U.S. Camper entering Canada/Nova Scotia - Fiberglass RV
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Old 07-01-2015, 01:31 PM   #1
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U.S. Camper entering Canada/Nova Scotia

Have been planning a trip to Nova Scotia from our home in New York.
Just completed a complete "AAA-Trip-Tik" routing that covers the entire coastal route of Nova Scotia....using a lot of spots to visit I got from members of this fine group. We will be departing mid July. Now that time is near I have many questions:
1. Should I exchange US dollars for Canadian currency or is US currency accepted?
2. I would like to use my charge cards whenever possible and that brings up two questions....are credit cards (Visa etc.) accepted just about everywhere?ccc campgrounds, gasoline stations, resturants etc???.....and is account/identity theft as big a problem in Canada as it is becoming in the United States???
3. What items are prohibited when crossing into Canada ? (Food items? Etc).

I know that I need my passport and driver's license...got that covered.
We have no pets. Can I bring my favorite adult beverages (wine, beer and liquor)??

Is there one website that can cover all these topics?

We like to plan ahead and avoid stupid delays.
Will be entering from Calais, Maine and taking coastal route up to Nova Scotia.
We hope to see as much of the coast of Nova Scotia as possible....is it realistic to try to do this in two weeks?
What sites are "Must See attractions"?

Thanks for any help...this will be our first RV trip outside of the U.S.
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Old 07-01-2015, 01:48 PM   #2
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1. Get Canadian currency and/or use your credit card, peeps in the U.S. generally don't accept Canadian currency, why should Canadians accept USD. (Except at PAR LOL). I always get local currency at ATM's not at currency exchanges, the rates are almost always better
2. Tell your credit card and ATM card peeps that you are traveling and give them a list of locations, other wise, on about the third day out, you may find that your credit and ATM cards are turned off buy the bank.
3. No handguns, ask first about long guns and other firearms before going.


Just Google "Travel into Canada" you will get lots of hits.


BTW: If anyone in the car has ever gotten a DUI you will not get into Canada.



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Old 07-01-2015, 01:57 PM   #3
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You enter through Calais, ME into St. Stephen, NB. We've crossed 20 times are so and always stop in St. Stephens business district right on the main street at the Scotia Bank and use our debit card to get cash. We usually get $400 Canadian. Most significant communities have a bank and you can always get more.

Use Canadian money, the exchange rate is way in your favor.

We only used the debit card to get cash. We use our Visa to pay for most everything else.

If you check out at a Walmarts in Canada with a debit you can also get cash.

Two weeks is not a lot of time plus stop in NB and see Hopewell Rocks. You'll be back. In 15 years of RVing we've spent a literal 700 days in the Maritime provinces and still haven't seen it all.

As to alcohol I believe the limit is 1.5 liters (2 bottles) of wine, 40 oz of hard liquor (1 bottle) and 24 cans of beer.

Travellers - Alcohol and Tobacco Limits

We have never been asked about food when crossing into New Brunswick. Going from province to province there seems to be no issues except for potatoes.

WE have had no identify theft issues in Canada and in many many years only 2 in the USA, both caught by the bank.

Must see Cape Breton and Louisberg. On the Cape Breton road look for the Clucking Chicken.
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Old 07-01-2015, 01:59 PM   #4
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Hi; Uplander... Two weeks won't be enough time. Been down east twice for two weeks each and saw a small portion.
You'll get more $$$'s exchanging your cash at a Bank. Credit Cards not a problem except for their rates
Guns are prohibited. Bring your own booze as it's expensive in Canada
Cape Breton Island is breath taking. Seafood is worth the trip alone!!!
Here's some pic's. Peggy's Cove, Lunenburg, and sunset camping on the Bay of Fundy. Pay per View campsite!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 07-01-2015, 02:04 PM   #5
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Bob, Good one, telling your bank is critical. Call the number on the back of your cards and let them know how long you'll be gone and where.

Always carry two different credit cards. We've been on the road and had one canceled, the second serves as a back up, only used if the second if the first one is compromised.

