Preparation – including choosing the right mode of transportation – is key to March Break success
When it comes to planning March Break travel for your family, there are certainly pros and cons to each method of transportation.
Flying is definitely one of the most expensive options, but it also allows families to travel all over the world rather quickly. Driving, on the other hand, is an inexpensive way to get around, but the destinations are limited to how far you can travel by vehicle. Winter weather could also mean sloppy or unpredictable road conditions, which could make riding the train an appealing method of travel as VIA Rail rarely experiences long delays or cancellations due to winter storms.
Whether you and your family choose to travel via plane, train or automobile, these tips will ensure your March Break plans start and finish without a hitch.
The Ontario and Quebec March Breaks are among the busiest weeks at the Ottawa International Airport, so preparation is key.
“It’s important to be aware of the rules of engagement with destination, airline, etc.,” says airport spokesperson Krista Kealey.
She suggests checking the CATSA website (www.catsa.gc.ca) to learn what can and can’t be taken through security and in carry-on baggage, as there are special rules for travelling with children in terms of food and medications, among other things.
Also, arrive equipped with snacks, books, puzzles, games and videos to keep your kids entertained in-flight as well as through connections or delays.
Most importantly, Kealey says; pack your patience.
“March Break can often mean the first time flying for many families and the only time of year for others,” she explains. “Keep this in mind and try not to get impatient if someone doesn’t know what they’re doing – there’s a first time for everything and everyone.”
Travelling by train means families have a bit more space than they do on an airplane, allowing parents the chance to spend some quality time with their kids in a comfortable setting.
“Because our trains offer space to move around, parents may want to bring small toys to entertain their little ones during the trip,” says VIA Rail spokesperson Mylene Belanger.
“Strollers and children’s car seats are allowed if the child for whom it is intended is also on board and will not count toward the carry-on baggage allowance.”
Belanger suggests parents download maps or bring books about the areas they are travelling through so the kids don’t miss out on a great learning opportunity.
“Riding the train with kids is a good occasion for them to discover the country,” she explains. “As the train passes by many different cities and towns, parents can teach their kids about the geography, history and particularities of these regions.”
CAA offers the TripTik Travel Planner, which features customized direction maps with written driving instructions to destinations across Canada and the United States and provides the most up-to-date geocoding, construction and travel advisory information.
The TripTik Travel Planner app or website allows you to create your route, plan stops or activities, find gas stations and even book hotels.