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Camino Frances start date

jenwearing

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 23 (2018) camino Frances from SJPP - first time
I have plenty of time off (8 weeks) to complete the camino and maybe go somewhere else after so I'm not interested in booking my return flight pre-trip. I'd prefer to do it from Europe, the UK, other, wherever I end up, post camino.
Have any other Canadians done this? Any issues with getting through customs and immigration to start in SJPP?

Thanks in advance! I saw a thread similar for USA residents but it didn't give me any kind of assurance.
 
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High Endeavours

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Year of past OR future Camino
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jenwearing, I've travelled to Europe many times from Canada without a return and its always been just fine. One never knows when an injury or something will force you to finish early and you often don't know when you'll finish your camino. The only time I have ever been asked was when I walked in Japan this year, and because I'd heard that customs there was more likely to ask a foreigner I did have a return ticket...and they did in fact ask!:rolleyes: I did end up changing my flight home after the walk for a small fee. Customs in the EU can always ask to see a return ticket, but I figure I'll only worry about that when and if it ever happens. I'll do the same on my 2018 Camino. Have fun preparing...part of the fun and the process!
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Yes
I agree entirely with High Endeavors above.
Never been asked nor do I know anyone who has been asked.
Often travel to Europe without return ticket.
It appears to be a non-enforced rule in some countries.

They must ask people sketchy looking people in old clothes with backpacks
 
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jenwearing

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 23 (2018) camino Frances from SJPP - first time
jenwearing, I've travelled to Europe many times from Canada without a return and its always been just fine. One never knows when an injury or something will force you to finish early and you often don't know when you'll finish your camino. The only time I have ever been asked was when I walked in Japan this year, and because I'd heard that customs there was more likely to ask a foreigner I did have a return ticket...and they did in fact ask!:rolleyes: I did end up changing my flight home after the walk for a small fee. Customs in the EU can always ask to see a return ticket, but I figure I'll only worry about that when and if it ever happens. I'll do the same on my 2018 Camino. Have fun preparing...part of the fun and the process!

Thanks! It’s good to know that likelihood of ease is high.
 
D

Deleted member 43985

Guest
Hi - I’m another Canuck who has come to Spain on a one-way ticket. Never had anyone question it and certainly gave me peace of mind on my first Camino as I really had no idea how long it would actually take or or even if I’d complete it! Good luck with your planning.
 

jenwearing

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 23 (2018) camino Frances from SJPP - first time
Hi - I’m another Canuck who has come to Spain on a one-way ticket. Never had anyone question it and certainly gave me peace of mind on my first Camino as I really had no idea how long it would actually take or or even if I’d complete it! Good luck with your planning.

Thanks!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
FYI, Customs is interested in what you are bringing into the country. Immigration is interested in the traveler.
 

tominrm

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I travel like you from the US - I stay 11 weeks in EU with just vague ideas what I want to do or where I want to go. But I buy round trip ticket because it costs about $100 more than one way ticket. I move around with keeping the departure city and date in mind. In the worst case I need to cut my stay short, pay the re-scheduling fee.
 
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jsalt

Jill
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
But I buy round trip ticket because it costs about $100 more than one way ticket.

I do that too. It’s cheaper to buy a return ticket, and pay the penalty for changing the return date, than it is to buy two one way tickets. The return one way ticket can be very expensive when bought close to the return date, especially during peak travelling times in Europe, like the summer holidays (Jul and Aug), and around Easter and Xmas.
Jill
 

Northern Laurie

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Northern Way (2017)
I have plenty of time off (8 weeks) to complete the camino and maybe go somewhere else after so I'm not interested in booking my return flight pre-trip. I'd prefer to do it from Europe, the UK, other, wherever I end up, post camino.
Have any other Canadians done this? Any issues with getting through customs and immigration to start in SJPP?

Thanks in advance! I saw a thread similar for USA residents but it didn't give me any kind of assurance.

I see you are from Vancouver - this isn't really related to your question, but if this is your first Camino, there is a local group that does training walks on weekends between late February and late October (they generally don't get together in winter). Check out the Canadian Company of Pilgrims.

