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Heading south this winter? Here are 8 essential tips on how to prepare for your trip

As the air chills and the evenings get frostier, many individuals and families dream of escaping the Canadian winter for warmer destinations down south. Whether you are planning a lengthier snowbird getaway or a quick sunny adventure, CAA’s Travel Consultants share what you need to know. Here are some essential travel tips on preparing for your holiday down south so that you can make the most of your winter vacation.   

Pack for warmer weather

Consider the climate of your destination and pack clothing suitable for warmer temperatures. Light layers are your friend during travel periods, and a rain jacket never hurts. Remember to include sun protection items such as hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Pack comfortable walking shoes, swimwear, and beach towels if you plan on enjoying a coastal region.  

Create a packing checklist so nothing is forgotten. But don’t overpack. Just bring all the essentials to stay comfortable. 

Plan your route and accommodations

road trip
swissmediavision | iStock

Determine your travel route to make the journey as seamless as possible. There are many factors to consider for a road trip, such as distance, road conditions, and potential sightseeing opportunities. If you’re driving, you’ll also want to map out rest stops, fuel stations, and RV-friendly campgrounds or RV parks. Pack a cooler of snacks or consider dining options along the way.   

For those flying or taking other modes of transportation, research the best routes and make your travel arrangements in advance. You don’t want to risk a flight booking up or prices skyrocketing. For similar reasoning, book accommodations early to secure your preferred hotel, vacation rental, or RV park. hotel, vacation rental, or RV park.  

Secure travel insurance

Whether you’re driving or flying down south, remember to purchase travel insurance before you go. CAA Travel Insurance has various plans to meet your needs. Contact a travel insurance agent before you leave to ensure you’re protected from any unexpected situations. 

You’ll want to protect yourself and your belongings by obtaining comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellation or interruption, and loss or theft of personal items. 

Prioritize safety and security during your travels

The belongings that join you on your travels shouldn’t be the only things safeguarded. Secure your home while you’re away by notifying trusted neighbours or friends, setting up timers for lights, hiding valuables and arranging for mail or delivery collection.   

Unplug smaller appliances, like your microwave, toaster oven or coffeemaker. It will lower your energy bill and prevent fire in case of a faulty switch or other electrical issue while you’re away. Turn off the water, too, to avoid plumbing failures. 

Prepare for the weather at home

Man shoveling heavy snow in the driveway

Don’t forget about the winter conditions that could be waiting for you upon your return home. Hire a snow removal service or ask a neighbour to shovel your driveway and sidewalk. Ask them to salt the sidewalk as well to ensure the safety of pedestrians. 

Stock up on prescriptions

Before departure, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your itinerary and any health concerns. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, pack extra medicine if your trip gets extended due to flight delays or cancellations. The last thing you want is to run out. 

To make going through airport security easier, carry all medications in their original containers with clear labels identifying your name, and bring a copy of the prescription. 

Let others know you’re away

Let neighbours you trust know you’ll be away for how long so they can keep an eye on your house for you. Provide them with your contact details so they can reach you in an emergency. You’ll also want to enlist a family member, friend, or neighbour to periodically check in on your home. 

Forward your mail and switch to online billing

An overflowing mailbox is an easy target for thieves. Have your mail forwarded to a temporary location using Canada Post’s mail forwarding service, especially if you’ll be away for a longer period. This doesn’t include parcels or newspapers, so pause any physical subscriptions and deliveries. Or ask a friend or a neighbour to collect any items that may be left on your front porch. 

Changing your billing from paper to online ensures you don’t miss a single invoice. You can get email notifications if you’re concerned about reminders. It also means less mail to pile up and helps protect the environment. 

You work hard for your holiday time away, so protect yourself and your belongings by getting travel insurance. CAA Travel Consultants are happy to help you with your travel insurance inquiries. You can book an appointment online to ask them your questions and get the best coverage for your budget.

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