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Thread: Worlds travel tips

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    GS Supporter CoyoteChris's Avatar
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    Worlds travel tips

    I have never traveled outside of the US, so I am playing newbie trying to find out tips...herer is what I found out so far for Worlds.

    1. My debit card may be used in Canada without penalty FROM MY BANK. The exchange rate is figured in. My bank said to make sure that the Canadian Merchant wouldnt be adding on any fees.
    2. My credit card company WILL be adding on a three percent "out of country" fee if I chose to use that. Guess which card I will use to pay my motel room with?
    3. My bank will "sell" me Canadian Currancy at the exchange rate for free if given two weeks notice to procure it.....
    Chris going Looney

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    At the risk of mentioning the obvious:

    Do you have the necessary travel documentation for crossing the U.S.-Canada border? If I am not mistaken:

    - If you are flying to/from Canada, you will need a U.S. passport.

    - If you are driving to/from Canada, a U.S. passport card will suffice in lieu of a traditional U.S. passport.

    But I believe that in either case, a U.S. driver's license and/or birth certificate is not sufficient.

    Have a great time, Chris! I look forward to your reports.
    Last edited by ice coverage; 02-01-2013 at 11:39 AM.

  3. #3
    Uno, Dos, twizzle!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoyoteChris View Post
    I have never traveled outside of the US, so I am playing newbie trying to find out tips...herer is what I found out so far for Worlds.

    1. My debit card may be used in Canada without penalty FROM MY BANK. The exchange rate is figured in. My bank said to make sure that the Canadian Merchant wouldnt be adding on any fees.
    2. My credit card company WILL be adding on a three percent "out of country" fee if I chose to use that. Guess which card I will use to pay my motel room with?
    3. My bank will "sell" me Canadian Currancy at the exchange rate for free if given two weeks notice to procure it.....
    Chris going Looney
    I wouldn't recommend using a debit card for hotel rooms --- http://lifehacker.com/5815138/why-yo...-or-rental-car -- of course this is irrelevant if you have a ton of cash in your bank account.

    But that said, even if your credit card is charging a higher fee they may offer some things that may be beneficial. I know my Costco Amex offers some travel perks (namely insurance) so I don't have to pay for them. Those perks may be worth the fee.

    Always a great idea to secure a certain amount of cash. Don't have too much on you and keep what you aren't using in the hotel safe.

    Looks like U.S. and CAN dollar is basically the same, which means you'll be paying a little bit more in U.S. dollars (don't be surprised to see a turkey dinner at Denny's cost like $15. Seriously this happened to me once.)

    Get Tim Hortons coffee while you're there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CoyoteChris View Post
    I have never traveled outside of the US, so I am playing newbie trying to find out tips...herer is what I found out so far for Worlds.

    1. My debit card may be used in Canada without penalty FROM MY BANK. The exchange rate is figured in. My bank said to make sure that the Canadian Merchant wouldnt be adding on any fees.
    2. My credit card company WILL be adding on a three percent "out of country" fee if I chose to use that. Guess which card I will use to pay my motel room with?
    3. My bank will "sell" me Canadian Currancy at the exchange rate for free if given two weeks notice to procure it.....
    Chris going Looney
    I travel internationally somewhat. Those 2-3% credit card foreign transaction fees are quite annoying and can add up quickly.
    If your (checking-account) bank charges little-to-no fees to withdraw cash at a foreign ATM, this is the most economic way to get cash. My bank charges $1 per ATM withdrawal and sometimes that was much better than those 3% foreign transaction fees.

    There are some credit cards that do not charge any foreign transaction fees at all. Capital One card for example.

    Enjoy your experience!

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    GS Supporter CoyoteChris's Avatar
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    Pretty true. There is something called an "enhanced" drivers licence with passport info imbedded in a microchip in the license.
    but that does not work for flying....only driving....thank you for your best wishes....just wish Worlds would start answering some questions I have....


    Quote Originally Posted by golden411 View Post
    At the risk of mentioning the obvious:

    Do you have the necessary travel document for crossing the U.S.-Canada border? If I am not mistaken:

    - If you are flying to/from Canada, you will need a U.S. passport.

    - If you are driving to/from Canada, a U.S. passport card will suffice in lieu of a traditional U.S. passport.