I skipped Halifax as a suggestion.. Well worth a stop and very often there are summer festivals worth seeing.
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Old 07-01-2015, 02:07 PM   #6
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Pic's of Cape Breton Island... Cabot Trail trip. Along the coast, off the highway walk, and Digby Scallops!!! Yummm.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 07-01-2015, 02:31 PM   #7
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Be prepared to pay more for gas than in the US. Gas prices on my last trip in ON (about 3 weeks ago) were about $4/Gal (~$1.1CAD per liter).
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Old 07-01-2015, 02:52 PM   #8
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Hmmmm... I got a little better number


3.78l = 1 US Gallon
3.78l x $1.10 cdn/liter = $4.158 CDN/US Gallon
$4.16 CDN x .8 (current exchange rate) $3.33 USD/US Gallon


Canada is currently offering a summer special of everything is 20% off for US $



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Old 07-01-2015, 02:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sokhapkin View Post
Be prepared to pay more for gas than in the US. Gas prices on my last trip in ON (about 3 weeks ago) were about $4/Gal (~$1.1CAD per liter).
Hi: sokhapkin... Just filled up today @ $1.11.7/ Ltr CAD. Prices are usually more nearing the maritime coast. With the exchange it's still worth the trip.
Confederation Bridge to P.E.I., wild flowers along the road, and potato fields in the "Bright Red Mud" of P.E.I.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 07-01-2015, 03:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
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$4.16 CDN x .8 (current exchange rate) $3.33 USD/US Gallon
$
Don't you agree $3.33 is extremely high comparing to US prices? The worst US price I filled up on that trip was $3.20 in Utah. The average was $2.70. Gas price matters on 8000 miles trip...
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Old 07-01-2015, 03:07 PM   #11
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Check with your bank about using your credit card. For example, Bank of America (BOA, like the snake) charges an international transaction fee EVERY TIME a debit card or credit card is used in Canada, unless you have one of their cards that specifically does not charge this fee. Then, pay for everything with your "international" card as the exchange rate will be calculated as soon as the transaction is processed. If you really need cash, but something at a Canadian Walmart and get Canadian currency that way. That should cover any small expenses you may want or need cash for.


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Old 07-01-2015, 03:09 PM   #12
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$3.33, while higher than the U.S. average, isn't "Extremely High" and it's less than many locations in the western states right now. And that price for regular in Utah was for 85 octane, which opens yet another question. (I was there last week.) And at small town stations in Wyoming...fergetit! some were over $4/gallon.


And for most, even if all gas was $3.33/gallon most of us would still travel. I drive 55 MPH and save about 20% per gallon vs. 65 MPH.



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Old 07-01-2015, 03:12 PM   #13
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FYI concerning handguns/Canada. Despite what everyone keeps saying, US citizens CAN transport handguns into Canada. You just have to be willing to do the paperwork (in advance) and declare them at the border crossing. You can easily download the forms off the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program website. There are some provisions ie: Handguns MUST have a minimum barrel length of at least 4 inches, among others.
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Old 07-01-2015, 03:15 PM   #14
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Stay longer and gas costs per day will be less.
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Old 07-01-2015, 03:23 PM   #15
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Get a ATM card that does not charge international transaction fees and refunds all ATM fees. If you have a Schwab account they have a good one. Good advice about always carrying a couple different cards, preferably from different company's. If you get any fraudulent charges on a credit card they void your card and may only mail an new card to a US address... We got caught up in that last year during a two month trip to Mexico... Fortunately we had the ATM card to fall back on and a friend coming in a couple of weeks.
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Old 07-01-2015, 03:27 PM   #16
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Spacial Note - Credit Cards in Canada

[QUOTE=CPW;532295]Check with your bank about using your credit card. For example, Bank of America (BOA, like the snake) charges an international transaction fee EVERY TIME a debit card or credit card is used in Canada, unless you have one of their cards that specifically does not charge this fee. Then, pay for everything with your "international" card as the exchange rate will be calculated as soon as the transaction is processed. If you really need cash, but something at a Canadian Walmart and get Canadian currency that way. That should cover any small expenses you may want or need cash for.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

We found that some stores (COSTCO for one) in Canada did not accept cards without an imbedded security chip. Double check on having that as well. It looks like those, while just starting in the U.S., are now very common in Canada.



