travel

Organized travel during the holiday season

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Many people travel during the holidays to get away from the cold weather, or visit family and friends. The holiday season is one of the busiest travel period of the year, and it can be hard to stay organized, especially when travel can get busy and chaotic and all you want to do is get to your destination. To stay on top of your holiday trip planning, try following these suggestions so you can enjoy stress-free travel this holiday season:

Make sure you have the essentials

It goes without saying, but make sure you have everything you absolutely need for your trip ready to go, including passports, ID, phones, chargers, tickets, and booking confirmations. For people who are travelling by vehicle, phones and chargers are especially important in case you run into bad weather and need to call for assistance or to give family and friends a heads up that you may be late or have to delay your trip. When times get busy, it is easy to forget the most basic and essential items, so make sure you pack these items first and put them in a bag or place you are not likely to forget them.

Expect the unexpected

When you’re travelling during the holiday season in Calgary, you need to be prepared for winter weather. Keep in mind that travelling during this time is not the same as travelling during the summer, and prepare yourself for possible delays, whether your driving or flying. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination if your driving, and scope out possible places along the way of your route where you can pull over or stop for the night if the weather is especially bad. Make sure to also pack extra blankets, gloves and toques in case you get stuck in your car or have to wait on the side of the road. If you’re flying, give yourself enough time to make it to the airport, and make sure your vehicle is equipped and ready to be stored outside for an extended period of time. When you’re booking your flights, make sure you have enough time there and back in case your flight is late, and pack a book or game in your carry to keep you and your travel companions entertained if you have to wait for a long period at the airport.

Book as early as possible

Don’t wait until the last minute to book your flight or accommodations! December is a peak time for travel, so be prepared for popular resorts to be busy, and for airlines and hotels to charge higher prices during this time. Get in touch with family or friends you are travelling with as early as possible and decide on the details - when you’re leaving, how long you’re staying, and how you’re getting there. The longer you wait, the more you will have to pay, and the greater the chance you won’t get your desired flight and accommodation options.

Avoid the crowds

Wherever you decide to go, you can be sure that public places like restaurants and shopping centres will be busier than usual. Avoid the large crowds and purchase snacks and drinks to keep in your room so you don’t always have to go out (or spend more money!). Breakfast is also an easy meal to enjoy in your hotel room - you can purchase instant oatmeal, muffins, or granola bars at a grocery store an keep them in your room to eat. This way, you can save money on eating out and not have to worry about waiting for a table at a restaurant or getting there very early to try and get a seat.

Travelling can be stressful at the best of times, but the holiday season is always worse because there is a significant increase in travellers, and everyone is impatient to get to their vacation or see their loved ones. If you’re planning on travelling during this time, start planning early and make sure you’re prepared for any situation, especially bad weather!

Are you ready for your summer vacation?

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Summer is here, and that means many Calgarians are getting ready to head out on their summer vacations. Any summer trip, whether it is a quick weekend getaway or month abroad, requires a lot of planning. Below, we’ve outlined some of the steps you will need to complete to ensure you have everything you need before you leave! 

 

Make lists

Lists can help you keep track of every stage of your trip. To prevent you from getting confused, make sure that you separate your lists by subject. For example, keep one list for just the items you need to pack and another for what you need to do before you leave.

When you’re putting together a “to do” list, or a list of items to pack, make sure that you keep them in a place that is easy to find. You don’t want to lose it before you even start! Consider using a task tracking app like Trello or Awesome Note. You can also create a list on a white board and hang it in your office, kitchen or bedroom. This way, anyone can easily add or check off your items and tasks as you complete them.

 

Pack smart

One of the most essential parts of an organized trip is packing smart. Before you start pulling out your items, make sure you consider what the weather is predicted to be like at your destination, what activities you will be doing, and how you will be travelling. Do you need to consider baggage restrictions on a flight, or have limited room in your vehicle? From here, you can put together your packing list, and use it to make sure that all of your items are accounted for.

When your packing items, consider using packing cubes or storage compartments to keep your items organized, compact, and easy to find. Packing cubes are smaller, rectangular fabric containers that can fit a variety of items. For example, you can use one to store all of your shirts so they are neatly folded and easy to find. Storage containers and bags with smaller compartments and pockets can also help you keep like items with like, and help you fit more items in your bag.