    But I believe that in either case, a U.S. driver's license and/or birth certificate is not sufficient.

    Have a great time, Chris! I look forward to your reports.

  6. #6
    GS Supporter CoyoteChris's Avatar
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    Thanks for that excellent link! You do make good points. I get one percent back on my card so I would be loosing 2 percent if I pay the 3 percent fee with my credit card...or about $20 bucks....the money is in the bank, but credit cards are safer in some ways.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. P View Post
    I wouldn't recommend using a debit card for hotel rooms --- http://lifehacker.com/5815138/why-yo...-or-rental-car -- of course this is irrelevant if you have a ton of cash in your bank account.

    But that said, even if your credit card is charging a higher fee they may offer some things that may be beneficial. I know my Costco Amex offers some travel perks (namely insurance) so I don't have to pay for them. Those perks may be worth the fee.

    Always a great idea to secure a certain amount of cash. Don't have too much on you and keep what you aren't using in the hotel safe.

    Looks like U.S. and CAN dollar is basically the same, which means you'll be paying a little bit more in U.S. dollars (don't be surprised to see a turkey dinner at Denny's cost like $15. Seriously this happened to me once.)

    Get Tim Hortons coffee while you're there.

  7. #7
    GS Supporter CoyoteChris's Avatar
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    Very true. Everyone's ATM, cards, banks, etc are different. My bank warned me to read the disclosues carefully before using an ATM in Canada...and ever since my wife's identity was stolen when she let a waitress take away her credit card out of her sight to pay for a meal, I only use cash to pay for dinners....believe me, you dont want a call in the middle of the night from Wells Fargo asking you if you are trying to send money to the West Indes and Bulgaria....
    Quote Originally Posted by gimble View Post
    I travel internationally somewhat. Those 2-3% credit card foreign transaction fees are quite annoying and can add up quickly.
    If your (checking-account) bank charges little-to-no fees to withdraw cash at a foreign ATM, this is the most economic way to get cash. My bank charges $1 per ATM withdrawal and sometimes that was much better than those 3% foreign transaction fees.

    There are some credit cards that do not charge any foreign transaction fees at all. Capital One card for example.

    Enjoy your experience!

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    Chris I'm surprised you've never been to BC. given our state's proximity to it. Let me know how Ontario treats you -- will you have time to go to Toronto or any of the other cities?

    You might be better off getting cash ahead of time, but that said, I never have had problem getting cash from an ATM. I find your bank won't charge much, it's the ATM of the other bank that might ding you. But sometimes they don't. I withdrew money from ATMs in Seoul and they didn't really charge me much of anything.

    Just wondering, which airline will you be flying with?

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    Having been to US's 51st state a few times, they all take USD. From parking to food to hotel to anything. It's Canada, not Republic of Congo. Your dollar will work there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CoyoteChris View Post
    My bank warned me to read the disclosues carefully before using an ATM in Canada...and ever since my wife's identity was stolen when she let a waitress take away her credit card out of her sight to pay for a meal, I only use cash to pay for dinners....believe me, you dont want a call in the middle of the night from Wells Fargo asking you if you are trying to send money to the West Indes and Bulgaria....
    Yeah. Definitely something to watch out for.

    A friend used his credit card in the gas station in Windsor Canada just once. By the time he returned to the US two days later, there were already many charges by someone else.

    That same year, I used my credit card in Madrid airport to connect to the internet (hence, it never left my sight) and someone set up an escort website and bought domain name and equipments on my card and it was used to set up a paypal account as well.

    But that was in 2005. Even though I've been to other countries once or twice every year and use ATM for cash withdrawal and credit cards for purchases, I haven't had any issues since then. Maybe just lucky (so far)...

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    GS Supporter CoyoteChris's Avatar
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    I am flying on United. They are the only US airline that flys from Spokane all the way, with stops and hubs, to London. I figure if flights go "south", they will take care of me.
    As an accidental tourist, I am going to try certain things and see what happens....I will take Canadian money but try US money first, for instance. Will write up a report. No time to or desire to take in other activities....or cities....
    I am going to try and be open minded about Canada in my report and I have a friend who has nothing but nice things to say about Canadians....however, I have way more friends with not so nice things to say about the border guards and how Canadian citizens treat Americans that I have to wonder what the truth is? We shall see!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. P View Post
    Chris I'm surprised you've never been to BC. given our state's proximity to it. Let me know how Ontario treats you -- will you have time to go to Toronto or any of the other cities?

