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Back in the States! | What we will miss from Canada…

It was two beautiful months in Canada. Unfortunately it is time to leave the country again, because we will have to be back in San Francisco at the beginning of October. We are going to travel with my parents for three weeks and visit together highlights of Western America to discover. Already looking forward to!

We have enjoyed Canada so much that we are well behind with our blogs. Today we went with the ferry from Victoria on Vancouver Island (location here) nasty Port angeles in Washington State in the USA. Time to reflect on our time in Canada…

Before I write an extensive blog about the beautiful Vancouver Island, I want to tell you about what we are going to miss from the country. So things in which Canada differs from the US and also one thing we certainly know cannot going to miss Canada!

Our journey through the United States and Canada

This article is part of a large one-year tour the United States en Canada, with a Dutch 4×4 camper that we shipped ourselves… It is a bucket list worthy and an once in a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten.

Back in the States! | What we will miss about Canada... 8

We wrote almost 100 articles about this ultimate tour. Visit our North America page for more information.

What we won't miss about Canada

The Canadian Internet(not)

Perhaps another reason why our blogs didn't run smoothly was the Canadian internet. You wouldn't expect it in such a modern country, but that's not so good in Canada!

First of all, a subscription for a tourist is quite pricey. We opted for a subscription from a budget provider, which cost us 70 CAD (53 euros) for a month and we got 20 GB. Normally, that much data should cost you about 20 euros.

We didn't even get the data bundle and that was because of the following; there are many places where the range is extremely poor. In fact, there was usually 0,0 range as soon as we went over a single hill or left a city 5 to 10 kilometers behind us. You wouldn't expect this from a modern country like Canada…

We didn't buy a new bundle the following month and kept using libraries and Wi-Fi points. This seemed like a good idea on paper, but unfortunately these also turned out to be scarce, often password protected, very limited (maximum 500 MB per week) and/or just slow.

I thought this place symbolized the internet in Canada
I thought this place (in a laundromat) symbolized the internet in Canada

What we will miss about Canada

The Canadian Dollar

In a previous blog I told you honestly about some setbacks during our trip. One of these is that the value of the euro has fallen and is therefore more or less equal to that of the US dollar. In Canada we were able to enjoy another currency, the Canadian Dollar. Each Canadian dollar cost us about 75 to 80 cents. This turned out to really make a huge difference.

Also read: Travel setbacks | Inflation, weak euro and car problems | Roadtrip USA (37)

Canadian and American bills
Canadian and American bills

We had expected that prices would be higher in Canada, but that turned out to be better than expected due to the weak Canadian dollar. So we are going to miss the Canadian Dollar!

Note: Canadians use the word loonie for the 1 Canadian Dollar coin and Tony for one for a coin of 2. A bird, the common wage, is depicted on most coins.

Taking the environment into account

As soon as we got to Canada, we noticed that Canada (unlike the US) does give some fucks about the environment. They separate waste and you no longer get plastic bags in the shops. There is a deposit on all cans and bottles, large or small, and you can recycle them at a bottle depot.

Return plastic bottles and cubes to a Bottle Depot in Canada
Return plastic bottles and cubes to a Bottle Depot in Canada

This does not exist in the United States. With all the big cars, often with mega caravans behind them and another car and boat, you get the idea that Americans are not worried about the future of the earth… Fortunately, this is different in Canada.

Also read: Responsible travel, how do you do that? | 7x sustainable tips

No need to convert

Americans have trouble with the metric system. They use miles, gallons, inches, feet, you name it. Fortunately not Canadians. Like us Europeans (and the rest of the world), they often use the metric system.

Exceptions: However, there are exceptions to the metric system in Canada, for example on highway bridges. Here they still indicate the height in feet's and inches. Also, in the stores you see a lot of American 'pounds and Ounces' when it comes to the amount of food you buy, rather than pounds and grams.

It was a relief that in Canada we could just drive 80 km per hour if there was a sign with the number 80 along the road. Now it's time to switch gears again in the United States, especially with our camper, which continues to indicate KM per hour in the dashboard. It was also nice and clear that the price of diesel is indicated per liter and not per 3,8 L (a gallon), so you have to constantly convert.

