Canadian flag in front of view of False Creek and the Burrard street bridge in Vancouver, Canada.

Travelling to Vancouver, BC

Posted on August 23, 2018

Planning a trip to Vancouver, BC? Here’s what you need to know about our airports, transportation, currency and other random tips! 


You need a passport to enter Canada. Make sure that your passport does not expire within six months of the departure date.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

YVR is the main airport in Vancouver and very close to downtown Vancouver. You can jump on the Canada Line skytrain to transit straight to downtown (30 minutes) or Richmond (18 minutes). Or you can grab a taxi (25 minutes) to downtown.

Bellingham International Airport (BLI)

BLI airport is located in Bellingham, Washington and approximately an hour and twenty minutes away from downtown Vancouver. This option would require renting a car and crossing the boarder. Airfare to Bellingham can be lower than to YVR but more complicated to get here.

Getting around Vancouver

Transit in Vancouver is called the SkyTrain, which includes buses and the SeaBus to North Vancouver. SkyTrain is the oldest and one of the longest automated driverless light rapid transit systems in the world.

  • 1 zone – After 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays, travel across the entire Metro Vancouver region only requires a one-zone fare.
  • 1 zone – Buses are a one-zone fare, all day, every day.
  • 1 – 3 zone – SkyTrain and SeaBus require a one-, two-, or three-zone fare, depending on the time of day and number of geographical zone boundaries you cross during your trip.
  • 90 minutes – A single fare is valid for 90 minutes on bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus. Your fare is calculated from the time you tap at a card reader. Make note of the time you tap your card when starting your journey.
  • Airport $5 AddFare – All transit users travelling on the Canada Line leaving YVR are subject to a $5 Canada Line YVR AddFare, in addition to the regular zone fare. AddFare is automatically added when a user purchases a fare card.
  • Compass card – Compass is a reloadable fare card for transit. Load Stored Value onto your card and tap in and out of transit. Compass Cards cost $6, which is a refundable deposit, meaning that if you no longer need your card you can return it to us at one of our customer service locations or by mail and receive your deposit back. Each traveler must have his or her own Compass Card or ticket as the system won’t allow “passbacks” (meaning you can’t tap in and then pass your card to the person behind you). However, you can use Compass Card Stored Value to purchase another card or a Compass Ticket for your travel companion at a Compass Vending Machine.

SkyTrain prices

Concession fare eligibility: HandyCard holders, seniors 65 years and older and youth 14 to 18 years with valid photo identification proving age, and children 5 to 13 years. Children under 5 years ride free when accompanied by an adult (maximum 4 children per adult).

Fare Product Zones Adult Concession
1 $2.95 $1.90
2 $4.20 $2.90
3 $5.70 $3.90
Stored Value
(Compass Card)
1 $2.30 $1.85
2 $3.35 $2.85
3 $4.40 $3.85

Driving in Vancouver

Uber and other ride share services are banned in BC so your only options are renting a car or riding taxis.

  • Vancouver Taxi – 604-731-1111
  • Yellow Cab – 604-681-1111
  • McLure’s Cabs – 604-831-1111

Money in Vancouver

Across Canada, we use the Canadian Dollar ($CAD). Canadian businesses accept American credit cards. Ideally, you want to use a credit card that does not have a foreign transaction fee. You can also get cash beforehand or from ATMs.

  • Loonie – the Canadian $1 coin
  • Toonie – the Canadian $2 coin


Here’s our guide to Canadian vocabulary!

Loonie – the Canadian $1 coin.

Toonie – the Canadian $2 coin.

Timmy’s – nickname for the ever most popular, Tim Horton’s for coffee and donuts

Double-double – Order this and you’ll get a regular coffee with two creams and two sugars.

Poutine – all-time Canadian classic late-night food… french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.

Whale’s tail – Also called beaver tails or elephant ears. They are made from fried pastry dough (which are sometimes smothered in toppings like delicious Nutella).

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