Carry On: Checking in on hotel rates and the latest airline and airport perks

Travel tips and tricks, plus advice from Vancouver PR guru Laura Serena

If you’ve felt the pinch when hosting colleagues who visit Vancouver, Amex’s annual Global Business Travel report confirms record-breaking hotel occupancy over the past year in the city: 89 percent. The Hotel Monitor report predicts an average 7.8-percent rise in hotel rates across Canada in 2024.

Fly a case of wine free within the U.S. between 32 Alaska Airlines destinations (including many in Washington, Oregon and California) under the Wine Flies Free program

Wine without fees

The bottles aren’t free, but flying them back could be. Fly a case of wine free within the U.S. between 32 Alaska Airlines destinations (including many in Washington, Oregon and California) under the Wine Flies Free program. It’s also partnering with the Wine Check, which makes sturdy nylon wheeled wine-carrying bags. Now, if only getting that wine across the Canadian border was so cheap and easy…

Packing without clothes

Japan Airlines is testing an innovative Any Wear, Anywhere service that offers passengers a weather-perfect wardrobe for their stay in Japan. The premise is that reductions in luggage weight could contribute to cutting carbon emissions for its fleet.

Customs without lineups

Helsinki Airport could become a no-lineup paradise for Finnish citizens if the world’s first Digital Travel Credentials pilot takes flight. Currently testing for some Finnair departures to the U.K., fast and smooth customs passage is possible with voluntary pre-registration for a digital passport in the Finn DTC Pilot app—hopefully a sign of global advancements to come.

Jet Setter

Laura Serena of Serena PR

In the fast-changing public relations industry, a decade-old company has the lustre of true longevity. Vancouver-based Serena PR recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, although founder Laura Serena initially discovered her passion for travel at what’s now called Destination Vancouver, promoting the city around the globe.

Serena frequently tours travel writers around both luxe and rugged spots in B.C. and the Yukon. In cold-weather season, she packs Davines OI Hand Balm and Travel Yukon’s stylish, artist-designed toque and buff. For warmer climates, she protects her skin with Q-Mist, infused with molecular hydrogen.

Davines OI Hand Balm

The seasoned business traveller recommends joining hotel loyalty programs for points and perks—think late check-outs and upgrades or more unique amenities, like a Westin Bayshore teddy bear that’s “fun for business travellers to bring home to the little ones.”

Hotel reviews and feedback, she says, are incredibly important, and are avidly read by staff. “It’s an opportunity to address errors and gather suggestions for better service.” Along with cash tips, she suggests posting kudos for extraordinary staff members in an online review or on social—it’s one way for travellers to dabble in the power of good PR.