Are you planning a trip to Canada? Or maybe for a loved one to come visit Canada? Coordinating everything for a trip to a foreign country can be overwhelming, especially when considering all the things needed to prepare. Start by getting organized! Have a dedicated folder on your computer–or a traditional print organizer–for all your planning. You will be coordinating with many different services, and having one place to go for everything is always a great way to get started and get organized!

If you are heading to Canada yourself or helping a family plan a trip to come visit you in Canada, here are some things you need to know, enriched with vital travel insurance FAQs for a smooth journey:

  1. Know What You Need to Visit Canada: The Canadian government has provided some great resources on things you need to know while planning a trip to Canada. Things to think about are visa and passport requirements, how to apply for a visa, and who are the different types of visitors to Canada
  2. Healthcare and Insurance: Canada's healthcare system doesn’t cover visitors, so it’s essential to purchase visitor to Canada travel insurance with comprehensive medical coverage.
  3. Pack for the Seasons: Canada is known for its diverse climate, so it's important to pack accordingly. Depending on the time of year and the places you plan to visit, and what activities or sights you plan to see, you may need to pack layers, waterproof outerwear, warm hats, gloves, and sturdy shoes. Be prepared for any weather condition, from hot summers to cold winters, especially if you'll be exploring the great outdoors.
  4. Research Local Customs and Etiquette: Before you embark on your journey, take some time to familiarize yourself with Canadian customs and etiquette. For example, tipping is customary in restaurants and for services like taxis, so be prepared to add gratuities to your bills.
  5. Exchange Currency in Advance: On the topic of bills, have Canadian dollars on hand upon arrival and note that credit cards are widely accepted, but cash is handy for smaller purchases. You can keep an eye on your currency conversion rate ahead of your trip, in case of any fluctuations. Consider exchanging at your local bank instead of airport currency exchanging stations, as the banks sometime offer a slightly better conversion.
  6. Plan Your Itinerary: From Toronto's bustle to Banff National Park's natural beauty, research attractions and dining options to make the most of your trip. There are some great resources available online to help plan your Canadian adventure. Most provinces and cities have their own tourism organizations, where you can find upcoming events and main attractions during the time of your trip. For example, Destination Ontario or Tourism Saskatchewan. Even if you’re a local, checking out your regional tourism sites from time to time can give you new ideas for things to do near home, and for you to play host to any guests! It’s also important to make sure your travel insurance covers any of the activities you have planned. .
  7. Language and Culture: English is widely spoken, but picking up common French phrases is beneficial, especially in Quebec. If you are travelling to an area where you need to rely on a language other than one you’re familiar with, there are some resources online to help you get by!  Google Translate is an easy tool for small phrases so keep it in mind for easy use.
  8. Consider Time Zones: Canada spans six time zones. Pacific Time (most of BC), Mountain Time (predominantly Alberta), Central Standard (Saskatchewan, which does not observe Daylight Saving Time), Central Daylight (Manitoba, Ontario-West), Eastern (Ontario-East, Quebec-West) Atlantic Time (Maritime provinces and some Quebec), and Newfoundland. Phew! A large country, indeed. Maybe try using a time converter to keep travel dates and times in order, especially if you travel across provinces.
  9. Transportation: Explore Canada easily through its network of highways, trains, and flights.  Understand your insurance coverage when renting a car or when planning adventurous activities. The major Canadian airlines are Air Canada and WestJet. Most major Canadian cities have train or light rail networks, with taxis, rideshares and rental cars. On the coastlines, you may need to catch a ferry ride to your destination. Alternative to air travel, there are also major motorcoach and bus companies in some parts of the country that can get you where you are headed;  VIA rail is also located in some parts of the country that connect cities regionally.
  10. Safety and Emergency Numbers: Canada is generally a safe place to travel, but it's wise to stay cautious. Note that dialing 911 connects you to emergency services.


While you’re staying in Canada, enjoying all it has to offer, let GMS take care of your emergency medical needs. We provide immigrants and visitors to Canada, and those looking for Super Visa insurance, with emergency medical coverage. For detailed FAQs on travel insurance in Canada, including coverage specifics and refund processes, visit our Visitor to Canada Insurance FAQ page.