Tips from Sunday Dec 31 Show
1) Don't count on your tech working if you get into a situation.
Write down important phone numbers and data, such as your insurance company's help line, your Travel Agents personal cell (any good one will give it to you), the local number of the hotel where you are staying, your Airline/Rail/Bus company etc. This way if you are in a rush or panic and you phone is not charged or lost, you can easily contact the resource you need.
2)Check your Home Insurance before you travel
Check the requirments of your house policy. Some demand that someone check the house every 48 hours. Make sure your outside water pipes are turned off and consider turning off the main water valve in your basement.
If the deep freeze happens you don't need bursting pipes. Check with your supplier of your hot water heater to see if it has a vacation settting. It will save you some money as well.
If you are into high tech there are many devices to monitor your temp and they can email or text you or a friend if you are away and the temp in your home drops.
Always Check 24 hours ahead to see if you have any flight changes. Make sure you name is correct and the right dates and flights are on your ticket.
Get to the airport early. You never know what can happen on the way. The travel day is often not fun, so just relax, enjoy the time with your travel partner and better to be early and a little bored than late and starting off your travels all stressed.
As always, Pack your best attitude first !
Tips from Jan 7 Show
1) Credit Cards
Get a low limit credit card. That way if it is lost or stolen, you limit the potential. Mostly you limit your anxiety and that the best part.
2) Passport Expiry
Make sure your passport is updated. Every month we get someone in a panic. Remember it needs to be valid for 6 months after you return.
3) Lost Luggage
Take a Picture of your luggage. If it's lost it's a great help. Make sure you label your luggage and even put a full sheet of paper inside that has your contact information. Wild decoration on the outside helps you and anyone else to identify the luggage.
Tips from Jan 14 Show
You may not see the value of luggage while is sits between trips, but when that zipper breaks as it comes off the airplane or your wheels fall off as you rush across the airport you will wish you had invested in a good piece. Look for good zippers, good handles, good wheels and a warranty. There is even luggage these days that you can track on an app
Check for apps
Make sure you have loaded all the 'apps' you need on your phone. Many airlines require you to have their app if you want to use the onboard entertainment and you can have your boarding pass on your phone though I am still a fan of the paper pass. Cruise lines have apps that help you keep your schedule and even stay in touch with your shipmates. Some all-inclusive resorts give you free phone calls home via an app.
Don't crush that art
Pack a 'Poster Tube'. There are so many times people pick up a piece of art, a map, or a document they don't want to be crushed.
On the way down you can stuff it with socks etc. If you do find that treasure map, you can roll it up and it will get home without creases.
Tips from Jan 21st Show.
Great Government Website for Travel Info...
www.travel.gc.ca This site offers amazing official information for travelers. It's a great site for the latest on travel advisories and offers some great travel trips. Everything from what you can bring back to Canada to Passport info - it's all there.
Share your luggage...
Well, don't share it with just anyone, but a listener suggested this tip and I think it's great. Pack half your clothes in your companion's luggage, and you take half of their's, or at least some essential wear. That way if your luggage is lost, you have some clothes to wear. Great idea for medicine as well and don't forget to keep a photocopy of each others documentation so if that gets lost you have a backup.
My favorite tip...Make sure you pack this first......
I have to give Larry Atkinson in our office Kudos for this one. Travel should be fun. We are in a big world and not everything goes right or as planned. The first thing you need to pack is YOUR BEST ATTITUDE. That will get you through lineups, delays and all those nasty bumps that can ruin a holiday if you let it.
Tips from Jan 29 Show
Cuban Entry Requirement - Canadian Citizens - Comment from Lynnie Zunder (Manager Expedia CruiseShipCenters Kanata - Westboro)
Some time ago I found out that Cuba requires proof of health insurance for entry in addition to a valid passport and visa (provided on the plane). In my experience they never ask, but it was required. I thought I would reconfirm this morning in case my information was outdated. Here is what is included on the Government of Canada website:
Upon arrival, you must also present proof of health insurance that is valid for the period of your stay in Cuba; such proof includes an insurance policy, insurance certificate or medical assistance card (photocopies are accepted). All health insurance policies are recognized, except those issued by U.S. insurance companies, as U.S. firms cannot provide coverage in Cuba. If you do not have proof of insurance coverage, you may be required to obtain health insurance from a Cuban insurance company upon arrival.
