Canadians are staying in Canada

Source; ITIJ

A Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA) of Canada survey has found that Canadians are favouring domestic travel over travel to the US.

According to the 2018 Smart Travellers survey, despite recent reports that travel between Canada and the US has not suffered the Trump-induced slump that many projected, 42 per cent of Canadians are planning to travel within their own country, while only 19 per cent plan to head to the US for a holiday.

When quizzed about how much of an influence the political climate in the US has had on their travel plans, 57 per cent of respondents said that they were less likely to take a trip to their neighbour. Other factors cited by survey respondents included currency conversion, with 59 per cent of Canadians saying that the exchange rate was influencing their travel decisions.

Concerningly, 19 per cent of Canadians said that they had, at some point, intentionally provided inaccurate information on a travel health insurance medical questionnaire. When asked why, 58 per cent said that they had done so in order to save money on their policy.

“The US has historically been Canada’s largest travel destination,” said THiA’s Executive Director, Will McAleer. “These results are consistent with Statistics Canada data showing a five-month decline in travel to the US. Our survey shows that many Canadian travellers will be exploring travel options within our borders.”

17 Scariest Cruise Packing Mistakes

Brittany Chrusciel | Cruise Critic 

We learned some monstrous lessons from some pretty gnarly packing mishaps. Howl along with 17 of the worst of them and keep your packing nightmares to a minimum.

Packing for a cruise isn’t just troublesome for newbies; even repeat cruisers make the mistake of packing everything they own … or leaving the most important item on the kitchen table. In theory, our checklist is at hand every time, but to err is human. Cruise Critic reached out to our forum members as well as fellow staffers for their packing mishaps. From forgetting underwear to nearly leaving the ship in just underwear, to weeding out plastic weapons from your toddler’s bag, we learned some big lessons from some pretty gnarly packing mishaps. Laugh along with 17 of the worst cruise packing mistakes.

1. Bringing Contraband

2. Leaking Toiletries

3. Forgetting Formalwear

4. Bringing Toy Weapons

5. Packing Fish

6. Not Covering Toothbrushes

7. Spilling Detergent

8. Not Stashing a Change of Clothes in Your Carry-On

9. Bringing Too Many Shoes

10. Letting Clothes Wrinkle

11. Overpacking

12. Packing Electronics in Checked Luggage

13. Forgetting Jackets

14. Not Bringing Socks

15. Packing Your Last Day Outfit

16. Not Padding Your Wine Purchases

17. Packing Passport in Checked Luggage

READ IN DETAIL HERE: 

 

RVs provide freedom for adventurous travellers, but it will cost you

By Dan Healing

THE CANADIAN PRESS

CALGARY _ The symbol of a retirement filled with travel and relaxation arrived last year for Bruce and Lisa Anderson of Calgary in the form of a 12-metre long package.

That’s how big their diesel-powered Class A motorhome is _ about the same size as a city bus with, as Bruce points out, a bigger weight-carrying capacity.

It’s big enough that it doesn’t fit into some campgrounds. It’s so big it has two wry nicknames: “Motorhome” and “My Daughter’s Inheritance.”

“Our camping experience has run the whole gamut from tent to travel trailer to motorhome,” said Bruce, acknowledging that purists might not consider it camping if you stay in air-conditioned luxury with more floor space than a small apartment.

“As a teenager, I camped under a lean-to. At age 60, I like my house on wheels.”

When it comes to buying a trailer or motorhome to get out into the great outdoors or just avoid paying hotel rates on vacation, the choices can be daunting and the price in the window just the beginning of what ownership will actually cost.

The best prices are usually seen now, at the start of the off-season, when more used units are on the market and dealers may be willing to bargain to reduce inventory, said Jeff Redmond, general manager of Bucars RV just north of Calgary.

The range of options and prices mean it’s best to have a good idea of your budget and needs before turning up at the dealership, he said.

“You can get into a really good used RV for around $5,000,” he said.

“In the new market, you can be as low as … $20,000 (for a travel trailer) and we range all the way up to over $1 million for luxury Class A diesel motorhomes.”

A scan of used campers for sale online shows a number actually being given away for free although sometimes with ominous wording such as: “Toilet works but valve to empty out sewage won’t open,” and, “Floor a little spongy and will need to be replaced.”

The total number of new camping units sold in Canada this year is expected to be about 52,000, up about five per cent over 2017, said Eleonore Hamm, president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada.

Private RV sales represent about 50 per cent of used unit sales, with the rest being sold by dealers.

“If you’re buying privately, the main thing is safety,” Hamm said, adding many dealers will do safety checks for a fee.

“You want to ensure that the units have been checked, that the propane has been recertified, make sure there’s no water damage, make sure the braking system is working adequately.”

Renting is the best way to go RVing, says Brian Gronberg, CEO of Calgary-based CanaDream Corp., which counts about 85 per cent of its RV rental customers from outside of Canada.

“Nobody should buy a motorhome. They’re expensive and they are depreciating assets,” he said in an interview.

