Travelling to Vancouver from UK on very short notice - tips needed
May 29, 2014 3:36 AM   Subscribe

Due to winning a very late announcing scholarship, I'll be travelling to Vancouver in just over a week's time to attend a library conference. I would appreciate any tips you might have/things I may have forgotten to look into as I've not travelled to Canada before and certainly never travelled at such short notice!

I'm travelling from the UK, I'm a British citizen so I know I don't need a visa. I do have to provide proof that I have funds (how? bank statement? can I just wave my travellers cheques and credit card?) for my stay.

I'm arriving on the 6th in the evening and leaving the evening of the 10th. 90% of my time will be spent in the conference centre.
posted by halcyonday to Travel & Transportation around Vancouver, BC (12 answers total)
One thing you should do is let your bank know you're traveling to Canada so they won't flag any transactions as potential fraud and lock your account.
posted by something something at 3:42 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Get an adapter for your electronic chargers.

Figure out if you phone will work in Canadian mobile networks.

Don't try to bring any food into the country.

Go see the sunset on the beach.
posted by srboisvert at 4:31 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I nearly failed to get into Canada on a having enough funds basis as a UK citizen. That was because the airline I flew in with was, as I'm sure the border people knew, about to go bust, and I was in a poorly paid job and hadn't brought much cash with me. But the border agent's relief when she said "Got any credit cards?", followed by "They're not all maxed out, right?" suggested to me that they want you in the country.

Phones and plugs are the only things to worry about. Maybe travel insurance. I attended A&E there (heatstroke) and got a $500 surcharge on the bill for being foreign, presumably due to proximity to the US.

Everything else was very straightforward.
posted by ambrosen at 4:49 AM on May 29, 2014

Citizenship and Immigration Canada describes what sort of proof of funds might be provided in "Temporary residents: Proof of Funds / Financial Support." A return ticket, proof of medical insurance during your time in Canada, and bank statement is probably more than enough. You may not be asked for any of these things.
posted by grouse at 5:36 AM on May 29, 2014

I was unaware of the requirement to demonstrate sufficient funds when I took a short-notice, four-day trip to Canada this time last year, and can’t recall being specifically asked about that by the immigration official on arrival: just the usual ‘what’s the purpose of your visit?’ and ‘where will you be staying?’ type of questions. I did have with me a couple of hundred dollars in cash I’d bought before travelling, however.
posted by misteraitch at 5:36 AM on May 29, 2014

2nd notifying your bank/credit card provider as my UK cards get blocked regularly if I forget to do this and I end up having to ring up to get them released. I just drop them a note through my online banking/card services facilities and allow 24 hrs for somebody to process my notification.

If this is not a business trip as part of your job make sure you have travel insurance.
posted by koahiatamadl at 5:45 AM on May 29, 2014

Seconding everything mentioned above, but really seconding sunset on the beach.
posted by avocet at 5:48 AM on May 29, 2014

Unless things have changed recently, going to a conference is not the same as doing paid work for entry purposes. But then I'm not an immigration lawyer so who knows. Most likely when you get off the plane, they'll just check your passport, ask you a couple of inane questions you will just answer honestly (purpose of trip, duration of trip, etc) and then wave you through. Far more important is the suggestion people have made that you should have travel insurance and to make sure you go down to the spanish banks to watch the sunset. God I miss hanging out with my dog at the beach.
posted by Poldo at 8:11 AM on May 29, 2014

Thanks all!

I do indeed have travel insurance and I will definitely do my best to get to the beach. I'm staying downtown Vancouver but it all looks very simple to navigate once I'm there.

I'd like to have spent more time in Vancouver but less than week's notice is not the time to try wrangle that, I think!
posted by halcyonday at 8:32 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've never, ever heard of a visitor to Canada for 4-day conference being grilled about "proof of funds." Best to be prepared, I guess, but you are there for a conference and have a return ticket, so I can't imagine this even being asked.

If you've never flown from the UK to North America, be prepared for a LONG ASS FLIGHT. LHR to Calgary is 10 hours (an hour less because the winds are in your favour on the return flight) and Vancouver should be an hour more- it's FAR and you're looking at coping with a nine-hour time difference, so be prepared for a LONG ASS FLIGHT and jetlag you will not have time to overcome.

Really, really fantastic Asian food in Vancouver (btw "Asian" in Canada is never used to refer to South Asian but always, as in the US, to refer to East and Southeast Asian, so Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc)- I just hope you're not sequestered at UBC for the whole period because it's remote from the city and not convenient to anything.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:07 AM on May 29, 2014

Have the conference information and scholarship invitation all printed out and easy to get to. I've never been asked about funds on work trips to Canada, but I have been asked to show documentation of the conference or event I was attending. Not a bad idea to have your hotel reservation printed out as well.

Downtown Van is very easy to get around. Enjoy!
posted by gingerbeer at 10:18 AM on May 29, 2014

One more thing...when crossing an international border never ever say it is for work. Ever.

Be specific and say you are attending an academic conference.

Never mention the possibility of awards, honorarium or any other kind of potential financial compensation. Without the right to work in the country that you are trying to enter you will get turned away (and it can potentially be permanent!)
posted by srboisvert at 1:28 PM on May 29, 2014

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