This is a powerful reason to purchase emergency medical insurance. An OHIP card is NOT sufficient proof of health insurance since it will do nothing to cover expenses while in Cuba. As I said, I have never been asked, but you must be able to provide proof if you are.
Remember that your passport must be valid for 6 months post return.
Airfare - When when when....
Airfare is always a war between you, the web, all those looking to book and the cookies on your computer. There are lots of differing opinions and studies on airfare but in my experience. it's very hit and miss. There is a great APP called "Hopper" that we use to give us a general feel for whether this is a good time to buy or to wait. In the year since I have been using it, the program has been very useful in aiding the decision to buy or not. Get it on Google Play or the Apple Store.
These are an awesome source of information when visiting a City or Country. They offer local inside and are typically updated. Often they offer values. Don't be afraid to give them a call. They are usually run by locals who are truly in the know.
Tips from Feb 4th Show
Zip Lock Bags to the rescue.
Packing these little wonders always come in handy. From putting your medication bottles in one place to packing that wet bathing suit for the flight home, you should never leave home without a few of these. They even come in handy if you find yourself in a situation where you want to keep your electronics or camera safe from a spill.
Nexus and Fast Lanes
If you travel more than once a year you might consider getting a Nexus card. This allows you to use the Nexus and Fast lanes at Canadian Airports. Coming home you go through the Nexus Line on the way home avoiding huge long customs and immigration lines. You do need to apply and attend a screening at the airport but it's well worth it. Bonus - You can also be cleared for TSA Pre. This is the American version of Nexus and it really saves time. I have gone through an hour long line in under 10 minutes. There is a fee but you do not need to pay an outside company to do this for you. https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/documents/nexus has the details.
The right lock for your luggage
If you are going to lock your luggage, make sure it's a TSA approved lock. TSA has all the keys so they can open these locks without destroying it. If you luggage is inspected, they will leave a note inside. If your lock is not TSA approved you will find the broken lock inside as well, and your luggage will not be secure for the rest of its journey. If you aren't too concerned and only on a nonstop where you luggage is not likely left anywhere public, you can use twist ties to secure the zippers.
Feb 11 Show Tips
1)Art Auctions at Sea
Be very careful at these auctions. It's very easy to get caught up in frenzy. There are often many fees, like shipping, auction fees, framing. Do you really know what you are buying. It is rarely and 'Orginal'. Spend as much time researching your art as you do anything else. Know the differences between an original, a serigraph, a print, a lithograph, canvas transfer.
2)Avoid the Bump on Airlines
Make sure you do your online check in 24 hours ahead of time. It allows you time to ensure all your documents are in order and the departure times have not changed.
3) Find the Right Review sites
It's too easy for companies to hire people to post positive reviews and it is equally easy for consumers that are venting to dis a resort or ship because they didn't get their way. The review site we use for Resorts, for example, ensures that the reviewers have actually 'been there. done that' - Also they don't know your likes or ask you those important questions that may help you make the right choice.
Feb 18th Show TIps
1)Renting a Car
If you are renting a car you may or may not be covered by your current automobile policy. Check with your Insurance provider. Most policies do NOT cover you outside of the North American land mass This means that even Hawaii may not be covered. In Europe you need to purchase the automobile insurance they supplier will offer.
2) Luggage Scale
This can be your best buddy - With Airlines charging you for extra luggage, you don't need to be that person in line moving your laundry from one bag to another. The investment is well worth it - Between 10 and 20 will get you a good little scale.
3) Pack as you go.
Don't wait till the night before to pack. If you think of something you are going to want on your holiday, put it right into the luggage you are going to take. Even if it's a month ahead. I have a 2nd pair of sunglasses always in my bag. That way when I leave at night and man not thinking of sun, I don't forget my shades.
Feb 25th Show Tips
1)The Right Credit Card....