    You might be better off getting cash ahead of time, but that said, I never have had problem getting cash from an ATM. I find your bank won't charge much, it's the ATM of the other bank that might ding you. But sometimes they don't. I withdrew money from ATMs in Seoul and they didn't really charge me much of anything.

    Just wondering, which airline will you be flying with?

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    I would suggest getting Canadian Money for any cash purchases, a lot of places won't take US. There are a couple of banks right near the Arena, I know some have partnerships with US banks so the fees might not be too high.

    The London airport is a nice small airport, and there will be a long line of cabs waiting to take you to your hotel. Check with your hotel on the cost of a cab, depending on were you are staying it can be far from the airport.

    Note on the board guards, your know it goes both ways, I have felt like a criminal trying to get into the US thru the land guards, i think it is just the nature of the job.

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    I am shocked that it will take your bank two weeks to get a foreign currency that seems crazy. I ordered Swiss Francs from my Canadian Bank and it only took 3 days. You can always bring american and exchange it at the local banks, RBC, BMO, TD they always buy it from you at a cheaper rate, and there might be an exchange fee since you don't belong to the bank.

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    GS Supporter CoyoteChris's Avatar
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    I heard back from my bank when I went in personally. It takes "4 days" or so..and costs 12 bucks for $400...we shall see. There seems to be no free lunch here....unless you use your debit card and the Canadians dont add a fee. Anyway, $400 should get me through the week.....the cab will be about $30 to the hotel......a far cry from "free shuttle on demand" at the hotels at Omaha. But London is no worse than some hotels in Colorado Springs.
    Quote Originally Posted by waterblades View Post
    I am shocked that it will take your bank two weeks to get a foreign currency that seems crazy. I ordered Swiss Francs from my Canadian Bank and it only took 3 days. You can always bring american and exchange it at the local banks, RBC, BMO, TD they always buy it from you at a cheaper rate, and there might be an exchange fee since you don't belong to the bank.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CoyoteChris View Post
    I heard back from my bank when I went in personally. It takes "4 days" or so..and costs 12 bucks for $400...we shall see. There seems to be no free lunch here....unless you use your debit card and the Canadians dont add a fee. Anyway, $400 should get me through the week.....the cab will be about $30 to the hotel......a far cry from "free shuttle on demand" at the hotels at Omaha. But London is no worse than some hotels in Colorado Springs.
    It depends who you bank with but if your bank has ATMs in Canada there is often no fee. I bank motly with citibank and while they are not AS great about it as they used to be, I've made ATM with drawls in Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Canada in the past 4 years and never been charged a conversion fee.

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    I live in Canada for quite a long time, but I have a European background. I found Canadians quite friendly and helpful if you really need some help.
    The US $ and CAD are quite on par. All the banks here have US dollars and there are bank machines that have US cash. I know you actually need CAD. Many stores in cities around the border accept US $, but I would not count on that too much. When I came here, I used my european cards without any glitches, but I did not care about the fees. The fees were OK from my point of view. If you drive here, pay attention that we use Km/h for speed, litters for gas and generally metric system in public places/inscriptions. Most of the stores also display weight in pounds/kg. Most of the prices are higher in Canada...
    Other than that I found Canada being quite similar to US cities around the border.
    London is a small town. It might be busy during the Worlds, but generally it is very quiet. If you want a lot of people in the street you need to try downtown Toronto.
    I consider this area of Canada safer than many parts of the US, but good and bad people are everywhere, so do't worry.
    I wish you a very happy trip, and enjoy every moment when you come here.
    I live in Mississauga, a city part of Greater Toronto Area (GTA). That's 170 km away from London.
    Last edited by Sabrina; 02-13-2013 at 05:52 PM.

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    Anyone know how long (roughly) the entire free skate program is? I'm particularly asking for the Men's on Friday. I'm trying to see if it's possible to catch the bus to leave rather than driving as I won't be staying in a hotel in London.

