Canada & USA tour reviews

Canada & USA FAQs

Everyone travelling on an Intrepid trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage. 

All travellers are required to produce: 

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
  • All children aged 5 to 17 years old must provide proof of vaccination (if eligible), proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
  • If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional. 

In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy

Canada's wildlife is just as diverse as its landscapes. Keep an eye out for deer, bears, moose, caribou, mountain goats, bald eagles and timber wolves while hiking through the Rocky Mountains and the wilds of Jasper National Park in Alberta. Seeing bears in their natural habitat will take your breath away. If you're in British Colombia you might also see racoons, beavers, hoary marmots and orcas. 

Read more about wildlife in Canada

Canada’s weather fits into four main sections: the coasts, the Prairies (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba), central Canada and northern Canada. However, there are many more regional factors and thousands of microclimates, especially in mountain areas.

Expect milder summers and winters on the coast with temperatures not dropping much below -10°C (14°F) and not rising much above 22°C (72°F). The winters are wetter here with the east coast seeing more rainfall, while Vancouver is an anomaly to the rest of Canada with more of an oceanic climate.

In the Prairies, summers are hot and dry and winter is icy cold. Calgary experiences around 54 days and 50 inches of snow, while Southern Alberta has a weird winter phenomenon called chinook winds when dry gusts melt snow and raise temperatures by over 20 degrees in a matter of hours. Of the three largest cities in the Prairies, Winnipeg has the coldest winter days at -11°C (12°F), compared to Calgary (-1°C/30°F) and Edmonton (-6°C/21°F), but also has the warmest summer days at 26°C (79°F), compared to both Calgary and Edmonton (23°C/73°F).

Central Canada enjoys humid summers and cooler winters, with some areas experiencing snow cover for almost six months of the year. As much of Canada’s interior enjoys a continental climate, winters are cold and the wind chill is brisk. Toronto hits around 27°C (80°F) on a hot summer’s day and -1.5°C (29°F) in winter, while Montreal in summer hits 26°C (79°F) and -5.3°C (23°F) in winter.  

Northern Canada is where temperatures really drop. The far reaches of the Northwest Territories (NWT) rarely rise above 0°C (32°F) and can record temperatures below -45°C (-49°F). These extremes aren’t for everyone and it shows – of the three provinces to make up northern Canada (NWT, Yukon and Nunavut), their total population (around 120,000) is less than Canada’s 40th largest city.

The short answer is it depends where and when you’re travelling. There isn't a one-size-fits-all packing list for Canada, so our advice is to consider both the season and the activities you’d like to do. 

You can get away with light clothing for most of the summer such as t-shirts, shorts or light trousers, plus a jacket to wear in the cooler evenings. During spring and autumn, it’s best to bring warm layers. Temperatures can drop below freezing so you'll want to rug up, especially if you’re checking out Vancouver’s nightlife or enjoying a nightcap in Toronto. You’ll need to take the comfort dial up a notch in winter with thermal base layers, warm fleeces and jackets. Also bring at least one wind-breaking outer layer to keep you warm, a beanie, scarf and neck warmer. 

Canada is all about the outdoors, so be prepared with the right type of gear including sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots, UV protection and warm (but breathable) clothing that can be layered. If kayaking or whitewater rafting are on your bucket list, consider bringing a pair of dive boots or aqua shoes to protect your feet from freezing water and sharp rocks.

Check out our ultimate packing guide for more information. 

What you should pack for a national park trip depends on what season you're travelling in, but some items are essential no matter what time of year you visit. You should always bring comfortable walking/hiking shoes and appropriate clothing such as leggings, shorts, t-shirts and long pants as you'll probably do lots of walking and outdoor activities. You should always carry a small daypack with you to carry important things such as a camera, sunscreen, a reusable water bottle, snacks and a mini first aid kit. 

Read more about what to pack for the Grand Canyon

Read more about what to pack for Yellowstone National Park

Read more about what to pack for Yosemite National Park

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

Read more about travel insurance

The best time to visit a national park depends on what you'd like to experience on your trip. Do you want to go hiking or cycling? Do you want to see waterfalls after the winter snowfall melts? Perhaps you want to go cross country skiing? The US is a huge country with diverse weather, landscapes, foliage and wildlife. Most national parks change quite dramatically from season to season and every month offers something unique. Our trips run all year round, but mid to late spring and early fall is the most popular time to visit when the weather is mild, crowds are thinner and the conditions are good for hiking and exploring. If you don't like crowds, it's best to avoid going in the summer vacation period as this is when most US national parks have the highest volume of visitors.

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

Read more about Canada & the USA