I didn't train with them too often, but I found the conversations and information shared was really helpful before I went.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I agree with buying a return ticket for the best-guess date of return, as that is usually much cheaper than one way tickets with the major airlines for trips to Europe. You can book Vancouver to Madrid and return for example from another major hub such as Frankfurt or London. This "open jaw" or multiple city ticket is usually about the same price as a ticket to and from the same place. Then you can plan that inside-Europe travel at a later time, knowing that you must be in Frankfurt or wherever for that date.

If you change any part of a return ticket, be aware that you will have to pay the change fee (say $300) plus the difference in fare cost between when you purchased originally and the fare at the time of the change. Last minute fares tend to be higher, and of course also during high travel season. So it will likely cost more than the change penalty.

It is possible that one way tickets could make sense if you are travelling with discount/charter carriers, but I find that the
small savings (from Vancouver) is not worth the inconvenient schedules.
 
Last edited:

jenwearing

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 23 (2018) camino Frances from SJPP - first time
@C clearly , @tominrm , @jsalt , thanks for weighing in :) I already have my ticket to France. I probably won't stay in Spain; thinking Italy or the UK after. I really just want to go with the flow. I know I'm going to pay more for flights doing it this way but I got a very good deal on my flight so it will mostly even out. Thanks again!

@Northern Laurie Thanks! I'll definitely look into that this spring! I do a lot of local hikes but it will be great to have subject matter experts around and people that won't ask why I have such a huge backpack on while training.
 

PEI_Heather

Canadian Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 - Voie de la Nive
2012, 2016 - Frances
2013 - Portuguese
2012, 2013 - Finesterre & Muxia
I have plenty of time off (8 weeks) to complete the camino and maybe go somewhere else after so I'm not interested in booking my return flight pre-trip. I'd prefer to do it from Europe, the UK, other, wherever I end up, post camino.
Have any other Canadians done this? Any issues with getting through customs and immigration to start in SJPP?

Thanks in advance! I saw a thread similar for USA residents but it didn't give me any kind of assurance.
I have plenty of time off (8 weeks) to complete the camino and maybe go somewhere else after so I'm not interested in booking my return flight pre-trip. I'd prefer to do it from Europe, the UK, other, wherever I end up, post camino.
Have any other Canadians done this? Any issues with getting through customs and immigration to start in SJPP?

Thanks in advance! I saw a thread similar for USA residents but it didn't give me any kind of assurance.

Hi Jen,
Heather from 6000+ km away in PEI.

Here are a couple things that happened to me that are easy to take care of beforehand...

I flew to Biarritz from England before my first walk along the Camino. Going through French Customs was easy. So easy that I wasn't even given a stamp in my passport. I never thought about it then but when I was about to board my flight to fly back to England, after I finished my walk, the Spanish Customs almost did not let me leave. Make sure you get all the proper stamps in your passport--your real passport, not your credential, the pilgrims passport. You should have no problems if you are flying into Paris with getting a stamp.

The next walk, I had arrived in Toronto and was walking towards Customs. Before I stood in the line up to make my declaration, I spoke to a Custom's agent. She asked how much I had spent while I was away. I didn't take meals, alberques--the Camino costs--into account, but the things I had brought back with me. For a seven week trip away, $400 was very low. She was ready to not let me go through until I explained what the Camino is.

The next walk I made sure all passport stamps were in place and that I kept in a small notebook reciepts for things I'd be taking back to Canada and (for my interest only) a daily tally of what I'd spent. Yeah, that last part lasted about 4-5 days. But when I was to go through Canadian Customs, I had the reciepts and the total of €€ spent and some info about the Camino. Even with this preparation, it was smooth sailing through. I think it does depend on who you get in Customs. And being friendly and polite can also make things a lot easier too. I would not for the world be a Customs agent--what a stressful job!

You'll have a great time; the Camino is a wonderful experience and the Camino Frances is so well set up with amenities for pilgrims that you can focus on walking, eating and sleeping!

