3What should you pack for your Working Holiday Permit experience in Canada?

What should you pack for your Working Holiday Permit experience in Canada?

Buying winter clothing before coming to Canada or once in Canada is a decision you will have to make based on your budget, season of arrival, and local availability/price of winter gear.

Basically, this is what you will need to “survive” during winter in Canada.

Winter clothing essentials

  • This is what you will need to weather the (winter) storm:
  • Winter coat or winter jacket
  • Breathable long-sleeve or short-sleeve thermal t-shirts (short or long sleeves)
  • Scarf or neck warmer
  • Warm, breathable socks (thermal socks, cashmere or merino socks)
  • Long johns, tights or leggings (to be worn under jeans or pants when it’s really cold)
  • Warm fleece-lined beanie or tuque covering your ears
  • Fleece jacket or a lined jacket
  • Gloves and gloves liners (waterproof is best)
  • Waterproof boots (e.g. mid-boot or high-boot for winter walking) with non-slip soles

Optional clothing for winter activities:

  • Waterproof snow pants
  • Waterproof ski jacket
  • Ski gloves
  • Soft shell jacket

You can easily find new and used ski, ice skating, ice hockey, etc., equipment in Canada.

Summer clothing essentials

Summer weather in Canada can get really hot and humid (and you will appreciate it after winter!) This is what you will need:

  • Underwear, socks, tights
  • T-shirts, tank tops
  • Shorts, skirts, pants, jeans
  • Shirts, business suits (if necessary)
  • Sandals, sneakers, dress shoes
  • Swimsuits, sunglasses, etc.

Note that you will find all the clothing and equipment you need in Canada. Don’t pack too much and don’t freak out if you need anything—chances are you’ll be able to buy your favourite brand in Canada.

Camping and outdoor gear

So, you’re the outdoorsy kind, eh? Many Canadians are too, so plenty of stores specialize in sports and outdoor gear, including Sail, Sports Expert, La Cordée, Plein Air Entrepôt, MEC, etc. However, for the same quality, prices are generally higher than in Europe—don’t hesitate to bring equipment if you still have room and you want to save as much money as possible.

This is what you could pack:

  • Sleeping bag (also useful in hostels), check the temperature rating depending on your needs and plans
  • Tent (only if you are sure you use it, it’s heavy and bulky to bring!)
  • Swiss Army knife (somewhat pricey in Canada)
  • Hiking backpack
  • Hiking or trail running shoes

Professional gear

You may want to take your professional equipment with you—makeup for makeup artists, hairdressing tools and supplies for stylists or kitchen knives for cooks. Note that your equipment will have to be in your checked luggage and read What you can bring home to Canada to make sure you’re not travelling with prohibited or regulated consumer products.

Hunters hoping to bring their firearm must declare it and get a firearms licence.

Electronic devices

The standard voltage is 110 V in Canada (and in North America).

Many electronic devices are dual voltage, meaning they automatically convert to run on other voltage systems—for instance, you should be able to use your laptop, phone or camera charger, etc.

It’s a different story for hair dryers, electric shavers, electric toothbrushes, etc. If they are built for 220 V, they may not work in Canada or malfunction and get damaged. You could buy a converter but they tend to be pricey and bulky, it may not be worth it. And by the way, if you buy these items in Canada, they may not work back home either.

You will probably need an adapter so that the plugs on your electronics fit into Canadian outlets. This smart accessory doesn’t change the voltage and is much cheaper than a converter. Multiplug adapters are very handy to plug in several devices at the same time.

You may want to bring your favourite devices and accessories—camera, tripod, drone, smartphone (make sure your phone is unlocked to switch to a Canadian SIM card easily!), car charger, laptop, hard drive, etc.

Personal care products and medication

Read Travelling with medication for more detailed and official information on bringing prescription medication (including for a chronic condition or birth control).

One solution is to bring a one-year or two-year supply of birth control pills—ask your healthcare professional for a prescription before your trip. Emergency contraceptive pills (“the morning after pill” or “Plan B”) can be purchased over the counter at pharmacies in Canada, you won’t need a prescription to get them. Condoms can be bought in pharmacies and supermarkets and a wide range of period products—pads, tampons, cups, etc.—are available in Canada.

Personal care products (deodorant, soap, toothpaste, etc.) are sold in supermarkets and in pharmacies (Rexall, Jean Coutu, Pharmaprix, Shoppers Drug Mart, etc.). Chances are you’ll be familiar with brands sold in Canada but if you’re addicted to a specific product only found locally, bring it (in your checked luggage, for liquids…).

As for skincare products, you’ll find a range of American brands, (pricey) imported European brands and everything in between. Same goes for makeup.

Carry-on luggage essentials

This is what you should take on board:

  • earplugs (for chatty seatmates and engine noise)
  • e-book reader, book, an audiobook, podcasts, music
  • headphones (most airlines offer personal on-board entertainment systems with movies and music, but headphones are not always provided free of charge)
  • eye mask (if you can’t sleep with lights on)
  • compression socks (to reduce leg swelling and discomfort)
  • travel pillow for neck support
  • travel blanket or scarf (it can get cold with the air con!)
  • bottle of water and snack
  • first aid kit (with sanitary pads and your favourite drug for headaches, stomach aches, etc.)
  • comfortable clothes and easy-to-take-off shoes (to get through security faster!)
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Cofondatrice de pvtistes.net, j'ai fait 2 PVT, au Canada et en Australie. Deux expériences incroyables ! Je vous retrouve régulièrement sur nos comptes Insta et Tiktok @pvtistes avec plein d'infos utiles !
Cofounder of pvtistes.net. I went to Canada and Australia on Working Holiday aventures. It was amazing!

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