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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


We’re only weeks away from one of the busiest travel times of the year, which for many people involves heading home with family or escaping to a warmer climate. But while travel is often high on adventure, it’s low on predictability.

This busy season it can also be stressful as you try to get organized, which can lead to several common – and potential costly – travel mistakes. 

"In the hustle and bustle of holiday travel, it’s easy for people to make potentially costly mistakes such as forgetting to get immunizations or prescription refills, over-packing bags, or incurring out-of-pocket medical expenses because they didn’t check their travel insurance coverage,” says Stacey Hughes-Brooks, head of travel at RBC Insurance.

“With a little preparation and research, you can avoid making these common travel mistakes and save yourself money – and aggravation – especially if something unexpected should happen.”

Here are four tips from RBC to avoid making costly mistakes this holiday travel season:  

  • Plan ahead. If you’re travelling with young kids, make packing lists for everyone to ensure nothing gets overlooked, from baby supplies to toys or snacks. Make sure prescriptions are filled and get any necessary medical letters and appropriate insurance for pre-existing conditions. Stock up on items that may be expensive or not found at your destination and download books, music playlists or in-flight entertainment options for young kids ahead of time.
  • Travel light. With many airlines charging for checked bags, pack less and make your items multitask. Avoid going over weight restrictions by investing in a hand-held scale and weigh your luggage before heading to the airport. During the holiday chaos, baggage is more susceptible to getting lost, stolen or damaged on route. Especially if travelling with gifts ask about insurance that includes baggage and personal effects coverage in case your luggage goes missing.
  • Use technology. Travel smarter when it comes to your health and safety by using apps and technology, but not just for posting pictures. Whether you’re travelling south of the border or to a foreign country, it’s important to have medical information at your fingertips. For example, the PATH app provides local maps to help you find nearby medical facilities, and contacts for local medical experts who can provide emergency assistance.

Get insurance. Now more than ever, increased political turmoil, terrorist activity and extreme weather patterns pose more danger than ever before. Even if you have travel insurance though your credit card, it’s still important to check what’s covered, depending on where you go, what you plan on doing.

No one likes to think something can happen to them, but sadly it could. Before you hit the road take the time to check to ensure you are covered for the “what if” scenario.

Insurance is best if never used but invaluable it you need it.