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If you’re like me, trying to pack for a trip to Canada is a lot like thinking, “What else do I bring?! It’s COLD up there!” Rest assured, we’re here to help! Here is a list of the obvious (and not so obvious) tips when preparing to pop over to our neighbors to the north!

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Things to Put in Your Suitcase

When contemplating how you can possibly fit all those bulky sweaters, consider instead bringing lots of layers. Layers are much more compact to pack, and easier to put on and take off as the mood strikes you. You can also re-wear those middle layers that don’t sit on your skin or don’t get exposed to the maple syrup you tasted while visiting a maple farm in Laval, Quebec. Consider thinner woolens, as they hold heat better than cotton or polyester, so you don’t need as much thickness to stay warm.

Do not forget a warm watchcap or beanie that covers your ears and thick woolen socks. You lose a significant amount of heat through your head and your feet. You can even buy a beanie with a Roman General emblazoned on it, the logo of the Ottawa Senators, to sport while you explore Gatineau Park, a 361 km² national park in Gatineau, Quebec outside Ottowa.

What about footwear? No self-respecting person can forego hiking boots. Even if you’re not planning on hiking, the high wall of most hiking boots goes a long way to keeping your feet warm and dry. They provide ultimate support and comfort for a day of sightseeing and shopping. And of course, if you’re planning to hike the Meewasin Trail through Saskatoon, Sascatchewan, a 60 km hike rated one of the top 10 hikes in Canada, then of course hiking boots will come in pretty handy!

Things to Put in Your Backpack

Don’t forget your camera! I know you’re thinking, “Why in the world would I forget my camera?” but if I don’t mention it and you do, then of course you’ll blame me! So, you’re welcome. No matter what you’re planning to do, you will always meet beautiful or breathtaking sights you want to share with your friends.

If you’re visiting Markham, Ontario for business and need an impressive dinner reservation to woo your prospective clients, the CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, is sure to blow their socks off. And there’s a restaurant on the top. When you’re toasting a new partnership with a view of the entire world below you, you’ll definitely want your camera to snap the picture you’ll use on your website until the end of time.

If you take prescription medication, it will be pretty difficult and expensive to obtain if you forget it, especially without a copy of your prescription. Be sure to include a copy with your personal documents.

Most common first aid items you can get easily. Especially if you’re in Regina, Sascatchewan, the home of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and site of the RCMP Academy, Depot Division. I’m sure getting a dashing young cadet in that distinctive red coat to bandage up your sprained ankle would be an adventure worth the pain!

It’s a good idea to make a copy of your passport, medical insurance, and other important documents and keep them in another bag, in case the originals are lost.

If you’re uncomfortable carrying cash, but don’t want to use your personal bank account, consider using Visa TravelMoney in lieu of traveler’s checks. These prepaid, loadable credit cards eliminate the hassle of currency exchanges and cashing traveler’s checks, and can be used like any debit card, including at ATMs.

And last, but definitely not least, don’t forget your smile! Canadians are world-renowned for their friendliness and hospitality, so a smile can go a long way to solving any unexpected issues and helping you have a fun and unforgettable visit!

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