Before departure

What should I take? It all depends on whether you’re going to Canada for good, going there and considering staying or only for holiday. We will discuss only the first 2 options here. This is because if you’re going there on holiday only, you don’t need to worry too much about official stuff, apart from a passport, eTA, flight tickets, funds to support you and insurance.

Of course it’s not avbsolutely necessary to take all of the stuff we list here – treat it as a tip only. 

  • passport;
  • eTA [electronic travel authorisation] – necessary to board the flight;
  • travel insurance;
  • cash in Canadian dollars (since transfering funds is not the fastest or the cheapest option);
  • credit card;
  • mobile phone with no sim lock;
  • when it comes to suitcases, then take the lightest ones as the limit usually (depending on the airline) is 23 kg per person (kids too) – big registered luggage that goes underneath the plane deck PLUS 8-10 kg for carry-on luggage PLUS 8-10 kg for a laptop bag or woman purse. Always remember to check what kg limits the airline has – it’s best to check it already when booking tickets (since sometimes it may be difficult to find this info later on, although one can always call the airline infoline). If you travel with a small child/toddler, you can additionally take a diaper bag, pass the car seat underneath the deck and take a stroller with you (it will be put underneath the deck just before you get on the plane and will be given back to you immediately after landing). The lightest luggage is the one looking like a sports bag but with wheels and a handle;
  • international driver’s licence (usually a booklet in various languages which you get issued in a proper office);
  • thermal underwear – even the one from eBay will do (not that much needed if you’ll be travelling by car a lot);
  • painkillers (forte and night), anti-bacterial medicines, any antibiotics you may need, tantum verde (or other sprays for a sore throat), a bigger supply of contraception you are using, herbal teas that you think may be specific to your country;
  • winter/cold cream;
  • warm clothes (but better not to buy them specifically for the trip as they are likely to be better and cheaper in Canada);
  • I recommend to buy some nice/fancy clothes beforehand (like Zara, Stradivarius, Bershka) as they’re not the easily available here;
  • leather shoes;
  • if your hair dryer, hair straightener, iron etc. are 110/220 V, you can take them with you; but if they are only 220 V (or 230 V), then don’t take them as they won’t work;
  • one or two extension cords so that you can connect many appliances when using only one adapter;
  • a couple of plug adapters (but NOT voltage adapters);
  • a bigger supply of contact lenses;
  • headphones  (you will need them in the plane);
  • jewellery (gold, silver, amber, stainless steel, etc.) – they are 3 times more expensive in Canada so if you were planning to buy something, do it now;

ADDITIONALLY before departure:

  • arrange a proxy in your country so that they are allowed to receive your registered mail, close your account if it’s needed, get your police certificate, etc.;
  • translate everything you have (school diplomas/degrees, full birth certificate, marriage certificate, police certificate, etc.) and take those documents with you;
  • (if applicable) inform proper authorities about your leaving the country (military service, student loan organisation) and make sure other offices and banks have a proper correspondence address for you (e.g. not your rental flat address but maybe your parents’ house);
  • visit a dentist;

A TIP:

    I think it’s best to have all the cash on you and pay it into a Canadian bank account as soon as you land in Canada. What if, for various reasons, we don’t want to take that much money with us? Fees for transfers and ATM withdrawals are very high. I suggest sending the money via one of those services (but check beforehand if they operate in your country):

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