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The ultimate checklist for travelers

To the point Get the ultimate checklist for travellers on Milesopedia, covering everything from points strategies to travel insurance to benefits optimization.

On Milesopedia, we’ve written in-depth articles on every conceivable subject. Here’s a compilation of these items, our ultimate checklist for travellers! A surprise awaits you at the end of this article.

Indeed, there are so many things you can do to prepare for a trip with complete peace of mind, from optimizing points redemption or ticket purchase, to obtaining the best exchange rate or finding out what to do if your flight is cancelled or your luggage is lost.

The ultimate checklist for travellers - Before you book your trip: from all-inclusive vacations to adventure trips

Points & Credit Card Strategy

Once you know where you want to go, the next step on the ultimate checklist for travellers is to develop a points strategy to make the trip more affordable. Indeed, travel hacking is a powerful tool, but gathering the necessary points takes time.

The first step is to identify the best rewards program for your destination, as there are many options, such as Aeroplan, Avios, Flying Blue, Marriott Bonvoy, Aventura and others.

Tip: opt for points that can be transferred to several airlines to keep your options open.

Then you can use this information to sign up for a new credit card to earn lots of points fast; generous welcome bonuses are the easiest way to replenish your points balance.

If you’re new to the world of points and don’t have any, you can book your vacation with a new credit card to earn points or status for your next trip! Using expenses from one trip to finance the next – how cool is that?

If you’re collecting points organically, the best card is the American Express CobaltMD Card, which allows you to earn 5X points on major spending categories such as groceries,gas and gift cards (Amazon, Walmart, SAQ, Netflix, Simons, etc.).

We’re often asked the question: what’s the best credit card to pay for my vacations? It depends on what you’re looking for, from travel insurance to the best return in terms of rewards, and the answer varies from person to person.

Planning the Optimal Trip

It’s also worth thinking outside the box when booking your trip, as you can sometimes find the best fare by combining different programs, whether a combination of points programs or a cash fare.

Similarly, choosing the best redemption option when booking an award flight or hotel can save you a lot of points. The same goes for the fare class best suited to your needs since you may already be enjoying free baggage as an Aeroplan credit card holder, and there’s no need to buy a higher fare just for that purpose. What’s more, by purchasing the right fare, you can use your upgrade credits to obtain a seat toward the front of the cabin.

Finally, have you ever paid attention to your plane and your seat? Choosing the right aircraft and the good seat can radically change the experience; you can pay the same price for a business class seat on a plane with sleeper seats as on a smaller plane with armchair seats, or you can be stuck without a window when the person in front of you has two.

Travel insurance

The next thing on every traveller’s bucket checklist is to check your travel insurance.

If you are not insured by the credit card you paid with, ensure you get one elsewhere.

The ultimate checklist for travelers - Before you go

Accumulate travel benefits

With everything booked and settled, you can now start maximizing your benefits. Indeed, this part of the ultimate checklist for travellers focuses on how you can improve your travel experience.

As mentioned in the previous section, some credit cards entitle the cardholder (up to 8 people on the same reservation) to one free piece of luggage. If you don’t have one of these cards, you still have time to get one, as you don’t need to have bought your flight with it!

When it comes to hotel benefits, some cards give you a head start on achieving status, like the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card, which can save you a lot of money during your stay.

Likewise, you can obtain a new credit card offering free access to VIP lounges worldwide, or a card entitling you to membership of the DragonPass program.

While you’re at it, find a card that doesn’t charge a conversion fee to save on every foreign transaction, like Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card.

What’s really convenient is that the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card does both, with free lounge access and no currency conversion fees!

When it comes to foreign currencies, find out how to get the best exchange rate with credit cards or Wise.

As far as regrets are concerned, if you hesitated to buy a seat in a premium cabin and didn’t, don’t forget that you can always make an upgrade offer and hope to get one.

Similarly, if you booked a connecting flight because it was cheaper and your schedule changed, you may be able to turn it into a direct itinerary!

The little things we love

Today, there’s no need to scramble to find a reasonably priced SIM card provider on arrival to stay connected during your trip, thanks to eSIM programs likeAiralo. They offer low-cost packages, and you can access data from your plane seat if you’re stuck on the tarmac.

Aeroplan Members enjoy free Wi-Fi on board Air Canada aircraft, so open an account before you travel!

Given the current situation in the aviation sector (increasing demand and staff shortages), you may encounter traffic at any point in the airport. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to connect to the Internet while seated, as the terminal’s free Wi-Fi may not reach you.

Similarly, possession of a NEXUS or Global Entry card can facilitate security and customs clearance, especially if you have a short stopover.

How do I pack for a trip?

Travelling with hand luggage can solve many problems because you don’t have to wait for your luggage on arrival… or make a claim for lost luggage. This way of travelling also allows you to request a hold, which can be helpful in some cases, as flights earlier in the day are more punctual.

