Getting ready to hit the road for some well-deserved rest and relaxation south of the border? Before you head out, there are a number of things to take care of. Here’s a checklist to help keep your pre-trip to-do’s straight.
Whether you’re leaving for a few weeks or a few months, you want your home prepped so you can enjoy your time away without worry.
- Adjust your thermostat between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. Any lower than that and you may run the risk of freezing pipes if (or when) it gets cold outside.
- Turn off your water and be sure to run your taps until they’re dry.
- Unplug small appliances and electrical devices.
- Arm your security system if you’ll be using it while away.
- Check your home insurance policy to ensure you’re protected while your home is unoccupied. You may need to satisfy conditions to ensure your coverage.
- Have a trusted friend, family member or professional house sitter look in on your home regularly. Your insurance provider may dictate how often this needs to happen.
Healthcare tends to be Canadians’ primary concern when heading to the U.S. for an extended period of time. Ensure you’re protected in case of illness or injury.
- Consider travel health insurance. Your provincial health plan may not cover all emergency medical expenses once you leave your home province/ territory, and typically covers only a limited portion once you leave the country.
- Pack up all your medications and take a listing of your prescriptions should you need anything refilled, or require emergency care.
- Find the name and number of a local primary care physician, an urgent care/walk-in clinic nearby , and the hospital closest to your U.S. destination.
Your Taxes and Immigration Situation
There’s no question you’ll want to stay on the right side of tax and immigration laws while in the U.S.
- Check that the length of your stay conforms to U.S. residency and tax regulations. If you’re not sure what those are, review our Seven Things Every Canadian Should Know About U.S. Tax and Immigration Rules.
- Figure out which forms you’ll need to complete to prove your Canadian residency and tax situation. Visit the IRS site for international tax payers for more details.
- Check that your Power of Attorney and/or Letter of Direction are valid in the states you are visiting. Don’t forget to bring them with you to the U.S.
Many Canadians hit the road for their U.S. getaways. Protect your car with these steps:
- Have your car tuned up and address any mechanical issues.
- Consider getting U.S. roadside assistance coverage for protection during your travels.
- If you plan on using your car’s GPS or connected services, make sure your coverage includes the U.S.
- Make sure your insurance is up to date, covers you in the U.S., and that you have a copy of your policy on hand throughout your stay.
- Check to see if you’ll need a U.S. driver’s license, and if you’ll need to register your vehicle in the U.S. Requirements vary by state.
Your Mail and Cell Phone
By planning ahead, you may save money on your cell phone bill, as well as newspaper or magazine subscriptions. Follow these steps:
- Add international roaming to your cell phone, or check with your provider for the most cost-effective way to use your phone while away.
- Move to paperless billing to avoid potential delays in paying outstanding balances.
- Forward or put a hold on your mail so it doesn’t build up while you’re gone.
- Cancel or hold subscriptions — you’ll save money and paper!
Banking in the U.S. can be straightforward, convenient and affordable — with the right partner. Here’s how you can save time and money while banking in the U.S.
- Open a U.S.-based checking account with a U.S. financial institution for easy access to U.S. cash.
- Apply for a U.S.-issued credit card to save on foreign transaction fees.
- Enrol in Online Banking to keep track of your banking from anywhere.
RBC Bank is RBC Bank (Georgia), National Association (“RBC Bank”), a wholly owned U.S. banking subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada, and is a member of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”). U.S. deposit accounts are insured by the FDIC up to the maximum amount permissible by law. U.S. banking products and services are offered and provided by RBC Bank. Canadian banking products and services are offered and provided by Royal Bank of Canada. U.S. deposit accounts are not insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (“CDIC”).
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.