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Home > Travelling to Quebec

Travelling to Quebec

Unseful tips for your stay in Quebec
This is a little guide that will be very useful to prepare your next vacation in the province of Quebec. In this section, you will find all the information that will help you during your stay in the province.
Alcohol and tobacco Taxes and gratuities
Weather and seasons Electricity, telephone and postal service
Transportation Credit cards and bank cards
Customs, immigration, passport and visa Language
Opening hours and public holidays Safety
Currency and currency exchange office Budget
Alcohol and tobacco

AlcoholIn the province of Quebec, the legal age is 18. This means that you need to be 18 years old or older to buy alcohol or tobacco products or to enter in bars and pubs. On the entire territory of Quebec, you can buy wine and spirits at the Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ) stores, which you will find in all the major cities of the province. You can also buy beer and tobacco products at grocery stores or at corner stores (opened later than other stores).

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Wheather and seasons

Weather in QuebecIn Quebec, there are four seasons. Spring lasts from mid-March to mid-June; summer lasts from mid-June to mid-September; fall follows summer from mid-September to mid-December and winter comes after from mid-December to mid-March. The average temperatures in the summer are about 15° C to 26° C in Montréal, but from 5° C to 17 ° C in Kuujjuaq in Nunavik. In the winter, they go from -5° C to -12° C in Montréal, while in Kuujjuaq, they are about -19 C to -28° C. Make sure you bring warm clothes when you visit Quebec in the winter, whatever the region you choose to visit. Winds can also change the temperatures greatly, making it cooler in the summer and colder in the winter. The best option is to always carry warm clothes with you, even in the summer. Make sure you also carry a warmer sweater, especially in the spring and fall, since once the evening comes, the temperatures are colder.

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Transportation

Plane transportationQuebec is well served by an extensive public transportation system. Two international airports, in Montréal and in Québec city, allow visitors to enter the province. Smaller airports serve the other regions. You can also travel to most of the regions by train, which is a great means of transportation, since it lets you the pleasure to rest, eat, or read while travelling. A great network of busses drives people between the main cities of the province and allows you to travel safely. The car is also an interesting option. In most of the cities, you will find car rental companies. In order to rent a car, you need to have a valid international driver’s license and be 25 years old or older. If you choose to drive your own car, you need to have a valid international driver’s license.

To travel inside the cities without having to worry, choose public transportation. Every city has a public transportation network. It normally costs between $2 and $3 for a ticket that will allow you to take more than one bus to get to your destination. In Montréal, you can buy a ticket that gives you access to the metro and the bus for a flat rate, and that ticket is good for a week.

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Customs, immigration, passport and visa

Canadian customsWhen you enter Canada, you need to have a valid passport, unless you are a United States citizen and you are travelling by car or by bus. In this case, you will only need to have a proof of citizenship, like a birth certificate or a picture identification card. If you are a United States citizen and you are travelling by plane, you need to have a valid passport. In addition to having a valid passport, visitors from certain countries also need a visit visa. Make sure you have all the information you need from the Consulate or Embassy of Canada in your country, or on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website at www.cic.gc.ca/english/. Certain products cannot be brought in Quebec. For more information on what you can bring with you, visit the Canada Border Services Agency website at www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/ to get the complete list of the articles you can or cannot bring. Whether you are coming to Quebec by plane, train, bus or car, you will have to submit to a custom control.

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Opening hours and public holidays

Public holidaysIn Quebec, businesses are opened 7 days a week. Boutiques are normally opened from Monday to Wednesday from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, on Thursday and Friday from 9:30 am to 9pm, on Saturday from 9am to 5 pm and on Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Grocery stores, drugstores, corner stores and restaurants have extended hours, like bars and pubs, which close at 3am.

Quebec’s public holidays are the following :

- January 1st
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- The Monday preceding May 25th
- July 1st, or if this falls on a Sunday, July 2nd
- The first Monday in September (Labour Day)
- The second Monday of October (Thanksgiving)
- December 25th

On those days, most of the businesses are closed, except for drugstores, grocery stores and corner stores. Make sure you get the right information about the reduced opening hours of those businesses during those holidays. Most of the tourist sites operated by the government are also closed during those holidays, but it’s always good to call before going anywhere to get information about the schedule.

A great proportion of Quebecers (about 25%) go on vacation during the last two weeks of July. It is then recommended to plan your vacation well if you want to visit Quebec during those dates. If you plan to visit Quebec during those dates, make sure you make your reservation in advance, because most of the campgrounds, hotels and motels are busier during that period of the summer.