He conceded, however, that his company sells used RVs as part of its program to continually refresh its fleet of 1,200 rental units _ and CanaDream allows renters to apply their rental fees to a purchase.

The fall rental of a two-person RV might cost $100 per night from CanaDream, but a last-minute, mid-summer rental of a big motorhome that sleeps six could be $350 to $400 per night, Gronberg said.

The Andersons have learned a lot about RVing since buying their hulking unit for about $390,000. They went on a three-month vacation to Newfoundland and Labrador last summer and they are planning lengthy vacations on Vancouver Island and in the southern U.S. in future years.

Storing the unit at the dealership costs about $1,000 a year, Bruce said, more than the $500 to $600 he used to pay to store his travel trailer on a rural lot. (Many cities don’t allow RV storage on the street.)

Insurance for the motorhome costs more than for a house. Campground fees start at $40-$50 a night with power and water service but some resort-style campgrounds charge as much as $110 a night, he said. Other regular bills are for maintenance and draining the RV’s water lines before winter’s freeze.

And then there’s the cost of fuel, he said.

“Motorhoming, in my opinion, will not save you money.”

How marijuana legalization will impact your travel plans

With the legalization of marijuana in Canada happening this week, the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA) released survey results today revealing some notable insights. The survey revealed that 20 per cent of Canadians planning to travel this year are unaware of the implications of travelling with marijuana. Additionally, 22 per cent of respondents with medical marijuana prescriptions believe they can pack it in carry-ons just like any other prescription drug, regardless of where they are travelling to, once it becomes legal.

“Even though cannabis has been legalized across the country, travellers need to be vigilant if they decide to travel with the drug,” says THiA Executive Director, Will McAleer. “People work hard to enjoy their vacations and should be aware of all implications before they travel, regardless of whether they decide to travel with marijuana or not. The most popular travel destination for Canadians is the U.S., a jurisdiction where it is illegal under federal laws to possess cannabis in any form.”

Many insurers are taking the position that marijuana will be treated similarly to alcohol in terms of travelling within Canada. Which means airlines will allow passengers to carry up to 30 grams of marijuana on domestic flights after October 17th. However, it is the U.S. borders and travelling outside of Canada that Canadians must be informed about. Even though cannabis is legal in some states, it remains illegal under U.S. federal laws to possess it in any form or quantity, making it illegal to bring across the Canada-U.S. border. Penalties for doing so include legal prosecution and fines and possibly jail time.

THiA’s survey revealed that demographics play a large part in the level of awareness travellers have regarding travelling with marijuana. Thirteen per cent of boomers said that they wouldn’t anticipate any issues at the border when travelling from one legal province to another jurisdiction outside of Canada with marijuana. When asked the same question, 21 per cent of millennials believed they wouldn’t run into any issues at all. Choosing to avoid potential issues altogether, 77 per cent of boomers, and 60 per cent of millennials, believe you shouldn’t pack marijuana at all when travelling, even with a prescription.

It’s important to be mindful of what you can and cannot bring across international borders when travelling. THiA recommends always following the golden rules of travel health insurance before you leave for your vacation:

  1. Understand your travel insurance policy – Insurance providers have staff available to answer any questions related to policies.
  2. Know your health and consult a health care provider if you have any questions.
  3. Know your trip – How long will you be gone? Are you a snowbird? Will you be travelling many times during the year? Do you plan to scuba dive? Find a policy that is specifically tailored to your trip.
  4. Know your rights – the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities will help provide all travelling Canadians with additional confidence in their travel insurance purchase knowing their company is supporting their rights as a consumer and making them aware of their responsibilities.

About the Survey
The online survey, conducted in September 2018, polled 1,343 respondents, ranging from ages 18 to 60+ across Canada.

About the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA)
Founded in 1998, the Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA) is the national organization representing travel insurers, brokers, underwriters, re-insurers, emergency assistance companies, air ambulance companies and allied services in the travel insurance field. THiA is the leading voice of the travel insurance industry in Canada and is engaged in public education and issues relating to regulatory affairs and member communications.

SOURCE Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA)

Tips for a worry-free winter away

Tips for a worry-free winter away

Many retired Canadians will soon head south to their home away from home for the winter months.

CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is sharing new CAA member research that sheds light on some of the common worries experienced by snowbirds and is suggesting some simple tips to plan for a worry-free winter away.

In an online survey completed earlier this year by over 3,000 members, CAA found that the top worries snowbirds had while travelling were:

  • The wellbeing of family and friends travelling with them
  • The wellbeing of family and friends back at home
  • Pre-existing health concerns
  • Losing their wallet
  • Illness/injury related to activities on trip

“Peace of mind while travelling is the ultimate luxury,” said Kaitlynn Furse, manager, public relations, CAA South Central Ontario. “Taking steps to ensure that you’ll be covered with the right travel and medical coverage, is the best way to make the most of your time away during the winter.”

