July 1st, with passports in hand, we crossed the border to enter British Columbia and start adventure number eight on our 15 in 15 list.
We quickly realized that some special event was occurring in Vancouver as large crowds swarmed the harbor and vendors lined the street in a carnival type atmosphere. What we assumed was hoopla surrounding the Women’s World Cup taking place in the city and throughout Canada was actually the celebration of Canada Day with a parade and fireworks scheduled for later in the day. What a welcome!
On our second day, we rented bikes and pedaled the perimeter road through Stanley Park checking out the totem poles, lighthouses and enjoying a wild place in the middle of the city. After lunch at the Fish House, we were off to Lighthouse Park overlooking Vancouver for a hike in the woods.
On the morning of day three, we started at Granville Island feasting on fruits and baked goods at the farmer’s market and checking out the shops. Buying was not an option since our luggage was already stuffed beyond capacity.
Our last stop before leaving Vancouver was at Goorin Brothers, a haberdashery, to select hats, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts from Emily and Brian. I know, no room in the luggage…we wore the hats on the plane.
The final stop in British Columbia, a hike in Golden Ear.
Then back to the U.S. in time to celebrate the 4th of July and looking forward to more 15 in 15 fun.
Vacations require planning. Planning the destination. Planning dates, times and transportation.
Reservations need to be made. Tickets purchased. Lists made for packing so nothing is forgotten. And when your trip takes you out of the country, additional steps need to be taken to insure passports and other documents are in order.
I thought we’d done a good job with preparations for a trip to Vancouver, but we forgot to plan for currency exchange.
I’m going to blame this oversight on the fact that when we visited Calgary years ago, everyone in Canada was more than happy to accept our U.S. dollars so I really didn’t even think about foreign currency until we were crossing the border.
To be honest, Canadians are still more than happy to accept U.S. money, however, by being “stupid” Anericans, we spent more money than necessary on some purchases since merchants gladly took our $20 and gave our change in Canadian dollars which resulted in the loss of about 15% per purchase. Fortunately, we only spent about $40 in cash so the difference wasn’t significant, but there’s really no excuse for not learning about the currency of the country you’re visiting
It was embarrassing to hand the clerk $3.75 in Canadian currency for a $2.68 drink because I didn’t recognize the difference between a one dollar coin and a two dollar coin. In fact, I didn’t even know there was a two dollar coin.
So if you’ve taken the time to plan a trip to a foreign destination, take the time to learn about what currency you’ll be using as well. It’s not difficult. Everything you need can easily be found with a quick google search.
I’m sure that most of your purchases will be on a credit card (make sure you use one that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees), but you’ll need cash to buy from street vendors and local
Traveling out of the country? Know your foreign currency.