from the terminal as that might give us a chance. I did contact Hertz (once via chat, the second via phone) and received mixed info. The chat rep was quite terse and pretty much said if you don't arrive before the midnight closing, you can pick your vehicle up at 6 am the next morning and offered no other solutions. Later on, I called Hertz after reading the advice about making sure the rental company is aware the rental car will be crossing the Canadian / U.S. border and as she was updating this info, she offered the thought the counter would remain staffed if a flight was delayed.

At any rate, still too many variables in play here to have a firm plan (the largest unknown - and uncontrollable) is any potential flight delay but we will be prepared to spend a few hours in (at) the Vancouver Airport as a fallback option. It does surprise me a bit that a Hertz counter at a larger airport ever closes but then again, I've never flown into Vancouver before....
 

bbodb1

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
4,305
Reaction score
3,824
Location
High radiation belt of the Northern Hemisphere
Resorts Owned
RCI Weeks: LaCosta Beach Club, RCI Points: Oakmont Resort, Vacation Village at Parkway. Wyndham: CWA and La Belle Maison, and WorldMark.
It's not the issuing bank that determines whether or not there is a foreign transaction fee. What I mean by that is that both dh and I have Chase credit cards. Mine is a Southwest card and does charge the fee. Dh's card is a more premium card (higher fee) with United and his does not have the fee.

I did eventually find one of my cards (a Chase card as well) has the no foreign transaction fee benefit (an Amazon card). In the end, I was quite surprised how few useful benefits most of the credit cards I hold actually have.

I think it might be time to 'prune' my credit cards a bit. I know it will likely decrease our FICO scores a bit but we have way too many cards we do not use. I kid you not when I say I have a credit card stack about 3 inches high of cards we no longer use (although to be fair, some of this stack is expired cards)...
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,509
Reaction score
10,398
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
I did eventually find one of my cards (a Chase card as well) has the no foreign transaction fee benefit (an Amazon card). In the end, I was quite surprised how few useful benefits most of the credit cards I hold actually have.

I think it might be time to 'prune' my credit cards a bit. I know it will likely decrease our FICO scores a bit but we have way too many cards we do not use. I kid you not when I say I have a credit card stack about 3 inches high of cards we no longer use (although to be fair, some of this stack is expired cards)...
Again, just a reminder to be sure you use the credit card with NO foreign fee, and the coverage you want, on your car rental reservation. If your reservation has already been made that may require going in and making a change. A couple of years ago I made a reservation and it was secured with the card I use that does have a fee. I realized that and asked at the airport, when we picked up the cared, for it to be changed. Even though the agent thought she had made the change, it wasn't made. I was finally able to get it straightened out, and it wouldn't have been a big deal, but this was also one of the trips where we had minor damage to the car and needed the credit card company to cover the costs. I had to jump through hoops to show I had made the change to that card before the rental started.
 

cd5

TUG Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2008
Messages
437
Reaction score
454
Location
Montreal, Canada
Resorts Owned
Embarc
My experiences are recent, and all through entry in Vancouver (by air).

1. Crossing the border. No need to fill out anything prior to entry. There are kiosks you will use to scan your passport and fill out the declaration form online when you arrive in Vancouver. That is the form you show the Customs agent (along with your passport) and give to an agent as you exit the baggage claim area. No app necessary.

2. Renting a car. We have used both Hertz and Budget. We go with whoever is cheaper. Unfortunately we have had two small fender benders (no other car involved, just scraping the car against a pillar in a parking garage). In both cases we did NOT get our car insurance company involved. We paid out of pocket, submitted the claims to our credit card company and got a full refund. You just need to be sure to put the car rental on a credit card that does NOT have a foreign transaction fee, but does cover any accidents.

3. Credit card purchases. Just be sure you have a card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee. If you don't, an easy, and cheap, one to get is Capitol One. No yearly fee and no foreign transaction fee. I've never used a debit card in Canada as I'm sure there would be a fee attached. The last two trips I haven't even bothered to get Canadian money as I tend to use my credit card for everything. I do like to tip in cash, but I was told that Canadians prefer to get American dollars due to the exchange rate. Our daughter lived in Canada for several years while attending school and pretty much never used cash. She did use her debit card as she had a Canadian bank account.

4. Cell phone usage. With Verizon we have an add on plan called TravelPass that costs us $5/day, for the days we use it, for phone calls and texts. I was sure the plan used to be $2 - $3/day, but even at $5/day it's not bad. You can go into your account online and add it yourself.

Cell phone: If your phone is unlocked you can get a "roam mobility" Canada sim card/plan for cheaper than the Verizon Travel pass. https://roammobility.ca/plans
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,509
Reaction score
10,398
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
Cell phone: If your phone is unlocked you can get a "roam mobility" Canada sim card/plan for cheaper than the Verizon Travel pass. https://roammobility.ca/plans
It all depends on how you use your phone while traveling and how much. On our most recent visit my dh never used his for voice or text so had NO charges for TravelPass. I used my phone one day for text and call and was charged $5.00 for the trip. Younger dd used hers daily and was charged the $5.00/day for the 6 day trip. Both dh and I did use data, we just had to be sure we were logged into a network somewhere. So for dh and I even at the $4.79/day since the total charge would have been $30 we were better off with TravelPass. Dd would have been the same. I like TravelPass since you are only charged the days you actually use it. Also dh's phone is locked, and until recently both dd and I had locked phones so it wouldn't have worked for me in the past.

