No we are not criminals. We didn’t break any rules. What we did was 100% legal. It was also pretty badass and expensive as hell. It was also the only loophole for crossing the Canada-U.S. land border that we could find in the time of COVID. If you’re up for it, you can do it too. Keep reading to find out how you can cross the Canada-U.S. land border with your car, truck campervan, RV or Airstream.
The Coronavirus has changed the way we’re able to travel. It’s just not as simple hoping on a plane or driving across a border anymore. At least, not right now. If you’re from Canada or the U.S., then I’m sure you’re aware that the land border between the two countries has been closed since March 21st, 2020. HOWEVER, you have always been able to FLY into the U.S. from Canada. BUT, Americans cannot travel Canada…period. Does this make sense? Somewhat. My assumption is the government has been trying to limit people from taking quick day-long road trips or weekend trips across the border. Every month, they continue to give us a glimpse of hope of reopening the border. Then they shatter those dreams by extending again, and again, and again… If you’re wondering what I think about all of this, which I assume you do since you’re on my blog, I say it’s been a big fat TIMES UP for a while now.
For those of you who are sick of waiting for the border to open like I’ve been, you no longer have to. There’s a major loophole for crossing the Canada-U.S. land border we found that will get you AND your RV or car across. How? Like this…
The Major Loophole That Will Get You and Your RV Across the Canada-U.S. Border
Although the borders have been closed for 17+ months to non-essential travel, it’s been open for essential or commercial travel. This mean we were able to hire a shipping company to transport our truck and Airstream across the Niagara Falls/Buffalo border. Doing it this way isn’t a secret either. In fact, the border agents are used to it by now. Since the beginning of the pandemic, cars have being commercially transported daily and RV’s weekly across the border. We literally paid a commercial truck driver $1600 CAD + tax to drive our truck with the Airstream attached across the border. If we were shipping only our truck, it would have cost $700 CAD + tax. This may seem like a pretty hefty fee. But, if you’re planning to be road tripping in the U.S. for at least a week, renting a car or truck will most likely cost you more than that. An RV rental is definitely more too. Trust me, we just did it earlier this year and it was very expensive.
We Also Hired a Private Helicopter
We also hired a private helicopter to fly us (me, my husband Siya, daughter and dog) across the border to meet our truck and Airstream in a private airport terminal. This 15-minute helicopter ride from Niagara Falls to Buffalo cost us $1500 CAD + tax. We chose to fly in a private helicopter because $1500 was the max fee, regardless of how many passengers flew (it could hold up to 3), plus they allow dogs. It would have cost about the same to fly 3 passengers on a commercial plane, but would have taken much longer (25 hours to be exact). We also would have had to put our pup in cargo. In the end, we paid a grand total of $3503 CAD in order to get our family of four to the U.S. from Canada along with our truck and Airstream. Was it worth it? 100%, yes!
Departure Day Was a Breeze
The entire process leading up to departure was lengthly, but the actual travel day was SUPER laid back. We booked our entire mission with Great Lake Helicopters, who offer a shipping/private helicopter package to help you get across the Canada-U.S. border successfully. When I say the process was lengthly, it’s because there’s a lot of paper work to fill out before the great escape, along with COVID testing to book and undergo. Booking our COVID tests alone took me an entire working day to figure out and set us back $800 CAD. Canada does not make it easy for you to leave.
NOTE: I’m still not sure if you need a PCR test to enter the U.S. from Canada. The official U.S. government website says you can travel to the U.S. with a negative rapid antigen test, but in Canada they won’t give it to you if it’s meant for travel. I literally called airports, Health Canada, travel clinics and COVID testing labs, and no one gave me a straight answer to whether I can travel to the U.S. with a negative rapid antigen test. Why did I care? The rapid antigen cost $40 per person where the PCR test cost $225 per person. There are some private clinics who do testing but most tests are done through Life Labs at select Shoppers Drug Mart across the country. Again, Canada does not make it that simple to leave.
What We’re Doing in the U.S.
We had planned to be in the U.S. in May with our Airstream. Obviously, that plan didn’t work out. So, we waited a month…and then another. Finally, we said enough is enough and agreed to do the whole ship and fly. We arrived in the U.S. on July 14th. On July 21st, Canada extended the closure of the land border with the U.S. to nonessential travel through at least Aug. 21, 2021. Surprise, surprise. We’re so glad we didn’t wait.
We’ll now be spending the rest of 2021 driving across the U.S. We have an incredible road trip mapped out, and we can’t wait to share this epic adventure with you. The year will end with us in Florida where we are shipping the Airstream to our land in Costa Rica.
If you’re full-time RV living like us, and don’t want to spend another winter in Canada or you just want to road trip in the US, then this is the major loophole for crossing the Canada-U.S. land border that worked for us. Hopefully it will work for you too! The lengths we go for adventure…but it’s always worth it.
If you have any additional questions about the company we went with or the entire process, feel free to leave a comment below.