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Wednesday, 07 February 2018 05:01

Taking a Trip Across the US Border

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canadian passportThe wild beauty of Canada might satisfy all your desires for a road trip experience, but if you get the urge to head south into the States, you’ll be able to experience a whole new world of motorcycling heaven.

Before you go, you’ll need to make sure you have some essential items on board and know what to expect when you reach the border.

Preparation

You’ll need your passport and driver’s license, your Nexus pass if you have one, plus some American coins for tolls. Don’t leave without your wallet and cell phone, and make sure the phone is fully charged. Pack any equipment you might need such as drinks, snacks, and wet weather gear. Before you pack, check the US customs regulations for anything you aren’t allowed to take across the border. US roads and speed limits are measured in miles rather than kilometers, so be aware of how many kilometers there are to a mile (8 kph is equivalent to about 5mph) and if you have an electronic speedometer change it to the mph (Imperial) setting. It’s useful to know where you can get bike spares and supplies when you’re in the States, so take some details of retailers like PEAK Auto in case you need anything while you’re over there.

The Queue

The border crossing is very busy, and you can easily find yourself stuck in the queue. Long weekends in the summer are best avoided, as are peak commuting times. Go for the early morning if you can, before 8 am. There are also websites that will tell you what the expected waiting times are before you go. If you have a Nexus pass you can get waved through more quickly - they’re available to Canadian citizens who have been through a pre-security check process. If you are stuck in traffic, take advantage of the delay by switching the bike’s engine off and having a leg stretch. You might as well leave the engine off and push the bike forwards until you get closer, to avoid turning the engine on and off all the time.

Crossing over

It’s sensible to take your helmet off before talking to the border guard. Answer their questions honestly and politely. After all, they have a job to do and won’t appreciate your impatience. You might get asked questions about where you live and where you intend to travel to, and for what purpose. If you’re vacationing, there won’t be any problem; it’s only if you were intending to work that you’d get tied up with needing documentation. Once you’re in, make the most of your time and enjoy the extensive road networks that can take you on almost deserted tours for hours at a time. On your return crossing, the main concern will be whether you are bringing back anything you shouldn’t or are over your personal purchase limits. You’ll be asked how long you were out of the country and whether you have anything to declare. You need to be able to prove how much money you spent so total up your expenditure and keep hold of your receipts.

With a bit of forethought and the right planning, you’ll find the crossing is simple to negotiate and well worth the effort.

Last modified on Wednesday, 07 February 2018 22:17
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