Many Greater Victoria snowbirds are making plans right now to exchange the advancing winter for some quality time in the sun.
While many will be heading for Arizona’s desert heat and Mexico’s sunny beaches, a significant number will be seeking Europe’s Mediterranean charms.
Many of those European-bound travellers may be rethinking their plans given the brutal massacre that devastated Paris this month.
However, while cancellation of European travel plans may be an extreme reaction to the attacks, additional travel precautions are not.
One of the best ways to alleviate travel stress is to ensure that your government and your family know every detail of your itinerary.
This brings me to the Registration of Canadians Abroad (RCA). It’s a free service offered by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada that “keeps you connected to Canada in case of an emergency abroad, such as an earthquake, civil unrest or an emergency at home.”
Signing up confidentially online takes just a few minutes. Go to: travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration. You’ll be asked for your emergency contact names and numbers at home as well as details about your travel itinerary, including dates, locations, hotels, travel contacts and travel companions.
The government will notify you if there’s an emergency in your travel region. You can better access consular services and the RCA service is mobile friendly.
The Jihadists who killed more than 120 innocent souls in Paris are exporting terror around the globe.
You will recall that more than 20,000 British and Russian tourists were stranded for days waiting to be evacuated from Sharm el-Sheikh, the Egyptian Red Sea resort. That happened on the heels of the bombing of a Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula.
That disaster reminds us we must be alert to federal government warnings about travel to high-risk areas.
As well, the continuing refugee migration crisis across Europe and the Middle East is resulting in increased border controls and travel delays in many countries.
When a holiday destination is thrown into panic – whether by terrorists or typhoons – the impact and anxiety is also felt by the traveller’s loved ones at home.
You can remove some of that anxiety by registering with RCA and by maintaining close contact with your loved ones and friends.
Our government’s country travel advisories can be found at travel.gc.ca/advice. Go to the site, select your destination and view regularly updated information on security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate and how to find help when you are there. No matter where in the world you intend to travel, make sure you check your destination country’s advisories page when you are planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.
If the country you’ll be visiting becomes subject to a travel advisory, your travel health insurance and your trip cancellation insurance may be affected.
Finally, to reach the government’s Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa for urgent assistance abroad, go to travel.gc.ca/emergencies.
There may not be much peace on earth but there can still be some peace of mind.