Essential Travel Information for Canada
Your ski holiday to Canada
Please find below our simple step-by-step guide to help prepare you for your Ski Independence holiday to Canada. Each part of your journey to Canada is described in order to help you have a successful ski holiday. Please take time to read this Essential Travel guide thoroughly as it contains important details about your arrangements.
There are several items to check, complete and return, and there are several mandatory travel requirements for travel to Canada.
New safety measures may be in place to protect you and those around you. It will be your responsibility to acquaint yourself with all relevant travel information, including applicable health risks in the context of your itinerary and adhere to any new safety measures during your holiday. These may be in place at any time during your holiday, for example at airports, on-board aircraft, at train stations, on trains, in a transfer vehicle, at your hotel, at an attraction or during an excursion.
Step 1 – Your Travel Documents
You’ll receive a comprehensive Travel Document package from us by First Class post around two weeks prior to departure. Please take the time to check your travel documents fully and inform us immediately if you think anything is missing or incorrect.
Most of our Travel Document packages will include: a personalised letter detailing the mandatory travel requirements for Canada + your flight reference number + your airline’s baggage allowance + seating policy + online check-in instructions, a bespoke travel itinerary with associated important instructions, and vouchers for certain items such as ski extras and car rental. Other items might also include: specific driving instructions, ferry tickets, supplier vouchers and train tickets.
Step 2 – Mandatory essentials > What you must have
The information below reflects the current procedures and requirements as outlined by the federal government of Canada and public health authorities. They remain subject to change, depending on local and national public health conditions.
The current rules are as follows:
Passport > British Citizens need a valid full 10 year passport that should be valid for the duration of your stay (we recommend that you have at least 3 months validity on your passport). If you are travelling to Canada with any children who do not have the same family name or as a single parent with your children then you must carry a letter confirming your right to be travelling with the child or children.
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) > Citizens from countries, other than the USA, who do not require a visa to enter Canada need to obtain an online authorisation before flying to Canada. The application process is quick and easy, costs only C$7 per person and is valid for up to five years. Most visa-exempt nationals who wish to travel to Canada will have their eTA granted within minutes of applying. You must have your eTA in place before travelling to Canada - this requirement is mandatory. If you renew or change your passport then you need to reapply for your eTA and your eTA information must match your APIS information. Apply for your eTA at www.canada.ca/eta (this is the official site and the only one you should use!).
Advance Passenger Information (APIS) > All airlines are required to adhere to the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS), which requires the collection of specific information from every passenger travelling to Canada. This information is required for the purposes of ensuring aviation safety and security. Travellers must supply Advance Passenger Information prior to, or at time of check-in, or they will be unable to travel. It is also important that the information is accurate so that you do not have any delay when you pass through immigration on arrival. Your eTA information must match your APIS information.
Important information for non-British citizens > It is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with Canadian entry requirements. If you are not a British citizen or are unsure about the visa requirements then you must contact the Canadian High Commission on 0207 258 6600 or visit www.canada.org.uk without delay. Ski Independence cannot answer questions or advise on any immigration issues.
Step 3 – Prepare for travel to Canada > Things to consider
We offer a full range of airport hotels, parking and lounges you can book at all of our UK departure airports. We also have a comprehensive selection of discounted Ski Essentials (ski lift tickets, snow school lessons, equipment rentals and heli-ski) and activities in all of our featured Canadian resorts. If you haven’t already pre-purchased these items and wish to do so prior to departure, please call our Ski Specialists on 0131 243 8097 for current pricing and availability.
Airport hotels + parking + lounges and Ski Essentials > If you’ve already pre-purchased these items through Ski Independence then a voucher for each item will be included in your Travel Document package. Each voucher contains specific redemption instructions.
Travel insurance > Please ensure you have comprehensive winter sports insurance cover for Canada. If you need cover we can introduce you to our broker – MPI Brokers. Their policy meets our booking conditions on insurance. MPI Brokers can be contacted on 0845 180 0055 or click here
Money > Credit cards are king in Canada. We also recommend you take a small amount of low denomination notes in local currency for tips. As an extra security measure you may want to inform your card issuer of your travel arrangements.
Step 4 – Baggage allowances and seating policies
Your personalised letter included in your Travel Document package will detail your airline’s specific baggage allowance and seating policies.
Step 5 – Online check-in for your flight to Canada
Online check-in for all airlines opens 24 hours prior to your scheduled flight departure. Your personalised letter included in your Travel Document package details your airline reference(s) and clear instructions on how to check in online. Please see Step 2 for all mandatory travel items you will need in place before checking in online.
Step 6 – Which airport terminal?
Your personalised letter included in your Travel Document packagedetails your airport departure terminal. Due to increased security procedures for all flights it is essential that you arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to the scheduled departure time that appears on your travel itinerary enclosed with your Travel Documents. On arrival at the relevant airport terminal, please proceed to the appropriate airline check-in desk to finalise the check-in process and to drop your baggage, then proceed through airport security and finally make way to your departure gate.
Step 7 – Flying to Canada
Expect a flight duration from London to Montreal of around 7hrs30mins, Calgary 9hrs10mins and Vancouver 9hrs40mins. Journeys to Kamloops and Kelowna vary as they involve a further flight within Canada.
Montreal is GMT -5 hours, Calgary is GMT -7 hours, and Vancouver, Kamloops & Kelowna are all GMT -8 hours
Step 8 – Arriving in Canada > Immigration and Customs
On arrival in Canada you will be required to pass through Canadian Immigration and Customs at your first point of entry. Ensure that you have your passport ready. The Customs Declaration paperwork is now completed electronically at a booth on arrival in the Immigration hall, prior to passport control - you will get a receipt printed here which you will need to show at both Immigration and at Customs. On clearing Immigration, reclaim your baggage from the relevant baggage carousel (ski and board bags usually arrive at the outsize baggage counter), and then proceed through Customs (you will need to hand over your Customs Declaration form at this point).
