Canadians weigh risks of lost luggage, weather, illness before trips: ‘High stress’ – National

Canadians weigh risks of lost luggage, weather, illness before trips: ‘High stress’ – National

A winter getaway to Mexico ended in frustration and exhaustion for Shannon Dryer after weather-related disruptions delayed her family’s return to British Columbia, highlighted by misdirected luggage. the holidays can go wrong in many ways.

The incident prompted WestJet to cancel future bookings and cancel more Christmas trips.

“I don’t think it’s worth it,” she said from Port Coquitlam, B.C., “It was a lot of stress.”

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The delay in returning home forced additional costs for pet boarding, airport parking and respite care for her father, in addition to additional food and lodging costs in Mexico, she said.

Despite the wanderlust of many Canadians who postponed their trips during the COVID-19 pandemic, observers point to a number of obstacles that are complicating efforts to reclaim a carefree vacation getaway.

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Tourism professor Wayne Smith said recent headlines of weather-related delays, as well as rising flight and hotel costs, labor issues in the hospitality industry and the ongoing fear of COVID-19 infection are forcing many people to rethink how and where they venture and what they can do. alleviate problems if they arise.

“Travel time is very valuable for people, but it’s also expensive. So you put those two things together, it’s very dangerous to travel,” said Smith, a professor at Toronto Metropolitan University.

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“All these effects are emerging and people are finding travel more and more attractive.”

Smith said his industry sources are reporting more people traveling on the road or taking short four-day trips. Some people put a couple of days of leisure travel at the end of a business trip to avoid holiday complications, he added, arriving from Charleston, SC, where he arrived on a “leisure” trip.

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Dryer said he reconsidered plans to visit Arizona this summer, his family’s odyssey home from Puerto Vallarta _ a six-day saga that included a night sleeping on the ground at the Calgary airport.

However, it will go south because it was planned long ago with a group of friends, and everyone has paid more for flight insurance, Dryer said.

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“I was definitely a little nervous about booking,” the school’s youth worker said of flying again.

“I don’t envy anyone who is traveling now. I certainly don’t see ads with sunny beaches and I wish I was there.’

WestJet sent an emailed statement apologizing to guests affected by the cancellations and delays caused by severe winter weather across Canada. The airline said it included 1,640 canceled flights between Dec. 18 and Jan. 1, adding that “accommodation options” were “extremely limited” during the holiday, both on WestJet and on other carriers.

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The disaster coincided with similar woes at carrier Sunwing, which on Thursday apologized to passengers left in limbo when winter storms disrupted operations. He acknowledged “clear failures of execution,” including “the ability to redeploy aircraft and crew to other airports to help alleviate flight delays.”

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Smith said airlines that have been hit hard by past pandemic cuts are operating on such shoestring budgets, and if something goes wrong. He also said that workers laid off during the pandemic were largely replaced by inexperienced workers when business returned.

“So they don’t have the experience, they don’t have the background, they don’t necessarily have all these skills and abilities to be able to pull something off when it gets serious,” he said.

Dryer’s cousin Nicole Brown, who met Dryer’s family in Mexico from Kelowna, B.C., with her two teenage sons, said she was most frustrated by WestJet’s lack of communication. Whenever she tried to get information about out-of-pocket reimbursement, she said she was directed to the website, but had trouble finding the information she was looking for and couldn’t get through to a live staff member by phone.

“It was really disappointing,” Brown said, adding that the wreckage is still seeking compensation and waiting for the check-in bags to be returned to his family.

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“We haven’t been able to travel for three years. It took a lot of time, it took a lot of money to be able to take this last family trip before my children are adults.’

Dr. Melanie Badali, a clinical psychologist based in Vancouver, hopes that the ongoing pandemic fatigue has probably increased the impact of travel for many. Both of his pandemic-era trips were marred by unexpected surprises, he said, including a bout with COVID-19 that struck a family member after arriving in Toronto for a wedding last June, forcing him to miss the festivities.

“We thought we’d be done with this. People didn’t think this could happen yet,” Badali said of the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

“Some people get depressed when it comes to looking at the state of the world, and even if you don’t have a very negative view of things today, certainly if you read a lot of news? it weighs on you.”

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Badali, who specializes in stress and anxiety, said the challenge lies in managing expectations, knowing what risks are worth taking, mitigating those risks and establishing coping strategies if things go wrong.

Smith recommends buying travel insurance and reading the fine print to be clear about what’s covered, and using a good travel agent who can help if needed. Also, book extra time between connecting flights, bring copies of prescriptions and extra medications, pack overnight supplies and clothing in your cabin bag, and have cash if credit cards can’t be used.

When stressed, Badali said it helps to examine how your thoughts affect your feelings and actions and manage your expectations or interpretations of current events.

“The reality is we’re going to have to be flexible for a long time,” he said of the uncertainties that go beyond leisure travel.

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“Because life is not 100 percent predictable, 100 percent safe, 100 percent easy. You can say “the new normal,” but if that changes or is quite different, then normal isn’t a good description. ? It is not predictable. It’s still uneventful.”

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