Auntie Says, Auntie Says...

Just a Word of Caution For All

(This is from just a week ago….things are changing so fast. Be safe.)

Since Spring Break and the end of the university term are almost upon us, I wanted to talk to about this virus floating around wreaking havoc around the world. 

I know you’re young and healthy and can outrun any bug—but even those who are invincible recognize when to slow down and take precautions. While there’s no need for panic, there are a few things you need to acquaint yourself with about travel. So listen up. 
Yes, there is a virus circulating the globe, and everyone should be cautious. Before you plan a trip, check for any travel advisories on the government website. Not that you shouldn’t go, but it could save you time, money, and a lot of frustration. 

Currently, some borders are closed and/or tourists are getting caught in quarantines lasting weeks. You want to explore and enjoy so do your homework. 

If you’re new to independent travel, my hats off to you. I too went out to explore the world as soon as I could manage. The world has changed though, and I feel compelled to give you a heads-up on a few things. 

First, after you’ve read the advisories and decided where you want to go, check your passport. When does it expire? Make sure there’s at least a six-month window. Also, if you have dual citizenship and travel outside of Canada on the other passport, you’ll need the Canadian one to get back into the country and yes, both need to be valid. It’s best to keep your Canadian passport with you, simple as that. 

Second. Have you purchased health insurance? Health insurance starts at about $20 and in the scheme of things is very inexpensive. My Auntie advice would be to never travel outside of Canada—even for a few hours—without it. We live in such close proximity to the United States, but the systems of healthcare are completely different. If you were involved in a car accident, even when it’s not your fault, a hospital stay and treatment could cost tens of thousands of dollars. 

You don’t walk into the emergency department of any hospital in the US and simply request care. It doesn’t work that way. You have to provide proof of insurance or demonstrate you have the means to pay. They can, and will, turn you away. So whether you’re day tripping or going for an extended holiday, purchase insurance before you go and hope you never have to use it. 

Third, if you’re crossing the border by vehicle for the first time be prepared for lots of questions. You will need your valid passport, and if you’re staying overnight, they’ll want to know where you’re staying and why you’re going there. Prepare by having the address available. Never lie to the officers. Answer the questions and take it seriously when you cross because they may refuse entry or detain you. They can also take and search your vehicle, your electronic devices, and/or your person. 

The same goes for travel through airport security. Don’t be a jokester or try to smuggle something in your luggage because it’ll bite you in the butt.

Finally, leave your dope and any paraphernalia at home. Carry necessary meds, bug spray, and emergency contacts.   
Travel and exploring the world are an exciting endeavor and I’d always support and encourage you to get out there and live life. But it needs to happen in a smart and well-thought out way. 

Auntie is just reminding you to exercise caution and make informed decisions. Sometimes in life we need to delay the excitement in favour of safety. I know you’ll sit down and weigh out the options before jumping in with both feet. If you need help to decide, ask Auntie. 

Please note: This column was first published in British Columbia, Canada by Black Press. The message is universal. Between the submission, the printing, and the posting online, things rapidly changed with Covid-19. While you may feel invincible and the whole pandemic is a hoax, the reality is that whether you like it or not, we’re in this together and cooperation is the way to reduce panic, hysteria, and stress. This particular crisis is about the safety of all. Please choose well and do your homework.

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