Isabelle Lamarre | Journalist
Some trips take months of planning. Others are more of a spur-of-the moment affair. The season for last-minute getaways is right around the corner--get ready!
Just a bit of planning goes a long way
Maybe you've always wanted to explore the Toronto Islands or maybe take in one of those weird summer festivals, like Michigan's Humungus Fungus Fest! Or maybe a challenging climb up Mount Washington is more your thing. With a bit of planning, you can make the most of every minute and keep from spreading yourself too thin.
At the very least, find a room for the first night, especially if you're heading to the most popular festivals. Once you're there, it will be easier to figure out the best way to spend the rest of your trip.
Will you be landing somewhere? In goes that third pair of shoes. Carrying a backpack? Stick to the essentials. Driving? Divide your luggage into sections.
Rule of thumb: Leave extra room to bring back souvenirs and make things easier when it's time to pack up again.
Driver's license, insurance documents, passport...Some essentials are the same wherever you go, while others vary.
Good to know: The Government of Canada offers destination-specific travel information. Also, Desjardins members get free 24/7 advice and assistance before and during their trip for themselves and their family members (spouse and children) who are travelling with them, whether they're outside their home province or abroad.
4. Credit card
It's a good idea to get a second credit card in case your primary card gets stolen, stuck in an ATM or blocked. And speaking of blocked cards: if you're crossing the border, let your card issuer know; it can save you a lot of headaches.
A handy tip for roadtrips: In the States, you need to enter a 5-digit zip code to pay at the pump. What to do? Enter the three digits in your postal code, followed by "00."
5. Small bills
It's helpful to have some small bills on hand for ice cream, strawberries from the farmer's market, tips and so on. If you're leaving the country, stop by your financial institution or a currency exchange service before you go. You can also use your debit card to withdraw local currency from an ATM once you arrive at your destination. The fees will be higher, but it'll help in a pinch.
Provincial healthcare and hospitalization insurance plans don't fully reimburse healthcare expenses incurred outside your home province, so you should have insurance for that little jaunt to New York or New Brunswick.
Don't be afraid to ask questions about the what's covered, the criteria and the duration of your insurance as well as any additional services offered before and during the trip.
You should also consider the travel insurance you get with your credit cards or group insurance.
By the way, did you know that you get 3 days' worth of coverage free of charge for trips outside your province if you have a Desjardins credit card*?
Remember: As long as you're in your home province, there's still time to buy travel insurance--even at the very last minute.
Your phone performs so many functions. It helps you navigate your way around, acts as your personal DJ, keeps you connected to the world and more. Naturally, you want to use it while you're away, but how much will it cost you? Instead of paying for data usage, get a day plan that covers roaming fees, so you can use your phone as usual.
A smart solution: You can also unlock your phone and use a SIM card with a local plan; it usually costs a lot less.
8. Border crossings
To avoid the stress of huge lineups at the border, check wait times before you head off.
Did you turn off your stove and A/C? Closed the windows? A quick inspection before locking the door can spare you a lot of grief when you get back. And make sure you haven't forgotten anything with the handy checklist Desjardins Insurance has prepared for you.
Your adventure awaits!
*Some conditions apply