Preparing For Your Trip

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. 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 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
  • A mask
  • Medication(s)
  • Phone and accessories
  • Money

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

Review the Latest Health and Safety Protocols

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.

The details shared at this stage are:

 

Effective April 1, 2022, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to provide a pre-entry COVID-19 test result to enter Canada by air, land or water. Travellers arriving to Canada from any country, who qualify as fully vaccinated, may need to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival if selected for mandatory random testing. Travellers selected for mandatory random testing are not required to quarantine while awaiting their test results.

In preparation for random testing, if you:

  • have received a positive molecular test that was taken more than 10 days prior to your arrival in Canada but less than 180 days prior to arrival in Canada, it is recommended that you carry proof with you
  • want to have peace of mind before arriving in Canada, testing is available for free at many local pharmacies in the US such as Wallgreens or CVS. A molecular test, such as a PCR or NAT(may be listed as an “ID Now” test) are the recommended test type. *Again, this is not a mandatory requirement

All travellers continue to be required to submit their mandatory information in the Arrive CAN (free mobile app or website) before their arrival in Canada. Travellers who arrive without completing their ArriveCAN submission may have to test on arrival and quarantine for 14 days, regardless of their vaccination status. Travellers taking a cruise or a plane must submit their information in ArriveCAN within 72 hours before boarding.

*For the questions regarding a quarantine plan and where you will stay, please use the first hotel address found on your Jonview Booked Items page

Travellers should have a paper or digital copy of their vaccination documentation to show government officials upon request.

The border remains closed to non-essential travel for individuals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The current requirements published by the CDC are:

  • All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, will require a pre-entry COVID-19 viral test, taken the day prior to entry.
  • Fully vaccinated travellers are not required to quarantine on entry to the US.

The following rapid testing sites exist in Canada at these airports. It is recommended to book your rapid screening test online prior to your flight leaving Canada and arrive at the airport with enough time to complete the added process.

Vancouver Airport

Calgary Airport

Toronto Airport

Montreal Airport

Halifax Airport

If the available testing at the airport does not work with your schedule, Shoppers Drugmart pharmacies offer walk-in testing all over the country. To find the nearest location to you, click here: Shoppers Drugmart COVID Testing

If you are staying in Banff the evening prior to your departure out of Calgary, the I.D.A. - Neighbourly Pharmacy Banff, located at 317 Banff Ave (Cascade Shops), offers rapid testing for CAD $50 between 9 AM and 6 PM. Please call ahead to make an appointment at 1 403 762 2245.

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.

While on the Train

Passengers are required to be fully vaccinated to travel onboard trains in Canada.

While onboard the Rocky Mountaineer trains, you will be required to wear a mask while moving around the train. A mask will not be required when at your seat eating or drinking.

While onboard VIA Rail trains, you will be required to wear a mask while moving around the train. A mask will not be required when in your private cabin or at your seat eating or drinking.


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.

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.

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, early in the morning or have an airport transfer booked with us that requires a specific time?

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


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

To note: Many travel insurance providers may not cover situations related to COVID-19 for any new purchases. However, if you have already purchased travel insurance, we recommend contacting your provider for updates on coverage.

 

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 60 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: