“When I travel, I shop for souvenirs at the local grocery stores. It’s almost always better and cheaper than a touristy shop. I’ve bought sea salt in Reykjavik, biscuits from Marks & Spencer in London and just got some amazing olives and dried pasta in Florence for a song.”
– Eve Thomas, Associate Editor, Luxury Brands, Spafax
“I haven’t checked a bag in six years, no matter the duration of the trip. I work multipurpose basics built around two suits (Tiger is my wrinkle‑resistant brand of choice). I accessorize with pocket squares so it looks different every day. Three ties, four shirts, two polos, a pair of jeans and two pairs of trousers all fit in my super‑roomy Mandarina Duck (12 years and 2.5 million miles and counting!).”
– Raymond Girard, President, Content Marketing, Spafax
“Get a NEXUS card, but set up your application appointment at a land border, not the airport. Each station has the same number of agents. The waiting list at airports can be counted in months. Land borders can process you within days.”
– Arjun Basu, Senior Vice President, Content Strategy, Spafax
“I always bring my headlamp. While it’s most useful on backcountry camping trips, you just never know when there might be a power outage, even in the City of Light.”
– Susan Nerberg, Deputy Editor, Air Canada enRoute
“I travel frequently between Toronto and Montreal, so I usually get through all the North American movies on the inflight entertainment system on my must‑watch list. If you book a seat on one of the wide‑body aircraft (A330 or Dreamliner) that does a city hop before continuing on to an international destination, you can get the pumped‑up inflight movie content not found on domestic routes, including some great art‑house films.”
– Ilana Weitzman, Director of Content, Air Canada Media
“I use MUJI foldable mesh garment bags. Fold, roll or otherwise jam in your clothing and zip them shut. The small size is the best, because you can make a suitcase of seven or eight of them. The medium size fits folded shirts perfectly.”
– Andrew Elkin, Managing Editor, Air Canada enRoute
“When travelling in remote parts where you are unlikely to find a shared language with the locals, the book Point It: Traveller’s Language Kit is very helpful.”
– Amanda Dawson, frequent traveller and Contributing Editor, Air Canada enRoute
“Think you need to pack all those beauty products? Think again. For example, the Gansevoort Hotel’s Meatpacking District location in New York has added the ‘Glamour Bar’ to its rooms. Mascara to nail polish, now available the way chips and bottled water are in a minibar.”
– Candice Best, President, Siren Communications
“If I’m checking into a hotel without a reservation, I try to arrive between 4:45 and 6 p.m. – before the front‑desk rush hour, but after all the rooms have been cleaned. This way I have the largest choice of available rooms and the staff’s undivided attention.”
– Lara Barlow, Country Manager for Travelzoo Canada
“My trick for overcoming jet lag is a workout the morning after arrival. Thirty minutes on the treadmill and I’m in gear. For every business trip, I pack two sets of workout clothes and a separate small bag to put the clothes in following the workout. Within that bag, I store a few small bars of leftover soap from our hotel to prevent that less‑than‑ideal scenario of having an ‘overpowering gym bag’ in the room.”
– Andrew Torriani, President & CEO, Ritz‑Carlton Montreal
“To get a little extra space, I try to book a seat as far back in the plane as I can. Middle seats at the back of the plane are the least desirable, so if you book an aisle or window seat way at the back, you have slightly better odds of having a vacant seat next to you.”
– Jim Byers, Canadian travel journalist
“Before laying down big bucks for a luxury spa treatment, I like to get in touch with the spa director by phone or e‑mail. I will ask about their personal favourite therapist on staff, as well as the name of the therapist with the most repeat guest bookings.”
– Si Si Penaloza, Jetset Magazine
“Right after checking into the hotel or the very first morning after that, I go for a run. It feels like marking my territory – and it’s a great opportunity to take in details of the surroundings that I might not otherwise notice.”
– Sarah Musgrave, Executive Editor, Air Canada enRoute
THAILAND: Sign up for a cooking class early in your stay. They are usually taught by locals who can share insider tips to the city. Plus, you leave with a whole whack of amazing Thai grub. Try Helping Hands, a cooking course that covers the basics of Thai cuisine and ingredients.
MONTREAL: Avoid the lineups at airport security by visiting this page on the Montreal Airports website to book a screening appointment in advance.
GERMANY: Buy a local SIM card (like Blau) for your unlocked mobile phone – it’s way cheaper than data packs, and often comes with free megabytes.
MEXICO CITY: Choose Uber over taxis. The service is dependable and a lot safer in a city where cabbies can be fake or dodgy. It also gives you a digital record of your trip.
SYDNEY: Customs are very tight in Australia in order to preserve the ecosystem, so never travel with any food – or at least eat it all before you land.
LISBON: Drivers notoriously overcharge passengers who don’t speak Portuguese with a bogus flat rate when coming from the airport. Avoid getting gouged by insisting that the driver use the meter.
TORONTO: For NEXUS holders, it’s often faster to go up to the main departures security at Pearson on Level 3 than to transit through the connections security on Level 2, where sometimes only one lane is open.
WASHINGTON, D.C.: When possible, land at the central DCA airport instead of BWI or Dulles. The fare can be slightly more, but you’ll make it up through cheaper cabs and faster transit.
ATHENS: Never buy toiletries at pharmacies. Head to grocery stores instead, where brands like Nivea and Lancôme are half the price.
DELHI: A nod is not always an indication of the affirmative in India. The locals communicate several responses though head movement, so use this handy guide to decipher the subtleties.
MELBOURNE: Streetcars through the CBD (Central Business District) are free, so plan your neighbourhood exploration accordingly. You’ll be surprised how cheap it is to get around.