Plus tips on the art of travel from three luggage design pros
Nobody likes waiting, especially in an airport check-in or security line, or at a border stop. Savvy travellers reduce their pain with a variety of tools and insider tricks like these.
Some, like American Express Aeroplan Plus cards and the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, include priority check-in and boarding on Air Canada; Amex Platinum fast-tracks you through security at Toronto Pearson (YYZ).
Flyers and drivers have embraced the Canada-U.S. Nexus program, which speeds trusted travellers across the border. Its automated kiosks are getting an upgrade from finicky retina-scan technology to biometric face recognition via your passport photo. At just $50 for five years, time saved with Nexus is money.
The U.S. equivalent is Global Entry (US$100 for five years), which speeds arrival at more than 75 American airports. You’ll get a Known Traveler Number that, when entered with your reservation or check-in information, earns a TSA Pre-Check symbol on U.S. boarding passes: the golden ticket to breezing through security at 200 U.S. airports.
Other screening programs
Clear (memberships only for U.S. residents and citizens at this time; US$179 a year) uses eye and fingerprint scans to verify your identity, allowing you to skip the line at 40 U.S. locations, including major airports (you still have to pass through regular airport security) and stadiums.
Mobile Passport, approved for use at 28 U.S. and Canadian airports and cruise ship terminals, lets you clear customs electronically. Apps like My TSA, MiFlight and TripIt (only the Pro, for-fee version) give estimated or crowd-sourced real-time security line waits.
Monos founders Hubert Chan, Victor Tam and Daniel Shin
The young founders of B.C. company Monos set out to disrupt luggage with minimalist, indestructible (think light aerospace-grade polycarbonate shell, Japanese-designed wheels, sturdy aluminum handle) and eminently stuffable cases that business travellers will love. Here’s how Hubert Chan, Daniel Shin and Victor Tam roll.
Why you travel: “When we stay in our own little corner of the Earth, it can be easy to get locked into patterns of thinking,” Chan says. “Travelling pulls us out of that bubble...our brains can literally rewire to make new connections, and we can look at things in entirely new ways.”
Best travel perk: “We appreciated the Plaza Premium lounge at YVR on a previous business trip, where we were able to catch up on emails and jump on a conference call over a meal and some coffee, all just before our flight,” says Shin.
Worth a splurge: “Definitely accommodations,” Tam says. “I love digging deep and researching wonderful hidden hideaways every time I travel.”
Cheap trip: “Countries that still are up-and-coming, where you can have amazing and cheap street food, and explore with a scooter and flip-flops,” says Tam.
Must-pack items: “I always like to pack a small Bluetooth speaker. Music is a big part of my life, and the right music at the right time can really enhance a moment,” Chan says. “Notebook and pen,” says Shin. “I believe that some of the best ideas and plans come through the act of writing on paper. In the same way, I prefer printed books over e-books. It just feels very different how my brain processes information in print and onscreen.”
Chartering the West
Need to go to a destination in B.C., Alberta or the Yukon but can’t find a commercial flight to fit? Winging to your rescue is Air West Charters, flying Beechcraft King Air C90 planes (holding up to six passengers) out of Delta’s historic Boundary Bay Airport. Banff, the Okanagan, tours of Vancouver Island and private hot springs, fishing and other sport tours are just a few of the air packages it offers via travel agent partners; charter your own custom itinerary through the West.