Weekend Reading – Top travel tips edition
Welcome to a new Weekend Reading post: my travel tips edition.
You can check out other recent posts below:
This recent Weekend Reading edition offered up some ideas and thoughts about what my semi-retirement plans might look like – and some considersations about the current retirement landscape in Canada.
This is what we accomplished related to our financial goals in 2022.
Weekend Reading – Top travel tips edition
For some of you, based on the emails and comments I get on this site, you’re seasoned travel veterans.
I took my first flight when I was a teenager. I’m guessing by now I’ve flown close to 100 times in my life.
I still get a kick out of air travel.
I don’t travel often for work any longer due to my role so most travel now and hopefully in the future will be fulfilling some semi-retirement dreams.
In the beginning, you tend to make a lot of travel mistakes. Travel savviness is born from experiences.
Inspired by some travel to South Florida this week, here are some of my top travel tips before some Weekend Reading articles…
Not my boat, just one of many small crafts in the area!
1. Select a good airline
Sounds simple enough but if you’re going to book a discount airline then expect discount service. Not all airlines are created equal. Also, consider booking directly with the airline that gives you a chance for any upgrades or credits if/when travel plans change.
2. Arrive to the airport early
Another simple but easily understated good rule of thumb. Running late for a flight, trying to scurry yourself through baggage check-in then security will only make you, airport staff and other travellers around you anxious. No need for that. Instead, plan ahead. We tend to factor in at least arriving two hours in advance of departure for any international flights. Always factor in some buffer time to travel to the airport, getting around traffic or construction issues. Some planning on your part is the prudent play here.
3. Travel light
If you can, avoid checked luggage. We did that for this trip for almost a week to sunny Florida.
The reality is, while most airline carriers probably try to handle baggage with care checked bags can get damaged, delayed, lost or stolen. Not checking any bags at all avoids this issue altogether, just be mindful of carry-on size and weight limitations. If you must check bags, keep those as small and light as possible.
A few years ago, when my wife and visited New York City for a long weekend vacation although we checked one medium-sized bag we also made sure to save lots of room in that bag for NYC clothes purchases. If you’re travelling for longer than a week, consider packing only a few clothes and take advantage of local dry cleaners or laundromats. My last tip on luggage, ensure to pack some essential toiletries, one fresh set of clothes and all your important travel documents in your carry-on bag(s). That way, if checked luggage does go AWOL you can at least survive on those essentials for a few days as needed.
Before anything might go missing, take pictures of your luggage on your cell phone. If your bag gets lost, this will help identify it more easily and speed up the process of having your travel insurance reimburse you.
4. Bring a small backpack or slingbag
By travelling with a small backpack (something like 20L or so), you will be forced to pack light and avoid carrying too much stuff. Humans have a natural tendency to want to fill space so if you pack light you’ll avoid this bias. Using a small backpack or slingbag is perfect for day trips once you arrive at your destination. Small backpacks or slingbags store easily, they can be a great home for water and snacks, and you store hats or other essential items for the beach – if you are near one! 😉
5. Get a seat upfront
On every flight I’ve ever been on, the in-flight service starts at the front. So, whatever snacks, meals or beverages your carrier offers, you’re almost assured to get the best of what they’ve got if you’re close to the front of the plane.
6. Own a no-fee FX credit card
Don’t give banks your hard-earned money. Keep that for yourself and spend it on your travels. Get a credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee.
7. Always carry a lock
If the room safe doesn’t work, if there isn’t a room safe option at all – small locks come in handy. Carry a small combination lock or use a lock with a key when you travel to keep valuables safe.
8. Carry the local currency
Sometimes, credit or debit machines just might not work. When in doubt, carry some emergency cash just in case.
Accidents and small cuts happen so be prepared. We always take some band-aids, antibacterial cream, and ointments for minor cuts and scrapes.
10. Take earplugs and bring an eyemask.
Snorers are everywhere. Sleeping near light can be difficult. Sleep is very important. Enough said!
More Weekend Reading…
Tawcan recently higlighted the problems with Algonquin Power (AQN) – a favourite utility with many Canadian investors. Is the dividend safe? I don’t think so myself but I will continue to hold it for a bit. Sometimes a dividend cut is absolutely the best thing for the company’s health.
As the current calendar year winds down, and as a new year approaches, Cashflows & Portfolios offered up a solid list of tax tips for retirees to consider.
I enjoyed this wrap of the week from Dividend Hawk including a long list of articles about stocks and ETFs to consider owning and why now for them.
Thanks very much to MoneySense for including yours truly in this comprehensive list of best personal finance newsletters!
Ben Carlson asked: is real estate a better investment that stocks?
From Ben, consider three things before going all-in on real estate over stock market equities:
- Concentration. It’s difficult to diversify with a single property (or even multiple properties).
- Illiquidity. While you do receive cash flows in the form of monthly rental payments “you can’t spend a home or trade it in as easily as you can with stocks and bonds.”
- Potential Headaches. Owning a rental property involves finding tenants and fixing stuff when it breaks.
Dale Roberts shared some core ETF portfolios that have really delivered over the years.
I’ll be back with my latest Monthly Dividend Income Update next week now that I’ve received the following recent Canadian bank dividend raises:
- TD – 7.9% increase
- NA – 5.4% increase
- BMO – 3% increase
- RY – 3% increase
- CM – 2.4% increase.
Have a great weekend!