Preparing For Your Trip

Everything you need to know before you leave home

Get Ready For Your Canada Rail Vacation

To help you prepare for the adventure ahead, we’ve compiled answers to our most frequently asked questions, as well as helpful tips and information. Adventure awaits, and we can’t wait to welcome you to Canada!

Before you depart for an experience of a lifetime, we recommend you take the time to review the key information outlined below. Here you will find details regarding your journey, travel insurance, and current travel requirements. We’ve also included suggested packing lists, tipping customs, and what else to bring along on your adventure.


Review Your Travel Documents

Three to four weeks ahead of your holiday, we will provide you with your comprehensive itinerary by email. Please print this document and have it readily available on your mobile device during travel. This document includes all information required for your trip and depending on your travel plans, may include any of the following items:

This will serve as your day-to-day schedule and includes things like your confirmation numbers, pick-up times and links to web pages where you can find more item-specific information. A two to four-letter code in the Voucher Column of this page will indicate that there is another page included in the document package that you will be required to present in order to complete the activity. If this section is blank or says N/A, only your name and valid photo ID will be required for check-in.

This page will serve as an additional confirmation for your nightly hotel reservations as well as any tours, admissions or transfers included along the way. Please note that at check-in for the hotels your name and valid photo ID should suffice. This page is NOT a voucher but may be noted as JBI in the voucher column. If the hotel staff is having issues finding your reservation at check-in, please show them this page. Any vouchers required will follow this page.

Please note that some hotels may only have one name on the reservation and at times, it may not be the lead guest.

These vouchers will be required in order to complete activities such as sightseeing tours, admissions or transfers. On your Travel Itinerary, you will find these referenced by the code JON. Please print these or have them readily available on your mobile device while travelling.

If your journey includes a VIA Rail train, you will find the VIA Rail tickets in this file. On your Travel Itinerary, you will find these referenced by the code VIA. Please print out the VIA Rail Tickets and have them on hand with you as you will need to scan the QR code at check-in.  If you have received a VIA “E-Voucher” in place of tickets, please present this at the check-in counter and you will be provided with your official tickets. Valid photo ID is required at check-in.

This package will NOT include your Rocky Mountaineer Tickets, should you have a Rocky Mountaineer train included in your journey. To check in for Rocky Mountaineer, you will only need to provide your name and the Rocky Mountaineer Confirmation Number located near the top of your Travel Itinerary page.

Additional details will be provided by following the Rocky Mountaineer link on your Travel Itinerary. 

Other Voucher Codes to look for on your Travel Itinerary include:

This code references an activity that will be provided directly by Canada Rail Vacations. Often times this will refer to a private tour or transfer. As you will be travelling privately with your own personal guide, providing them with your name when you first meet will suffice. If it is a pick-up from the airport, they will be holding a sign with your name on it when you arrive.

This code references an activity that will be provided directly by Alberta Blue Sky Tours (a division of Canada Rail Vacations). Often times this will refer to a tour or transfer. As you will be travelling with one of our in-house tour guides, providing them with your name when you first meet will suffice. If it is a pick-up from the airport, they will be holding a sign with your name on it when you arrive.

This code references an activity that will be provided directly by Canadian Rockies Experience. Often times this will refer to a private tour or transfer. As you will be travelling privately with your own personal guide, providing them with your name when you first meet will suffice. If it is a pick-up from the airport, they will be holding a sign with your name on it when you arrive.

This code references an activity that will be provided by Discover Banff Tours. Often times this will refer to a private tour or transfer that does NOT appear on your Jonview Booked Items page. As you will be travelling privately with your own personal guide, providing them with your name when you first meet will suffice. If it is a pick-up from the airport, they will be holding a sign with your name on it when you arrive. On rare occasions, such as for those travelling between January and April or October and December, a DISC voucher may be attached along with your Travel Documents as this may refer to a winter-season sightseeing tour/transfer.