Get the credit card that best suits your travel needs. Some offer benefits like cancellation and interruption insurance (they are minimal so know the limits) Some offer free luggage on a carrier. I carry the Westjet Mastercard in my arsenal as it offers us free luggage even if we don't book it. That's 100.00 a couple on every return Westjet trip plus if you do use the card you get points. Just be aware of all the benefits. Typically only the highest end cards have it all but they too have limits. As mentioned in another tip, have a low limit card to take away with you.
2)Leave the bling at home.....
Leave your jewelry at home. You are often going to countries that are poor and walking around with all the bling is only tempting trouble. Also, you'd hate to lose that favorite piece on your holiday. Stores like WInners have some pretty inexpensive costume jewelry you can dress up with.
3)Give yourself time for delays
When planning, always add a day to your trip. Delays are common these days and if you are on a tour or cruise, you don't want to miss your connection. Even though your weather looks great, delays can occur due to mechanical failure or weather in an another City. That aircraft you are waiting for to take you back to Ottawa from Vancouver may have originated in Australia.
Travel Tips Mar 4th Show
1) Save some money on your gas or electric bill
Of course, you should shut down as much as possible like your computers, TVs' and other electrical devices but did you know most hot water tanks have vacation settings. This could save you some hard earned cash while you are away. Ask your plumbing specialist for more advice on this one.
2) Listener Tip :) ID you luggage - While this seems rather obvious, it's amazing how many pieces of luggage have no ID on it. Don't put too much on the outside as you don't need people knowing your address while you are away but email and the phone will help.
A listener this week accidentally took the wrong piece of luggage and when they tried to find the owner, there was no id on the luggage. A great tip it so actually print out your details and put it on the inside Inside. That way officials that do have the keys to a TSA lock can find out who it belongs to.
3) Listener Tip :) Check your luggage allowance - not all airlines are the same. This really applies when taking "Inter-Country" air. You don't want to be surprised that you can't take the same weight on a small hop between cities in Europe as you did between North America and Europe for example.
Show Tips Mar 11
1) Shop for the "Right Ship" or "Resort" - So many times people don't have the best experience because they didn't take enough time find the right product. Too often we fixate on price first. First timers, this is so important to speak with a consultant that will help you select the "Right " holiday for you.
2) While it can seem counter-intuitive - BOOKING EARLY IS THE best way to - Secure the best price, best cabins, best locations etc. You get what you want. Typically the prices rise as you get closer to departure. As a ship or resort fills the suppliers raise the prices. Also, we are in a period where travel is a huge growth industry. If its a cruise you are booking and the price does go down (one in ten times it will) you can typically get price protection up to 90 days out. If you do have to book last minute, be prepared to be flexible.
3) If you have special dietary needs always ask ahead of time if you can be accomodated. Most Cruiselines are amazing at meeting these needs. Don't forget to take an appropriate snack with you on the plane. If there is a delay and you are diabetic, for example, you want to make sure you are covered in case there are no snacks on the flight.
Travel Talk tips for Mar 25th
Credit to https://ordinarytraveler.com/europe-travel-tips for todays 'inspiration"
Comfy Shoes - Do not understimate the need for comfy shoes. New shoes are not necessarily the answer either. Make sure the shoes are comfy before you go. Nothing ruins a holiday like blisters. Sometimes an older worn in pair is the way to go. Bring the right shoe for the right use. For example if you are walking a lava field in Hawaii a closed toe shoe like a Keen sandal is a must. If you are hiking get advice from your local outdoor center.
Travel Adaptors - Don't forget to check the area you are going to and bring the right adaptor. There are 2 considerations. 1) The actual plug needs to match 2) you need to ensure your device will work in the current of the country you are visiting. Many devices today like laptops and phone chargers will adpapt. I take a Samsonite 5 in one charger with USB, about 25.00 and well worth it.
Travel Talk Tips for April 1St
Coming back to Canada - Check out the CBSA website before you travel - remember the old saying..."Ignorance of the law.....".
While the exemptions for personal goods have not changed in a while, some of the items you can return with often do.
http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html If you are not sure, ask for the answer, don't just assume.
