Travel smart, there is an app for that!

From watching way too many videos of young travellers, I get a sense of how little these YouTuber’s seem to plan ahead for a trip. Many of them even advise would be travellers to be spontaneous and pre-book as little as possible. In reality, this may not be true, because preparation is the boring and tedious, (albeit necessary), part of travelling. Planning a trip probably doesn’t make for a good video, or at least a popular one.

Anyway, I love diving into the details and like to think I’m good at it. After all, most of my career was spent in product management, which is essentially organizing, planning and managing the execution of millions of details. The big differences are, I have picked this project, I am working with my family and I get to have major influence over the scope and execution.

If I step away from YouTube, I have found so many good travel resources! Everything is free and the information is really good, based on expert experience, in many cases. Either people who are travelling or service providers who dedicate themselves to helping others. Or, in the case of this post, free government support.

In my search for Canadian embassy locations in our target list of countries, I came across a great resource page on the web. Being a planner, I love checklists, and the one shown below is no exception.

Travel Checklist for Canadians

  1. Buy travel insurance. You should purchase the best travel insurance you can afford before you leave Canada to help you avoid any large expenses, such as the cost of hospitalization or medical evacuation.
  2. Consult our travel advice and advisories page twice: before travelling and again just before you leave to get the latest updates.
  3. Sign up for the Registration of Canadians Abroad service, which allows us to contact you in an emergency, such as an earthquake or civil unrest.
  4. Have a valid Canadian passport for each family member.
  5. Carry a consent letter if you are travelling alone with a child or children under 18.
  6. Stay connected with our Travel Smart app, by subscribing to travel updates and by following our social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter.
  7. Find the contact information for the Canadian embassy or consulate closest to your destination and keep the information with you. 
  8. Respect and obey a country’s local laws, religions and culture.
  9. Be prepared to cover additional costs for any unexpected expenses that may occur.

A few additional thoughts on this list:

  1. Initially, we didn’t think we needed this. Since my husband is working for and being paid by his Canadian employer, we assumed his extended health coverage would apply. Upon investigation, turns out to be only good for 2 months. We have not decided on a provider yet, World Nomads provides excellent coverage.
  2. It is a strange world we live in. Due to the recent terrorist activity in London, the UK carries the same travel advisory as Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Jordan and Morocco. The warning states: Exercise a high degree of caution. All other countries we are planning to visit have no warning at all – Spain, Portugal, Italy, Hong Kong, Croatia and Greece. We dropped Egypt from our plans due to the warning which states: AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL. There are several areas which carry an additional warning of: Avoid All Travel. The coastal resorts are downgraded to high caution with a reputable travel company.
  3. Just registered the details of our trip taking us through the New Year in Bali.
  4. My husband and our 2 kids have passport renewals in processing now. I just had mine done earlier this year.
  5. Hadn’t thought of a consent letter. My husband will likely have to travel for work and in some cases, we may need to travel and meet up with him. So we will create a letter to have on hand, just in case. 
  6. Just downloaded the Travel Smart App and realized all the information I spent hours pouring over and writing down is all right there in the app. 
  7. All that work is redeemed! I suspected it would be wise to have a physical copy of embassy/consulate offices!
  8. Wow, they have to mention this!
  9. And this.

Another piece of the puzzle is placed. And now I can track what the Canadian Government is advising about travel to any other country we plan to visit, as we head off from Bali. Logistics dictates we remain mindful of the Schengen rules, but our only other criteria is staying in temperatures of 20 degrees centigrade or higher!

I welcome:

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