If you’ve seen me in the past month, I’ve told you about a wonderful Girlfriend Trip I took to Canada. Now, even if you haven’t seen me, I have to share because it is a great girlfriend getaway and it’s not even that far away!
I live in the Midwest but only recently visited Canada. (Last year with my girlfriend Julie for a tradeshow near Vancouver – it’s was very cool! And this year for a trip to Toronto and Wine Country – Niagara-on-the-Lake.) I never thought a Canadian vacation would be closer than going to Atlanta! It is and it’s a perfect place for women to travel. (Which reminds me of this travel quote …)
Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.
For this ‘Canadian Girlfriend Getaway‘ let’s introduce you to Canada and all the things you and your girlfriends need to know to make this international adventure your favorite girlfriend getaway!
10 Tips for Traveling in Canada with Girlfriends
1. It’s not that far!
Chicago is five hours from Windsor, Canada. Cleveland is four hours from Niagara-on-the-Lake (the BEST wine country I’ve been to!). Boston is five hours to Montreal. Really. Canada is our cool, friendly, beautiful neighbor and the perfect place for a girlfriend trip!
2. Grab your passport and GO! Yes, you need a passport. But, you never know when you want an exotic trip and need to have this. Get a passport. Get your BFFs to also. And GO!
3. Border-Crossing for BFFs. Don’t bring products you want to sell, strange plants or anything illegal. The rule is two bottles of wine per person. Stick to it. They have great wine in Canada! And, on the way back, you can bring your wine from the most amazing wine country – Niagara-on-the-Lake. The rule is two bottles each. But, tell the customs agent how many you’re bringing back and it MIGHT be an extra 30 cents/bottle. (We told our customs guy that we had 16 bottles of wine. He just handed us our passports and said, ‘Have a nice day!’)
4. The most beautiful money you’ve ever seen! Our dollars are dingy and boring compared to the beautiful bills in Canada. Use an ATM in Canada for money or stop at a Bank or AAA before you go. Your credit cards and debit cards should work in most places (they’ll convert the currency). And, no bothering with pennies. Canada got rid of those so you can carry less change and more of those beautiful bills! (Seriously! They have a hologram of the Queen and a clear designer strip in them!)
5. The Queen.
Speaking of, Canada is part of the British Commonwealth. The influence of the Queen and royal family is all around! (It’s kinda cool – I didn’t realize it until I got there and saw all the royal references!) Watch for Queen, King and Prince streets, hotels and see how many framed pictures you can spot!
6. “It’s like we’re driving in 1980!”
That’s what my girlfriend Julie said as we drove through Canada because our GPS and phones did not accept the international plan we’d arranged. You may need to make arrangements for your phone and/or GPS to work international. It’s not a big deal, your hotel probably has wifi, but just FYI. Also, it’s a BIG country so driving is advantageous and on the right side of the road (see warning below!) but there are taxis and mass transportation in larger cities.
7. Make the Translation. Speed limits are in kilometers and are generally slower than we drive in the U.S. Just ask my girlfriend 😉 She got a ticket from a very nice policeman. Sometimes they monitor car speeds by air, so take your time and enjoy the drive! Gas is in liters and is more expensive. Fill up your tank before crossing the border. Also, some of the highway signs will be in English and French. (A chance to pratiquer votre français – practice your French!) Electrical plugs were all fine and worked with our chargers/etc.
8. International, Multilingual and Ethnically Diverse. As Wikipedia says it: “Canada is a developed country and one of the wealthiest in the world, with the eighth highest per capita income globally, and the eighth highest ranking in the Human Development Index. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education, and stands among the world’s most educated countries.” English is the primary language (98% of the population speaks English) which makes it very easy to travel in this amazingly diverse and beautiful country.
9. Get to Know Our Neighbor. Quick: How many states does Canada have? RIGHT! It’s a trick question. Canada has ten provinces and three territories. Average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada vary from region to region – just plan ahead. There are tons of festivals and events all year long. (I saw info on upcoming Winter Winefests and was there during the Toronto Film Fest – there’s lots to do and see!) We’ll share more about shopping in Canada in upcoming girlfriend travel blog posts!
10. Eat like a Canadian!
POUTINE! Yes, try some of this Canadian goodness. It’s just fries, gravy, cheese (curds), and more – and taste better than you’d think! Sure, you’ll find McDonald’s and Wendy’s there, but go Canadian and try their chains/food. Have a Double-Double at Tim Horton’s. (Double cream, double sugar, awesome coffee!) The British influence means you can find fish and chips. And, since some areas are very multicultural (like Toronto), there’s authentic cuisine from all over the world.
So girlfriends, consider Canada for a girl’s getaway! It has all that a girlfriend trip requires: beautiful places, great food, shopping, Wine Country (Niagara-on-the-Lake), Niagara Falls (one side of it), really nice people and more!