Spring Break Rules for Canadians Fed Up with Snow

“It’s too damned cold and I’m not gonna take it anymore.” Is that your state of mind right now? Do you need another week of below-zero temps? Of course not.

Even with the loonie in the pits, available seats on flights heading south from Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver and points in between are scarce to non-existent. It’s the time of year when fiscal prudence is shoved aside by a desperate need to shed layers of impermeable outerwear in favour of shorts, T-shirts, and sandals.

Canadians have a built-in homing instinct that kicks in as soon as they cross the southern border that points them instinctively to the beach, the swap-shop open-air markets, Home Depot, REAL Target stores, and liquor stores where they can buy a bottle of Canadian rye for half the price they would pay in Canada. My find of the week was a 26-ouncer of Crown Royal for $19.99. Sure, sure, that’s the US dollar—but can you tell me it’s not a bargain?

Spring break, a week that often stretches out to 10 days, is a time to relax, lose a few inhibitions, see something other than snowdrifts out the front door. But to enjoy that week, you need to make some practical preparations:

Passports, for every person in your group (including the kids). In these troubled times, passports are a necessity, even beyond the US/Canadian border. In Mexico, anywhere in the Caribbean, Latin/South America—it’s quite routine to be asked for passport ID if cashing a cheque, checking into a hotel, boarding flight in a foreign country, renting a car, or in filling out a police report after you’ve had your pocket picked, which happens even in the most unlikely places. There is no substitute for a passport to prove you are who you say you are.

Parental permission letters authorizing you to travel with children who are not your own, but are under your care: grandkids, relatives, family friends. Border agents the world over are now requiring such letters routinely, even if the children have the same name as yours.

Related: Need a consent letter for travelling with children? Find a sample here

Proof of travel health insurance is becoming mandatory for entry into some countries—especially in Europe. And even if the immigration and customs agents don’t always ask for it, hospitals certainly will, and in many cases will not provide services until you show such proof. And your government health plan is not enough. You need to show proof that you have private insurance and the hospital personnel will certainly check it out. Many European countries require at least €30,000 of coverage. The same requirement goes for dual citizens. Once they become legal, permanent residents of, say, Canada or the US, they are not eligible for the “free” public health systems of their former home countries. We get many calls from former Britons asking if they qualify for the “free” NHS while on a visit. No, not legally.

Travel insurance for everyone in your party is an absolute necessity. Kids can be quite high risk for accidents, falls, running barefoot through weeds or beach detritus, stepping on stingrays, eating strange foods, or just plain overeating. Once they get to a hospital emergency room they may be quite extensively examined to rule out serious conditions, and hospitals do not offer kid’s rates. Some Canadian insurers offer family policies, but each of the children need to be named in it, and each must meet the health eligibility markers. Our travel specialists can give you all the information you need to get you the right policy.

Related: Are your kids heading off for spring break? Here’s what you need to know first

Carry mini-health records if you have any medical conditions. Too often, a great deal of time is lost trying to locate a traveller’s home physician, medication regimen, and medical history. You can eliminate that delay by providing emergency room staff with a medications list. Do the same if you have a complicated medical history. Also carry with you the name and contact information of your family physician. Providing this information to ER staff and the consultants examining you can save your life.

If you’re travelling anywhere into the Caribbean, be especially careful to avoid mosquito bites. Chikungunya—a debilitating, potentially lethal, mosquito-borne virus has been ravaging the Caribbean over the past year, particularly the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and other destinations. Follow the public health rules posted in those areas.

 


Canadian Travellers

Travel freely, travel blissfully. We cover Canadian Travellers with travel medical insurance and non-medical travel insurance such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, and baggage worldwide. We’ve got it all taken care of. For more information, visit https://www.ingleinternational.com/en/travel-insurance/canadian-travellers, call us at 1-800-360-3234 or email us at helpline@ingleinternational.com.

 

International Travellers

Discover new worlds, fearlessly. We cover International Travellers going anywhere in the world with medical insurance. This also includes trip interruption and baggage. Let us give you peace of mind while you enjoy your trip. For more information, visit https://www.ingleinternational.com/en/travel-insurance/international-travellers-medical, call us at 1-800-360-3234 or email us at helpline@ingleinternational.com.

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