On Milesopedia, we have written detailed articles on every subject you can think of, so here’s a compilation of posts as 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 be prepared for a trip without any hassle, from optimizing your points redemption or ticket purchase to getting the best exchange rate on the road to knowing what to do if your flight is cancelled or if your luggage is lost.
The Ultimate Checklist for Travellers - Before booking your trip
Your journey starts from the moment you have that spark or idea of a dreamy trip. Therefore, if you need any inspiration, here are some of our picks for various situations:
- The Best Family Destinations With Points for Summer 2023
- Short getaways: escapes under 25,000 Aeroplan points
- 10 destinations to visit with 55,000 Aeroplan Points
- Budget travel: 30 destinations under $50 a day
- The 12 best destinations for an all-inclusive vacation in the sun this winter
- Travel While Pregnant: 15 Best Places for a babymoon
- Our top 12 most beautiful American beaches
- Once in a lifetime trips: 10 journeys you should take
- The 10 best scuba diving sites with points
- 10 beautiful landscapes to discover with reward points
- Safari in Africa: a wonderful adventure among wild animals
- Disney Parks Worldwide: The 12 Theme Parks
Points & Credit Card Strategy
After knowing where you want to go, the next step on the ultimate checklist for travellers is to elaborate a points strategy to make the trip more affordable. Indeed, travel hacking is a powerful tool, but you need time to gather the necessary points.
The first step is to single out the best rewards program for your destination, as there are many such as Aeroplan, Avios, Flying Blue, Marriott Bonvoy, Aventura, etc.
Hint: aim for transferable points to keep your options open.
Afterwards, you can use that information to subscribe to a new credit card to gain a lot of points quickly; generous welcome bonuses are the easiest way to fill your points balance.
If you are starting out in the points game and have none, you can book your holiday with a new credit card to earn points or status requirements for the following one! Isn’t one trip fuelling the next one great?
If you are accumulating points organically, the best card for that is the American Express Cobalt® Card, as you can earn 5X the points on the major expense categories such as groceries, gas and gift cards (Amazon, Walmart, SAQ, Netflix, Simons, etc.).
We are often asked the following question: what is the best credit card to pay for my vacation? Well, it depends on what you are looking for, from travel insurance to the best return in terms of rewards, and the answer will vary from person to person.
Planning the Optimal Trip
Various programs have some sweet spots we can take advantage of, such as a free stopover or a discounted one; being aware of them can save you a lot of money if you plan carefully to benefit from them!
Review the basics:
For example, Aeroplan has a fixed 5000 points stopover option, so booking that way instead of a multi-destination trip can save you loads of points sometimes, such as the Maldives stopover trick!
As for Flying Blue and British Airways Executive Club, they offer a free stopover as well!
It is also worth thinking outside the box when you book your trip because you may find the best fare by mixing and matching different programs, whether it’s a combination of loyalty programs or a cash fare.
Also, choosing the best redemption option when booking a reward flight or a hotel can save you lots of points. The same goes for the best fare class for your needs since you may already have free luggage as an Aeroplan credit card holder, and there’s no necessity to purchase a high fare for that sole purpose. In addition, buying the proper fare can allow you to use your e-upgrade credits to move toward the front of the cabin.
Finally, did you take a look at your plane and your seat? Choosing the right plane and seat can change the experience dramatically; you could be paying the same price for a business class seat in a lay flat as in a smaller aircraft, or you could be stuck with no windows while the person in front of you has two.
The next thing to do on the ultimate checklist for travellers should be double-checking your travel insurance.
- Does your credit card have enough coverage for what you need?
- Did you meet the requirement to activate the coverage from your credit card?
- Did you look into an extension of your protection with the provider if you need more?
If you don’t have any insurance coverage with the credit card you paid with, make sure you get some elsewhere.
Car & Parking
If your trip requires renting a car or you need parking options at the airport before leaving, there are many ways to save.
The Ultimate Checklist for Travellers - Before going on your trip
Accumulating Travel Perks
When everything is booked and settled, you can now start maximizing your perks. Indeed, this part of the ultimate checklist for travellers will focus on what you can do to elevate your travel experience.
As mentioned in the previous section, some credit cards allow the holder Cand up to 8 people on the same reservation) to have a free bag. If you don’t have one of those cards, you have time to sign up for one, as there is no requirement to have purchased your flight with it!
Concerning hotel perks, some cards give you a head start to reach a status, such as the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card and obtaining one can mean lots of money saved during your stay.
Similarly, you can grab a new credit card that offers free access to VIP lounges worldwide or one that gives a membership to the DragonPass program.
While you are at it, find a card that doesn’t charge a foreign exchange fee to save on each of your transactions abroad, like the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite* Card.
What’s very convenient is that the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite* Card does both with its free lounge access and not having any foreign exchange fee!
Speaking of foreign currency, investigate the ways to get the best exchange rate with credit cards or Wise.
As for regrets, if you were hesitating on whether it was a good idea to buy a seat in a premium cabin or not and didn’t, remember that you can always bid for an upgrade and hope to score one.
Also, if you booked a connecting flight because it was cheaper and incurred a schedule change, you may be able to turn that into a direct route!
The Little Things We Love
Nowadays, there is no more need to scramble to find a decently price SIM card provider upon arrival to stay connected during your trip with eSIM programs such as Airalo. Indeed, they offer inexpensive packages, and you can access data from your airplane seat if you are stuck waiting on the tarmac.
Aeroplan members get free in-flight Wi-Fi on Air Canada, so sign up for an account before your trip!
With the current situation in aviation (increased demand and staff shortage), you may experience some traffic at any point in the airport. So, it might be nice to connect to the internet while sitting since the terminal’s free Wi-Fi might not reach you.
On the same thought, having a NEXUS or Global Entry card can make it easier to clear security and customs, especially if you have a tight layover.
Travelling with a carry-on can solve many problems as you don’t need to wait for your luggage upon arrival … or submit a claim for a lost bag. This way of travel also allows you to stand by early, which can be helpful sometimes since earlier flights then to be more on time.
The Milesopedia team compiled a list of items we can’t go without, and they all fit in our carry-ons!
The Ultimate Checklist for Travellers - During and after your trip
For all kinds of reasons, your journey may be troubled, such as a storm or a pilots’ strike. That is why you should know your rights in this section of the ultimate checklist for travellers. The law is different depending on where you go and who you go with, so make sure you obtain the information you need for your situation.
Also, call your travel insurance if you wish to eventually submit a claim with them, as most of them cover essential expenses.
As for your delayed or lost luggage, there are steps to follow to get compensated as well.
When your trip is done and you’re back at home, take the time to verify if you received all the points you were entitled to. Indeed, you can earn points for your flights to bonus elite nights depending on each promotion. Also, remember to redeem your points and use your travel enhancement credits if your credit card(s) have some!
Our Special List to download
We have designed this checklist especially for you before leaving on a trip. It includes all the articles you need to read on milesopedia.com to save money and travel better and all the things to consider when planning a trip.
To download it for free, click on the image below and fill out our form:
In conclusion, the ultimate travel checklist includes several steps to ensure a trouble-free trip. This includes gathering destination inspiration, developing a point and credit card strategy, and maximizing travel perks.
Travel hacking is a powerful tool for ensuring affordability, and choosing the best program for your destination can assist you in accumulating necessary points. Furthermore, to improve your travel experience, double-check your travel insurance and collect travel perks.
By following this checklist, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip with no surprises.
Finally, share your success points stories and tips on your own ultimate checklist for travellers in our group!