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Travel Fever!

Posted By Lydia Dimmer, Friday, March 21, 2014
Updated: Friday, March 21, 2014

I really want to go to the ICOP meeting this year, so I’m starting early to put things in order to make that happen.  Today, I got out the old passport to see if it is still valid and I got to thinking about the many things I’ve learned about international travel over the years.   I decided to share some of them with you.


First of all, yes, you need a passport to travel to Canada or you need one of the other acceptable forms of ID, such as: 

·         U.S. Passport Card: This U.S. Department of State-issued ID is valid for entry into Canada by land or sea, though not valid for international air travel.

·         Enhanced Driver's License (EDL): EDLs indicate both citizenship and identity. Valid for entry into Canada by land or sea, though not valid for international air travel. As of January 2009, only available in Washington and New York states, but coming to Vermont. See individual state licensing departments for more info.

·         NEXUS Card: A partnership between the Canada and U.S. border services that pre-approves entry for travelers by land, sea or air between Canada and U.S. An added benefit is designated and faster lanes at border crossings and airports. Application process involves interview and fingerprinting. Both U.S. and Canadian citizens apply through U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Whatever your ID you will want to make a photocopy of it to take along.  Put this copy in a different piece of luggage.  You may even want the copy to include your driver’s license or any other document you would be in trouble without, should it get lost or stolen.  Remember to copy front and back, if appropriate.  This habit has saved me before!

If you decide to drive - check Wait Times at the border crossings, especially if you have more than one option for crossing the border into Canada, as is the case near Niagara Falls -

Exchanging Currency – As a rule, exchanging money through your bank ahead of time is the way to get the best rate.   However, a great and convenient option is a prepaid travel card.  AAA offers one that is accepted internationally.  If the card is reported stolen or lost, your remaining balance is guaranteed.   Traveler’s checks are no longer the safest way to take money to a foreign country.

This prepaid travel card can be used to withdraw cash from ATM’s or as a visa charge card.  For any transaction the going daily exchange rate is applied, but there is an additional 3% charge when the transaction involves a change in currency.   However, consider 3% of $1000 is $30, well worth it to me for the security and convenience.

Packing your suitcase – Your clothes will have the least wrinkles, if they are rolled, rather than folded.  It is also an economical way to pack your suitcase and seems to accommodate more items.

Although these items could be purchased if you were stuck at an airport or in an emergency, I always make sure my carry-on luggage contains one change of clothes, including underwear and socks, and of course my hygiene kit.

Just talking about travelling is getting me in the spirit and I will next explore how I can incorporate a side trip to Niagara Falls into my travel plans for Toronto this summer…


Submitted by Lydia Dimmer

Tags:  blog  Canada  education  Educational Meeting  Ice Breakers  ICOP  Meaningful Use  PDC  Tips  Toronto  Travel 

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Comments on this post...

Cynthia C. VandenHoven BAA CRA says...
Posted Friday, March 21, 2014
great tips Lydia...Thanks for sharing.

A tip I have is to adjust or increase my cell phone calling and texting plan with my service provider for International calling.

It is so easy to connect and make plans with fellow conference attendees if you can send a quick text...."Hey lets meet in the lobby at 7!"

With this extra pre-trip planning you can save yoursefl from being hit with exorbitant cell phone services fees after the fact.

Looking forward to seeing you at ICOP Lydia. If you plan on going to Niagara Falls, be sure to spend some time in pretty and picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake and its wineries.

Cynthia VandenHoven
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Paula F. Morris says...
Posted Friday, March 21, 2014
Great tips, Lydia - some I was unaware of! Since my name has routinely popped up on the TSA list - apparently there is a truly evil woman out there with the same name, born the same year - perhaps I should look into the Nexus card.
Toronto is such a beautiful city! I'm really lloking forward to the meeting - and after meeting!
Permalink to this Comment }

James Soque CRA OCT-C COA FOPS says...
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Traveling and Cell phone Usage ,,,!!!

While in TOR during the advanced visit, May 2013, I accumulated quite a bit of roaming call and txt charges on my At&T account for the 3 days I was there.
This year, 2014, I contacted my carrier, and got advance rate from AT&T and have purchased an advanced plan for 1 GB usage, 60 call time minutes, and 200 text messages for a very reasonable rate.
Perhaps you can, locally or domestically can do the same with your own carriers!
Good Luck, and we'll see you in Toronto in two days!
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