Travelling this holiday season? The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) offers the following tips to help you enjoy a successful trip.
Always book with an Ontario registered travel agency
Whether in person, by telephone or over the Internet, purchasing your travel services from a TICO-registered travel agency means you are covered by Ontario’s travel consumer protection provisions. Check to see if your travel agency is registered by going to www.tico.ca and using the Travel Agency Search feature.
Get a Receipt
Your Ontario travel agency is required to provide you a receipt and invoice for all payments, even when you pay with cash. Always retain original documents such as receipts, invoices, returned cheques and credit card slips. These are your proof of purchase, should you need them down the road.
Do research and ask questions
Part of the fun of a vacation lies in making plans, so get involved. The Internet can be a great resource for information as can your TICO-registered travel agency. Remember that different standards of living and practices may exist outside of Canada, so ask questions and research your destination to help you make the best decision.
Purchase travel insurance
Travel insurance is always recommended. Ontario travel agencies are required to advise about the availability of trip cancellation insurance and out-of-province health insurance at the time of booking.
Know the terms and conditions of your booking
Whether in person or online, always read and understand the Terms and Conditions of the travel services being purchased. Pay close attention to items relating to cancellation, changes to bookings and refunds.
Prepare required documents ahead of time
Your Ontario travel agent is required to disclose the travel documentation required for each person travelling. Avoid disappointment and prepare your travel documentation ahead of time and ensure your passport is valid well beyond the date of your expected return.
In case of loss or theft, make copies of your passport details, visa, insurance policy, airline tickets and credit card numbers. Carry one copy in a different place than the originals while travelling and leave a copy with someone at home.
Check your dates, times and flight numbers
Contact the airline the day before your flight leaves to confirm departure times and how early you need to arrive at the airport. Call before you leave home to make sure your flight is on time.
Conceal your valuables
When traveling, it is always best not to display expensive jewelry and to keep your valuables well concealed.
Mark your luggage
Clearly label all baggage inside and out and include your name, home address and contact information. Contact the airline or travel agent to review their luggage policy.
Most often forgotten item: toothbrush
Most needed item: jeans
Most enjoyed item: bathing suit
Most comfortable item: cotton T-shirt
Most missed item: bathroom tissue
Most longed for item: soap
Most comforting: raincoat
The Travel Industry Council of Ontario administers the Ontario Travel Industry Act, 2002 as well as an industry-financed Compensation Fund. For more travel tips and to learn how TICO protects your travel investment, visit www.tico.ca or call 1-888-451-TICO (8426).