Travelling to Canada, much like travelling to the United States, is a fairly simple process for Australians looking to visit. We have a certain amount of shared history with Canada, so the desire to explore its natural wonders – so different from our own – is a powerful one.
What if you’ve never been before though? Not to worry, we’ve put together a few Vancouver travel tips that we think will serve you well on your trip to the true north. Don’t forget to speak with your Escape Travel agent prior to departure to make sure you’ve got everything organised.
As with travelling to the United States, Australians visiting Canada don’t need to obtain any tourist visas – unless you intend to stay for an extended period or look for work. If you’re planning to simply tour the country, you only need to apply for an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) online. Print this out and keep it with your passport for when you pass through customs in Vancouver.
The Canadian dollar is quite similar to the Australian dollar in that it typically sits below the US dollar in terms of value. This is good for Australian travellers because it means we don’t lose much, if any, of our travel money when converting to Canadian dollars. Since Canadian currency works the same as Australian currency, it’s very easy to know which coins and notes to use! For more on currency, visit the currency page.
Used to living in their colder northern climate, Canadians are big on warm, hearty comfort food. Most sit-down restaurants, no matter how fancy, will offer some variation of the humble Mac and Cheese (try it at least once – what the Canadians do with this simple dish is amazing). Of course, no visit to Vancouver would be complete without indulging in a Tim Hortons coffee and doughnut combo, or the region’s renowned seafood.
Tipping in Vancouver, and throughout Canada, is much like tipping in the United States. You’ll only need to tip for personal services like drivers, waiters, busboys and the like. If you’re getting fast food, you won’t need to tip (though there may be a tip jar to contribute to if you’re impressed with the staff and food). We recommend getting a free tip calculator app for your phone, but the gist of it is: Tip 10% of your total bill for average service, 15% for good service, and 20% or more for great service.
Canadian electrical plugs and voltage are the same as what you’ll find in the United States, which is great news because it means a simple Australian-to-US power adapter will solve the vast majority of your problems. This one adapter will cover all your major devices like laptops, smartphones, tablets, cameras, and portable batteries. You’ll need to check voltages if you’re bringing anything more powerful with you.
When travelling to Vancouver, as with anywhere in Canada, it doesn’t hurt to have an English-to-French phrasebook or translation app with you. While the primary spoken and written language in Canada is English, many Canadians know French as a shorthand. You never know when having some phrases in your pocket may come in handy.
Vancouver International Airport is the primary airport for travellers arriving into Canada’s south from the west coast of the United States and across the Pacific. A sprawling terminal that sees hundreds of inbound and outbound flights both domestic and international, its website is also a great hub of useful Vancouver travel advice that may help point you in the right direction once on the ground.