Essential tips for holiday travel

Before you fly, make sure you heed these key tips. (Julia Pelish/

Story by Doug Wallace

Just before we all jet off to somewhere warmer or colder or where the heart is, here are some tips to keep you comfortable. Packing is an art form.

• Pack Tylenol 3s or an equivalent. You don’t need to pay an overseas doctor $500 to tell you you’ve sprained your ankle.

• Get your doctor to prescribe a travel kit of drugs he thinks you might needs like mine did. Immodium, gravol, antibiotics, muscle relaxants, sleeping pills.

• Don’t touch any of the bugs, and don’t scratch when they bite you. Use After-bite.

• Earplugs, earplugs, earplugs. Sleeping tablets.

• Pack an extra vinyl bag that folds up in case you shop too hard.

• Create a cord bag for computer cords, charging cords, the camera cords and all battery chargers, adapters, etc. Include an international travel adapter for electricity. You can also bring a voltage converter, and bonus points if you find adapter and converter in one. Hit the travel store. Do NOT buy these things at the airport or pay through the nose.

• Throw in a mini-to-mini cord in case the music dock in your room won’t accept your iPhone.

• Noise-cancelling headphones are well worth the money, warding off much airplane aggro, especially when that kid two rows down decides to scream all the way to Tofino.

• Choose running shoes that are subtle enough in style (black) that they can do double duty for use with casual pants.

• Never close a suitcase without throwing in a swimsuit. Men’s Tip: Find one that can double as a gym short.

• Invest in a short-sleeve water shirt if you’re prone to sunburn. If you’re a real water baby, water shoes might not be a bad idea either.

• Never leave home without some kind of hat. Do I have to tell you this?

• For the best deals, always buy plane tickets four to six weeks in advance (not three, not seven), and only on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

• You don’t have to wear your backpack on your front, but beware of what sort of zippered pockets you have that aren’t in your line of sight, especially in crowded malls, streets and tourist areas.

• Don’t put anything in your back pockets. Money, credit cards and passport always in your front pockets.

• Cologne can double as a disinfectant in a pinch. Ditto vodka.

• Don’t leave home without it—a second credit card, I mean.

Vicky is the worldly publisher of Having graduated from McGill University in Montreal, she has set about building a talented team of travel experts to deliver to you words and images of the very best places to see and experience in Canada. Based in Yorkville in Toronto, Vicky regularly jet sets around Canada — be sure to catch up with her when she's in your part of the country.

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