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Thinking of taking a vacation that spans across the Canada and US border? It is a beautiful site to see when crossing through North America. Both Canada and the US have so many amazing things to see and do. When travelling in an RV it can be a daunting task to get through border customs with no stress. This article will explore some of the ways to bring down your stress levels and get you through the border crossing with ease.
Check the Border Wait Times
Whether you are crossing the border into Canada or the US the wait times can sometimes be very long. But, don’t let the waiting stress you out even more. You can check ahead before you get to the border to see what the current wait times are. This may help you choose when to arrive there. You can pass some time at a rest stop or cafe while the wait dies down. See the border wait times through the border wait times website. It is updated hourly and should help keep you up to date with every border crossing site.
Calculate Duty & Taxes Ahead of Time
If you have done some shopping in one country and plan to take your goods into the next, this can result in some taxes and duties while crossing the border. Goods are taxed differently in different countries and sometimes this can catch travellers off guard. To help you be prepared for what fees may apply to you check out the taxes and duties website. This site will help you to cross the border with ease and may even help you decide if you would like to purchase something before you head over the border.
Check Travel Advisories
Sometimes a travel advisory may be a limiting factor in your ability to cross the border. It is always best to be prepared to know if there will be an advisory in the way of your travels. Be sure to check out government websites which outline these types of statements. Also be sure to stay up to date with the news and current affairs of the area which you are travelling into. This will help to avoid any surprises.
Open Your Windows
When crossing the border it is important to note that the border agents will be doing a physical check of your vehicle. Since an RV can be quite large, it is more difficult to perform this search. It may result in the agents asking you to step out of your vehicle so they can go inside for the search. To avoid this or other stressful searches, open all of the windows on your RV. Ensure that both your blinds, curtains and windows are open and can be seen through easily. This will help the border agents to see into the RV and perform a visual scan. It is also good to keep your shower curtains open to avoid any spots the agents may not be able to see with ease.
Have Your Paperwork Ready
We have all been in a situation where we are left scrambling to get our paperwork in order in front of an important person. To avoid any stress or fumbling with papers, have all of your paperwork ready to go when you get to the border. This includes your travel insurance, licence, registration, passports and anything else you may need. If you are renting your RV for your travels, be sure to have your rental agreement and know which section to point out to show that you are allowed to cross the border. The border agents are very thorough and also very busy. It is best to have all things ready to go to avoid any backlog of travellers behind you. Consider investing in a special important document organizer to have within your reach where you can store all of your border crossing paperwork.
Be Kind to The Border Agents
Border agents work hard everyday to ensure that nothing criminal or dangerous is entering their countries. It is a tough job where they can often be dealing with a lot of stress. The very least we can do is to be kind to these agents and ensure that we are being a highlight to their day, and not a nuisance. Avoid using sarcasm or jokes when speaking with them. Be straightforward and honest, as well as polite. Even if they seem to be asking pressing questions, or digging for information, just remember that they are only doing this for the overall safety of the public. By being kind and understanding to the agents, you will ensure that your visit with them goes smoothly and quickly.
Ensure Your RV Accessories Are Stored Properly
If you are travelling in an RV that has multiple or large RV accessories, be sure that they are all stored properly and safely when passing through the border. RV awnings should be closed and secured as per the directions and should also be double checked. Any RV plumbing fixtures or accessories such as utility cans must be safely stored and out of harm’s way. If there are any exterior parts that may pose a hazard by falling off of your RV, make sure they are stored. Even your indoor accessories should be safely strapped or contained to avoid any accidents within the RV. The border guards may need to step inside your RV for their checks, so ensure that their safety is top of mind. If anything looks unsafe or improper, it will give them a reason to do a more thorough search. This would increase your time at the border crossing immensely.
Overall, if you are being diligent and checking out the border crossing requirements before you get there, things should go smoothly. Be a diligent traveller and ensure that you are aware of your surroundings in your RV and that everything is safe and up to code. The border crossing agents want things to go just as smoothly as you do. So be safe, be smart and be kind.