Friday, December 28, 2007

Basic Travel Tips - Visiting Sunset Country

We thought it would be wise to post some tips for anyone who will be traveling or who may be considering a trip to Ontario's Sunset Country in 2008. First off for our American friends, you are all probably wondering what the scoop is regarding whether or not you need a Passport in 2008. Here's what we know as of the date of this post:

  • Air Travelers: YES - if you arrive from the United States by air you do need a Passport and have needed one since January 2007. Just to clear things up, this is an American Law and you need it to return to the USA not necessarily to come into Canada. However if you want to return home by air after your visit, your Government requires you to have a Passport so make sure you get one if you are flying.
  • Land Travelers: NO - you do not need a Passport in 2008 to travel to Canada and return to the USA by land - i.e. in an automobile or RV. However, you must be able to prove you are a U.S. Citizen (you need a birth certificate or a Passport to prove this) and a valid photo identification - such as a driver's license with your picture on it. Children under 16 are excepted from the photo requirement. Again, this is a U.S. law to return to the USA after visiting Canada - not a Canadian one and since we as Canadians have to ensure that you will be allowed to get back home to the United States after visiting Canada - our Customs officers will ask you to present this level of Identifcation when you cross the border. U.S. citizens who are traveling by land will be required to have Passports to return to the USA in June 2009 - please plan accordingly for this eventuality.
  • For more information about new Passport rules for U.S. citizens returning home after traveling to Canada, visit the U.S. Government's State Department website at this link:

U.S. Citizens - What can you Bring?: Canada allows you to bring in a set limit of certain items such as liquor and tobacco duty free. There are also other regulations and restrictions on certain food products, on firearms and other commodities. The best resource to answer these types of questions is the Canada Border Services Agency website under their Frequently Asked Questions page. Here is a link to that page:

DWI and DUI: Some U.S. Citizens with DWI (also called DUI) offences may not be allowed into Canada. The decision to let you in is based on Canadian laws as they apply to these offences not American law. Driving while impaired is considered in Canada what Americans would know as a felony conviction - or what we call an indictable offence. Any American who has a DWI or DUI offence is therefore considered to have a criminal record under Canadian laws. The decision to let you into Canada if this situation applies to you is based on how old the offence is and if you have more than one offence of this nature. For more detailed information on this issue as well as info on general admissabilty to Canada you can visit this website:

Speed Limits: Speed limits in Ontario are posted in kilometers per hour (kmh) as opposed to miles per hour (mph). Here are the approximate equivalents for U.S. travelers:

  • 100 kmh = 62 mph
  • 90 kmh = 55 mph
  • 80 kmh = 50 mph
  • 60 kmh = 36 mph
  • 50 kmh = 30 mph
  • 40 kmh = 25 mph

Currency: Although U.S. currency is accepted just about anywhere, we advise American citizens who will be traveling to Canada to exchange their U.S. dollars for Canadian currency prior to their visit or as soon as you get in to Canada. If you will be exchanging your money in Canada, we strongly recommend you go to a Canadian Chartered Bank, a Credit Union or a Duty Free Shop to make the exchange - this will ensure you get as close to the actual official exchange rate as possible. Credit cards are another option albeit you generally get charged more by the credit card companies than you do at a bank. Recommended cards for travelers are Visa and MasterCard. As of January 2008, the current exchange rate is about par - meaning one U.S. dollar is worth about one dollar Canadian. This can fluctuate however so check before traveling as to what the current offical exchange rate is so you get the most value for your money.

Health Insurance: It is imperative that you check with your health insurer in the United States whether or not your policy covers you and your family while traveling in Canada. In most cases it does not. We strongly advise that you purchase additional travel health insurance prior to crossing the border so that any unexpected medical costs or costs related to emergent care are covered while you are here.

Fishing and Hunting Regulations: The high quality of the fishing and hunting experiences in Ontario are because of our careful fish and wildlife management strategies and regulations. Make sure you inform yourself and everyone in your party as to exactly what the regulations are for both fish and wildlife species - ignorance of these laws will not be accepted as a valid excuse by a MNR Conservation Officer. Some lakes and certain wildlife management units have specific regulations that apply to specific species so if you are unsure what these may be, ask your outfitter or call the Ministry of Natural Resources directly. You can find the current fishing and hunting regulations on the MNR website (and download a copy if you wish) at this address:

We hope this information is helpful to you but acknowledge we may not have covered everything you wanted to know. If this is the case please call us toll free from the USA at 1-800-665-7567 or email us at

Enjoy your stay!

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