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Things to do Before Leaving Canada for Long Term Travel

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Things to do Before Leaving Canada for Long Term Travel

As we move closer to departure time there are so many lists, things to get rid of, things to sell, clothes we “think” we want to bring, backpack or suitcase Pros/Cons list the “lists” go on. But this is an important list, and as I learn more, I will add to this page everything that we had to arrange before leaving Canada to travel!

Here are some of the things to look into before leaving Canada for long-term travel

  • Apply for a passport and if you already have one, check the expiry date and how to renew it from out of the country! Passport processing times vary and sometimes are quick (just 5 business days) and other times you can expect to wait a month. Make sure you are on top of your expirty dates!
  • Research the country you will be visiting to ensure it is a suitable destination for you or your family.
  • Arrange for storage of your stuff (or sell it, gift it etc)
  • Arrange to rent your home or sell it
  • Register at so that the Canadian Government can get a hold of you in an Emergency
  • Apply for a tourist visa if your destination of choice requires it. Lots of countries do not need visas, but they do need electronic travel authorizations. These can take a few days so make sure you check in advance!
  • Obtain travel insurance
  • Apply for an international driving permit (this can be done at CAA locations)
  • Get a VPN. Depending on where you’re coming from a VPN can either help keep you safe on your new country’s wifi or help you keep up with tv and movies from Canada. You can stream some Canadian content while abroad and keep up with Hockey Night in Canada on CBC.
things to do before leaving canada
  • Medical (MSP): You need to be in your home province for a specific amount of time to qualify for health benefits (for example, BC you can be away for 7 months and still qualify. (This is away from BC, check the fine print. That includes travelling in other provinces in Canada. Don’t think you can be abroad for 7 months and then road trip the country for a few more!). If you lose your health benefits you will need to reapply (after living in a province or territory for approximately 3 months. For those first three months you do not have provincial health benefits and you should have private coverage) You should check with your home province’s health coverage. For those of you in BC, you can check out MSP info here. You can withdraw here
  • Obtain a travel adapter.
  • Check what you are allowed to bring into the country with you
  • Submit a change of address with Canada post or have someone take care of your mail for you
  • Make a Will and make sure someone you trust has a copy.
  • Research vaccinations suggested for your intended destination(s) and book these well in advance. Also make sure routine vaccinations are up to date. If you are traveling with small children like we are, you may want to look into an accelerated vaccination schedule. For example, the “kindergarten” vaccines can be given between ages 4-6. Mattias just turned 4 so we have already registered him to get the latest round of vaccines, even though he is not technically in “kindergarten”
  • Ensure you will have enough medication or arrange refills – keep a photocopy of your prescription brand name and generic name in case yours is lost. Some medications are illegal in other countries. You will want to get a note from your doctor outlining the reasons for taking this medication
  • Check into your credit card’s conversion rates for foreign transactions and try to get a credit card that charges 0% or low conversation surcharges. Also notify them of your absence from Canada. It’s much harder to get a card replaced when you are travelling if it gets put on hold. Check out this list of the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards in Canada to learn more.
  • Check with the CRA for any tax issues and make sure you have everything in order to file your taxes while you are away.
  • Consider having your expensive items identified by CBSA before you leave. You will be given a form you can travel with so you do not run into any customs difficulties, as you can prove ownership of your goods

Here are a few government websites to check out:

if you are looking for more travel tips, click here.

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  1. Great tips… I can honestly say I didn’t know about half of these recommendations – didn’t know you could register and let the gov’t know! Thanks.

  2. Kate says:

    I think even for short term travel, some of these tips are important. I’ve done long term travel in the past and now I’ve changed to a part-time travel lifestyle. It means I build travel into my spare time regularly so things like finance, medicine and vaccines, travel kit and also paperwork (passport/immigration and travel insurance) all still needs to be done and kept up-to-date. Great tips and reminders here for anyone travelling. Thanks for sharing

  3. Orana says:

    These are great tips for leaving any country! Of course each place has their own details and rules maybe. The international driver´s license is a must, especially if you want to drive in the place you are going to.

  4. Valeria says:

    Adapters are often overlooked but very important! Nothing more annoying than getting to your destination with a dead phone/laptop and not being able to charge it 🙂 Good luck with your travels!

  5. Great tips! We checked these off our list when we left in September. It seemed like the list just kept getting bigger and bigger. And we had so much on our list that we didn’t need to do but this ist you’ve reated is perfect for people looking to head out for long term.
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Natasha Amar says:

    I imagine in time this page will be a great detailed resource for future travelers looking for an organized checklist of things to do before leaving Canada for a long-term or RTW trip. It’s never easy to put together an exhaustive resource like this, so great effort!

  7. Thanks for the tips!!
    Those are great information not only for people who are leaving Canada, but for everyone that is venturing in a long term travel.

    And I would say that selling your stuff is one of the best way to make money, and grow your saving account before travelling.


  8. Good luck with your long term trip! I’m sure it will be an amazing experience! I hope one day I will take this step too… (maybe you can write also a post about how to make this big decision?)

  9. Great post. even travelling short term, things like credit card bars and driving licence issues can be a real pain.

  10. Will says:

    Great info for Canuks as well as some good points for any traveller…organsation and prep is key!

  11. Mansoureh says:

    I have not been in a long term travel, but I moved out from my country to another country. So it was kinda similar to long term travel in a different way

  12. Claudia says:

    Nice tips. I also normally register on the website of the Italian government before leaving, but it is a bit hard to do it when I travel long term… as it pretty much requests an itinerary and I can’t provide a 6 months one!!

  13. So glad that you included registering your travel plans with a government agency. I think it is one of the most important things you can do before taking off because really you never know what can happen, especially in this day and age when there are just so many tragic natural (and un-natural) disasters happening around the world. This is a really great post with lots of solid info. Thanks for sharing your tips!