I love to travel and until this past trip, I have generally had some very good luck when it comes to traveling to the US and internationally. The tips I’m sharing are based on my own personal experience and nothing more, so use at your own risk!  And I don’t have any children yet, so all of these recommendations are based on traveling as a adult.

  • Book your ticket as early as possible. This can give you priority when it comes to seating choice or if a trip has been overbooked, you are less likely to be forced off the plane.
  • For extra leg room without extra cost on most airlines, book the emergency exit or bulkhead seats (front of the plane). This can be done online the day before for a domestic flight (for some airlines) or at the airport when you check in.  It’s worth it even if you aren’t very tall.
  • Weigh your luggage before leaving home, most airlines are very strict about the 50 lb per bag limit and will charge you for every extra lb you are carrying. The good news is that most airlines still do not weigh your carry-on bag, so you can put some of the heavier stuff in your carry-on.  If you are traveling with 2 people, it’s still important to have the weight equally distributed between the two bags.
  • For those living near the US/Canadian border, we have had some excellent flights from Buffalo, NY to other locations in the US.  The flights are often half of the cost compared to flying out of Toronto and the airport is smaller, with more advanced security, so you can get through faster. The border is always a bit of a question mark, but there are 3 options to get across from Canada so you can usually make it across within 30 min. And parking is half the price of long-term parking in Toronto.
  • Your carry-on is key – even in this climate, you are allowed one personal sized carry-on at the very least.  Items that are essential for me in my carry-on include:
    • an empty re-usable water bottle (this can be filled up on the plane for free by the flight attendants)
    • lots of snacks (nothing liquid or gel though)
    • change of clothing (at least underwear) and sometimes, a bathing suit when traveling to a warmer climate
    • any supplements taken on a daily basis
    • a book (or a Kindle) and a crossword/sudoku/word search magazine
    • any electronics such as a laptop, camera and phone
    • passport, wallet and ID – in a travel pouch depending on where you are going. Put photocopies in your luggage and one at home.
    • tylenol or advil

I hope this helps and if you’ve got any more suggestions – feel free to comment!

**Note as of Jan 6, 2010 – the rules have completely changed.  Sadly, we are no longer allowed to bring much of anything on board.  The rules keep changing but here is the latest from the National Post.

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