Before hitting the highway, take your vehicle into an Approved Auto Repair Services facility for an inspection to confirm it is roadworthy. Make sure you check and read your owner’s manual for the proper maintenance of your vehicle.
Here is a basic checklist:
Loading your car safely doesn’t mean stuffing everything into the trunk and hoping for the best. Proper loading requires careful planning and a lot of common sense.
Plan your packing
The Government of Canada recommends that Canadians travelling to any destination outside Canada carry a valid passport. Canadians must have a passport to enter the United States by June 1, 2009. Find out more information about border crossing requirements on the government’s website.
Even though a passport is not presently required for entry to the U.S. by land, it is mandatory if you travel on a cruise or continue your travel on to another country. Be sure to allow sufficient time to obtain a passport; due to high demands, it could take upwards of 10 weeks to process your application. Visit the government’s website for application information.
Once you have received your new passport, make two photocopies – leave one with a friend or relative and bring the second copy with you and carry it separately from your passport. It is also wise to leave a copy of your airline ticket, traveller’s cheque numbers, and trip itinerary with someone who would be accessible in case of an emergency.
You are also required to bring proper documents to take a child into another country. Those documents include birth certificates showing the names of both parents and any legal documents pertaining to custody. If the child is travelling with one parent, a consent letter authorizing travel must be signed and dated by the other parent. If a child is travelling alone or without either parent, a consent letter authorizing travel must be signed and dated by both parents. Learn more about travelling with kids from the government’s website.
A permanent resident card (document that replaced the Record of Landing) is now required when returning to Canada via commercial carrier. Existing permanent residents must be in Canada to apply for this new document. Visit the government’s website for more information about obtaining a permanent resident card.
Ask your travel agent or check with U.S. Customs for regulations about items that will not be allowed entry into the U.S. Know how to declare items, and what exemptions might be available to you as a traveller. Visit the government’s website for more information about travelling into the United States in a vehicle. Find out what restrictions there are for travelling into the United States on a plane.
Pack your baggage in a way that will make inspection easy.
Buy traveller’s cheques rather than carrying large amounts of cash.
Do not assume medications that are legal in Canada are also approved for use in the U.S. Prior to leaving verify that your medication will not violate U.S. drug laws.Travel with all your medications (only take the amount you require for your trip) in their original containers and pack them in your carry-on luggage. You may wish to have your doctor write you a back-up prescription and carry it with your documents.
If you are bringing gifts, travel with them unwrapped and ready for inspection.
Be alert at all times, keep your distance from luggage or packages left unattended and do not carry items for others. Never leave your own luggage unattended or in a stranger’s care. You are responsible for everything in your possession when you clear customs.
After consulting with your doctor, prepare a travel medical kit. What you put in the kit will depend on where you are going, how long you will be away and your personal medical needs.
Stress, excitement, or a change in diet can affect your health. Here are a few tips health experts recommend for travelling:
Severe weather conditions can occur suddenly in Canada. Environment Canada issues watches or warnings if conditions warrant. If you notice weather conditions deteriorating, stay tuned to the local radio or TV stations for updated storm information.
Watch: is an advisory only. Nothing may happen but a watch could develop into a warning.
Warning: means that severe weather is imminent. Take precautions and listen to your radio.
Learn how to prepare an emergency kit for the home and vehicle.