Many Israelis visit Canada each year to enjoy the country’s natural beauty and friendly citizens. There’s no need to go through the hassle of applying for a visa either.
When the opportunity arose to visit Vancouver and the beautiful mountains of British Columbia, I jumped at the chance. The trip was unforgettable but not without its bumps and challenges. Here’s what I learned from my trip to Canada.
Be Prepared for the Weather
In March, temperatures range from 16-24 C (sometimes higher), but in Vancouver, they can range from 7-13 C (sometimes a little higher). Temperatures can vary greatly from one region of Canada to another, so it’s important to do some weather research before traveling.
I knew it would be colder in Canada, but no matter how much you try to mentally prepare yourself for the change, you won’t be ready for it.
I thought I was prepared with my winter jacket, gloves, hat and scarf. But I wound up having to buy a waterproof jacket and a pair of snow boots while I was there. Lesson learned.
Preparing for the weather goes beyond packing the right clothes. I also found myself glued to The Weather Network to make sure I could get where I needed to go.
I rented a car to do some exploring on my own. Thankfully, my car rental came equipped with snow tires. Not all rental cars do. Make sure yours has them if you plan to travel when there might be snow.
If you don’t plan to visit rural areas of Canada, you can probably get away with using public transportation or Uber.
Wandering Through National Parks Can Actually Be Dangerous
When most of us travel, we worry about other humans. Theft is a concern when traveling to any country. In Canada, you also have to worry about the wildlife.
One of the appeals of traveling to Canada is being able to visit their national parks. But you also have to be careful when visiting these parks. Depending on the time of year and the region, you may wind up crossing paths with some unfriendly creatures.
In the summer, grizzly and black bears are commonly found in Canada’s parks. When I visited one park, I was told to keep all food products hidden from sight and to store all food in airtight containers.
Bring Cash – Always
If you plan to venture outside of urban areas, you may wind up in a rural area, a small town or on an island. Some of these areas may not have ATMs or accept credit cards. Always carry around some spare cash for these types of situations.
Tipping is another reason to carry cash. Tipping is expected in the tourism, hospitality and services industries — usually 15-20%. If you’re paying by credit card, you can normally leave the tip on the card, but if you’re in an area that only accepts cash, you’ll want to make sure you have some extra money on you.
I never felt unsafe when I was traveling in Canada, but that’s because I played it safe. I knew where to go and the places to avoid. If you’re smart about where you go and are aware of your surroundings, you’ll stand a much better chance of having a good experience.