Travelling Within Canada: What to Know Before You Go
Have vax, will travel? Whether you’re spending a weekend at the cottage or flying across the country, here are a few things to think about when planning your return to travelling (within Canada).
Currently, there are no federal travel requirements related to COVID-19. However, there may be provincial or territorial rules and restrictions. Stay up to date on what these are by visiting the Government of Canada’s website here for details.
Some provinces permit travelling within their province, while others are beginning to loosen restrictions on cross-provincial travel. However, for now most are not yet actively encouraging travel between provinces.
(That may change soon as a vaccination rates across the country continue to climb!)
Before leaving for any trip, register with Global Affairs Canada and download the government's Travel Smart App at travel.gc.ca/mobile for up-to-date travel advisors, health updates and emergency contact numbers.
In ordinary times, summer holiday must-haves used to be flip flops and a good book. But these aren’t ordinary times.
Before you set out on your great Canadian escape, be sure to travel with all necessary documentation, including proof of vaccination, negative COVID test results, your provincial health card, and health insurance cards; as well as a good supply of masks and hand sanitizer (available at your nearest CAA Store where Members save up to 20%*).
Keep in mind you may have unexpected expenses such as medication and food if you can't leave your accommodations due to sudden lockdown restrictions.
Be sure to have enough emergency provisions packed – just in case.
How to Get There
If you’ve decided to go, a crucial question will be how to get there. While cycling adventures may offer the most health benefits, not all destinations are within reach of pedal-power (especially for those with limited vacation days!)
Many Canadians will be opting to drive, with the Conference Board of Canada dubbing this the summer of the Great Canadian Road Trip. In a recent survey, more than 80% of respondents said they planned to do so by car or RV!
If you’ve set your sights farther afield, know that getting on an airplane doesn’t mean you’ll catch the virus. While being in a crowd comes with some risk, these are greatly mitigated with air travel due to:
- The requirement that passengers wear masks and sanitize their hands consistently.
- Airplane air filtration systems that, on average, completely replace the air in the cabin every three minutes.
- Airports and airlines are adopting some social distancing measures and improved cleaning methods.
Most airlines aren’t operating food or bar service at this time, but you can still buy select items (after passing security) before you board the plane.
Just remember that the line-ups for food kiosks and restaurants might be longer than usual, so give yourself some extra time.
Don’t forget that, due to new safety protocols, you can’t guarantee that your flight will operate as scheduled. This is especially true of itineraries that involve multiple connections and airlines.
It is highly recommended that passengers leave a longer layover time between flights. In fact, it’s best to plan for extra time to check-in to your hotel, tours, car rental and activities.
Ensure that you have checked any provincial or territorial travel restrictions and advisories, both in your home province and that of your destination up to your departure date. Don’t forget to include any provinces you might transit through on your travels.
Monitor local media to stay informed of the situation at your destination.
Be sure to follow the guidance of local authorities, including public health agencies and law enforcement, such as wearing a face mask in public and lockdown rules.
Recognize there is more uncertainty to travel than pre-COVID. Be prepared to change your plans last minute. Above all, do not travel if you - or anyone in your household or travelling party - are sick.
Get Expert Advice
Expert advice is even more important during a pandemic.
CAA Travel’s Travel SMART certification program provides all CAA Travel Consultants with enhanced tools and knowledge specially designed for travel during the pandemic – so you can trust the information you receive.
They can guide you through the complex world of restrictions and rules, and assist you with selecting an appropriate destination, and ensuring that you get there and back safely.
You can count on them to pre-book accommodations; as well as any activities before you travel, which may be necessary as capacity has been reduced at many attractions (and some may not be open or be operating at reduced hours).
They can also help you with purchasing travel insurance, which is particularly important for those considering travel outside of their home province. Provincial health insurance plans offer limited benefits in other provinces and territories, and only a fraction of expenses may be covered.
Depending on the type of travel, trip cancellation insurance may also be worth consideration.
And CAA Members save up to 20% on CAA Travel Insurance!**