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Old 07-01-2015, 04:11 PM   #17
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Here in PEI as I write and gas is $1.20 per litre today.
Changes once per week and goes up and down from that. Why? We Canadians would love to know the answer to that question!
However, your dollar is still worth about 20% more than the Canadian dollar, so you get a break in that regard.
So far the biting insects have been the worst we have see in 10 years due to the awful winter and cold wet spring.......so be prepared for the possibility of it continuing.
Still an amazing beautiful place to visit. Sitting in a screened porch to survive at the moment.
And agree to the wonders of Cape Breton as well as others have said.
Try the Chowder House at Neils Harbour....rustic but good.
Happy trails
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Old 07-01-2015, 09:55 PM   #18
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Ditto the comment about credit cards being declined without the security chip. Mostly at gas stations - inside stores, I had better luck.
I'm going to look into an international card - those transaction fees add up!

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Old 07-02-2015, 12:54 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
-----------------------------------

We found that some stores (COSTCO for one) in Canada did not accept cards without an imbedded security chip. Double check on having that as well. It looks like those, while just starting in the U.S., are now very common in Canada.
Did this happen in 2015 or prior Bob? If prior it may not have been a chip issue but a card type issue. Costco actually only accepted American Express cards in Canada for years, no other CC's. It was just on December 31st of last year Costco Canada stopped taking American Express and switch to taking Master Card only. You can use no other card with the exception of chipped debit cards.

Regardless chips and the use a PIN number on CC & debit cards has been the standard in Canada and most other developed countries with the exception of the US for many years now. We are currently on our 2nd or 3rd generation of security chips on Credit Cards as well as bank debit cards. Helps a lot in avoiding fraudulent use of cards. I am actually very nerves about using my CC's in the US these days due to lack of machines that require the chip card and pin number to use them - only a signature needed to process the card. Its also a bit unsettling when trying to buy gas in the US as many of the gas station pumps will not except our cards due to the security features on them - so you have to go inside and hand over your card to some kid behind the counter while you pump the gas then go back in and have them process the purchase - which is again something I am not very comfortable about having to do.

There was a bit of a news item a number of months back when China announced it would not be taking any CC's without a chip starting next year - the bases of the story was that American tourists where going to have a big problem - that may have spurred the American banks on in regards to issuing cards with chips.

Canada only has a handful of banks - with most being international banks and as such Debit cards issued by them or another international banks will work at any ATM around the world that is on the same network as they. I have been able for years to use my debit card in many countries including in the US to obtain cash or shop in stores that have debit card machines.

Check the back of your debit card to see what symbols are on it in regards to banking networks - for example if there is a symbol on the back of your card that says Cirrus or Interac or Plus symbol (three of the larger banking networks) the card will work pretty well anywhere in the world if the ATM machine you go to has the same corresponding symbol on them & you will have no problems finding an ATM machine in Canada with those symbols on them. If your current card does not have any such symbols on it talk to your bank. I understand that some of the US Banks do have chipped and international debit and Credit cards but the customer must ask for them as they are not standard issue as yet.

In Canada the bank machine must tell you prior to completing the transaction what the service charge is if any for your withdrawals. Transaction fees for withdrawing cash using a debit card at a ATM machine are usually lower if you use one at an actual bank rather than one located in store or gas station for example
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Old 07-02-2015, 05:38 AM   #20
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I'm a little surprised by the security chip discussion. It may be that many people don't recognize the existence of the security chip because even stores with security strip readers usually have both forms of readers in the same credit/debit card reader.

We have 3 credit cards and they all have security chips. Though many places do not use security chips, like most gas stations in my area, Walmarts does, having both readers in most stores.

Security chips are in your card if you have the seven contact pattern (an almost oval in the center with 6 blocks on the outside of the oval). It is located on the front of the card.
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