This code references an activity that will be provided by SunDog Tour Co. Often times this will refer to a private tour or transfer that does NOT appear on your Jonview Booked Items page. As you will be travelling privately with your own personal guide, providing them with your name when you first meet will suffice. If it is a pick-up from the airport, they will be holding a sign with your name on it when you arrive. On rare occasions, such as for those travelling between January and April or October and December, a SUN voucher may be attached along with your Travel Documents as this may refer to a winter-season sightseeing tour/transfer.

This code references an activity that will be provided by Banff Airporter. Often times this will refer to an airport transfer that does NOT appear on your Jonview Booked Items page as it is scheduled for a time outside of normal operating hours. If you are travelling privately, providing them with your name when you first meet will suffice. If it is a pick-up from the airport, they will be holding a sign with your name on it when you arrive. If you are not travelling privately, an additional voucher will be attached which includes instructions as to where to meet.

This code references an activity or hotel reservation that will be provided in connection with your Rocky Mountaineer train booking. A voucher will be attached to your Travel Document package that you will need to print off and present upon check-in


What to Pack

When it comes to luggage, the general rule is if you can take it on the plane, you can take it on the train. However, for specific details on luggage restrictions for your trip, please visit the provided links in your Travel Itinerary.

Your luggage does not travel with you onboard the train. When you check in each morning, your luggage will be taken separately and be waiting for you when you arrive at your hotel. This means that if you have any items that you will need throughout the day ie. cameras, charger, medication, sunglasses, jacket etc., you will want to bring them onboard with you in a small bag or purse. There is no overhead storage on the train as that would take away from the views! There is however plenty of legroom for a small item at your feet.

Your large suitcases will not fit in your cabin. Due to the nature of rail travel, there is limited space in your cabin and you will therefore have to pack accordingly for this portion of your trip. Each guest is allowed one carry-on-sized piece of luggage and one small item such as a backpack or purse. Your check luggage will not be accessible until you arrive at your destination so plan accordingly.

Don’t Forget:

  • Passport and valid ID or driver’s license
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tickets and booking information
  • Medication(s)
  • Phone and accessories
  • Money (CAD or USD) – See Tipping Guidelines for details: LINK

Seasonal Packing Considerations:

  • Lightweight and waterproof jacket or windbreaker
  • Lightweight but warm jacket for Spring/Fall journeys
  • Midweight fleece or wool sweater
  • Warm and cool, quick-dry layers
  • Comfortable, waterproof shoes for sightseeing
  • Casual sneakers
  • Flat-bottomed shoes for on the train
  • Light gloves and a hat for colder evenings
  • A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
  • Bathingsuit
  • A small backpack or daypack
  • If hiking: hiking shoes or boots, wool socks, bug spray, and water bottle
  • Camera
  • Binoculars

Follow Up With Us Before You Go

Do you have any last-minute questions or concerns you would like to address before your departure?

Our team at Canada Rail Vacations is committed to ensuring your vacation is the trip of a lifetime! Please give us a call or send us an email, we would be happy to go through your travel documents in detail.

It is our hope that your vacation not only meets but exceeds your expectations. Being a small, family-owned and operated team, we do our best to ensure that your experience matters. Whenever possible, we like to add a personal touch to everybody’s vacation but we can only do that if you have provided us with all of the necessary information. Before you go, please ask yourself some of the questions below as we too get peace of mind by knowing that all of our clients are prepared for the journey ahead!

These may include gluten-free, vegetarian, peanut allergies, etc.

If you have a serious allergy to report, please make sure you have submitted that information to us here: Allergy Form

Most hotels are very good about accommodating bedding requests but in some locations such as the older Fairmont properties, room sizes can mean that there are a limited number of rooms with two beds which may be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. If sharing a bed with your travel companion is completely out of the question, please reiterate this prior to travelling so that we can do our best to ensure your comfort throughout the trip.

These may include an inability to climb stairs, walk long distances, require accessible hotel rooms or a fridge for medication etc.

If you have a mobility restrictions to report, please make sure you have submitted that information to us here: Mobility Form

Maybe you have booked additional hotel nights on either end of the trip and need to link the reservations or have flight details that we should know about. Are you arriving late at night, or early in the morning and want to notify the hotel, or do have an airport transfer booked with us that requires a specific time?

