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Holiday travel made simple

It’s an understatement to say the roads and airports will be busy this holiday. The key to being a savvy traveller is planning and preparation. Doing a few simple things before you leave home will make a world of difference. Okay, let’s hit the holiday road with 8 simple travel tips.


DRIVING

  1. Bring a map. For some drivers, getting lost is a holiday tradition as long-held as leaving out milk and cookies. These days, many drivers have GPS or their mobile phones to assist on directions but neither is infallible, especially in bad weather and farther away from city centres. Having an old-school backup takes up no room and its batteries never die. Plus, BCAA Members get free maps for Canada and the US.

  2. Plan your escape. Travelling early in the morning or late at night is the best way to get in front of the other families that have slept in. If you can help it, go in the opposite direction of rush-hour traffic - enter a city in the evening hours, and exit it in the morning. And, if you’re driving in the States, stick to the two-digit interstates, which are usually the most direct routes through cities.

  3. Pack your BCAA Membership card. You’ve packed all your holiday gifts, but has a Hallmark card ever pulled you out of a snow-filled ditch? Has $50 at your favourite big box hardware store ever been able to change your tire? With your BCAA Membership, you’re covered anywhere in Canada, the US and 120 countries worldwide, with coverage that follows you in any car.

FLYING

  1. Leave early. During peak holiday travel times at the airport, much of the trouble you’ll face lies on this side of the security check-in, from traffic jams and full parking lots to delayed shuttles and lines far longer than all of your tree’s tinsel tied together. Rather than striving to “arrive at the airport early,” you may want to try to “leave for the airport early” to anticipate all the extra delays you may encounter.

  2. Prep your cell phone. First things first, completely charge your phone and then pack your charger. Next, download your airline’s app to get alerts if your flight is delayed or the gate changes. As an added motivator, some airlines only offer entertainment on their apps - so get it on your phone and bring your headphones.

  3. Screenshot your boarding pass. If you prefer getting your boarding pass by email or text, remember to take a quick screenshot of it. This smart backup could be useful if you accidentally delete the email or text, or, if the airport’s WiFi isn’t strong enough.

  4. Do not wrap gifts. Here’s a tip for the procrastinators in the crowd, even in checked baggage there is a strong chance gifts will be unwrapped for inspection by security. Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper — you can easily remove and replace items to be inspected and you won’t have to struggle with any last-minute wrapping at your destination.

BONUS TIP

  1. Get travel insurance. You never plan on getting sick or injured but accidents happen. When embarking on a family getaway, travel insurance can help cover costly medical bills that your MSP doesn’t. Plus, did you know Health Insurance BC only pays $75 per day for hospital stays? Compare that to the average cost of a hospital stay in the US being over $12,000 USD.

    Keep the holidays merry and bright, chat with one of our insurance advisors or get a quote at bcaa.com/travel. Emergency coverage starts at $20 per trip and BCAA Members save 10%.