People have the travel error left, but this summer it can be anything but easy to get where you are going – whether it is by plane or road.
Some travelers use the countless accessories, gadgets and products available that can help make the journey smoother, safer and less frustrating.
“I travel differently now, like many other travelers,” says Grimsby, Ont., Resident of Wendy Paradis. A sales, marketing and tourism expert for over two decades, even she has felt a need to be better prepared for business and leisure travel.
For the past six years, Paradis has been president of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), representing around 24,000 agents. Since the pandemic started in early 2020, she has ventured to parts of the United States, Canada and even the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao.
Paradis says that more than ever you have to pack smarter, and that includes having the right travel cancellation, interruption and medical insurance. A congestion of passengers and staff shortages at airports have contributed to long waiting times, dropped and delayed travel, lost luggage and other headache-causing ailments. For Ms. Paradise includes her must-have now an Apple AirTag, which is a Bluetooth-enabled tracking device that works with her iPhone and lets her find her luggage quickly. A pack of four sells for around $ 100. Another item is her smart backpack, which cost her around $ 130 and allows her to easily access her passport, vaccinations and other travel documents, keep her wallet safe and “have all my technical tools easily accessible while maximizing my luggage,” he says. she.
“I recently spent five days on Curaçao and packed carefully,” she says. “I had everything I needed to allow myself to use only hand luggage, and never had a problem.”
Because she travels often, and talks to travelers and agents regularly, “I get all these ideas to have the best experience and speed up travel and avoid airport problems as best I can.”
Some of Paradis’ other tips include getting a Nexus Passport to speed up border clearances, among other benefits. She also recommends downloading any special app related to your airline to upload any COVID-19 tests, identification and customs clearance documents, and complete the ArriveCan app to return to Canada before leaving another country . In addition, she proposes to arrange airport parking in advance via the company’s app.
For Calgary resident Matthew Bailey, 37, many of his travel musts are related to driving adventures, although he is also prepared to fly. He and his wife, Karla Bailey, 35, are behind Must Do Canada, a travel guide business they started in 2017 with a 150-day cross-country trip to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary. The couple often work with state tourism councils and private companies.
Mr. Bailey’s favorite accessories range in price: from a luxurious sleeping mask that darkens light and puts no pressure on the eyes (for about $ 35), to three listening devices – wireless earbuds, plug-in earbuds and regular headphones, each for less than $ 100. He has all three because wireless Bluetooth, if they work on the plane, can only be used during the flight and not during takeoffs and landings, so this ensures that he has listening continuity for the airline’s entertainment system or work computer. His latest gadget is the $ 2000 drone camera that captures aerial images without endangering him.
As flights became more complicated and more people started driving, Mr. Bailey found that some of the proven gadgets for car travel were back in vogue.
“We’re even making a video about things to use in the car,” he said of Saint John, NB, on one of his recent trips. “One thing I’ve had for a while is a portable tire pump set. It’s easy and quick to inflate the tires.
“Although there are high-tech Global Positioning System (GPS) devices for vehicles that can cost hundreds of dollars, Mr. Bailey uses a GPS tracker on his cell phone, so” something very useful is one of those gadgets to hold the phone. upstairs [while in the car] “We use Google Maps a lot, so it’s convenient to have it hanging in front of you.”
If you are a motorhome, he also recommends having a headlamp. “It’s like having a flashlight, but you attach it to your head, which is nice if you use your hands.”
With the unpredictability of travel and new variants of COVID-19, more people are making insurance a priority, says Elliott Silverstein, Toronto-based director of government relations for CAA Insurance.
“During the pandemic, we had people who were very hungry to travel,” and they did not or could not, “and now we see people traveling, but it is a completely different world,” says Silverstein. “Travel cancellation and medical and other insurance coverage are becoming more popular compared to pre-pandemic times.”
Early in the pandemic, travel insurance covering COVID-19 disease was not generally available due to high pandemic alert levels in various countries, prompting governments to recommend travel only for significant reasons. In recent months, with few restrictions on unnecessary travel, various insurance companies have offered COVID-19-related coverage.
To find out which insurance is right for you, both Paradis and Silverstein recommend consulting a travel agent or adviser, even if you already have coverage, for example through your employer, other insurance companies or credit cards.
“Do your homework in advance – do not do it at the last minute,” says Silverstein.
“When in doubt, do your own research and talk to a professional to guide you in the right direction. The biggest risk is traveling without knowledge or education,” he explains.
“It’s important to know what coverage you have about someone, and more importantly, what the limitations of coverage are – what’s in and what’s not in your plan. You may slip and fall and be covered, but you may not be. even if you have insurance, you may need to add, for yourself or your family. “
It also pays to think ahead.
“You never know when another country may raise or lower itss [COVID alert] levels, says Silverstein. “It’s about understanding where things are when you leave and where they can be when you return. Another country’s rules may strengthen or loosen before you board a plane. “