 

Create an itinerary

Your summer vacation is supposed to be fun and relaxing, so make sure you know where you need to be and when! Make sure to record important times for travelling, tours, excursions and meet-ups for your vacation before you leave. You can use the calendar in your phone or an agenda to keep track of addresses and times. Apps like Google Trips and TripCase can store all of your important travel information, as well as any documents you may need like tickets and reservation confirmations.

If you are travelling with other people, make sure they have access to a copy of the trip itinerary, so everyone is on the same page. Apps (like the ones listed above) and phone calendars having sharing functions that allow you to share your itinerary and information with travel mates. 

 

Prepare your home

Even though you are leaving home behind, it’s important to make sure that everything is prepared for when you leave. Make arrangements to have a neighbour, friend or family member check on your house periodically over your vacation. A list of what to check for, as well as any keys or passcodes needed should also be gathered and provided for whoever is watching your home. Any outdoor items like toys and patio furniture should be properly stored. It is a good idea to give the inside of your house a quick clean, so everything is in place for your return.

Any arrangements for pick-ups from airports, train stations or bus stops should also be made beforehand. Let a family member or friend know about your travel plans and provide contact information in case of an emergency.

 

Before you get away for rest and relaxation, make sure you are ready for your trip by making lists, packing smart, creating an itinerary, and preparing your home. By completing these tasks ahead of time, you can enjoy a stress-free vacation this summer!

Summer road-trip essentials

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A summer vacation requires a lot of organizing – but the road-trip to get to your vacation destination needs just as much planning!

If you are driving by car over a long distance this summer, don’t expect to be able to get into your car and drive away. Make sure that you know the route you are taking (and some potential back-ups) in case of inclement weather, traffic problems, or construction. It’s a good idea to preview the whole route to also map out different rest areas, especially for overly-long drives. Take note of any towns you are passing through, and possible places to stop for gas, a bite to eat, or a place to stretch your legs.

For trips that require multiple days, ensure that you allow for plenty of time to get to your destination. Leave some extra time just in case you run into complications along the way, and don’t push yourself to drive more hours than is safe. If you’re staying with family or friends, make sure they have an estimated time arrival for you ahead of time, and keep them updated by contacting them during one of your rest stops once you get closer. It’s a good idea to make sure they know your travel plans and the route you are taking.

It’s also important to make sure that your car is organized and packed with all of the essentials:

Snacks

Whether you’re planning a quick day trip or multiple days on the road, you can never have too many snacks. Look for items that are least likely to make a mess and easy to eat on the go – fresh vegetables and fruit can be cut and packed into individual portions for easy access and eating. Granola bars or bites, beef jerky, and fruit gummies are good non-perishable treats that can be kept in a car over the summer as an emergency stash.  

Beverages

Always make sure you have plenty of water and other beverages to help you and your family stay hydrated during the trip. While drinking water is important, consider bringing a few other beverage options to switch it up, especially if you are driving for long periods. Flavoured sparkling water is still healthy, but the different flavour and carbonation can be a nice change and energy booster. For kids, juice boxes are easy to pack and store and are healthier than pop. You can also consider using reusable water bottles and bringing larger bottles of water and refilling them. Don’t forget to bring travel mugs for coffee and tea refills during morning drives!

Wipes/cloths

Even with the right snacks and beverages, messy hands and faces can still happen. Throw a couple of packs of wipes or clothes into one of the seat pockets so are prepared to clean up any potential messes. It’s also a good idea to make sure one bag is designated as a garbage bag, so you have a place to dispose or store any dirty cloths while you’re on the road.

Headphones and chargers

Batteries don’t last forever, so make sure that you have all the chargers you need for all of your electronic devices. Consider purchasing an extra charger and keeping it permanently in your car so you always have access to it when you need it most. Not everyone can agree on what to listen to, so make sure headphones are available for anyone who might want to listen or watch something else on their personal devices.

Entertainment

From the driver to the passengers, everyone can get bored on road-trips. Make sure everyone is prepared by bringing along a variety of activities or entertainment options. Don’t just create a playlist – download a few podcasts or audio books to listen to as well. Change is good and helps break up long travel distances. For passengers, books, movies and small games are also great entertainment options. If you still find yourself with nothing to do, consider playing one of these classic road trip games with the other passengers.

Your summer adventure awaits, but make sure your vehicle is road-trip ready before you hit the open road!