Canadian Connections

Together in the gardenCanada is gorgeous. I have been a few times including Vancouver, Victoria, and Calgary. I loved wandering Butchart Gardens (highly recommend – go on the carousel!), sipping Church & State wines (try the ice wine), and seeing the picturesque seaside towns. The air was fresh and the people friendly. But I have stepped onto Canadian soil about four times, three of which left me with traveling heartache. Here is my story about some rough Canadian connections.

We were headed to Copenhagen. The cheapest flight path took us through Calgary before proceeding to London, then onto Denmark. Our luggage was marked for Copenhagen before we left Los Angeles, so we had this false sense of security that we and our belongings would automatically meet at the destination. Wrong. When we reached Calgary, the flight attendant mentioned – in passing – that we needed to retrieve our luggage before proceeding to our next flight. That sounded strange. The bags were tagged correctly. When we showed our passports, we asked the officer if we really needed to get our luggage.

Gorgeous Gardens His reply – This isn’t the movies, you have to get your things and go back through customs. Even though he was rude, he was correct. We had to get our bags and process through customs as if we were staying. Many suitcases were left behind that day and not long after, we saw several Americans in Denmark wearing souvenir t-shirts. Tivoli Gardens probably looked even more touristy that week.  By the way, our trip home wasn’t much smoother. No luggage troubles, but we were questioned quite a bit before being allowed back into the States and it was a full 24 hours to get from Copenhagen to LAX.

During another trip to Canada – this time to actually visit – we started our journey home. To save a little dough (yet again), we decided to take an inexpensive bus ride across the border and then hop on a flight out of Seattle. Some friends had taken this route before and said it was a easy breezy. Not for us. Our bus, along with any other bus that day, was held up by border patrol. For several hours. We missed our flight, then booked another one on our smart phones while still on the bus. We almost missed that one, too. We quite literally ran through the airport to get to the gate, which was proceeding with final boarding. We hadn’t eaten and I was so grateful there was a stand with sandwiches near the boarding gate. Our re-booked flight cost more than aView of the Lake direct flight out of Vancouver.

I don’t blame the Canadians for the tough travel experiences and I’d love to go back there to see more. Plus, I am sure coming to the U.S. has its own challenges, too. But I have learned a couple of valuable lessons from this fine country. Pony up for the direct flight if you can and if you do have to utilize connecting travel, always listen carefully to the flight attendants before heading to the next terminal. Another valuable lesson: pack your carry-on with one additional full outfit including comfortable shoes. While I have yet to lose a piece of luggage, I pack as if my carry-on will be my only asset.  At the very least, you will have more peace of mind when you settle into your airline seat.

If you are planning a trip to Canada, check out these helpful links:

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