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Holiday travel tips to get you through the airport shuffle

When it comes to travel, this is the “MOST—busiest tiiiime of the year!” And flying anywhere between now and the New Year can feel like a race through an obstacle course with chances of flight delays, gate changes, long lines and other travel snags waiting for you up ahead. Here are smart and easy ways to help you navigate, beat time and protect yourself against unexpected travel hurdles.

Pack smart to save time

  • Keep gifts unwrapped whether in checked luggage or carry-on bags. If they need inspection, security personnel will open them and we doubt they’d re-wrap them as beautifully as you did originally. Check Canadian Air Transport Security Authority guidelines on restricted items.
  • Bring collapsible gift bags which can be a convenient “on arrival” wrapping option.
  • Ensure checked and carry-on bags meet size and weight restrictions. Leave room in case you bring gifts (ugly holiday sweater included) and other items back from your trip.

Check your travel documents

  • Ensure your passport and other identification are valid and up-to-date, and that you have necessary entry visas if they’re required.
  • Get international driver’s licenses and local currency before you leave.

Keep yourself safe

  • Get necessary vaccinations.
  • Travel medical insurance is essential any time you travel outside of BC. You can choose from single trip or annual multi-trip coverage with BCAA Travel Insurance.
  • Make copies of your insurance policy, itinerary, passport and credit cards and leave a copy with a trusted relative or friend at home in case they become lost or stolen while travelling.

Be prepared and protected for the unexpected

Flight cancellations, missed connections, mid-trip interruptions along with lost, damaged or stolen luggage can happen, and the related costs can be difficult to overcome without travel insurance.

  • Travel insurance can soften the blow of unexpected snags by helping you recover costs or pre-paid travel fees should a covered risk happen.
  • Look for convenient options such as BCAA Trip Protection Package which provides multiple coverage in one convenient cost-effective bundle for comprehensive coverage. Plus, BCAA Members save 10%.
  • Understand what kinds of airline schedule changes are covered. Some travel insurance only covers a missed connection but not flight delays. BCAA Trip Protection Package provides coverage for any common carrier for both a missed connection and delay of at least 4 hours. It also includes changes due to strikes and labour disruptions.
  • Ensure you have coverage for unforeseen expenses that travellers may be forced to pay as a result of flight cancellations or delays, or a delayed luggage arrival. Travel Delay Coverage which is included in BCAA Trip Protection Package provides protection for costs such as hotel stays, meals or transport from the airport and back.

Protect and tag your luggage

  • Remove old tags. Label all carry-on and checked luggage, both inside and out. Many luggage tags come with flaps that hide your name and address.
  • Distinguish your luggage from similar ones. Use a luggage cover which can be found at many retailers or attach a bright ribbon to your luggage. If you’re buying new, choose a colour other than black.
  • Lost or delayed luggage can result in additional costs to travellers. Baggage Coverage is included in BCAA Trip Protection Package.

Be stealth at time-crunch points: Airport parking, check-in and security


  • Reserve airport parking if you plan to leave your car onsite. BCAA Members save on airport parking at Park YVR and Park’N Fly in Vancouver.
  • Consider public transit to avoid parking all together. If you’re flying out of YVR, you can also take Evo Car Share to the airport hassle-free, and as a BCAA Member, you receive 10% savings on every trip.


  • Use the online check-in option as soon as it’s made available by the airlines. Check in ahead of time from the comfort of home, right on your mobile phone.
  • Arrive early at the airport. Pad the suggested times for domestic or international travel by at least 30 minutes.

Security checkpoint

  • Ensure you meet security requirements for carry-on bags and restricted items such as liquids.
  • Avoid wearing clothes, shoes or accessories that can trigger an inspection. Choose easy-to-remove outerwear (including for your kids).
  • Make sure items that need to be placed separately in a bin such as a laptop or gaming equipment can be easily retrieved from your carry-on bag so you don’t hold up the line.