Buen Camino!
Heather
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Make sure you get all the proper stamps in your passport--your real passport, not your credential, the pilgrims passport.
Yes. That includes getting a stamp when you leave also. Although the Schengen database gets updated when you enter and leave the police don't have instant access to the data and you might be detained. Say you get stamped into Schengen and you forget to get stamped out. A year later on your next trip to Europe so are so tired or excited you forget to get stamped in again. If you have your passport looked at by the police it will look like you overstayed your 90 day automatic visa.
 

brendano

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
plan to walk camino portugues in January february 2018
I have plenty of time off (8 weeks) to complete the camino and maybe go somewhere else after so I'm not interested in booking my return flight pre-trip. I'd prefer to do it from Europe, the UK, other, wherever I end up, post camino.
Have any other Canadians done this? Any issues with getting through customs and immigration to start in SJPP?

Thanks in advance! I saw a thread similar for USA residents but it didn't give me any kind of assurance.
Hi,
Did exactly the same Christmas 2015/'16. Flew from Toronto to Gatwick, and then from Stansted to Biarritz using Canadian passport. never even crossed my mind that I might need '' visas'' . It took me seven weeks to walk from St. Jean to Santiago, on return I flew Ryan Air...Santiago to Stansted; Stansted to Dublin. spent three days in Dublin and got a one way from Dublin to Toronto. No problem with customs any where; google visas for complete assurance.
Buen camino, boghiker.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Roncesvalles to Sahagun Oct 2016
Sahagun to SDC April 2017 Burgos to SDC April 2018
Hi - I’m another Canuck who has come to Spain on a one-way ticket. Never had anyone question it and certainly gave me peace of mind on my first Camino as I really had no idea how long it would actually take or or even if I’d complete it! Good luck with your planning.

Hi jozero. I am wondering about the additional cost in two one way tickets. It seems when I look into it, out of Toronto, it is quite a difference. I have in the past booked a return ticket, giving myself lots of time. Then if I wanted to leave early, paid the 300 CAD to change the flight. I rationalize it by thinking that the 300 dollars is the same or less than I would have spent if had stayed Spain for a couple of weeks longer. I am wondering what your cost experiences were.
 

mvanert

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I have plenty of time off (8 weeks) to complete the camino and maybe go somewhere else after so I'm not interested in booking my return flight pre-trip. I'd prefer to do it from Europe, the UK, other, wherever I end up, post camino.
Have any other Canadians done this? Any issues with getting through customs and immigration to start in SJPP?

Thanks in advance! I saw a thread similar for USA residents but it didn't give me any kind of assurance.

I did it in 2016, one-way to Paris, booked return trip when I was ready. No problems.
 
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jenwearing

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 23 (2018) camino Frances from SJPP - first time
Hi Jen,
Heather from 6000+ km away in PEI.

Here are a couple things that happened to me that are easy to take care of beforehand...

I flew to Biarritz from England before my first walk along the Camino. Going through French Customs was easy. So easy that I wasn't even given a stamp in my passport. I never thought about it then but when I was about to board my flight to fly back to England, after I finished my walk, the Spanish Customs almost did not let me leave. Make sure you get all the proper stamps in your passport--your real passport, not your credential, the pilgrims passport. You should have no problems if you are flying into Paris with getting a stamp.

The next walk, I had arrived in Toronto and was walking towards Customs. Before I stood in the line up to make my declaration, I spoke to a Custom's agent. She asked how much I had spent while I was away. I didn't take meals, alberques--the Camino costs--into account, but the things I had brought back with me. For a seven week trip away, $400 was very low. She was ready to not let me go through until I explained what the Camino is.

The next walk I made sure all passport stamps were in place and that I kept in a small notebook reciepts for things I'd be taking back to Canada and (for my interest only) a daily tally of what I'd spent. Yeah, that last part lasted about 4-5 days. But when I was to go through Canadian Customs, I had the reciepts and the total of €€ spent and some info about the Camino. Even with this preparation, it was smooth sailing through. I think it does depend on who you get in Customs. And being friendly and polite can also make things a lot easier too. I would not for the world be a Customs agent--what a stressful job!

You'll have a great time; the Camino is a wonderful experience and the Camino Frances is so well set up with amenities for pilgrims that you can focus on walking, eating and sleeping!