But this is great to know.
 

dsmrp

TUG Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2014
Messages
2,531
Reaction score
1,850
Location
MI Washington
Resorts Owned
Sheraton Vistana, Waikoloa Bay Club, Hyatt Pinon Pt
One more thing re credit cards. Costcos in Canada (at least Vancouver area) take Mastercards only. Visa not accepted, not even US Costco visa. They do take US $ and give a pretty good exchange rate.

Costco Visa with picture is sufficient tho for entry into Costco.
 

bbodb1

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
4,305
Reaction score
3,824
Location
High radiation belt of the Northern Hemisphere
Resorts Owned
RCI Weeks: LaCosta Beach Club, RCI Points: Oakmont Resort, Vacation Village at Parkway. Wyndham: CWA and La Belle Maison, and WorldMark.
An update on Verizon:

with their new data plans (offered starting June 18), Verizon now offers coverage in Mexico and Canada as part of these data plans. For those who transition to the new plans, you do NOT need Travel Pass.
 

stmartinfan

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2005
Messages
1,848
Reaction score
1,104
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Resorts Owned
Divi Little Bay, St. Maarten
My experiences are recent, and all through entry in Vancouver (by air).

1. Crossing the border. No need to fill out anything prior to entry. There are kiosks you will use to scan your passport and fill out the declaration form online when you arrive in Vancouver. That is the form you show the Customs agent (along with your passport) and give to an agent as you exit the baggage claim area. No app necessary.

2. Renting a car. We have used both Hertz and Budget. We go with whoever is cheaper. Unfortunately we have had two small fender benders (no other car involved, just scraping the car against a pillar in a parking garage). In both cases we did NOT get our car insurance company involved. We paid out of pocket, submitted the claims to our credit card company and got a full refund. You just need to be sure to put the car rental on a credit card that does NOT have a foreign transaction fee, but does cover any accidents.

3. Credit card purchases. Just be sure you have a card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee. If you don't, an easy, and cheap, one to get is Capitol One. No yearly fee and no foreign transaction fee. I've never used a debit card in Canada as I'm sure there would be a fee attached. The last two trips I haven't even bothered to get Canadian money as I tend to use my credit card for everything. I do like to tip in cash, but I was told that Canadians prefer to get American dollars due to the exchange rate. Our daughter lived in Canada for several years while attending school and pretty much never used cash. She did use her debit card as she had a Canadian bank account.

4. Cell phone usage. With Verizon we have an add on plan called TravelPass that costs us $5/day, for the days we use it, for phone calls and texts. I was sure the plan used to be $2 - $3/day, but even at $5/day it's not bad. You can go into your account online and add it yourself.

My recent experience traveling into Vancouver matches Luanne's, although I didn't tip in US cash...unless your server was traveling into the US often, it seems it would be a pain to deal with a small amount of US dollars.

One note—you now clear US immigration and customs at the Vancouver airport before you board the plane, so when you land in the US you simply leave the plane and depart. (It's part of a new program that authorized this process at several Canadian cities plus some places in the Caribbean.). We went through a process with the US electronic kiosks to verify our passport plus a check of all carryons, separate from the Canadian process. One issue I discovered—if you have Global Entry you need to carry your card to use the expediated line for this process. I don't carry the actual card because the info is in the US computer system, so it's not usually needed. I was told by the person checking people entering the Global Express line that because they were in Canada she couldn't verify it via the computerized system so I had to have my card. Luckily the line was fairly short, but it would have been nice to use the even faster GE line.
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,509
Reaction score
10,398
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
My recent experience traveling into Vancouver matches Luanne's, although I didn't tip in US cash...unless your server was traveling into the US often, it seems it would be a pain to deal with a small amount of US dollars.

One note—you now clear US immigration and customs at the Vancouver airport before you board the plane, so when you land in the US you simply leave the plane and depart. (It's part of a new program that authorized this process at several Canadian cities plus some places in the Caribbean.). We went through a process with the US electronic kiosks to verify our passport plus a check of all carryons, separate from the Canadian process. One issue I discovered—if you have Global Entry you need to carry your card to use the expediated line for this process. I don't carry the actual card because the info is in the US computer system, so it's not usually needed. I was told by the person checking people entering the Global Express line that because they were in Canada she couldn't verify it via the computerized system so I had to have my card. Luckily the line was fairly short, but it would have been nice to use the even faster GE line.
You say "you now clear US immigration and customs at the Vancouver airport". It has been this way for years, at least since around 2011. I'm not sure if this is true for all Canadian airports, or just Vancouver. It's a somewhat convoluted system (to me) in that you check in with the airline, get your boarding pass "activated". Then you have to go to luggage drop off to drop your bags. Then through Security, and finally Customs. When we've had early flights in the past it was a game of "get there and wait". First the airline desk wasn't open, then after it opened, the baggage drop off wasn't, and after finally getting through that, no Customs agents. They seem to have worked this out and now have most everything open earlier.

I always carry my Global Entry card. You never know when it might be needed.
 
Top