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Old 12-31-2015, 05:50 PM   #1
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Smile Airstream camping & traveling in Canada's Atlantic Provinces

What are some things to consider in planning a trip from the US into Canada, particularly visiting the Atlantic Provences of Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland Labrador, New Brunswick islands?

Camping set ups, road conditions, elevations, speed limits, fuel, etc advice appreciated. Would it be wise to base camp the AS in the US and take day or overnight trips by truck to explore those islands?

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Old 12-31-2015, 06:14 PM   #2
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Plan ahead. Depends on the time of year you are going as most Provincial campsites in the Maritimes don't open until June.
By all means take your unit to the Islands. You won't do them justice with only a day.
We spent 2 weeks on PEI and 3 on Newfoundland and could easily have doubled our stays without seeing it all.
Fabulous country and great people.
Enjoy.


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Old 12-31-2015, 06:19 PM   #3
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Planning a trip to and camping around Atlantic Canada is the same as , say, planing a trip to and camping around Apalachicola. I do both, sometimes twice a year, and really can't tell the difference, except fuel in Canada is a lot more expensive, but with the exchange rate these days, the total cost will be a bargain for you. Check out SilverEagle6's posts from last summer for a really excellent trip description. I think the distances may be more than you are currently imagining but Atlantic Canada is a lot of fun if you have plenty of time. Jim


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Old 12-31-2015, 08:11 PM   #4
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Canada is crazy different than the US, tread carefully (especially in those Atlantic provinces)

Just go, expect gas to be more expensive, however the CAD$ is down so it wont be too crazy.
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Old 12-31-2015, 08:37 PM   #5
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The other is use of cell phone on US carriers. Might want to check that out.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:15 PM   #6
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Airstream camping & traveling in Canada's Atlantic Provinces

I should've mentioned we are hoping to do this trip late May - September but not sure yet how many weeks to plan for in Canada as we will be on extended trip from FL.

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Old 12-31-2015, 10:21 PM   #7
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On cell usage, both tmobile and verizon have good roaming rates in Canada now that grant you the same as you have in the US (tmobile free, verizon $2US/day). You may need to update your account to get it, but be careful, if you have certain grandfathered accounts you probably don't want to change them. You can get sim cards with Canadian carriers, and Rogers actually has good pricing compared to current plans in the US. Rogers will have the best coverage in general, but I'm not sure about the atlantic provinces.

I actually just compared pricing on their largest data packages earlier today and tweeted: Data in Canada is cheap these days. Monthly+Roaming in USD: Rogers 60GB $265+$36, Verizon 60GB $450+$60, ATT 50GB $375+$0(very limited roaming, only mexico).

TMobile's "unlimited" is actually limited to 23GB LTE speeds, so it doesn't necessarily compare well, but IIRC it doesn't cost anything to roam in Canada/Mexico.
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Old 01-01-2016, 06:48 AM   #8
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Just don't have ANY fruits or vegetables when you return to the US.
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Old 01-01-2016, 07:02 AM   #9
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Maybe it goes without saying - or maybe it is the "Elephant in the thread" and I certainly don't want to be the one to yet again raise a contentious subject and debate that goes nowhere(!), but if you normally carry a hand gun on your RV trips, it would be wise to leave it at home this time, as laws are quite a bit different in that respect here!

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Old 01-01-2016, 07:05 AM   #10
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I have really liked our trips to Canada. The ferry to Newfoundland is a big thing to plan around. You need reservations for day and time going both ways. At about $500 to $600 depending upon length it is also an expense. Golden Horn campground near N. Sydney is a very good campground to await the ferry and a good place to do the Cape Britton trail and the fort at Louisberg from. There is a great campground at St Johns, N&L. Pippy point, I think, that is good for exploring that end of Newfoundland. If you want to go into Labrador you need to plan carefully for that ferry and how to get to it. Our caravan people took day trips across or got a room.
We spent a week at the national park on the beach in the north part of PEI. Nice place to tour from also. I have to remind myself not to have a firearm of any kind in the trailer or truck when we leave with the possibility of going into Canada.
Fore me, border crossings are generally a pain and I would plan on crossing the border as few times as possible. I would also look at the medical insurance situation. I have bought insurance for any long trips into Canada. Have been luck and not used it. But medical is a different culture there than in the States.
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Old 01-01-2016, 07:35 AM   #11
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Traveling to any place in Canada not just the maritimes should not be different than traveling in the US. A few things to consider:

- make sure to visit both US and Canadian border agency web site to know what you can take into Canada and what you can bring back in the US.

-look into your cellphone plan as roaming charges can add up quickly

- distances and speed limits are in kilometer and not miles, so a maximum speed limit of 100 km/h translate to roughly 62 m/h. If you have a gps you can possibly have it display in either units. I know that when I travel in the US I leave mine in kilometer because I find it easier.