The Milesopedia team has compiled a checklist of items that we can’t live without and that all fit in our hand luggage!

What documents should I bring with me on my trip?

When you set off on a trip, it’s essential to make sure you have all the documents you need to clear security and immigration checks, get to your destination and enjoy your stay without hassle.

Here is a checklist of important documents to bring with you:



Passports and Visas

Tickets and Reservations

  • Airline ticket (printed or electronic copy)
  • Lodging reservations (printed or downloaded confirmations)
  • Transportation reservations (rental cars, train or bus tickets; some countries require an outbound ticket)
Health Documents
  • Vaccination certificate (if required, e.g. for yellow fever)
  • Travel insurance (copy of policy or credit card insurance certificate)
  • Medical prescriptions and doctor’s letter (for necessary medications)
Financial documents
  • Credit and debit cards (and photocopies)
  • Cash (small amount in local currency or US dollars)
  • Bank details (contact numbers in case of need)
Other useful documents
  • International driving license (if required for driving abroad)
  • Travel itinerary (detailed with accommodation addresses and telephone numbers)
  • Emergency contacts (local and family telephone numbers)

What can I bring on the plane?

Air travel can sometimes be stressful, especially when deciding what to pack in your carry-on. To avoid unpleasant surprises at the airport, knowing the rules concerning what is and isn’t allowed on board is essential.

Here’s a detailed guide to help you pack your carry-on suitcase efficiently.

Items allowed in carry-on luggage

  • Passport, airline tickets and other travel documents.
  • Cell phones, laptops, tablets and their chargers.
  • Books, magazines and other reading material.
  • Change of clothes
  • Essential toiletries in small quantities (liquid format of less than 100 ml each).
  • Dry, non-perishable snacks such as cereal bars, dried fruit and cookies.
  • Drinks purchased after security check (or empty bottle to be refilled).
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medication required for the duration of the flight.
  • Medical equipment such as inhalers and syringes, with a doctor’s note if necessary.
  • Personal electronic devices.
  • Earphones or headphones.
  • Travel pillows, lightweight blankets and eye masks.
  • Plastic bags for liquids and toiletries.

Prohibited items in carry-on baggage

  • Containers over 100 ml, even partially filled.
  • Perfumes, lotions and other liquid products (peanut butter, jam, creams, etc.) in sizes larger than 100 ml (except when travelling with a child under 2 years of age, when a reasonable quantity of water, milk, purées, etc. may be brought along for the duration of the transit).
  • Scissors, knives and other sharp objects.
  • Flammable aerosols, explosive or flammable objects.
  • Baseball bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment.
  • Tools such as hammers, screwdrivers and other potentially dangerous objects.
  • Firearms, ammunition and replica weapons.
  • Batons, brass knuckles and other defensive devices.

Checked baggage tips

If you bring items that are not allowed in the cabin but are essential during your trip and exceed the weight or suitcase size allowed, checked baggage will be a necessity.

Some credit cards offer advantages for transporting your luggage, as well as insurance in case of loss or delay. For example, the National Bank World Elite Mastercard® offers a travel credit for checked baggage fees. What’s more, Aeroplan credit cards offer free checked baggage, which can be particularly advantageous for frequent travellers.

The ultimate checklist for travelers - During and after your trip

For all sorts of reasons, your trip may be disrupted, for example by a storm or a pilots’ strike. That’s why you need to know your rights in this section of the ultimate checklist for travellers. The law differs depending on where you’re going and the company you’re travelling with, so ensure you get the information you need for your situation.

You should also call your travel insurance company if you want to make a claim, as most of them cover essential expenses.

When it comes to delayed or lost baggage, there are procedures to follow in order to receive compensation.

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Download our special travel checklist

We’ve put together this checklist especially for you before you leave on your trip. It includes all the articles to read on to save money and travel better and all the elements to consider when preparing a trip.

To download it for free, click on the image below and fill in our form:

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the ultimate travel checklist includes several steps to ensure a trouble-free trip. These include destination inspiration, developing points and credit card strategy, and maximizing travel benefits.

Travel hacking is a powerful tool for reducing costs, and choosing the best program for your destination can help you accumulate the necessary points. In addition, to enhance your travel experience, check your travel insurance and accumulate travel benefits.

By following this checklist, you can ensure a pleasant trip with no surprises.

Finally, share your success points and tips on your own ultimate checklist for travellers in our group!

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Aline Nguyen
I'm Aline, an experienced traveller, a foodie at heart, an Avgeek, a photography enthusiast and an expert on credit card programs. I use Reward Points to travel on a budget and to save money on everyday life; writing about these topics allows me to share my passion and help you. ~ 7 continents and 75 countries ~

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