Whether you're traveling to the States for a vacation or an extended stay, preparation is the key to making sure your trip south of the border is enjoyable and stress-free. Our comprehensive checklist will help you prepare.

Your home

Ensure the safety and security of your home.
❑  Review your insurance policy to find out your coverage when your home is unoccupied for a period of time.
❑  Consider hiring a house sitter, or ask a trusted friend or family member to frequently check your home while you’re away.

Travel and health insurance

Review your current travel and health related insurance.
❑  Make sure you’re covered for unexpected emergency medical expenses, trip interruption, and lost or stolen baggage.

TIP: Your provincial health plan or coverage through your credit card or work may not fully protect you.
* If you are a frequent traveler, explore whether you could save time and money with a multi-trip annual plan.

Medical information

Take your important medical information with you.
  Ask your doctor to provide a longer-term prescription so you won’t have to refill it while you’re away.
❑  Get the name and number of a local doctor and the nearest hospital at your destination.
  Take your Provincial Health Insurance card(s) with you to the U.S.

Vehicle insurance, licensing, and registration

Review your insurance and the licensing/registration requirements for your destination.
  Check whether you need to register your vehicle in the U.S.
  Determine if you will need a U.S. driver license, since requirements vary by state.
  Do you want/need to have roadside assistance coverage while in the U.S.?
  Take your vehicle insurance documents with you to the U.S.


Review legal documents and consider potential U.S. tax liability.
❑  Confirm that your legal documents will be applicable at your destination. Your power of attorney/letter of direction may not be valid in a particular state if not prepared in a specific manner.
❑  Bring your passport and other legal documents with you to the U.S.
❑  Review the length of your stay in relationship to U.S. residency and tax implications.

TIP: The formula to determine U.S. taxability is the sum of:

  • All days spent in the U.S. during the current year
    + one-third of all days spent in the U.S. during the previous year
    + one-sixth of all days spent in the U.S. during the year before that
    ≥ 183 days

You may be required to pay U.S. taxes, unless you have filled out and submitted Form 8840 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which proves Canadian tax and residency responsibilities. For more information, visit irs.gov and search for Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.


Obtain a U.S.-based checking account and debit and credit card, if you don’t already have one.

  You’ll need a U.S.-based checking account to pay bills in the U.S.

TIP: Already have a U.S. checking account at RBC Bank? Before you leave Canada, make sure you:

  • Have your U.S.-based debit card, so you can access your U.S.-based bank account and ATMs. Make sure you know your PIN.
  • Have your RBC Bank checks.

  You’ll also need a U.S.-based credit card to make U.S. purchases and avoid currency exchange fees.
  Get a U.S.-based debit card so you can get cash when you make a debit card purchase at major retail merchants.
  Identify the most convenient no-fee ATMs where you’ll be able to get cash and make deposits to and from your U.S.-based accounts.

  • Update your RBC Bank account preferences. At rbcbank.com, sign in to your U.S.-based RBC Bank Online Banking, click Customer Service, and select My Profile & Preferences to:
  • Provide your updated mailing address, phone number(s), and email address.
  • Sign up to receive eStatements for your deposit accounts, credit cards, and lines of credit which will ensure your statements reach you anywhere.
  • Enroll in RBC Bank Automated Telephone Banking so you can confirm your balance, transfer funds, initiate stop payments, order checks, and make credit card inquiries 24/7/365.
  • Enroll in RBC Bank Remote Deposit on your smart phone or personal computer to securely transmit check images for electronic deposit.

Don't forget to:

 Forward your mail or have a plan for someone to collect it for you.
 Cancel or place a hold on newspaper or magazine subscriptions.
❑ Add international roaming to your cell phone service call/text/data plan.
 Identify the most convenient no-fee ATM.


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