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Flying out of Canada to Europe as US citizen?

What do I need to know about driving to Canada and then flying to Ireland as a US citizen? Its a 5 hour drive from my home town to Regina Canada for flights that are half as much as the nearest US airport 2 hours away. The flights I have looked at out of Regina would be at 6 A.M. Do i have time to check in for that ? I have never flown international so I am not sure what to expect.


Posted by
6746 posts

Bring your US passport and check your airline's exact language for when to check in (usually it's at least 2 hours prior to flight). If your flight is at 6am, I am guessing you'll be spending the night near the airport.

Posted by
2516 posts

With a 6AM flight 5 hours away, you will want to spend the night by the airport in Regina. A 6AM flight means checking in at 4 (check the requirements for your airline, 2 hours is a rule of thumb only), which would mean leaving your home 11PM. Earlier, since you could get delayed at the Canadian border (routine traffic stops, etc). So - book a cheap airport hotel in advance to get a good rate. Many offer park-and-stay deals where if you stay in their hotel, they will allow you to park your car there for free or very cheap - saving you $$ on parking.

Make sure to have your passport ready for the US-Canada border crossing. If you've crossed the US/Canada border by car before this should be no different. Then on the day of the flight check in 2 hours + in advance (look at airline and/or airport requirements). Show your passport when asked. Is this a direct flight Regina to Ireland, or do you change flights along the way?

Posted by
2516 posts

Ok, good, you are staying in Canada for your connection. If your flight had been Regina to New York (or anywhere else in the US) to Ireland, then you'd have to go through immigration to re-enter the US in NY (or where ever). This is fine, but is a bit of hassle. Luckily, you will simply change flights in Toronto and be on your way.

Posted by
159 posts

Hey Kevin, that's a smart move.

We did this same thing last summer. We live in Seattle, but found a much cheaper fare out of Vancouver, BC. So googled "park and fly, found a decent hotel near the Vancouver airport that also offered free parking while we were in Europe, and booked one night. We drove up the night before our flight, parked the car, had a good night's rest, then took the hotel's shuttle to the airport and comfortably caught our flight with no stress.

Even with the hotel/parking cost, our little family of 4 came out about $1200 ahead as opposed to flying out of SEA. Probably more, as we would have had to pay to park at Seatac anyway! Added bonus, the food and sundries we bought at YVR in CAN$ while awaiting our flight were all on sale compared to what they cost in US $ (at the time, the exchange rate gave us about a 30% discount... : )

I'd do it all again in a heartbeat...

Posted by
3523 posts

I'm taking the fly through Canada approach this summer as well. I am saving about $600 flying from Vancouver BC than the cost of flying from Seattle.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks everyone for the advice. I was surprised at how much lower the prices out of Canada were. Its only a extra 3 1/2 hour drive for tickets half price. This is my first trip out of the country so Ill being asking a lot more questions Im sure! This is a great source for information!

Posted by
3899 posts

You Americans are killing it with the exchange rate right now, so that is a big help. I read an article in the paper about how a lot fewer Canadians are crossing the border for flights because of our bad exchange rate. And a lot more Americans are taking advantage.

Posted by
6570 posts

Is going thru Toronto your only flight option out of Regina? It's actually out of your way. The flights out of Vancouver go north instead of east when going to Europe. Also, if you're flying out at 6:00 a.m., there could be a good chance you're going to be sitting in another airport for many hours. We're flying out of Orlando in April to Rome leaving at 9:00 p.m.

And we've been hearing of some customer complaints about the Toronto Airport, especially coming back from Europe connecting there.

Sometimes the lowest fare is not necessarily the best value. Total time in route is very important to me as I don't care to sit long in one place. The trip is difficult enough without having to drive 5 hours and get up at 3:00 a.m. to go to the airport.

Posted by
13 posts

We are doing the same flying out of Calgary, that saves us over $4000 for the 7 tickets we have to buy. Yes I am hauling all the kids to Europe. It is an 8 hour drive for us but I will gladly drive 8 hours to save $4000. We plan on giving ourselfs a few hours cushion just in case the border is slow and any unforseen time killers.