Among those surveyed, medical coverage for the duration of the trip was the most common type of travel insurance purchased, followed by trip cancellation/interruption, an annual policy that provides coverage for multiple trips throughout the year or a packaged plan that provides both medical and non-medical coverage for the duration of a trip.

CAA SCO suggests that snowbirds planning to head south this winter look for the following coverage before taking off:

Emergency Medical Insurance that includes:

  • Emergency medical treatment: Applies to hospital accommodations, physician fees, lab tests and X-rays, private duty nursing, and ambulance service.
  • Medical repatriation: When medically necessary, this coverage allows you to be transported safely to a medical facility for treatment, avoiding out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Return of vehicle: If you’re badly injured or hospitalized, the return of vehicle benefit will cover reasonable expense to have your personal or rental vehicle returned, providing you that extra peace of mind.

Bounce Back benefits: When travelling, there is always the possibility of having to return due to a home or family emergency. Bounce Back benefits often provide up to $2,000 for a round-trip ticket home and back to your destination.

CAA SCO also recommends the following when buying travel insurance:

  • Consult with your doctor before filling out a medical questionnaire. This will allow you to fully understand your medical history, allowing you to answer questions with confidence.
  • Read your policy carefully. Understand what is and isn’t covered.
  • If you have any questions, ask your travel insurance provider.
  • Don’t buy travel insurance on price alone.

Snowbirds should also check the following before heading south:

  • Make sure your driver’s license and passport do not expire while you are away.
  • Check with your auto insurance company to ensure you are covered while driving in the United States. Additional coverage may be required.
  • Review your homeowner’s policy. If you are away for an extended period, you must have someone check your property regularly.
  • Make sure to check travel advisories for your destination at least once while planning your travel and before you travel.

For more educational tips on commonly asked questions related to travel insurance go to www.caasco.ca/Educateme.

About CAA South Central Ontario
For over a hundred years, CAA has been helping Canadians stay mobile, safe and protected. CAA South Central Ontario is one of eight auto clubs across Canada providing roadside assistance, travel, insurance services and Member savings for our over 2 million Members.

SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario

Canada Day Weekend – Travel Tips for facilitating your border crossing

Canada Day Weekend – Travel Tips for facilitating your border crossing

OTTAWAJune 28, 2018 /CNW/ – The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) advises travellers that it anticipates higher volumes at its ports of entry over the Canada Day Weekend. The CBSA shares the following tips to facilitate your border crossing:

For returning residents:

Introducing a new surtax on U.S. goods – starting July 1, 2018, certain goods originating from the U.S. are subject to a surtax on the value for duty in accordance with the United States Surtax Order (Other Goods) and the United States Surtax Order (Steel and Aluminum). Please note that the surtax will not apply to U.S. goods that are in transit to Canadaprior to July 1, 2018. The surtax will be applied on goods subject to the surtax if a traveller exceeds their personal exemption. A list of goods subject to the surtax is available on the Department of Finance’s website.

The Monday of holiday long weekends tends to be busiest; plan around it.

Know your purchases and keep travel documents handy – Know your personal exemptions and restrictions and make sure that each passenger has the correct travel document. Have your travel documents and receipts in hand when you arrive at the border. It is recommended you travel with a passport as it is the only universally recognized travel document.

Declare all purchases, acquisitions, and/or gifts received when returning to Canada – refer to the I Declare brochure on the CBSA website for more information. If you are bringing gifts, it is recommended they not be wrapped as we may need to examine them more in-depth.

For travellers and residents:

Plan your border crossing – Check border wait times using the CanBorder App and cross at the least busy port of entry in the area. Historically, holidays result in higher than normal volumes; plan your entry during non-peak hours such as early morning. The Monday of holiday long weekends tends to be busiest, plan around it.

Know the contents of your vehicle – Travellers can consult the CBSA’s website for information on firearms and other restricted and prohibited goods. Declare all your goods.

Become a NEXUS member – NEXUS is designed to expedite the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travellers into Canada and the United States. NEXUS members receive expedited border clearance in the land, air, and marine modes, and a NEXUS membership is valid for five years.  Additionally, you may take advantage of NEXUS expedited benefits when going through Canadian Air Transport Security Authority at key airports across Canada.

Use a Primary Inspection Kiosk – If you arrive at one of Canada’s busiest international airports, you can now verify your identity and make an on screen declaration using a primary inspection kiosk. Most travellers arriving in Canada by air, including returning residents and foreign nationals may use the kiosk. Download our eDeclaration mobile app to save even more time when you arrive by air in Canada.

Do not travel with cannabis (marijuana) – Cannabis is not yet legal in Canada. And even when it is, it will remain illegal to take it across the border.

Not sure? Ask the CBSA officer – The single best thing you can do to save time returning to Canada is to simply be open and honest with the CBSA officer. If you are not sure about what to declare, don’t hesitate to ask. The officers are there to help you.

For more information, visit the CBSA website or contact the Border Information Service.

Follow us on Twitter (@CanBorder) and Instagram (canborder), join us on Facebook or visit our YouTube channel.

SOURCE Canada Border Services Agency

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