Download the App...
CBSA is eliminating the paper based declaration forms. At most major Canadian airports you can use the self serve Kiosks. Overall they improve the process and make it more effecient. You can also download an app for your phone so you can prepopulate the form.
Be organized and Don't Lie...
Have all your reciepts all in order and ready to present in case you are asked. Don't lie about what you are bring in. The consequences can be very high including jail time. Even a small 'lie' can get you onto the 'list' that ensures you will be scrutinized every time you cross the border.
Tips for April 15th Show.....
Travel scams are all over - some go beyond the "pickpockets"
Here are couple of sites with a few of the top 'scams"
April 29th Show Tips
This tip from CFRA on air personality Maddy Eisenberg......Eat Local
It's a great idea- There are so many food choices around the world. Tt would be a shame to eat at a restaurant you can find at home. Ask a local what they recommend. There are many hidden wonderful restaurants outside of the 'tourist' areas but be cautios that it is a safe area you are heading to.
Get a Local Guide
We always recommend guides wherever you go. Being your own guide, you will miss out out on many hidden gems and interesting info. Make sure your supplier uses Local guides. (Most do but make sure). Guides can save you hours of time waiting in lines They often have special passes to 'skip the line' and know when to go places in order to avoid long waits. While I like the hop on hop off Buses, they really leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the information you will get. We have often used the Hop on Hop off for a general overview and then return to the area with a guide.
Preplan on a paper map.....Get a Local map of the town/city you are going to and as much as possible map out your route before you go. Technology is fine - BUT it can cost you money if you don't have the right plan or batteries can die. Even the large cruise ships still carry good old fashioned maps to navigate as a backup to thier technology
Highlight where you want to go and map out your route.
Tips from May 6th Show
Avoid Luggage fees.
Want to save on luggage fees - Get a WestJet Mastercard from Royal Bank - even if if you don't pay for the flight with the card you get one bag free per passenger. On a return flighta a couple can save $100.00. Terms and conditions are always changing so check with RBC about their card offering with Westjet. (I do not recieve a fee for this by the way and do not represent either RBC or Westjet) When pricing your flights take this into account.
Make sure you aren't on a US site.
Here's one that seems obvious but every month this one bites a customer or two. Make sure the site you are on is actually Canadian. A guest earlier this week told us how they got an amazing price that was about 30% less than what we could find. Quick exchange lookup gave us the clue, and sure enough it was a US site, so the deal wasn't very good after all. Of course, our US listeners are at the right place lol.
Carry on limits
Know your carry on limits - We all watch our large luggage to make sure we don't go over the limit but did you know there is a limit to carry ons. Especially on some of the smaller aircraft. Think hard if you really need to drag the little bag through the airport or not and consider what you put into that carry on. There is often little space on the aircraft and you end up fighting for space to park a bag you won't even need most times. Note that approved medical devices such as CPAP do not count towards your allowance.
Tips for June 10th
Check your Documents Early
Don't wait until the last minute to check your documents. This can be disasterous as quite ofetn changes cannot be made last minute. Sometimes its a rule or sometimes it's just an agent not being experienced enough. Do your online checkin 24hours ahead but check your documents at least
Nexus gets you TSA Pre
Get your Nexus security clearance if you travel more than once a year to the US. It can really speed things up. You can qualify for TSA precheck coming back from the US and that can save a ton of time at a busy airport. In addition to a special line, you don't need to take off shoes belts, etch. TSA prechek https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/plan/travel-requirements/tsa-precheck.html. DECLARE ANYTHING THAT YOU BRING BACK PERIOD - with Nexus, that extra T Shirt could cause you to lose the priveledge. Note you must ensure you have TSA PRE on your boarding pass so if it isn't printed when you do it online, go to the terminal agent and get a paper pass.
I Declare App
Heres a way to speed you way back - Gone are the days of paper forms - when you get back to Canada you have to go to kiosks and fill in a form online. Save time by downloading the I declare App to your phone and when you land you simply scan the barcode it generates so you don't have to fill in the form at the Kiosks.