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Heading south for the holidays?


Staff writers
December 21, 2012 — Some Canadians are ditching the snow shovels and Christmas trees for sunshine and sandy beaches. Travel experts are reminding everyone to keep a few safety tips in mind before heading to the airport.


Will you spend the holidays on the beach?
Will you spend the holidays on the beach?

This Friday marks one of the busiest travel days of the year as many Canadians make their way to a holiday destination.

"It's a busy time of year at Toronto's Pearson," says Toronto Pearson spokesperson Patricia Kale. "We see Christmas and March Break as our two busiest travel times of the year."

The long lines on Thursday didn't seem to break the spirits of those heading to the beach for Christmas however. 

"I'm looking forward to leaving, I'm heading to a nice warm destination," said one traveller we caught up with. "We're very much looking forward to going to Antigua to spend some time with family and friends and do some snorkeling and get away from the weather," said another eager passenger. 

Guests travelling through the Toronto airport over Christmas can expect some new surprises this year. 

"We have our Tweet A Carol program, which is really fun. So people can tweet us at @TorontoPearson and we can send our carollers over and they can sing a Christmas song to family and friends who may be travelling," says Kale. 

Canadians are encouraged to pack appropriately and take all of the necessary travel documents needed. It's also recommended to wrap your gifts once you have arrived at your destination as opposed to beforehand.

Give yourself plenty of extra time before heading to the airport
Give yourself plenty of extra time before heading to the airport

LEAVE YOUR HOME SECURE

If you're going to be travelling over the holidays, it is important that you ensure that your home is safe and secure.

CAA's Silvana Aceto says you should make sure your house looks “lived in.” 

“Cancel your newspaper subscription. Ask a neighbour if they can come pick up your mail. Maybe that same neighbour can park in your driveway,” she says. “If you don't already have motion-detector lights outside try to put those in, or use timer lights on the inside. If you can, invest in a home alarm system.” 

The CAA also recommends limiting the number of people you tell that you are leaving your home. That includes keeping travel plans out of social media.

“People are on Facebook and Twitter and they tend to get excited and tell everyone,” explains Aceto. “You may want to refrain from doing that because you're broadcasting to everyone that you're going to be away and, sometimes, for how long you're going to be away, as well.”

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