If headlines are anything to go by, taking a vacation these days is an exercise in teeth-gritting patience. But by planning ahead, you can minimize the hassles. Here are five things you should add to (and cross off) your vacation planning to-do list so you can relax on holiday.

1. Check your passport expiry

First things first: Check your passport expiry date and ensure it will be valid for at least six months after the date you travel home from your trip. 

You’ve probably heard about the long wait times to get your passport renewed by Service Canada, so if you’re due to renew, give yourself plenty of time to get all of that sorted out. There are two big things you can do to help keep things moving. First, get your passport photo taken at a local CAA Store or kiosk, where you’ll get your photos in both print and digital copies. Second, try to get to a Service Canada location as soon as possible - and as early as possible. You can also check Service Canada’s online tool to check estimated wait times.

2. Get travel insurance coverage

Considering the uncertainty around travel today, including travel restrictions, lost baggage, cancelled flights, or getting sick while abroad, you should review your travel insurance coverage to make sure your policy works for you and your family. 

Look into your planned destination to see if there are any known challenges or restrictions you might face. CAA Travel offers and online tool to help get you started. Know the risks of any activities you’ll be doing and the medical conditions anybody in your group might have. By doing this, you’ll find any gaps in your coverage, and can find a policy that gives you all the protection you need for everything you plan to do. 

3. Research airports and wait times

For a variety of reasons, there have been a lot of delayed flights, long lines, and even cancellations at major airports across Canada. It’s recommended you get to the airport three to four hours before your flight to get through baggage check and security. Check online to identify the wait times at the airports you’re flying out of and into, especially if you have a layover. When doing your research, find out when your gate opens and when security opens if you have an early flight. 

4. Be prepared for the unexpected

As the saying goes, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Do your research to be aware of travel restrictions in the country you’re visiting, or any country you’re stopping in with a layover. A CAA Travel Consultant can also let you know vaccine requirements for your holiday destination, and give you advice on ArriveCAN. Find out if you need to quarantine when you land at your destination or back home, and have your arrangements in order with family, work, or your pets. You should also pack extra medication or personal effects that might be hard to refill or replace while you’re away. 

Will your cell phone work at your destination? Make sure your service provider has a plan to cover you or better still, purchase a local SIM card to ensure you have all the data you need.

5. Get expert advice

You work hard to earn a vacation, but you shouldn’t have to work hard to take it. That’s where CAA Travel Consultant can give you extra help with industry resources to research, plan and book your travel arrangements. 

CAA Travel Consultants will also share guidance and advice on the best time to travel to your destination, the best time to book your trip, and will know what deals are currently available.  Plus, they can hook you up with exclusive CAA Member benefits for special discounts with preferred travel partners around the world. 

Before you book your next vacation, find a local CAA Travel Consultant, and get a quote for CAA Travel Insurance to get the coverage you need for your trip. Safe travels!