Everything Metro Vancouver travellers need to know for Canada Day long weekend trips (2024)

TheCanada Border Services Agency welcomed over one million travellers across the Canada-U.S. border over theweekend in 2023.

Travellers catching flights, ferries, or driving out of the Lower Mainland should brace for increased traffic over the Canada Day long weekend.

Traffic will be busiest leaving Metro Vancouver on Friday (June 28) and returning Monday, which is the Canada Day holiday. However, the weekend may see an uptick in travellers visiting from other areas.

TheCanada Border Services Agency (CBSA)welcomed more than one million travellers across the Canada-U.S. border over theweekend in 2023.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)plans to welcome 7.8 million passengers over the summer and many of them plan to travel over the long weekend.

Air passengers who booked with WestJetshould monitor their flights; some flights have been cancelled due to the strike action.The airline introduced flexible booking policies for flights and vacation packagesfor the long weekend.

Tips for driving across the Canada-U.S. border

The CBSArecommends that travellers crossthe borderat non-peakhours, such as the early morning. The agency says Mondays after holiday long weekends tend to be the busiest.

Drivers using a GPS application (such as Google Maps, Apple Maps or Waze) to getto a port of entry, shouldcheckdifferent navigation options (such as fastest and shortest routes) to determine the best route.

  • Check theborder wait timesweb page before you leave: Travellersshouldcheck the U.S.border wait timeswell before they leave to see current conditions.Also,best to check the official CBSADirectory of Offices and Servicesfor a port of entry’s hours of operation.
  • Have yourtravel documentshandy: Whether travelling by land, air or water, you can help speed things up by coming prepared with your travel documents.
  • Special forms for dogs (and other animal pals): Anyone planning tobring a peton holiday or import one back into the country must completethe requisite forms.
  • Recommendations for travelling with children: Whentravelling with children, it is recommended that the accompanying adult have aconsent letter authorizing themto travel with the child. Border services officers are always watching formissing children. Inthe absence of the letter, officers may ask additional questions, to help them identify the relationship between the child and the accompanying adult.

Tips for flying in and out of theVancouver Airport (YVR)

Travellers should check weather conditions several days before their flight intheir departure city and destination. If your flight is in North America, monitormajorstorms across the continent.

If possible, booking a backup flight provides an option during peak travel times when cancellations are likely. Depending on the fare class you book, you can cancel the backup flightand use the credit for future travel.

Always book travel insurance with trip interruption, trip cancellation, medical for over$5 million, and comprehensive baggage loss and delay. Read the fine print closely.

Save time withAdvance Declaration

The CBSAadvises travellers tosave time passingthrough customs by making an advancedeclarationin the ArriveCan app. The advance declaration is admissible at the following airports:Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Billy Bishop, Calgary and Edmonton.

Usingthe ArriveCanappcuts a traveller's time at a kiosk or eGate by up to 50 per cent, according to CBSA data.

The pandemic-introduced app is also useful for travellers who need to make atight connection in another Canadian cityon the way to Vancouver. For example, if your first stop is at Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ), you must go through customs in Torontobefore flying to YVR. Filling out your information in the app in advance will allow you to move through a priority lane.

Travellers should also check in with their airline before heading to the airport. This will speed up the process of checking in once they arrive.

YVR also offersseveral tips to help travellers save time at the airport.

Book your spot for security screening in advance

Consider usingYVRExpressto reserve your spot in security screening. The toolis available for those flying withinCanadaor to the U.S. and allows you to pre-book your spot up to 72 hours before your flight, even during peak holiday hours.

Use YVR's'Journeys'tool

YVR offers a tool that allows passengers to view astep-by-step guidethrough the airport based on theirspecific flightinformation.

Parking atYVRor usingotherforms of transportation

There are a few different options available for air passengers looking to take advantage of long-term parking at YVR. All of them are priced based on convenience, meaning the faster you can get to the terminal from your car, the higher the cost of keeping your vehicle at the airport. Have a look at thepros and cons of these options.

Use your smartphone to speed up your time in line

Locals who plan to fly to the U.S. from Canada can submit theirpassport and customsdeclaration information through a free, secure appon their smartphone before they leave for a trip. It's called theU.S. Customer Customs Mobile Passport Control (MPC) app.

Tips for sailing with BC Ferries

BC Ferries says there is limited space availablefor customers lookingto book in advancewith a vehicle on routes between Metro Vancouver andVancouver Island and Metro Vancouver and theSunshine Coast.

Thursday and Friday are expected to be themost popular times to travel from Metro Vancouver to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. Monday will be the most popular time for travellers returning to the Lower Mainland.

If you plan to drive on board without a booking during peak times, arrive prepared for sailing waits. To avoid sailing waits, walk on board. If you’re planning to drive, travel on off-peak days (Saturday and Sunday) and times (early morning or late night).

BC Ferries says travellers should checkthecurrent conditionsandall routes at a glancefor the status of their sailing on the day of travel before they head out.

Here are afew more tips for BC Ferries passengers:

  • Arrive early for your trip: BC Ferries recommends arriving at the terminal approximately45-60 minutes before their scheduled departure. Walk-on passengers should arrive 45 minutes before their anticipated sailing.
  • Ride-share, if possible: Customers are encouraged to carpool or travel as a foot passenger. Vehicle deck space fills up quickly.
  • Travel car-free: Take public transit to and from major terminals. For schedule information, visitTransLink online.
  • Consider parking options: Parking lots at the major terminals fill up quickly during peak periods. If possible, choose public transit or arrange to be dropped off at the terminal to avoid traffic congestion.
Everything Metro Vancouver travellers need to know for Canada Day long weekend trips (2024)
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