Planning Tips

Driving the Moraine Lake Road, Banff National Park

Click on the questions below to show the answer.

1. What do I need to know about crossing the US/Canadian border?

As of June 1, 2009, the rules for passports in North America have changed. The easier way to cross the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is with a government-issued passport. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for additional information:
www.cbp.gov

-Persons under 18 not accompanied by both parents must carry a notarized letter from their legal guardian and/or the other parent granting permission to travel to Canada.

-Persons under 18 not accompanied by both parents must carry a letter from their legal guardian and/or the other parent granting permission to travel to Canada.

-Be prepared to show proof of insurance and vehicle registration or rental papers.

-Dogs and cats may be transported through Canada as long as you have proof of current rabies vaccination. A health certificate is also recommended, as it may be required by U.S. border officials when entering from Canada.

-You may not be able to enter Canada if you have a criminal record (this includes DUIs).

-Currency exchange rates vary, and keep in mind that Canadian money includes not only bank notes but coins (known as loonies and toonies) that are worth $1 and $2 Canadian. You can check with your local bank or call 1-800-303-1282 for current exchange rates.

2. I'm traveling to Alaska, do you have any driving tips?

The Alaska Highway is well-maintained. However, be aware that some areas are narrow and winding, and if you choose to travel the Cassiar Highway out of British Columbia, approximately 10 percent of this highway is still unpaved. Ongoing road maintenance in the summer months is almost a given.

As with any kind of travel, being prepared is important. Make sure you have a general emergency kit with you, as well as a small can of extra gasoline.

If you decide to travel in early spring or late fall, a set of chains is not a bad idea. Snow during these times of year is not unheard of, and can make for questionable road conditions. Cell phone service has improved in recent years, but remains intermittent throughout many areas of the highway.

-Alaska and Canada will honor a valid driver’s license from any state or country for 90 days after entry.

-Seat belts must be worn by all drivers and passengers while driving anywhere in Alaska, Yukon, B.C. and Alberta.

-All children under the age of four, regardless of weight, must ride in a federally approved child safety seat while traveling through Alaska. New laws in Canada require safety seats for all children under the age of eight, or children weighing less than 80 lbs (36kg).

-Turn your headlights on when driving the highway.

-Buckle up. It’s the law in Canada and Alaska.

-Watch carefully for wildlife, especially at night. Wildlife has the right-of-way in Alaska and Canada.

-Road condition updates and information about the Alaska Highway is available at (867) 456-7623 or (907) 273-6037. You can also find help at www.gov.yk.ca/roadreport or http://511.alaska.gov.

3. Where can I find more information on road conditions?

For road conditions and information on the Alaska Highway, call 867-456-7623, or 907-273-6037. For British Columbia call 1-800-550-4997.

www.dot.state.ak.us (Alaska)
www.gov.yk.ca/roadreport (Yukon)
http://drivebc.com (British Columbia)

4. Are there many places to stop for gas, food or lodging off the highways?

Along the highways, you’ll come across gas stations, shops, service stations, restaurants and accommodations every 25 to 50 miles (40-80 km). Most services are open year round. There is also an abundance of camping along the way at commercial and government locations. Yes, you can call ahead for reservations. We recommend it. Some areas will, of course, be more crowded than others.

5. Do you have any information on Canadian/US conversions?

In Canada fuel is sold by liters using Canadian currency. To calculate your cost per gallon, multiply the price per liter by 3.785 then adjust for the exchange rate. Alaska is in a different time zone and is one hour earlier than British Columbia and the Yukon and two hours earlier than Alberta.

Quick Conversion Guide

1 liter (CDN) = 0.2643 gallons (U.S.)
1 gallon (U.S.) = 3.785 liters (CDN)
1 kilometer (CDN) = 0.6214 miles (U.S.)
1 mile (U.S.) = 1.609 kilometers

6. What type of clothing should I bring?

Dressing appropriately can be a challenge because the weather can change quickly and with little notice. Generally, expect warm days in the spring and summer, with cooler evenings. In the summer, temperatures can be as high as 95°F (35°C) during the day and drop to 35°F (2°C) at night, depending on your location. Clothing that can be layered easily is the best option, and remember to bring your rain gear as well as a lightweight, lined jacket. Clothing with a “wicking” ability that pulls sweat away from the skin is a good choice, and fleece clothing will dry quickly while providing warmth. Sturdy hiking shoes in addition to walking shoes are also important.

7. I am going on a hunting trip to Alaska. Do you have any firearms information?

Firearms may be carried for personal protection and for hunting in Alaska with proper permits.

If traveling by air, you must declare your firearm at the ticket counter and check it as luggage. Ammunition may be checked as well, but no hollow-point ammo is allowed.

Adults (18+) may take non-prohibited firearms into Canada for lawful purposes.

Adults (18+) may take non-prohibited firearms into Canada for lawful purposes. Firearms must be declared on a special form and a fee of $50 Canadian is charged. For more information, call 1-800-731-4000 or visit: www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca.

Unloaded rifles may be sent via the U.S. Postal Service with a federal firearms license. Check with your local post office for full details. Handguns or ammunition may not be mailed.

8. Any final advice?

Try appointing someone in your group to be in charge of maps, road guides, destinations, activities and sightseeing. This will make your trip much more efficient and fun, and you can learn more about the geography, history and culture around you.