- language should not be an issue even if you would decide to visit the province of Quebec. We have a good percentage of people who have french as their first language but most of them can also speak English. Not coming to Quebec because you do not speak french would be like me not visiting Texas or Florida because I do not speak Spanish and I have visited both

- the price of gas ( and booze )will be the biggest shock . Gas in sold in liter and not gallons so if you want to compare price you need to convert those liters in US gallons and the CDN $ in US $. Right now in Montreal the current price would translate to roughly $2.90 US per gallon

-if you want to go to Newfoundland check into the price of the ferry, it is not cheap. Also you need to pay to get on the bridge to P.E.I. Neither would stop me from taking that trip but you just need to budget for it.
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:41 AM   #12
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Also make sure noone in your crew have had a DUI within the past twenty years! We were turned back at Niagara on our way to Alaska three years ago for a DUI in 2001! This is relatively new; our trips to Canadian Atlantic previously were great with excellent campgrounds.
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:43 AM   #13
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check out the Viking Caravan iteniary (sp?) online.. Lot of good information.
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:43 AM   #14
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We did five weeks up there this past summer. It can still be frosty in June. Roads sometimes are not the best (pot holes) watch out for moose. Camping is good with many full hookups, or dump stations. Money exchange is good check for a charge card with no foreign transaction fees. There is a COSTCO in Halifax and Newfoundland (gas). Things are pretty well marked. Take the A S to Labrador for a couple of days the ferry is relatively inexpensive. Camp site on the beach, dry. Insect repellent is important. The Cabot trail is a gem, don't miss any of it. Get a National Park Pass it's worth it. New Brunswick can be less than a day from LL Bean. You have to pay a toll or ferry only on leaving PEI no charge going. Exchange fee at bank is fixed per transaction not amount.
You will love all of it and hate to leave.
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:56 AM   #15
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Canada's Maritimes

A further comment on distances, they are long. From Fogo Island on Newfoundland's north east coast it is a 10 hour drive to Gros Morne National Park on the west coast. There are plenty of gas and diesel stations. Some one pointed out to me after the fact that our trip from Bar Harbor to Fogo Island takes the same time as driving from Bar Harbor to Miami. The Maritime roads are in good condition, drivers are courteous and even use their turn signals.
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Old 01-01-2016, 11:01 AM   #16
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and one last heads-up to all the others....call your credit card companies and let them know that you'll be in Canada from xxx through xxx. Then head all the way to Cape North or Meat Cove on the north end of Cape Breton Island, and have fun. Safe travels. jon
(I can't believe I actually posted something useful for a change...must be the new year)
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Old 01-01-2016, 11:20 AM   #17
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First off, you will love the trip, but I'm biased as I used to live in that part of Canada. You can easily spend 3 weeks touring Newfoundland. Like one other said, watch for moose on the highway. Gros Mourne National Park is incredible, lots of dry camping in area. Further up the Northern Penninsula to St Anthony there is lots to see, hiking, fishing, general sightseeing. Newfoundlanders are well known for their hospitality ! Drive across the province to St Johns, lots to see there.
You must do the Lighthouse Route in Nova Scotia which takes you around the southern coast and up to Halifax. Cape Breton is second to none and is an easy 4 day drive stopping lots.
PEI is gorgeous, but can be busy in summer. Lots of provincial parks to camp at though, mostly are dry with sani-dumps.
DO NOT bring any firearms ! Gas is more expensive, but with the exchange (.75 cents to one of our Canadian dollars) makes up for it. Feel free to contact for more info. ENJOY!
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Old 01-01-2016, 11:21 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by B00merang View Post
and one last heads-up to all the others....call your credit card companies and let them know that you'll be in Canada from xxx through xxx. Then head all the way to Cape North or Meat Cove on the north end of Cape Breton Island, and have fun. Safe travels. jon
(I can't believe I actually posted something useful for a change...must be the new year)
Funnily enough, going the other way (Canada to USA) I always used to call VISA to give them details of our travels and they encouraged that. (I have had my card compromised twice). I believe it was in some documentation from VISA that suggested it was wise to do so. They always seemed to appreciate that I gave them the info and asked details of our planned route and duration.

But last year when heading south for our usual winter getaway, when I called, the response from VISA was "We don't do that any more, you don't need to advise us now."

I suppose they have computer models developed enough now to monitor your account that they feel it is not necessary.

Not sure if that applies coming in this direction.