Step 9 – Arriving in Canada > Connecting flights
If you are connecting to another flight, please follow the instructions of the airline agents – there is normally a ‘connecting passengers’ desk for dropping baggage at. Connecting passengers should then proceed to the gate for their flight. If this is your final destination, please follow the instructions below for airport to resort transfers, and self-drive car rentals:
Step 10 – Arriving in Canada > Getting to resort
Transfers > please follow the specific transfer joining instructions which are detailed on your travel itinerary (included in your Travel Document package).
Self-drive car rental > please follow the signs for Car Rental, then check in at the appropriate car rental desk (you will need your car rental voucher which is enclosed with your Travel Documents + a valid full UK driving licence + a credit card in the lead driver’s name).
Step 11 – Arrival in resort > Check in to your accommodation
Your travel itinerary (included in your Travel Document package) details your accommodation arrangements. On it you will find the hotel name, address, contact number, your room or unit type description and board basis, as well as your hotel confirmation number and any special instructions. Check-in usually starts around 4pm for most properties. You will usually need to leave a credit card imprint as a security deposit.
Step 12 – Help & Assistance en-route and in resort
Emergency contact > your personalised letter (included in your Travel Document package) details our 'Out of UK office hours' emergency contact number. We have a senior manager on call 24/7 in the UK who can be contacted during normal UK office hours on +44 131 243 8097, including Saturdays (our office is closed on Sundays). In the event of an emergency outwith normal UK office hours, please contact us on +44 7788 711373.
Lost baggage > If your baggage is lost en-route – and it does occasionally happen – then before leaving the baggage reclaim area you must go to the airline desk and complete a report. You will be given a copy of the report and a contact procedure to follow to check on the status of your baggage. The airline will normally arrange to deliver the lost items to your holiday accommodation as soon as possible. The airline will normally agree to pay for the hire of ski equipment and clothing until yours is returned. They will also provide funds to purchase essential items such as toiletries. Claims for loss of holiday time and inconvenience will not be considered as the airlines’ Conditions of Carriage prevent such claims. If baggage is damaged ‘in transit’ by the airline or transfer company, you must report it to the supplier immediately and obtain a damage report. Insurers will expect you to pursue a claim against the airline or transfer company before they will admit a claim against your travel insurance.
Delays en-route > If you experience a delay, miss a connecting flight or experience anything that you feel may affect your journey, it is extremely important that you contact the Ski Independence UK office immediately - this will allow us to alter any onwards transfer arrangements on your behalf and to forewarn your resort accommodation supplier. Be warned - hoteliers may cancel your reservation if you do not turn up on the correct day.
Loss or theft > If you lose or have possessions stolen, you will require a Police report, and if possible, a report from the hotel, condominium or our resort representatives to help substantiate your claim. If personal ski equipment is so badly damaged that you are not bringing it home, you should obtain a report from our resort representatives otherwise your claim could be refused. If you lose, or have money in cash or valuables stolen, you will be expected to produce evidence of purchase or the source of the funds. Insurance companies are increasingly reluctant to pay claims where clients have not taken care of their own possessions. Please therefore use the safe or secure deposit facilities at hotels where provided, lock cars and do not carry unnecessary valuables or amounts of cash. Failure to follow these procedures could invalidate your claim.
Hospitalisation and medical issues > If you have to be admitted to hospital, please inform our UK office immediately – we are here to help and assist you in every way we can. If you have to be admitted to hospital, you or a friend must immediately contact the emergency number given on your insurance policy. There is a doctor on duty 24 hours a day in the UK who will talk to the doctor who is providing treatment and agree to the treatment, and if necessary, the arrangements for anyone injured to be repatriated. If due to the circumstances of the emergency you cannot make immediate contact, you or a friend must do so at the very first opportunity. Keep all receipts, as these will be required to make a claim when you return home.
Problem solving > the current EC Package Travel Regulations require clients to take steps to minimise any claims by giving us the opportunity to correct any problem as soon as possible. Should you be unhappy with your arrangements, or have any problems during your stay, you have the responsibility to report the matter to the supplier, the hotel or condo. If having tried to resolve the problem locally you are still unhappy, please call us on +44 131 243 8097, or e-mail us at [email protected]
Step 13 – Returning home
Online check-in for all airlines opens 24 hours prior to your scheduled flight departure. Your personalised letter details your airline reference(s) and clear instructions on how to check in online. Please see Step 2 for all mandatory travel items you will need in place before checking in online.
Check out time for most properties in Canada is around 10 to 11am. Late checkouts can sometimes be arranged locally – please see your hotel front desk.
We will have re-confirmed your resort to airport transfer pickup time (and location) for you - the joining instructions and pick up times will be detailed on your travel itinerary enclosed with your Travel Document package. Please be ready at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled pickup time.
Due to increased security procedures for all flights it is essential that you arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to the scheduled departure time that appears on your travel itinerary. On arrival at the relevant airport terminal, please proceed to the appropriate airline check-in desk to finalise the check-in process and to drop your baggage, then proceed through airport security and finally make way to your departure gate.
Step 14 – Feedback
We hope you have a fantastic holiday with Ski Independence. Should you have any questions prior to your departure or any feedback you’d like to give us, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0131 243 8097 or email [email protected]