Table of Contents
Find a Place to Stay in Banff
Many accommodations in this area fill up for the summer holidays at a rapid pace. If you are planning on visiting the Canadian Rockies do not hesitate – Banff National Park receives over 4.5 million visitors a year – the bulk of which visit in June – Sept. followed by a second wave for the ski season – book in advance. Many accommodations in the Banff area also offer ski packages, cater to families or have special suites for your wedding or romantic getaway.
Customs & Immigration
Visitors to Canada will need the appropriate travel documents.
International visitors to Canada must carry a valid passport and, if required, a valid visa. Canada has introduced a new entry requirement, known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. On March 15, 2016, this new requirement became mandatory. Some travellers will need an eTA before they can board their flight to Canada. For example, if you are a Green Card holder in the USA, you will need an eTA (citizens are exempt) Visit Immigration & Citizenship Canada for more information on travel documents and entry requirements.
Canada Border Services Agency
The Canada Border Services Agency manages Alberta’s border with the United States using domestic laws that govern trade and travel. For an overview of what’s involved when you enter Alberta, including ports of entry, duty free allowances, summer holiday travel tips, even wait times at border crossings, visit: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html
Revolvers, pistols, fully automatic firearms, self-defence sprays (e.g. mace, pepper spray) are prohibited entry into Alberta. All firearms (e.g. hunting rifles, shotguns) must be declared. For more information on the Canadian Firearms Program, call 1-800-731-4000
Food, Plant & Animal Inspections
Travellers are required to properly declare any meats, fruits, vegetables, plants, animals and plant or animal products they bring into Alberta.
Here’s a bunch of stuff that’s good to know before you get here. You’ll find everything from packing tips to park entry and wildlife safety. Will your electrical devices work in Alberta? Do you know how to convert miles to kilometres? More info – https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/kwte-qatf-eng.html
What To Pack
The weather in Alberta can change quickly so it’s best to dress in layers in any season. Bring a hat and sunglasses to provide protection from strong sunlight. A light jacket or pull over for those cool mornings or late nights.
Alberta is in the Mountain Time Zone (GMT -7 hours).
Alberta is the only province in Canada without a provincial sales tax (PST). The Government of Canada charges five per cent goods and services tax (GST) on most purchases.
When you are in Alberta and British Columbia’s forests and mountains, remember you are in bear country. You can also expect to see other large animals such as moose, elk, deer, bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Never attempt to approach, harass or feed any wild animal. When on foot, keep a safe distance at all times – at least 100 m (more than 300 ft). Most animals will avoid you if they can hear you coming, so make lots of noise when hiking. Stay in your vehicle when viewing animals along roadways. Pick up brochures at visitor centres for safety tips. Did we say NEVER, NEVER, NEVER feed wildlife!
Health and Insurance
Alberta’s health-care plan does not cover out-of-province visitors. Clarify your coverage with your personal insurance carrier before entering Alberta as you may wish to obtain additional health insurance.
Fishing and Hunting Regulations
Fishing licenses outside the national parks can be purchased from select sporting goods stores, convenience stores and some gas stations. Call 1-888-944-5494 for further details. Hunting regulations and special licensing requirements vary depending on the type of hunting. Hunting is prohibited in national parks. If you are an angler, hunter and/or trapper, check out these links for more information:
National Park Entry
Park passes are required for entry into any national park in Canada. You can buy a day pass at a park gate, but if you intend to spend time in any of Canada’s national parks, consider an annual Parks Canada Discovery Pass. With it, you can visit more than 100 national parks, marine conservation areas and historic sites across Canada. Passes are not required for entering our provincial parks or recreation areas.
Cannabis is legal across Canada on October 17, 2018. In Alberta, people 18 years of age and older may smoke or vape cannabis in private homes or on private property. Rules about consumption in public places vary by municipality, so visitors need to check the rules of the places they are visiting. It is illegal to take cannabis across international borders. Travellers are expected to understand and abide by international travel laws. For more information visit the Government of Canada Cannabis and international travel web page
Weather & Climate
Alberta is a four-season destination. Our province is ranked number one by Environment Canada for having the most comfortable weather overall in Canada.
Summer: daytime highs are normally 20 to 25°C (68 to 77°F) but can reach the mid to upper 30s (90s). Winter: in the coldest months of the year, January and February, daytime temperatures range from -5 to -15°C (23 to 5°F). They can drop as low as -30 to -40°C (-22 to -40°F) for short periods of time.
Alberta has the highest number of sunny days in Canada with 312 annually.
Annual precipitation in Alberta averages 30-60 cm (12-24 in). April > June are the rainiest months in the Canadian Rockies.
WI-FI & Phones
Cellphone coverage in Alberta is widely available. You’ll find 3G and 4G networks throughout the province, with Canada’s fastest 4G LTE network available in many urban centres.
Most of Alberta’s hotels offer wifi service. Free wifi hotspots can also be found in our international airports, many of our Visitor Information Centres, as well as some coffee shops and restaurants, including international chains like Starbucks and McDonalds.
Alberta Public Holidays
- New Year’s Day – Wed., Jan. 1
- Family Day – Mon., Feb. 17
- Good Friday – Fri., Apr. 10
- Easter Monday – Mon., Apr. 13
- Victoria Day – Mon., May 18
- Canada Day – Wed., Jul. 1
- Civic Holiday – Mon., Aug. 3
- Labour Day – Mon., Sep. 7
- Thanksgiving – Mon., Oct. 12
- Remembrance Day – Wed., Nov. 11
- Christmas Day – Fri., Dec. 25