What to bring to Canada
By Delaney Rombough
Posted on November 15, 2021
Packing and deciding what to take with you to a new country can be a daunting task, especially when you’re limited by the airline’s luggage allowances. Because you can’t pack everything, it’s best to stick to practical, essential items that you’ll use frequently.
You shouldn’t worry about packing bulky items that take up lots of space like bedding, kitchen utensils, small appliances, room furnishings, or lots of extra clothes and personal care items. These items can be easily purchased once you arrive in Canada. When packing, it’s best to pack the things that can’t be replaced.
Consider packing the following essential items:
- Passport, visa documents, and personal identification documents — make sure to pack these items in your carry-on luggage because you’ll need them at customs once you arrive in Canada.
- Electronic devices such as your laptop, cell phone, camera, headphones, and necessary chargers.
- Travel power adapter — these are small devices that will allow you to plug your electronic devices into a Canadian electrical socket. Canada operates on a 120V supply voltage and 60Hz.
- Prescription medications and medical records — if you take prescription medication, bring enough to last until you can get a prescription refill in Canada from a medical professional.
- Weather-appropriate clothing for all seasons and occasions including coats, t-shirts, shorts, long pants, sweaters, formal wear, exercise clothes, socks, etc. Remember you don’t need to bring too many extras since you can always purchase more clothes in Canada.
- Toiletries and personal hygiene products such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, hair care products, skin care products, cosmetics, etc.
- Footwear for all seasons such as sneakers, sandals, warm, waterproof winter boots, and rain boots.
- Any other personal items such as a photo album, diary, books, decorations for your room, or musical instruments
- A small amount of Canadian currency (around $500 CAD)—you don’t need to carry a lot of cash since debit and credit cards can be used for most transactions including transportation from the airport.
What to put in your carry-on
When you arrive in Canada, you’ll need to clear customs and talk to an immigration officer. Because you’ll collect your checked luggage after you clear customs, you should have the following items easily accessible in your carry-on bag:
- Valid passport
- Other personal identification such as a driver’s license, birth certificate, or government issued photo ID card
- Valid visa documents
- Any school related documents such as letter of acceptance or past qualifications if you’re an international student
- Details of accommodation
You should also pack valuable personal belongings in your carry-on bag such as a laptop, cell phone, chargers, a book, prescription medication, basic toiletries, some Canadian currency, and some snacks.
If you are packing liquids, gels, or aerosols in your carry-on, containers must be 100ml (3.4oz) or less and all containers must fit in one clear, resealable plastic bag that is no more than one-litre in capacity. The bag must be transparent so the screening officers can easily see its contents.
What not to bring
There are a number of items that are not allowed past security checkpoints such as knives and some sports equipment. If non-permitted items are found on your person at the security checkpoint you can:
- consult with your airline and try and put it in your checked bags
- give the item to a friend or family if they aren’t coming with you
- abandon the item (the item won’t be returned to you)
If items that are illegal in Canada are found at a screening checkpoint, officers are required to notify the police. The government of Canada provides a detailed list of items that you cannot bring into the country.
Now that you know what you can and cannot bring into Canada, you can pack accordingly and get ready to board your flight.