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US travel checklist and banking tips

By ATB Financial 29 October 2018 3 min read

A jaunt south is about as painless as a trip can get, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat it like any other form of international travel. This checklist is a great way to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.


More checks, fewer problems


☐ Register as a Canadian Abroad

This is a great (and totally free) way to stay informed about any natural disasters and/or civil unrest that could affect your trip.

☐ Check if you need a visa

In most cases, Canadian travellers won’t need visas when visiting the US, but there are exceptions. The US Embassy website will help you figure it out.

☐ Take a second to research child consent letters

While not legally required, a consent letter can make traveling with children a lot easier, especially for anyone with unique parental/custody arrangements.

☐ Try to anticipate your financial needs

Foreign travel—even just across the border—is often more expensive than expected. Make sure to plan, budget and look into credit options that can save you money.

☐ Book Travel Protection

Make sure your travel health policy covers the activities you’ll be up to—and don’t forget to pack an extra set of eyeglasses, your prescriptions, vaccinations, medical certificates and supplies.

☐ Double your documents

Make sure to leave copies of your passport identification page, itinerary and insurance policy with friends or family as a backup, just in case!

☐ Have some fun!

Canadian travellers often report back about the enormous portions served in US restaurants. If you really want the full American dining experience, do some pre-trip training at your nearest buffet!

☐ Look for additional advice

Check out and download the Travel Smart App for more essential information on how to have a safe and enjoyable journey, wherever you go.


The smart traveller’s packing list

It seems like a lot, but most of it can be kept on your phone...just don't forget your phone.

☐ Passport

☐ Personal identification

☐ Canadian permanent resident card

☐ Travel visa(s)

☐ Children travelling abroad consent letter

☐ Health documentation

☐ Copies of all documentation

☐ Emergency information

☐ Transportation tickets

☐ Hotel reservations

☐ Trip cancellation/medical insurance

☐ Local currency and/or traveller’s cheques

☐ Credit and debit cards

☐ Guide books, maps and apps

☐ Special event reservations (tours, exhibits, festivals, sporting events)


Travel Tips

US Gas Pumps (for both CDN and USD Mastercards)

  • Now you can use your Mastercard® card to pay at the pump when you fill up in the U.S.
  • Most U.S. gas stations require a ZIP code when paying at the pump with a credit card.
  • If prompted for your ZIP code, enter the three digits from your Postal Code plus two zeros.
  • Take the three numbers in your Postal Code.
  • Add two zeros to the end
  • For example, if your Postal Code is A2B 3C4, enter the 5 digit number ZIP code as 23400.

Don't forget Global Emergency Contacts... just in case

  • Mastercard Global Emergency Contact (US): 1-800-Mastercard (1-800-627-8372)
  • ATB Mastercard Service Center direct line 1-403-541-5721 which you can call collect

Now you’re ready to hit the road, air or water and enjoy your getaway to the US. For any money-related travel or protection questions you may have, stop by any branch or give us a call at 1-800-332-8383.


You may also be interested in:

US Dollar Chequing Account

A convenient solution for your south of the border banking needs with 12 free transactions per month.

US Dollar Savings Account

Convert your Canadian dollars to American, and earn interest in American dollars.

US Dollar Mastercard

Enjoy the convenience of shopping and spending in US dollars and no unwanted foreign exchange fees.

US Property Loan

Ready to invest in a vacation property? This creative lending solution could make it a reality.

Travel Protection​

An inexpensive way to protect your lifestyle.​​​​​​​ 

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