Are you ready to head to Niagara Falls?! It can be hard to pack to go somewhere you’ve never been before, so I’m sharing this list and a few tips to keep in mind as you pack and prepare to leave.
Of course you’ll need whatever you would normally take when you go on a trip with your family, but there are some additional things you may not have considered. I’ve discussed some of those things in this article, and I’ve also created a printable packing list if you (like me!) enjoy having a list you can check off as you pack.
The weather in Niagara Falls during the fall (and in particular during the time we’ll be there in September) is usually very pleasant! Low temperatures are usually in the mid- to high 50s, and high temperatures are usually in the mid- to high 70s. There may be rain showers now and then, so it’s a good idea to bring an umbrella or light rain coat. And there are likely to be some sunny days too! You can use your umbrella to shield you from the sun, and you may also want to bring some sunscreen.
If you plan to visit the Canadian side of the falls while you’re there, you’ll want to contact your cell phone carrier before you go to find out about their international plans and let them know that you’ll be traveling out of the country. It’s important to note that you may incur charges just by receiving phone calls or text messages while you’re there even if you don’t make calls or send texts.
While you’re in Canada (unless you’ve bought an international cell phone plan that allows you to use your cell phone freely while you’re there), you’ll want to go into the settings on your phone and turn your data off. This will prevent your phone from accessing a network in Canada and charging you possibly huge roaming fees! (These roaming fees can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars, so you’ll want to be sure to check into this ahead of time!)
Note: Some carriers will allow you to add a Canadian plan to your service after you arrive, but some won’t. It’s best to check before you leave home. Also, if you have service with some carriers and you don’t have a Canadian plan, you will simply get a “no service” message on your phone, and you won’t be able to use the internet or receive texts or calls when you’re too close to Canada (even if you’re still on the US side). In other words, be absolutely sure to check with your carrier before you leave home!
Debit and/or Credit Cards
You will want to contact your bank or debit/credit card provider before your trip. If you fail to do this and your bank or financial institution flags your charges as suspicious, you may not be able to use your debit or credit card until you contact them to let them know that you’re traveling. This may not be a problem if you remain on the US side of the falls, but it certainly could be a problem if you visit the Canadian side.
Another thing to ask about is whether or not any service fees will be added to your card if you use it on the Canadian side of the Falls. Some cards add service fees and some don’t, so it’s important to check ahead of time.
Many places on the Canadian side will take U.S. dollars, so you may want to ask if they’ll accept your cash before using a card.
You will be given ponchos at Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds. (You don’t have to keep the poncho to use at both places. You’ll get a new one at each attraction.) The ponchos are very thin, but they actually work quite well as long as you are careful not to tear them when you put them on. We realized it helps tremendously to make sure the poncho is tied closely around your face to keep water from going in under your chin and soaking your shirt. They don’t keep you completely dry, but they definitely help a lot! If you stand on the Hurricane Deck at Cave of the Winds, though, the water is going to hit the deck and bounce back up, so your pants are going to get wet.
Cave of the Winds also gives you a pair of disposable “sandals” to wear, and I highly recommend them! If you have shoes that will dry quickly and want to wear your own, that’s fine. You’re not required to wear the little “foam-ish” sandals, but they are actually fairly comfortable, come in different sizes, and are a great idea if you’re wearing tennis shoes or other shoes that you don’t want to get wet. I wore mine for the Maid of the Mist too, and I was glad I did. Some folks’ shoes stayed dry on the Maid of the Mist, but I stepped in a huge puddle on the boat and would have soaked my regular shoes if I’d been wearing them.
Please wear (and be sure your children wear) clothes that meet the following standards:
shorts should cover the upper thighs (no “short shorts”)
no low-cut shirts or low-cut tank tops
tank tops should have straps that measure at least one inch in width
no halter tops or shirts that expose the midriff
no clothing (including hats, bags, etc.) that display risqué, offensive, inappropriate logos, mottos or art or curse words. This includes, but is not limited to, logos advertising or advocating the use of alcoholic products, tobacco products, or drugs.