Buen Camino!
Heather


This is very good to keep in mind! thank you. I just remembered that once I flew to France from Spain and didn't get a passport stamp on arrival and it was a whole thing coming through customs and immigration here! I agree, it always comes down to who you get at the border.
 
D

Deleted member 43985

Guest
Hi jozero. I am wondering about the additional cost in two one way tickets. It seems when I look into it, out of Toronto, it is quite a difference. I have in the past booked a return ticket, giving myself lots of time. Then if I wanted to leave early, paid the 300 CAD to change the flight. I rationalize it by thinking that the 300 dollars is the same or less than I would have spent if had stayed Spain for a couple of weeks longer. I am wondering what your cost experiences were.
I'd agree with your thoughts and definitely paid a lot more to get two one-way tickets. Because of my Camino objectives (being less worried about the extra money and finding ways to reduce stress and the anxiety of wondering if I could even complete a winter Camino) I opted for two one-way tickets with the return booked in Portomarin when I knew my arrival date into SDC. On my subsequent Camino I was comfortable in booking my return ticket and saving lots of money! Whichever way you rationalize, I would agree because who better than you to know what makes you comfortable!!
 

Rondimc

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Future (2017)
I have plenty of time off (8 weeks) to complete the camino and maybe go somewhere else after so I'm not interested in booking my return flight pre-trip. I'd prefer to do it from Europe, the UK, other, wherever I end up, post camino.
Have any other Canadians done this? Any issues with getting through customs and immigration to start in SJPP?

Thanks in advance! I saw a thread similar for USA residents but it didn't give me any kind of assurance.


We are Canadians from NB. We flew to Paris with a one way ticket and walked the Norte in September and October this year. Afterwards we toured a bit and took a repositioning cruise back to NA from Rome. Absolutely no issues with customs, coming or going. Enjoy your planning and love your Caminos
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
I may be just adding to the morass of experiences of our esteemed Pilgrims here so here is my story for you to evaluate and compare to your own circumstances;

I took a train to Montreal from Kitchener, ON. I live in Cambridge, ON. First flight was to Dublin, 10 days in Ireland, mostly in Co. Tipperary, where my Ancestors lived before coming to Canada in 1832.

Then, two ending days in Dublin, then across the Irish Sea by Ferry to Holyhead where I had booked a B&B overnight, train to London the next day, two days in London then a flight from Stanstead to Biarrits, ( had planned to spend a couple days in Paris but the bug to start the Camino was much stronger). Walked out the Airport doors in Biarritz and yelled out, "Who is going to SJPdP?" The first three to answer shared a cab with me to St. Jean. It was a one hour drive and 25 euro each. As it happened, one gentleman was on a repeat visit so he directed us to the Pilgrim Office right out of the cab and we got our Credenciel immediately.

Next morning, I was on the Camino.

Fast forward to SdC. I booked a flight while in SdC and flew from there back to Dublin where I slept in the airport overnight. Then, I flew back to Toronto with WestJet. Fortunately for me, I discovered how to use the Go Transit system to take me back from Toronto Airport to Cambridge for about C$17.00 where I took a city bus home. No one had to pick me up. I did it all on my own.

But I would be remiss to say I did the Camino on my own. I had a lot of help from many while I was there. And my appreciation of the Camino Spirit will always humble me. No wonder I will be back as soon as I can.
 

PEI_Heather

Canadian Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 - Voie de la Nive
2012, 2016 - Frances
2013 - Portuguese
2012, 2013 - Finesterre & Muxia
Jen,
Last October I flew from Halifax to Spain on a return ticket for about $345. The original ticket was about $790 (still incredibly cheap!) but I used travel points on my Visa to get an incredibly priced ticket (Air Canada). I figured 6 1/2 weeks--I had included almost a week extra to go to Vienna to visit a friend. In the end 35 days to walk from Bayonne to SJPP to Santiago + six days which I actually didn't get to Austria but spent in Santiago (it was awesome!), the amount of time away I had figured was perfect.
Moral of story: don't forget about your travel points!
Cheers from PEI!
 