If we require your flight information to confirm a transfer time, please make sure that you have submitted the details here: Flight Details Form

Maybe it is your anniversary, a birthday, a retirement, etc.

Let us know as some hotels may choose to do something special for you!


Purchase Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend you obtain comprehensive travel insurance, including cancellation and medical coverage.

Should you require a referral, we have had excellent experiences with Sanderson Travel Insurance and Travel Guard; of course, please book through the provider of your choice. We would like to stress the importance of purchasing travel insurance for a trip of this caliber as unexpected events can happen, and once payments are made they are non-refundable. Please take the time to read our company Terms and Conditions, found on our website at Terms

You should purchase your travel insurance following the completion of your non-refundable deposit payment. In order to get full coverage, most insurers require that your health is considered “stable” for 90 days prior to purchase. By purchasing at the time of the deposit, you will be able to lock in the same terms for insuring the remainder of your trip when payment is due 70 days prior to departure. This way, if your condition changes after your deposit has been paid but prior to your remaining balance being paid, you will not be at risk of losing your deposit if it no longer makes financial sense to commit to your travel plans as intended.

Travel medical and cancellation insurance prices can fluctuate, with the main determining factor being age. Prices generally vary between 5-10%. For an accurate quote, please contact the insurance provider of your choice.

If you are purchasing your trip with a credit card that has travel perks, you may already be covered. It is recommended that you give them a call as it may save you a lot of money!


For additional information, you can view our Frequently Asked Questions here:


Review the Latest Health and Safety Protocols

Starting October 1, 2022, all COVID-19 border requirements, including vaccination, mandatory use of ArriveCAN, and any testing and quarantine/isolation requirements will end for all travellers entering Canada whether by land, air or sea.

Government guidelines and the industry’s best practices are constantly evolving in an effort to help manage the spread of COVID-19, and this may mean additional measures will be required for you to travel safely. For the most up-to-date information from the Government of Canada, visit https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid

Please check back here as we get closer to your trip to ensure you are up-to-date on the requirements for you to enter and exit Canada without issue.

As of October 1, 2022, all COVID-19 border requirements, including vaccination, mandatory use of ArriveCAN, and any testing and quarantine/isolation requirements will end for all travellers entering Canada whether by land, air or sea.

 

As of June 12, 2022, passengers departing Canada will no longer be required to show a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight to the United States. For more information, see here: US Entry Requirements

All non-immigrant, non-U.S. citizen air travelers to the United States must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to the United States.

As of October 1, 2022, masks will no longer be required on any planes, trains or other modes of public transportation within Canada.

Health and safety protocols are regulated by province and may therefore change as you travel throughout different parts of Canada. All guests are required to follow the local health and safety protocols, including those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Although protocols such as mask mandates have presently been lifted throughout the majority of Canada, these rules are subject to change.

Vaccine passports are also not presently required throughout Canada, however, it is recommended that you keep proof of vaccination on your mobile device in the event that you are asked to present it throughout your trip.

For all travellers entering Canada by air, land or marine mode on or after October 1, 2022:

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not required
  • COVID-19 pre-entry and arrival tests are not required
  • Quarantine after you enter Canada is not required
  • Using ArriveCAN is not required
    • if you’re flying into Toronto Pearson, Vancouver or Montréal-Trudeau international airports, you can still use ArriveCAN to complete your Advance CBSA Declaration to save time upon arrival
  • Pre-boarding tests for cruise passengers are not required
  • As always, travel documents are required
  • Health checks to board planes and trains are not required
  • Wearing masks on planes and trains is not required

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you shouldn't travel to Canada.

If you feel sick or experience any symptoms of COVID-19 during your travel to Canada or upon arrival, you should:

  • inform the flight attendant, cruise staff or a border services officer upon arrival. You may be referred to a Quarantine Officer for a health assessment and further direction.
  • avoid taking public transportation
  • check provincial or territorial requirements for what you need to do if you’re symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19