With the August long weekend upon Canadians, many are planning to take advantage of the extra time and head out on a trip. This can be daunting for many, as some major airports in the country continue to experience chaotic scenes of long lineups and loads of lost luggage. Yahoo News Canada spoke to Toronto-based travel expert Barry Choi about what travellers should consider when venturing out for the long weekend, especially if travelling internationally.
Tip #1: Be mindful of where you’re going and what’s happening
Since long weekends are some of the busiest times to travel, Choi says to be aware of what the situation is like before heading out on your adventure. For example, if you’re travelling to the U.S. in the morning, that’s when the longest lineups tend to be, so be sure to get there extra early. Some airports, like Toronto Pearson, have indicators on when are the peak times to travel. So be sure to check into that before heading out.
Tip # 2: Know how much and what’s allowed to be packed
One aspect that’s added to delays is overweight luggage or packing over the allotted amount of liquids. Since more people are travelling with carry-on luggage, a lot of them are forgetting the rules. Most airlines have a limit of how much bags weigh, and the general rule is that you aren’t allowed to bring on more than 100 ml of liquids and any liquids that are being packed need to be in clear plastic. bag.
“The delays are quite often through security since people are overpacking,” says Choi. “They're forgetting what can and can’t go on and using bags that are too big.”
Prior to travel, be sure to read up on allowed liquids and bag sizes.
Tip #3: Buy travel insurance
It’s important to have a backup plan, just in case something unexpected happens. Choi says that’s where travel insurance comes in handy, specifically for things like trip cancellations, flight delays and lost or delayed luggage.
“Now is a good time to make sure you have that type of insurance,” he says. “You don’t want to be one of those people who are sleeping on airport benches or on the floor.”
Tip #4: Have a backup plan
Technically, airlines are responsible for righting and wrongs that might occur during your travels, when it comes to delays or cancellations. But Choi says you shouldn’t wait for them to magically fix things.
“See if there’s any alternative flights or alternative trips you can take,” he says. “But since everyone will be trying to do the same thing, if you can avoid air travel and do a road trip, do that instead. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
Tip #5: Keep up to date with the rules around vaccination
When travelling outside of Canada, be sure to have the ArriveCAN app, in order to fill out mandatory travel and public health information. The protocol is required for travellers coming into Canada from abroad. Choi says it’s important to know what’s required of you when it comes to vaccination status.
“If you’re unvaccinated, you can still technically travel but you might have to take a PCR test to return to Canada and maybe quarantine,” he says. “Yeah, travelling has opened up but it really depends on vaccination status still.