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jenwearing

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 23 (2018) camino Frances from SJPP - first time
Jen,
Last October I flew from Halifax to Spain on a return ticket for about $345. The original ticket was about $790 (still incredibly cheap!) but I used travel points on my Visa to get an incredibly priced ticket (Air Canada). I figured 6 1/2 weeks--I had included almost a week extra to go to Vienna to visit a friend. In the end 35 days to walk from Bayonne to SJPP to Santiago + six days which I actually didn't get to Austria but spent in Santiago (it was awesome!), the amount of time away I had figured was perfect.
Moral of story: don't forget about your travel points!
Cheers from PEI!

That sounds like a really great time!
I bought my ticket from CDG to Biarritz with points and I have enough for another little flight I think ;) My one way ticket From Vancouver to CDG was only $390. I've always flown multi city on my trips to the UK and Europe, most recently, starting in Denmark and coming home from Spain. The round trip multi-city ticket costs me around $700-1200 depending on the countries involved. In this specific situation, the cost of changing a return ticket is probably pretty close to what I'll pay total here, buying them separately. This is why I choose not to get one at the time - Maybe this open ended finish is my "Camino luxury item".
 

jenwearing

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 23 (2018) camino Frances from SJPP - first time
I may be just adding to the morass of experiences of our esteemed Pilgrims here so here is my story for you to evaluate and compare to your own circumstances;

I took a train to Montreal from Kitchener, ON. I live in Cambridge, ON. First flight was to Dublin, 10 days in Ireland, mostly in Co. Tipperary, where my Ancestors lived before coming to Canada in 1832.

Then, two ending days in Dublin, then across the Irish Sea by Ferry to Holyhead where I had booked a B&B overnight, train to London the next day, two days in London then a flight from Stanstead to Biarrits, ( had planned to spend a couple days in Paris but the bug to start the Camino was much stronger). Walked out the Airport doors in Biarritz and yelled out, "Who is going to SJPdP?" The first three to answer shared a cab with me to St. Jean. It was a one hour drive and 25 euro each. As it happened, one gentleman was on a repeat visit so he directed us to the Pilgrim Office right out of the cab and we got our Credenciel immediately.

Next morning, I was on the Camino.

Fast forward to SdC. I booked a flight while in SdC and flew from there back to Dublin where I slept in the airport overnight. Then, I flew back to Toronto with WestJet. Fortunately for me, I discovered how to use the Go Transit system to take me back from Toronto Airport to Cambridge for about C$17.00 where I took a city bus home. No one had to pick me up. I did it all on my own.

But I would be remiss to say I did the Camino on my own. I had a lot of help from many while I was there. And my appreciation of the Camino Spirit will always humble me. No wonder I will be back as soon as I can.

I would love to go to Dublin. Sounds like you had an amazing time and that going with the flow worked well for you too. I live in the city so I'm lucky to have a 25 minute $3.25 ride on the skytrain to the airport. I don't need to ask for rides either so I know how you feel regarding that independence.
Your recounting of the Biarritz arrival is making me excited. I can't wait to get there. Thanks!
 

jenwearing

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 23 (2018) camino Frances from SJPP - first time
We are Canadians from NB. We flew to Paris with a one way ticket and walked the Norte in September and October this year. Afterwards we toured a bit and took a repositioning cruise back to NA from Rome. Absolutely no issues with customs, coming or going. Enjoy your planning and love your Caminos

Great to know! thanks!
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
I would love to go to Dublin. Sounds like you had an amazing time and that going with the flow worked well for you too. I live in the city so I'm lucky to have a 25 minute $3.25 ride on the skytrain to the airport. I don't need to ask for rides either so I know how you feel regarding that independence.
Your recounting of the Biarritz arrival is making me excited. I can't wait to get there. Thanks!

Yes, I do not know why many decide to stay in Biarritz overnight when SJPdP is close enough to touch. Though our flight arrived late in the afternoon, it was so much better to get there, find a bed for the night and relax. It was even better to get on the Camino the very next morning. Anticipation is great, to a point, LOL.
 

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