Section 7: Frequent Flyers Club (#63-74)
enRoute’s editors, writers and other travel experts dish on their favourite ways to travel well.
“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
Section 8: Location-specific Hacks
Make an unfamiliar destination easier to navigate with these hacks from around the world.
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.
Section 9: Hack Gear
Smart travel devices make all the difference when you have limited space, limited time and limited patience.
Get in your daily downward dog fix anytime, anywhere, with YogaPaws, a set of padded mitts and footgear that mimics the padding of a giant mat but won’t take up half your suitcase.
Know the weight of your luggage before departing for the airport by using a detachable hand-held scale, like this one from Conair. The same device can pull double duty as a kitchen gadget.
Protect your devices and avoid the inevitable panic attack prompted by tangled cords by using a handy adjustable organizer from Grid-It.
The Mighty Purse is a clutch that can charge your smartphone. It’s also stylish, made of genuine leather and available in many colours.
Give your child a ride while enjoying the convenience of a detachable kid’s seat that snaps onto the back of your rolling luggage. Check out this one from Rivercreek.
When you travel often enough, unacceptable washroom facilities are inevitable. Women can avoid doing the precarious squat dance with the GoGirl – a handy device that will make any toilet hygienic.
Section 10: Audio Books (#97-100)
Flights go by quickly when you have a great book to read, but they go by even faster when you have a great book to hear. Below, our recommendations for audio books about destinations that will fit perfectly into your flight.
Vancouver–Hong Kong: 13h05m
Hong Kong by Jan Morris (12h33m)
In Hong Kong’s last days under British rule, author Jan Morris delves into the city’s fascinating history – and future.
True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey (13h57m)
Winner of the Man Booker Prize, this novel is a riveting Australian modern classic about a bushbanger hero-cum-criminal.
The Iliad by Homer – narrated by Derek Jacobi (8h50m)
The legendary British actor narrates a classic tale that packs much of Greek ancient history into its depiction of two weeks of the Trojan War.
Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes (8h31m)
Post-war London comes to life in MacInnes’ elaborate portrayal of youthful rebellion in a country trying to regain its identity.
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (6h42m)
Papa’s famous memoir of Paris in the 1920s explores the creative highs and lows of a man enthralled with his adopted city, and features appearances by Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford and James Joyce.
Section 11: Hack vs. Hack vs. Hack
Because a good day’s travel deserves to be toasted, here are three different ways to open a bottle of wine with no corkscrew.
If you have: Household scissors
Open scissors all the way and push one blade down all the way to the handle (or as far as it will go).
Use the other handle loop to slowly spin and pull upwards.
If you have: A shoe
Place bottom of bottle inside the shoe (works best with a brogue or something similar).
Find a sturdy wall (brick or concrete) and repeatedly bang the shoe sole (containing the wine bottle) against it. Use force and expect to repeat banging motion about 20 times. The cork will eventually emerge.
If you have: A toolbox
Find the largest screw available. Jam into centre of cork and use a screwdriver to screw down.
Using the backside of the hammer, slowly yank the screw and the cork will come with it.
Section 12: How to Get over Jet Lag from Almost Anywhere