Written by Jonathan Brouillette on 06.08.15

Montreal is our favourite city (obviously). It is hot enough in the summer to walk around in shorts and drink sangria but cold enough in the winter to go skiing. However, if you’re like us, the thrill of discovering new places draws us away from our wonderful city despite its appeal. Unfortunately, planning and executing these travel plans can often be tedious, if not disastrously stressful. To help, we’ve researched some helpful ways to improve your travels outside Montreal.

Book your Trip in Advance

The trend these days is to book online, and clearly, there are legitimate reasons to do so. It doesn’t take long, there are hundreds of sites to choose from, and you are not limited to only certain airlines. However, the catch is that online sites rarely have the deals that actual travel agents do. Travel agents have the contacts to make deals and the know-how to set everything up for you. Local places like Club Voyages and Voyages Destination can customize amazing vacations at competitive prices with no headache or stress on your part. Other interesting Montreal based travel agents include Exotik Tours, Norko Travel, and Merit Travel. Best of all, travel agents have often been to the destinations they peddle. They can describe the ins and outs that are hard to find online.

Buy your Luggage

One of the worst things that can happen on vacation is your luggage breaking down. It might seem like such a small thing, but imagine a 10-hour, two-plane voyage to Italy capped off by a two hour train ride to the Almafi Coast only to have your zipper break between the plane and the last train of the night. Or maybe a backpack trip through the Alaskan wilds only to find your giant backpack torn from a wayward branch. Luggage is important, so buy it carefully. Montreal has you covered with nice shops like Altitude Sports, Boutique Moura Cuir, and Jet-Setter, which have a wide selection of quality products that will keep your goods safe and in one piece. That way, when you get to the airport in Rome, your luggage is still intact enough to make it to that last train. From experience, you do not want to have to argue with an Italian security agent over whether or not there was a laptop in your bag before he handled it. To that end, get yourself the best luggage locks, like Tamperlock, which allows you to avoid the whole tampering situation completely by putting a verifiable seal on your luggage. Yes, there was a laptop in the bag before you broke it, Matteo!


With the trip planned and the luggage bought, now it’s time for your inner Bear Grills to surface. What if your earphones break? What if your wallet gets stolen? What if there is no laundry service? The solution to all of these what-ifs is to buy the right gear. To get the odds and ends for your trip, visit places like Jet-Setter or the CAA-Quebec Boutique to find everything from money belts to portable clothes washers. Of course, if accessorizing means something else to you, oh modern fashionista, then perhaps a store like Ogilvy has the designer accessories that you’re looking for, though don’t blame us if your Louis Vuitton bags attract the wrong kind of attention.


Exchanging Money

Should you use a bank to change your money? No. No you should not. Contrary to popular belief, the banks do not offer the lowest rates. It is the private money traders that often have better rates for your money. Case-in-point would be Globex 2000, which beats the banks’ rates more often than not. The lesson here is to look around instead of just walking into the nearest bank.

Getting to the Airport

Getting to the airport may be easy enough by car, but do you really want to pay the $21 parking per day? If you do plan on parking there, at the very least, reserve your parking or use Park’N Fly for significantly cheaper rates for long-term parking. Alternatively, you can use the Wi-Fi enabled 747 bus which goes from the Berri-UQAM metro station to the Lionel-Groulx station via Rene-Levesque and finally the airport. The full schedule is available here and costs $10 without an Opus card. Also, if you’ve ever wondered why so many taxis line up in front of the Bell Center,prepare to be enlightened. They offer a $38 flat fare to the Trudeau Airport. Finally, Uber (legal or not) estimates that a trip from Downtown to the airport costs between $30-$35.

STM travel to airport Montreal

Travelling Smarter Means Travelling Faster

Through our own travelling experiences, we have picked up a trick or two to make travelling go that much faster. Chief among them is the Nexus Card. Yes, it is a pain to go through the process of applying and interviewing, but it only needs to be renewed every 5 years and at that point it’s much easier. What it offers is an express lane for land and air travel. The longest part at the airport is often the long security line after you check-in your luggage. Well, with a Nexus Card, you go to a different line so small it doesn’t even have ropes. Similarly, on returning, you get reserved lanes for declarations and the bag search checkpoint. It actually works in every Canadian and US airport. The same is true at the US-Canada border crossings at Lacolle, Philipsburg, and Standstead. Just drive to your tiny reserved lane and enjoy skipping the line. Speaking of which, be sure to check border wait times before you choose which border you want to cross. There are even cameras set up for up-to-the-minute traffic details.

Nexus Canadian American Border Montreal

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