The same applies to temperatures. I've made a habit of not responding to someone when he/she mentions a temperature, because I don't know whether '... degrees' is hot or cold. That's because in America they talk about Degrees Fahrenheit. In Canada my brain worked the same until I discovered that they do talk about degrees Celsius.


We Dutch love good bread and eat it every day. Good fresh bread was almost impossible to find in the United States! They try, but often use ingredients to make it last longer and you can taste it.

We did find real bread in Canada and we really enjoyed it. It's even available at Safe-On-Foods and Canadian Walmart supermarkets. It's going to be hard to put this behind us...

Coffee from Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons is actually the Canadian Starbucks. When we first got to Canada, we saw the red logo everywhere, but we didn't know what it was yet. Kim (a Dutch person living in Canada) introduced us to the chain.

At Starbucks you quickly pay about 5 USD for your small cappuccino and even more if you order a special drink. At Tim Hortons, the same cappuccino is about 3 CAD (2,25 euros) and of good quality. The goodies (doughnuts, muffins etc.) also have a small price, usually between 1 to 2 euros.

Coffee from Tim Hortons
Coffee from Tim Hortons

With our limited travel budget, it was not possible in the United States to get a cup of coffee every day at Starbucks. That would have cost us at least 10 to 15 USD per day which is just a waste of money. In Canada it was hard to contain ourselves with these prices. We enjoyed a drink from the Tim Hortons almost daily!

Closing comments

You could say that Canada is a mix of Europe and the US. Some places in Canada, like European towns, have a cozy center, which we miss a lot in the US. In Canada they have so-called blocks in larger cities where you can find all the chains, which is again very American.

It was nice to be in a different environment for two months during our trip, which is actually more different from the United States than you would expect. Canada we are going to miss you! See you!

Our advice for camper rental:
Camper trips through Canada from Travelhome

Are you thinking of following our footsteps and renting a camper with friends, your partner or with your whole family? Then be sure to take a look Travelhome from ANWB.

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Malou Thomassen

From an early age I have been fascinated by distant travels and other cultures. I've seen many countries, but I'm certainly not done! At this age (32) I often think about how to further organize my life. When I travel, I quickly let go of that and can fully enjoy the here and now!


  • Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. It's so wonderful to learn from other people's experiences, I've been reading through all your blog posts – so much great info and inspiration! It's just such an uncertain time to plan something like this, I wonder what it'll cost to ship our car once we're ready to go (probably Jan 24). Noone knows!

  • Is your visa a multiple entry one? We are also Europeans and hoping to do a trip similar to yours, and we are trying to figure out which visas to apply for. Thank you ??

    • Hi Laerke,

      Yes! The B1/B2 VISA is valid for 10 years and you can stay in the US for the maximum of 1 year in one go. You can go in and out of the country, but please note that every time you do that you risk something. This is because the immigration officer will decide right there on the spot, how many months you'll get when you try to get back in. And we've heard from numerous other travelers, that they sometimes just get a few weeks or months because the immigration officer does not trust the plan or thinks you don't have sufficient funds to take care of yourself for such a long period of time .

      Be prepared, have a plan and show it to them. Make sure you have enough funds, that is important for them as well. We got 6 months at first when we arrived in the USA, but we could have gotten a year right there and then at the airport. He was ready to stamp for a year until we told him that we would go to Canada in summer as well. So he decided to give us 6 months back in March. We then went to Canada for 2 months and returned to the USA just two weeks ago. We explained our plan once again to another immigration officer, that we plan to head back east and ship the vehicle back to Europe 6 months from now. After some questioning, he gave us another 6 months, totaling 1 year.

      The immigration officer did urge us to understand that we cannot stay any longer, because we've been in the states a full year on that VISA. We would have to go back home for an extended period of time, before retuning again, if ever. What 'extended period time' means in definite months or years, we have no idea. He wouldn't clarify.

      I would assume that we would have to be out of the US for at least a year, before they would let us in again. The VISA remains valid though, it's 10 years. So you can just keep trying, even after you had a year, but it will never be clear how much time you'll get when entering.

      Hope this explains your question(s).

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