Are you planning to take your family on a spring break vacation? You’re not alone. Experts say that travel demand is rising, with many Canadians planning getaways for spring break and beyond.
We imagine it’s been a while since your family travelled together, and it’s also important to remember that due to COVID-19, the travel landscape has changed quite a bit since your last vacation. For all travel outside of Canada, planning ahead is the key to avoiding unnecessary headaches or setbacks. So, to help you get back into the swing of things, here are some travel planning pointers including requirements for trips outside of Canada, plus more tips below for travelling safely and smoothly this spring break.
Picking the right holiday
Choose a destination (and hotel) that’s family-friendly, convenient for meals and has amenities your family will love. Make sure it’s close to a place you may want to explore. The last thing you want to bother with is a lengthy local bus ride(s) to get to the beach/action. It’s also important to note that many countries and regions whose economies depend heavily on travel have been impacted over the past couple of years. Consider using a sustainable travel agent like lokal who can help you organize trips and activities that take into account environmental and social impact.
You’ll also want to consider your family’s likes and activity level. Here are 11 inspiring getaway ideas for spring break and beyond, plus a wide variety of trip planning tools. Pro tip: don’t forget to book with your BCAA Membership to save on accommodation, rental vehicles and more.
Before you go, know if, where and when your family needs to be tested for COVID-19. Here’s info on:
- Getting a COVID-19 test before you travel to the US
- Travel to Mexico from Canada
- Getting a COVID-19 test before you return to Canada
There may also be vaccine requirements for your travels. For all information on leaving Canada and your return, including vaccine requirements, visit the Government of Canada website.
Get your travel insurance
Any time you travel outside of BC, it’s essential to have travel medical coverage. Look for comprehensive travel insurance that includes a variety of coverages. BCAA’s out-of-province emergency medical coverage includes a maximum of $10,000,000 in emergency medical coverage, including for COVID-19*, and offers optional Travel Delay & COVID-19 Quarantine coverage. Plus, get 24/7 Virtual Care* so you can get the help you need no matter where you are in the world. Plus, Members save 10% on BCAA Travel Insurance and Kids Are Covered Free** (available for both Single Trip and Annual Multi-trip plans).
As you get planning, you may have questions about BCAA Travel Insurance and COVID-19. You can find helpful information, including answers to many frequently asked questions at bcaa.com/coronavirus, or chat with a trusted expert during regular business hours by visiting bcaa.com/contact.
Pro packing pointers
Try these smart packing tips, and don’t forget to pack the essentials, including printed copies of travel documents and health records, such as vaccination documents.
When you’re packing up an entire family, a packing list becomes your very best friend. Here are the best travel packing apps to choose from. And to get everyone super organized, order packing cubes to divide your family’s clothes into vacation days of the week.
Entertainment & playlists
Remember waiting around in airports? That excitement is back and ready to be filled with reading, napping or entertainment you bring along. We recommend bringing fully-charged devices, tablets and laptops with entertainment like:
- Movies and TV: download your favourite movies/TV shows in advance, so you don’t have to rely on undependable Wi-Fi streaming.
- Music and/or Podcasts.
- Headphones for everyone so you can block out unwanted noise and keep your fun to yourselves.
Be smart about water and food consumption
Here are some safety tips to follow to help you stay hydrated, eat well and help minimize the risk of food or water-related illness.
- On the flight, make sure everyone in your family drinks lots of water, as planes dehydrate the body.
- When you get to your destination, find a good clean, drinkable water source. Drinking low-quality water can lead to many minor ailments or more serious health problems. When your family brushes their teeth, make sure they brush with bottled or purified water and avoid running their toothbrush under the tap.
- Avoid fountain drinks since they are often made with tap water that’s been carbonated. Make sure the ice in your drinks is made from bottled or purified water or avoid ice altogether.
- Try to stick to cooked food over raw food as heat kills germs. Watch out for raw foods like cut-up fruit and vegetables and salads, as well as condiments, sauces, and dips made from raw fruits or vegetables.
- If your family plans to be on the go for hours at a time, stock up on packaged dry foods like bread, crackers, chips, chocolate or nutrition bars so you don’t have to eat street food. Here are 20 healthy travel snacks to keep you energized on the flight down.
- If anyone in your family has food allergies, note what they're allergic to and how serious the condition is. Write it down in the language of your destination so you can give that information to local restaurant staff.
Swimming, hiking and watersports
You’re on vacation to have good, safe fun. To keep everyone safe and injury-free, follow the instructions at your accommodations, swimming pool, beaches and tours. Here are some general prevention tips:
- Don’t run in swimming pool areas.
- Avoid too much sun exposure. Use sunscreen and reapply every two hours.
- Be aware of safety signs at beaches and follow their instructions.
- Only swim in areas where a lifeguard is on duty.
- If you’re going on a hike or long walk use proper footwear like closed-toe shoes or runners.
If you and your family decide to take things up a notch with activities such as canyoning, surfing or parasailing, ensure you have travel insurance that covers these types of activities since they typically come with specific risks. BCAA Travel Insurance includes coverage for these activities, as well as many others, however some may require extra coverage. Chat with a BCAA Insurance Expert for details.
Protect your valuables and be prepared
Here are additional smart travel tips to help keep your personal items and information safe and to be prepared in case of the unexpected.
- Take steps to avoid money-related issues that could put a damper on your trip with these six effective ways to keep your money safe while travelling.
- While in transit, always keep valuables such as your passport, wallet and cash on your person to avoid theft.
- Carry a portable phone charger and local electrical outlet adapter when venturing out.
- If you don’t know the local language, keep a translating app on your phone so you can ask for help.
- Avoid using Wi-Fi from unknown sources to prevent unwanted access to your device.
- Share all of your travel info/itinerary with someone you trust back home.
- Keep local emergency helpline numbers on your phone and written down.
For more great travel advice, check out the Government of Canada Travel and Tourism website. You'll get info on travel advisories, travel safety, and much more.
Have a great family getaway!
*$10,000,000 CAD COVID-19 medical coverage limit applies if you are fully vaccinated and up to date (including all recommended vaccines, including booster shots made available to you) for COVID-19 and up to $1,000,000 CAD if you are partially vaccinated (have been administered one dose; or have been administered two doses but have not yet been administered a booster that has been made available to you). Coverage provided at no additional cost with the purchase of a BCAA Travel Emergency Medical Insurance policy. Children under the age of 18 are covered regardless of their vaccine status. Full eligibility criteria for COVID-19 coverage and all policy terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations can be found in the policy wording at bcaa.com/wordings. The availability of virtual care depends on your geographic location, medical emergency and remains subject to the discretion of BCAA Claims Assistance. ** Dependent children are free on a family policy with two paying adults. Adults must be aged 59 or younger.