Why Canada? | RTX Traveler Issue 13

American travelers will get more than they bargained for under a favorable exchange rate.

Let’s ignore the fact that much of Canada is gorgeous, uninhabited wilderness, home to friendly people and loads of things to do on a family vacation or adventure-seeking getaway. The place is just plain convenient, with landscape, charm, language, and quirkiness befitting a foreign country right in our backyard. And right now is an excellent time to plan a vacation to our northern neighbor.

Right now, the Canadian to U.S. dollar exchange rate is very favorable to Americans, with a Canadian dollar being worth about 75 percent of a good old greenback. What that means is, $75 in your hand in America turns into $100 in Canadian currency, so you’ll be able to stretch your vacation budget even further. Use a credit card with no foreign transaction fee to avoid paying any exchange fees, or see if your local bank will sell you foreign currency for a small fee before your trip.

For those traveling to Banff National Park and the areas around it, the ease of flying into Calgary is astounding considering it’s only about an hour from the park and total wilderness. This major airport contains on-site hotels, dining, shopping, and free wi-fi. Many large cities in the U.S. offer non-stop flights to this hub, and once on the ground, tourists can take taxis, bus tours, rental cars, or public transportation to get around. Passengers will also receive comfort from a canine, as the Pre-Board Pals launched in 2016 at the progressive airport. The program has therapy dogs there three days a week with the mission to ease the frazzled nerves of travelers.

Know Before You Go: Canadianisms

If you have no idea what a loonie or a toonie is, get educated with our guide on how to speak Canadian, eh.

  • Kraft Dinner, or KD: It’s Kraft Mac ‘N Cheese in the states, but up north, it’s just Kraft Dinner, and they eat a lot of it.
  • Double Double: This is a coffee order with two creams and two sugars, preferably from Tim Horton’s if you want to be authentic about it. Get some Timbits while you’re at this Canadian institution.
  • All Dressed: This refers to another food that Canadians go crazy for- a potato chip flavored with barbecue sauce, sour cream and onion, salt and vinegar, and ketchup.
  • Chesterfield: This is what Canadians call a couch.
  • Toque: A woolen, winter hat. You may know it as a beanie, or toboggan, depending on where you’re from.
  • Hoser: The losing team in pond hockey has to clean and hose down the ice, thus a hoser is slang for a loser or unsophisticated person.
  • Toonie and Loonie: A loon on the Canadian one-dollar coin means it’s a loonie, the toonie is the two dollar coin.
  • Hydro: Canada gets much of its power from hydroelectric dams, so people refer to electricity as hydro.
  • Two-four: This is a case of beer in Canada, and high taxes ensure it will cost you at least double what it costs in the states.
  • Kerfuffle: This is an awkward or stressful situation.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. In his spare time he enjoys photography, astronomy, hiking, hanging out with his family and dog, and of course, traveling! His favorite RTX spots to visit are Orange Beach, Alabama, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, but he's visiting new places all the time. .

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