August 5, 2020

By VANDA DOBRITOIU

Although the new semester just began, students are eagerly looking for deals on spring break vacations. Despite the looming recession, travel agencies haven’t lost any heat.
While the weather is getting colder in Canada, a vacation to the Caribbean is still as hot as ever.
Among the many destinations to choose from, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Jamaica are the hottest spots this season, say local travel agents. And, despite the violence in Mexico, it is still a hot go-to place, especially the Mayan Riviera.
With all-inclusive vacations starting at rock-bottom prices, these trips are popular with budget-conscious travellers.
While the larger airports such as Toronto Pearson International Airport are popular, smaller airports can be quieter and less stressful. The Waterloo Region International Airport offers numerous flights to Mexico and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic weekly.
If you’re looking to travel within Canada, Bearskin Airlines has flights that leave for Montreal and Ottawa daily. Also, WestJet Airlines has flights to Calgary daily, if you’re interested in taking a ski trip.
According to travel agents, residents would rather travel through a smaller airport.
“They are convenient to get to, have shorter check-in lines and the bags don’t take long to get from the main building to the plane. It’s very stress reducing,” said Jairus Maus, a travel agent for Trip Central.
“Bigger airports intimidate people,” said Chris Wood, general manager of the Region of Waterloo International Airport. “Smaller airports are more accessible, there is always parking and we have friendly personnel and a pleasant atmosphere that will make travelling less stressful.”
All-inclusive vacations are great incentives for people who have to be conscious of their budgets. There is also the added benefit of no planning, no scrambling around town looking like tourists while searching for a hotel and no worrying about meals. Everything will already be set up by the travel agencies before you walk out their door.
Vacation packages include deals as low as a three-star,  all-inclusive vacation for $993 per person in Varadero, Cuba. Another option is a three-star vacation to Punta Cana for $1,256 per person.
Everyone loves a stress-free vacation, and the travel agencies can help you achieve that.
“Book early and make sure to get insurance,” said Devon James, a travel agent for Flight Centre. “It may cost you more, but you won’t have to turn around and cancel your vacation if you get snowed in on your way to the airport.”
Good advice before leaving your house is also to check that the name on your passport matches the name on your booked ticket — this includes your middle name.
“Make sure that they match,” said Maus. “Because you are flying over the States, the airport security is going to be attentive to little details. It is very costly to make changes to a ticket once it’s been bought.”
Another thing you can do to achieve a stress-less vacation is to pack light. Replace the large shampoo containers with the small, 100 mL travel-sized ones. And don’t pack too much jewelry, as you may lose it, and it also takes a long time to verify at the checkpoint, say travel agents.
The airport and travel agencies are trying to make your vacation as memorable as possible.
At the Waterloo Region Airport, “we have a new licensed lounge and restaurant. Come early and enjoy our facilities. We hope to make the airport part of your vacation,” said Wood.