By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: Can I avoid summer travel stress?

A: Sure. But it seems more of us will be traveling this summer which translates into long line-ups, sold-out hotels and fully booked dinner reservations at those exclusive restaurants. There are all kinds of studies being released saying so. The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) released new market research revealing how many Canadians intend to travel in 2006.

The survey found that 67 per cent of all Canadians plan to travel in 2006, up 10 per cent over 2005. One analyst, Terry Trippler from recently said, “The planes will be full - so if you miss your flight, there may not be a seat available on the next one. And, because of the heavy volume, airlines will operate flights that would normally be canceled due to long delays, resulting in fewer cancelled flights and more long delays.” So with the record numbers, what’s a person to do?

Here’s a quick summer travel survivor guide:

1. Arrive home a day early. If you have to go to work the next day after your vacation, it’s always a good idea to give yourself a little wiggle room.

2. For planned events like weddings, show up a day early. This way you give yourself the necessary time if there are any hiccups in flight delays. After all, you don’t want to keep a blushing bride waiting especially if you’re in the wedding party.

3. Travel midweek. Generally, travel is a little lighter on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and sometimes you’ll even find the best fares occur during those days.

4. Arrive early to the airport. Early morning flights are usually the ones departing on time. When travel agents say arrive three hours for international flights, you’ll know why they mean it.

For domestic, it’s two hours. It’s better to start reading your copy of Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code” in the waiting area after you have completed all the necessary custom checks and check-in lines. For air travel, I pack ear plugs, eye guards, a trusty inflatable pillow, socks, pashmina and extra sweater (it gets cold on the plane).


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