Travel Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas in the U.S. | AMA Travel

Travel Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas in the U.S.

A trip into the United States during the holidays is common for many Canadians. Considering the close distance between the countries, jumping in the car for a beautiful Seattle Christmas or flying to visit relatives down south has become the norm — but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.The U.S. Department of Transportation lists Christmas / New Year's as one of the busiest times for any type of travel. Every year, there’s about a 23% increase in long-distance travel in the U.S. alone during the holidays, second only to Thanksgiving, with a 54% increase. That can lead to the type of stress that all the airport minibars in the world can’t handle. So take some advice from our travel specialists this holiday season. These tips will help get you safely over the border, so you can enjoy the holidays, no matter where in the U.S. you’re going.

Tips for Travelling to the U.S.

  • Make sure your Canadian passport is valid and will not expire before you return from the U.S. Border security is heightened during the holidays and the lines are significantly longer, so having valid and updated documents can save you hours of frustration (or even denied entry) on travel day.
  • If your child is travelling alone (or with one parent), have a notarized letter of authorization from the absent parent(s).
  • Arrive at the airport extra early to check in at the airline counter and security clearance. On non-stop flights to the U.S. you will also need time to pre-clear customs in Canada. During regular times throughout the year, airlines suggest checking in at least 120 minutes (2 hours) early for international flights. Just to play it safe, double that time for holiday departures.
  • Leave all of your gifts unwrapped. Security can (and likely will) have you unwrap your packages, so save yourself the time and effort by wrapping them when you get to your destination.
  • Better yet, ship your packages ahead of time and meet them there. Most of us have had to deal with the stress of  lost luggage at some point — it’s even more stressful when that luggage contains your Christmas gifts. Shipping your gifts beforehand may seem expensive as a precaution, but you’ll save yourself a load of anxiety down the road.
  • Read up on what you are permitted to bring on board the aircraft so that you are prepared, as well as what you’re allowed to bring back to Canada. You’ll undoubtedly be hauling a whole new pile of Christmas booty, so plan accordingly, and don’t forget that shipping is always an option.
  • Highway travel can be just as hectic. Add an extra hour or two of drive time, as there’s a good chance you’ll experience delays at the border.

Contact one of our travel specialists for more help planning your holiday trip to the U.S.