Taking a trip? Your top travel tips

Many Islanders take time in the next few months for a jaunt to sunnier climes, or perhaps to hit the slopes in Quebec or the U.S. Others travel often for work, or take a road trip in the Maritimes to visit friends or relatives.

Although exciting, travel can be stressful — we asked a travel agent as well as you, dear readers, via Facebook, for your tips on keeping trips running smoothly. 

George Stewart of Kinkora, P.E.I., has been in the travel industry for 36 years, and is now an independent travel agent with his company Travels By George.

He has a travel tips checklist he likes to share with clients, especially first-timers.

Buy a luggage scale

Invest in a luggage scale, they are very cheap now at under $10 and can save you a lot of grief and stress, says Stewart. 

Submitted by George Stewart

"Airlines are very strict with weight and even a fraction of a kilo over can mean you having to open your cases at the airport and redistributing or in some cases even wearing items to bring baggage weight down," Stewart said. 

"This tool comes in especially handy at destination if you have done a lot of shopping."

Don't borrow luggage

If you can help it, never borrow a suitcase from anyone, especially if you are travelling outside of Canada, Stewart advises. 

"Because Canada has legal cannabis it can slip someone's mind if they happened to stuff something containing even trace amounts of cannabis into side pockets," he said. 

"Regardless of who actually owns the bag, the traveller is the one that is responsible and liable for anything found in that bag. Even minuscule trace amounts of THC can slow down your travels or make you miss a connection if you are pulled aside at customs/baggage check. "

Stewart said people also need to be aware that cannabidiol (CBD) products, another item that we are getting comfortable carrying and packing, are also forbidden outside Canada.

Patrick Semansky/AP

Are you allowed to check a bag?

Check the policy associated with the fare you purchased, Stewart said, as some include a checked bag and others only allow checked baggage for a fee. 

Some carriers now charge more for checking a bag at the airport than they do if you pay for a checked bag online.

Lost or delayed bags

Know your rights for lost or delayed baggage, said Stewart. 

If your bags are delayed, file a report as soon as possible and ask about compensation for your first 24 hours. Some carriers and credit cards will permit an expenditure for toiletries and clothing to see you through your first day.

Also, make sure you pack a change of clothes in your carry-on bag with any medication and toiletries that you need if your checked luggage is delayed or lost, he advises. 

Copy your passport

Stewart strongly recommends clients travelling outside Canada make several copies of their passport — leave one copy with an emergency contact at home, and another in each checked bag as well as one in their carry-on bag, kept separate from their actual passport.  

If your passport is lost or stolen, you can get a replacement much faster if you have a copy, he said.

Tom Hanson/Canadian Press

What you said

(Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style.)

Katherine Bryson of Flat River and her husband travel to Nova Scotia by car several times a year. "Split air/temperature controls: best upgrade ever. No more complaining about the temperature settings!" she commented on Facebook. 

Submitted by Jeana MacIsaac

Jeana MacIsaac and her husband Mark Fraser of Charlottetown are five months into a year-long RV trip across North America. 

"Things will go wrong and that's part of the adventure," she said. Her advice? Be kind to each other if you have a travel companion, have good health insurance and roadside assistance, and for safety, arrive at your destination during the day if you are not familiar with your surroundings. 

"Take the side roads," she added — for the scenery and to meet interesting people. 

"Power bank chargers are a lifesaver," commented Alana Sprague of Charlottetown, as well as long charging cords "because you never know where the plug will be in your hotel." She said to remember to bring earbuds on the plane, and download shows to a device so you can watch without Wi-Fi. 

Lindsey Elizabeth Ross said she downloads podcasts or audio entertainment in advance. "This way if you can't fall asleep, you can still lay back with your eyes closed and relax. No one bothers you when they think you're asleep! I've also downloaded tracks of just rain sounds and rest to that."

Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Noise-cancelling headphones are a "must" for Jeff Jardine.

Monica Lacey says she makes sure to pack snacks, a good book, her journal, a fresh shirt and deodorant in her carry-on, and "most importantly the willingness to be flexible!"

Stress-free travel for Phil Griffin of Charlottetown means travelling light with only carry-on luggage when he flies. "Buy whatever else you need when you get there," he advises.

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