Does your job involve frequent travels between the USA or Canada? Or perhaps you’re about to embark on your first commercial trip between the two countries? Well, then you’re certainly in for an interesting ride. The two neighboring countries see millions of people passing through their borders every year. People travel between these two countries for leisure, for business, and for all sorts of activities. But perhaps commercial travel is one of the most interesting ones when it comes to planning and organization.
It requires a certain level of research and responsibility to ensure that all business tasks run as scheduled or intended. Also, missing out on a vital step of your preparation process could lead to significant consequences for your business or could impact your colleagues or partners. This is why planning is essential.
In this article, we’ll share with you a guide to planning a commercial trip between the USA and Canada. We’ll give you tips on the most vital phases of planning your journey and will help you enjoy quicker travels, a stress-free process, and achieve business goals.
So buckle up, you’ll want to remember this.
Apply for a FAST card
Before we even start discussing packing, accommodation, and other factors of your journey, we’d like to focus your attention on one of the most important pieces of advice when it comes to commercial travels between the USA and Canada – the FAST card program.
If you’ve never heard of the FAST card, you’re about to receive insights that could dramatically change your trips between the USA and Canada. However, the card may not be applicable to all readers, as the program is specifically designed for commercial carriers. FAST cardholders are part of a trusted traveler program that is created to make travels between the two countries quicker and easier for commercial carriers like commercial truck drivers. The FAST card is valid for five years and offers a ton of advantages for its holder.
By using a FAST card, you can enjoy quicker and simpler customs processing, you can transport goods into the USA using FAST lanes (making the process a whole lot faster and stress-free), and more. In order to use a FAST card, you need to submit your application. In order to be eligible to apply for a FAST card, you must be:
- A Canadian or U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- A Mexican national
- Have a valid driving license
- Be of age 18 years or older
If you intend to travel between the two countries often as part of your commercial tasks, you can certainly benefit from the opportunities offered by the FAST program. You’ll save time, money, and a lot of headaches.
Know what documentation is required
Before you depart for your trip, make sure you are familiar with the documentation requirements for both countries. Generally, you will need a passport and visa (if applicable) to travel between the USA and Canada. However, check with the specific authorities of each country to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork in order. For example, there are other options that you have if you travel frequently. The NEXUS card is a great example, giving Canadian or U.S. citizens easier access to the countries. The NEXUS card can be used instead of a passport. All NEXUS cardholders have been previously screened and checked. They can enjoy fast lanes at borders, easier customs control, and more.
Make sure to stay up to date with recent amendments in the regulations and requirements of governments when traveling. The last thing you want to experience on your business trip is to provide documentation that is not approved at the border. This could force you to cancel your trip, which could cause serious delays in your business operations.
Book your flights and accommodations in advance
Flight bookings should never be left until the last minute, but this is even a more serious requirement when it comes to business trips. After all, in this case, you’re traveling with a specific purpose and you don’t want any delays to get in your way. If possible, book your flights and accommodations well in advance. This will help ensure that you get the best deals and that you have a place to stay when you arrive.
Of course, via air is not the only option that you have regarding traveling between the USA and Canada. You can travel by land using a car or bus, but you could also travel by sea. As you can imagine, the convenience of a flight often prevails, making air travel the most preferred option today.
Prepare your paperwork in advance
We’ve come to one of the most important parts of planning your commercial trip – paperwork. In order to avoid any delays, make sure you have all your paperwork prepared and organized in advance. This includes your passport, visa (if applicable), travel itinerary, and any other relevant documents. Consider any documentation that you may need for your travels, but also for your work responsibilities in the foreign country. Are you presenting any important data to potential business partners? Are you transporting goods and you need itineraries for?
No matter the case, make sure you’ve got everything you need to experience a smooth and undisturbed business journey.
Know the customs and immigration procedures of both countries
Most readers will probably agree that whenever entering another country, it’s vital to be familiar with the cultural difference, the local customs, and specific behaviors of its residents. This is certainly true and shouldn’t be overlooked. However, before you’ve entered the country, you’ll also face certain customs, requirements, and regulations at the border. And knowing about these is even more important if you want to be granted entry without any delays or conflicts.
Be familiar with the customs and immigration procedures of both countries. This will help ensure a smooth crossing at the border.
Have a contact person in Canada or the USA
Finally, if you are travelling to Canada, it’s a good idea to have a contact person in Canada who can help you with anything you need while you’re there. The same is true if you are travelling to the USA – have a contact person in the USA who can help you out.
We hope that your commercial travel planning will become much easier and you’ll be able to enjoy a smooth and calm journey on your next trip between the USA and Canada.