    While I'm at it, what about the short program?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CoyoteChris View Post
    I am flying on United. They are the only US airline that flys from Spokane all the way, with stops and hubs, to London. I figure if flights go "south", they will take care of me.
    As an accidental tourist, I am going to try certain things and see what happens....I will take Canadian money but try US money first, for instance. Will write up a report. No time to or desire to take in other activities....or cities....
    I am going to try and be open minded about Canada in my report and I have a friend who has nothing but nice things to say about Canadians....however, I have way more friends with not so nice things to say about the border guards and how Canadian citizens treat Americans that I have to wonder what the truth is? We shall see!

    I think that you will find that most of us are pretty much like you. You are going to find louts everywhere in the world but also tons of wonderful ones too. Border guards are a breed of their own! Some are great; some are terrible. I can see how someone who has just been grilled by a border guard is going to be angry and expect the next person they meet to treat them the same way and then the nastiness continues. In Canada, some things will drive you bonkers and hopefully, some things will delight you. If you find yourself feeling negative duringWorlds I'll be happy to tell you where our seats are so you can get a proper Canadian welcome from us. Your first travel experience out of the U.S. should be a good one!

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    GS Supporter CoyoteChris's Avatar
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    I like to think the best of people till I see differently. There are TSA agents here in the US that are becomming rude and obnoxious, I suppose in part due to they having been yelled at by making old crippled men take off their belts and hold their hands in the air while their pants fall down (dont ask me how I know this). The people of Omaha were wonderful at our nationals. On the other side, I could tell you stories about people in rural Indiana and Illinois. I am sure I will enjoy learning about Londoners. Do I have some bad experiences with the folks at SkateCanada? Sure I do. I dont expect to be told that all event ticket holders will ride the bus free, then have my emails ignored by the guy who told me that (a "Communications Assistant") when the fine folks at London Transit who have been nothing but helpful tell me only credentialed folk can ride free) I do wish the London tourism board great success with their event. If they feel the public transportation system plus cabs will work, that is fine with me. But, like the Greensboro US nationals organization committee found out, shuttleing 1,000 or so fans back and forth every day, especially when the event lets out at the same time, may not be quite as simple as one thinks. Greensboro rose to the challange and within a day saw the error of their ways and made things right. I hope the Tourism board will rise to any challange and make us want to return. I am sure Londoners themselves will be just fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrufflet View Post
    [/B]
    I think that you will find that most of us are pretty much like you. You are going to find louts everywhere in the world but also tons of wonderful ones too. Border guards are a breed of their own! Some are great; some are terrible. I can see how someone who has just been grilled by a border guard is going to be angry and expect the next person they meet to treat them the same way and then the nastiness continues. In Canada, some things will drive you bonkers and hopefully, some things will delight you. If you find yourself feeling negative duringWorlds I'll be happy to tell you where our seats are so you can get a proper Canadian welcome from us. Your first travel experience out of the U.S. should be a good one!

  20. #20
    GS Supporter CoyoteChris's Avatar
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    Thanks! I am sure I will have a good time. I do hear about credit card glitches (our cards dont have RFI chips yet) but that is no big thing. I have $400 Canadian which should be enough mad money. I have a motorcycle buddy who I tour with who goes to Canada every year and has nothing but good things to say about Canada.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sabrina View Post
    I live in Canada for quite a long time, but I have a European background. I found Canadians quite friendly and helpful if you really need some help.
    The US $ and CAD are quite on par. All the banks here have US dollars and there are bank machines that have US cash. I know you actually need CAD. Many stores in cities around the border accept US $, but I would not count on that too much. When I came here, I used my european cards without any glitches, but I did not care about the fees. The fees were OK from my point of view. If you drive here, pay attention that we use Km/h for speed, litters for gas and generally metric system in public places/inscriptions. Most of the stores also display weight in pounds/kg. Most of the prices are higher in Canada...
    Other than that I found Canada being quite similar to US cities around the border.
    London is a small town. It might be busy during the Worlds, but generally it is very quiet. If you want a lot of people in the street you need to try downtown Toronto.
    I consider this area of Canada safer than many parts of the US, but good and bad people are everywhere, so do't worry.
    I wish you a very happy trip, and enjoy every moment when you come here.
    I live in Mississauga, a city part of Greater Toronto Area (GTA). That's 170 km away from London.

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