Before You Go
Things to do before you go on your trip
- Find out where the Government of Canada office is at your destination(s) and keep their contact information handy
- Leave family and friends with itinerary, contact information and emergency number for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada ( emergency hotline -1-613-996-8885).
- Passport – Copy your passport information and leave with family members. Keep copies of your passport separate from the originals on your trip. Check the expiration date and ensure that your passport is valid for the country that you are visiting. Note that children can no longer travel on a parent’s passport and require their own. See CANADIAN PASSPORT for official government passport information for residents in Canada, U.S.A. or other foreign countries.
- Take additional ID with you. We recommend a birth certificate/citizenship document amd copies of them in case you need to replace a lost/stolen passport.
- Visas - it is the responsibility of the passport holder to ensure that they have the correct entry documents for travel. Apply for Visas well in advance of your trip. Be prepared to show yo return or onward ticket to prove that you are leaving the country. Check visa requirements for your destination based on your passport. If you are not travelling with a Canadian passport, make sure you point that out to your travel agent so that they can advise what is needed or where to go to find out.
- Travelling with children – Ensure that you have a notarized letter of consent from the parents. Even if you are a parent, if the other parent is not travelling, be prepared to show this documentation. If you are a parent with sole custody, be prepared to show documentation to that effect. Ensure that the child has proper identification. See tips for travelling with Children.
- Travelling with a same-sex spouse - Be aware of the laws in destination. Although same-sex partnerships are legal in Canada, attempting to enter a country with a same-sex partner where the partnership is not recognized or legal may be problematic. Be aware of the local laws.
- Persons with disabilities – Many countries do not have accessibility laws like Canada. Be aware of the practices at your destination and plan accordingly.
- Getting medical advice – Contact a travel medicine clinic or family physician 4 – 6 weeks before your trip to determine if you need vaccinations, preventative medication and get advice on precautions that you may have to take at destination. Some countries require proof of HIV/AIDS status and you may need to be tested before your trip. For a neighbourhood clinic click here.
- Medications – pack an extra supply for your trip and store separately in case your bags get lost or you have to stay longer than expected. Carry a copy of your prescription or carry medications in their original packaging showing the dispensing information to avoid questions in customs. Know what your medications are called by trade name and the generic name in case you need to replace lost or stolen medications in destination. Your doctor can prepare a list of your medications for you and why you are taking them for your records.
- Supplemental health insurance – Your provincial plan will only cover part. if any of the costs incurred while abroad. We strongly recommend purchasing out of country medical insurance before your trip. Carry the details of your insurance on your person at all times in destination in case of an emergency. Know how to process a claim with your insurance so that you can obtain all the required information in destination to ensure the smooth processing of your claim on your return. Note : if you live outside of the province, your health insurance may be void. Check with your insurer. Purchase medical & cancellation insurance
- Other insurance – travel insurance, baggage insurance, cancellation and interruption insurance are excellent options. At Paragon travel, we work with Manulife Insurance to provide a variety of coverages and package deals for travel insurance. Please call our office at 1.888.461.0231 and speak to any of our agents for more details. Purchase medical & cancellation insurance
- Travelling by car - know the regulations for driving at your destination. You may need an international driver’s license for extend stays. For further information contact our office at 1.888.461.0231
- Money – Canadian currency and travellers cheques are not always accepted in destination. Always have a small amount of local currency on your person just in case. Consult your local bank for information.
- Transportation of dangerous goods – be aware that liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on luggage are not allowed if over 100ml. Medicines, toiletries and alcoholic beverages in their original container are excepted. They must fit in a single clear plastic bag. For more information, visit www.tc.gc.ca/air to find out what you can and cannot take.
- Register as a Canadian Citizen abroad so that if there is an emergency situation, the Canadian Government knows you are there. Register online or download & print form.
- Check the Canadian Travel Reports & Warnings website before you plan any trip. This site has information on safety and security, local laws and customs, entry requirements, health conditions and other important travel issues.
- Inform your credit card company that you will be travelling and that they can expect activity on your card in other countries. Too many times clients forget to do this and their credit cards get declined in destination because the credit card company considers it suspicious activity when your card is being used in another country.
- Book with an agency who has an emergency hot-line in case anything goes wrong – no matter what time, night or day a person will be able to help get you home.
- Print a copy of our Traveller’s checklist to ensure that you have dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s.
If you have any concerns or questions, we can be reached at 1.888.461.0231 or by filling out the form below.
Adapted from “Bon Voyage, but…” from the Foreign Affairs & International Trade Canada booklet. Available at www.voyage.gc.ca