Are you a Canadian planning an international trip? There's a lot involved, so make sure you don't miss some of the essentials. There are plenty of federal government and other resources to help you in your preparations.
Your passport is the most important travel document you'll own. The Department of Foreign Affairs recommends that you carry a passport valid for at least six months beyond your expected return date, so check the expiry date when you start planning your trip.
Be sure to leave time to apply for your Canadian passport. For passport applications, processing times vary depending on your location, how you deliver the application to the Passport Office, and the time of year, so adjust accordingly.
When you receive your passport, fill out the identification page. Make a copy of that page and keep it separate from your passport. When you're travelling, leave a copy with a friend or relative who is not travelling with you.
You should be sure to keep your passport safe. Lock it in the hotel safe or carry it securely with you. Treat it carefully, because if it is damaged, you may be denied boarding on flights. If your passport does get damaged, apply for a new one.
Research on Destinations
Foreign Affairs Canada maintains Travel Reports and Warnings of countries worldwide. These travel reports have up-to-date information on each country's safety and security, entry and exit requirements, Canadian government contacts, specific health issues, laws and customs, currency, as well as natural disasters and climate.
Official Travel Warnings indicate that the Government of Canada recommends that Canadians should either avoid non-essential travel to the country. or specific regions of the country, or avoid all travel to that country or regions. Travel decisions are up to the individual, but they could have an affect on your travel insurance.
Registration of Canadians Abroad
If you're Canadian and plan to live in a foreign country, or if you're heading to a country where there may be problems, then consider registering with Foreign Affairs Canada so you can be notified in case of an emergency. The Registration of Canadians Abroad service is free and confidential.
Canadian Embassies and Consulates
A world-wide network of Canadian embassies, consulates and offices provide services to Canadians. Their Web sites provide general information on living and travelling in the countries they cover. They also provide varying levels of consular assistance to Canadians abroad. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Web site of the appropriate Canadian embassy or consulate before you travel.
It's important if you are travelling outside the country to make sure that you have appropriate supplemenetary travel health insurance. Canadian provincial health plans cover only a small fraction, if any, of medical costs in other countries. For additional information on travel health, see
- Well on Your Way - Public Health Agency of Canada
- Travel Health Kit - Public Health Agency of Canada
International Driving Permits
If there's a possibility you'll be driving on your trip, then be sure to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) before you leave Canada. Available from the Canadian Automobile Association for only $25, an IDP can save you the time and trouble of applying for a separate licence when you get to your destination. The IDP is a complement to your current Canadian provincial driver's licence. It proves that you have a valid driver's licence issued by an authority in your country of residence, and includes photo identification and a multi-lingual translation of your current driver's licence. It also will often be accepted as a trusted form of identification.