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Currency and currency exchange office

The currency used in Quebec is the Canadian dollar. It is divided into 100 cents. Canadian money is available in 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar bills and in coins of 1, 5, 10 and 25 cents, as well as in 1 and 2 dollar coins. You can change your money in most of the banks (be careful because they have reduced opening hours), as well as in the currency exchange bureaus in major hotels, in airports and in some of the larger cities. If you wish to know how much your money is worth in Canadian dollars, you can visit the following website: www.xe.com/.

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Taxes and gratuities

GratuitiesIn Quebec, there are two taxes applicable on all the transformed goods and on all the services. These taxes are the GST (Goods and Services Tax) and the PST (Provincial Sales Tax). The GST is 5% and the PST is 7.5% and is added on top of the GST. Most of the tourist regions also charge a lodging tax of $2 or $3 per room per night, to which are added the GST and PST.

Gratuities in Quebec are not included in the prices. At the restaurant and in bars, you need to leave a tip of about 15% of the bill. Most of the Quebecers normally add both taxes of the bill, which equals about 15%, to know the right amount of tip to leave. It is also recommended to leave a tip to the taxi driver and to the hairdresser, but there is no minimum amount required. At the hotel, the bellboy and the baggage handler normally are awaiting a tip of $1 per piece of carried luggage.

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Electricity, telephone and postal service

DamElectric current in Quebec is 110 volts and outlets cannot receive European plugs. If you come from Europe, you will then need to buy an adapter. Everywhere in Quebec, telephone booths can be found in the cities and in most of the gas stations. You can pay for your calls with coins (normally 25 cents for local phone calls), with a prepaid calling card or with your credit card. You can buy prepaid calling cards in most of the corner stores, drugstores and souvenir shops.

The postal service in Quebec works from Monday to Friday. The post offices are normally opened during the normal business hours. At the post office, you can also buy envelopes and boxes to send your packages back home.

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Credit cards and bank cards

shoppingMost of the boutiques and shops allow customers to pay with their credit cards or their bank cards. This is the safest way to pay. All the cities and towns have cash dispensers (ATM) where you can withdraw money from your bank account with your bank card or your credit card. Note that some administration fees might be taken from your account.

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Language

In Quebec, the official language is French. Most of the hotel, bar and restaurant staff also speak English. Some hotels offer services in other languages. In this case, you will see a sign at the reception desk. Be patient with people who don’t speak English well, they are trying to understand you, but that can take a few repetitions from you. If you are a French speaker from another country, you must keep in mind that Quebecers don’t use the same words or expressions than you do to describe the same realities. You can always buy a guide of the French spoken in Quebec to make sure you understand all the typical expressions.

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Safety

Quebec is a very safe province. The criminal rate is very low, and even the big cities are safe at night. So don’t hesitate to walk around town at night, or to take public transportation.

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Budget

When you decide to travel to Quebec, you should plan your budget. Here are some essential tips to remember when planning your budget. Keep in mind that the currency used in Quebec is the Canadian dollar. You will then need to exchange your money before you arrive in Quebec or upon your arrival. You can always find your way around with American money, but the exchange rate between those two currencies is so low that it’s not worth it. Moreover, businesses have to give you the change back in Canadian dollars and they always keep a certain percentage for administration fees.

Normally, you can plan that a night in a hotel room costs between about $50 and $350 depending on the type of room and on the category of hotel as well as on the time of the year you are coming. For a campground site, you can plan about $20 per night for a site with 1 or 2 services.

For the meals, you can plan about $5 to $10 for breakfast, from $10 to $15 for lunch and from $15 to $100 for dinner. Don’t forget to add the taxes and gratuities to the bill. For a taxi ride, the flat rate is now $3.15. The total price for a taxi ride varies depending on the number of kilometres and on the duration of the ride.

You can also use public transportation in larger cities. A bus ticket costs about $2.50, and you can take more than one bus with the same ticket. In Montréal, it costs $11.50 for 6 tickets, or you can buy a ticket for both the bus and the metro, valid for one week.

If you have decided to drive to Quebec, you need to plan money for the gas. Gas prices vary depending on the region where you are and the time of the year, but you should normally pay between $1.20 and $1.80 for a litre.

In the bars and pubs, you can normally get a beer for $4 to $6 a glass. Drinks and liquors are more expensive and cost about $6 to $10. Make sure you plan to leave a tip of about 15% of the bill to the server.

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