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Old 01-01-2016, 12:08 PM   #19
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We bought our 2015 23FB for the purpose of traveling from our home in Seattle to the Atlantic Provinces and took a 95-day trip there from late April - late July 2015. The 13,700 miles included US travel round trip. We spent about 6 weeks in Canada. This was a fantastic trip and there is a great variety of things to see and do. Here are a few thoughts to consider:
1. Border crossings are not a problem - as long as you remain respectful, patient, and comply with the relatively few basic rules (no fruit of any kind coming to US, no potatoes going to Newfoundland - they did check our trailer, no guns or mace, no marijuana - though now legal in WA, declare major purchases. I did NOT declare $2,800 for a tv wheel and 4 tires (see below). Have proper ID (passport or enhanced drivers license if offered in your home state.
2. Have documents of current vaccinations and your local licenses for your dog. Talk to your vet about seasickness meds for your dog on the 6+hour ferry ride.
3. Make ferry plans from North Sydney many months in advance and plan your trip around those dates. The KOA in N Sydney was perfect - great service, well kept, beautiful setting, and a short distance to ferry terminal. We stayed there coming and going.
3. Think of distances as more like western US than between US east coast cities. It sometimes is a long way between fuel stations, especially on Newfoundland (NL). "Maritime" and "Atlantic Provinces" technically are not identical terms. The "Maritimes" do not include NL.
4. The Atlantic Provinces, especially NL, are wonderful places but have very challenged economies. Roads are poor on NL. Watch for potholes. And moose! We saw 6 moose on NL within 50 meters (get used to it!) of the road. There are moose fences in New Brunswick, but not on most of NL.
5. I broke a tv wheel in an unseen pothole while driving about 50 kph during a rainstorm in central NL. Neither Jeep dealer on Newfoundland had one in stock and they sent to Toronto (almost 2,000 miles by road) for it. Cost was about $800 CD. I decided to replace all 4 tires since at least one was likely damaged and I had planned to replace them upon our return to Seattle anyway. Because I have 20" wheels on my Cherokee Summit Costco could not get them for 10 days. Cost would have been about $160 CD for Pirelli. Fortunately, the Jeep dealer had just ONE set of Toyo's for my car, but the cost was $350/tire plus balancing and install.
6. Bring Canada currency for small purchases. Learn about "loonies" and "toonies". Get a credit card that does NOT charge currencies exchange fees - Navy Federal Credit Union offers such a VISA if you are eligible. Others do as well.
7. Cell coverage is very erratic in the Atlantic Provinces, even with the Canadian carriers. Plan on being out of contact much of the time. Even my Sirius radio had frequent service interruptions on NL, something that rarely occurs in the remote areas of the western US.
8. Put L'Aunse aux Meadows NL on your list of must see places. This is the site where the Norse first landed in North America in about 1000. Along the way stop on Cowhead and hike the peninsula and take in a show at the small local theater. A performance by Anchors Aweigh in Rocky Harbor was a highlight of our trip.
9. Great iceberg viewing is at Greenspound, NL, an undiscovered view point of "iceberg alley". We learned of this from the fellow at the tire shop in Gandor (also a must see place for the air museum and the hospitality of this small town during 9-1-1 and WWII). As is often the case, the locals will tell you about things not found in guidebooks or on the Internet.
10. Decide how you want to balance crowds and weather. We opted for early season and no crowds, but the weather can be cool and wet.
11. Allow time for many serendipitous discoveries of possible interest. Just one of many examples, we discovered the world famous (Noble Prize winner) Thinkers Lodge at Pugwash, NS quite by accident. Another example is that our southern Acadians share a common (and sad) history with Acadie, the former French Colony in the Maritimes. Worth a few days to visit and learn.
12. The Vikings called their settlement "Vinland" - because to our surprise, there are good wineries and vine lands in Nova Scotia. Enjoy!
13. PEI had the best lobster and mussels of any place we traveled - including our favorite place, Beal's Lobster Pier (also excellent) in Southwest Harbor, ME.
14. Insect repellent is a must if you are not on or near the open water.
15. We have a diesel tv and learned that all diesel sold in Canada must be ultra low sulphur fuel as is required for our engine. The pumps do not always make this clear, but it is the case.
16. You must boil water in remote parts of NL, mostly in the north and west. Be careful if you decide to fill your fresh tanks. Ask locally.
Canada is a great country and fantastic neighbor and ally of ours. You will have a most memorable adventure in the Atlantic Provinces!
We are glad to provide more specifics if we can be of help as you plan your trip.
D2
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Old 01-01-2016, 06:16 PM   #20
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Airstream Camping & Traveling In Canada's Atlantic Provinces

Thank you for all the great advice. We've been fortunate to visit various areas in Canada before but never with our Airstream. This Air Forums family is stellar at making suggestions that might not occur otherwise during the planning stages of a really great trip like this. You certainly haven't disappointed this time. Please continue offering any further advice, suggestions & recommendations.

TY
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