YVR Airport Tips & Tricks

yvr airport tips and tricksLocated 30 minutes outside the city, Vancouver International Airport {YVR} is Canada's second busiest airport after Toronto, serving 119 cities worldwide. Although I dabble in the occasional departure out of Seattle and Bellingham, Vancouver's airport is my first choice for convenience and services. Beyond the efficiency, I'd be remiss not to mention its serene and welcoming West Coast design, brought to life with calming nature sound effects and complimented by water features and foliage throughout. No wonder it was ranked the top airport in North America in the 2010 and 2011 Skytrax survey.

The more I frequent YVR, the more services I've learned about and partaken in. Here are some features and opportunities you might not have known exist at Vancouver's airport:

YVR Tips & Tricks

  • Need a massage or last-min mani pedi? Indulge at one of 4 Absolute Spas in the domestic or USA departure terminals, in addition to a day spa and salon in the Fairmont Vancouver Airport.
  • Have an early flight? Stay at the fabulous and convenient Fairmont Vancouver Airport, connected to the airport. Wake up refreshed and walk right to your flight.
  • Healthy pre-flight? Get to the airport early and visit the Fairmont's health club. A $15 drop-in rate offers you a workout, hot tub, sauna and shower.
  • Have some time to kill? Take a self-guided art and architecture, sustainability or family fun tour.
  • Get caught up on current events, work, emails and social networking with free wifi.
  • Need dry cleaning or alterations? Drop off your items pre-flight and pick them up post-trip.
  • Want to live the jetset lifestyle? Check out the Plaza Premium Lounges in the domestic, international and USA terminals. From $30/person for 2 hours, includes: showers, wifi, salad bar, hot meals, bevvies, etc...
  • Forget your toiletries? Grab toothpaste last-minute at the Pharmasave in the domestic terminal.
  • Food, on the fly. No food on your flight and no time to brown bag it? YVR's Food On The Fly program offers passengers the option to select their own meal from any restaurant or concession and take it with them on their flight, specially packaged in a travel-friendly bag.
  • Need a little support? Most people don’t realize that YVR has its own Chaplaincy, offering spiritual counseling, emotional support, assistance---and even weddings---to travelers passing through YVR.

Getting To & From YVR Canada Line The Canada Line train is the most efficient and cost effective way to get to and from the airport. From YVR into downtown it costs $8.75 {$3.75 + $5 surcharge} and takes about 30 minutes. Trip Styler Tip: If you plan on taking local transit more than once while in Vancouver, to save on the fare and the $5 surcharge, buy your pass in a translink faresaver book {sold in books of 10 by number of zones based on where you need to go, below} in advance at an authorized dealer. Going to downtown Vancouver, the price per ticket works out to $3.15 with a booklet vs $8.75/person. At the airport there is a 7-11 convenience store in the Domestic Terminal on the lowest level that sells these passes. Note that from YVR there are three possible zones: 1 zone = Richmond 2 zones = Vancouver 3 zones = North Shore

Taxi To/from downtown, a taxi is about $30 + tip.

Limo To/from downtown, a limo is about $45 + tip.

Driving & Parking It's easy to find short-term parking at YVR, it's just a tad expensive starting at $4.25/half hour. Long term parking is $15.75 daily or $102 weekly. Bonus, check conditions before you arrive during normal business hours by calling 604-276-7739.

[photo of and by YVR]

Travel Etiquette :: Flights

plane etiquette {Thank you to The Sky Steward, plane etiquette expert, for the above sneak peak at your Jetiquette Card. More info and the full card below!}

Unless you're flying in Singapore Air's all business class plane {yes, please}, air travel can test your patience.

Whether it's the stinky guy sitting beside you, the lady with a toddler a day shy of 24-months sitting on her lap while eating off your tray table for an entire 8-hour flight, or the dad who abandons his wife with a screaming baby {all situations that I've witnessed or been on the receiving end of}, plane etiquette is important as far as extending common courtesies to the people you're riding with for up to 15 hours. So, let's make it great.

Plane Etiquette Aside from our regularly scheduled content, this month's feature is travel etiquette. As part of the series, two weeks ago we gave some travel tipping suggestions, last week we discussed hotel guest etiquette and this week we're broaching plane etiquette. Here are the dos and don'ts of passenger air travel:

Overhead Bins

  • If you follow airline baggage requirements, you should be able to fit your carry-on suitcase into the overhead bins straight in, wheels out and down. Don't put your bag in sideways and make poor use of the bin's precious real estate.
  • At all cost, put your bag in the bin directly above or slightly in front of you, so you don't have to backtrack when everyone's exiting the plane.
  • If you're able, offer to help someone who is struggling to get their bag up or down.

At Your Seat

  • Don't be a kicker or knee-er of the seat in front of you.
  • Share the arm rest with the person beside you. It's generally accepted that the person in the middle seat gets both armrests, since the outside seats have a little more space.
  • When reclining your chair, double check the person behind you doesn't have water on their tray table, etc...
  • If you like to drink a lot of water, opt for an aisle seat for frequent trips to the washroom.
  • When it's time to sleep or watch a movie, close your window shade.
  • When you land, don't get on your cell phone and have a lengthy conversation when you're surrounded by people. Unless you're Lady Gaga, no one wants to hear about your personal life.


  • Be courteous about the amount of time you spend in the bathroom.
  • Men, put the seat down when you're done, no joke, it happens every flight I'm on.
  • Clean up the toilet seat.
  • Empty the sink's drain.


  • Don't wear bear feet. Gross.
  • If you like to fly sans shoes and wear travel socks like me, bring washable slippers for wearing in-flight and to the bathroom.
  • Make sure you are recently showered, nobody wants to smell your armpits for 10 hours.
  • Go easy on the perfume, cologne or smelly lotion.
  • Don't bring on smelly foods like tuna, opt for blander foods so the entire plane doesn't feel like they're eating your lunch with you ...

Check out the great visual air below. For more information about the Jetiquette Card and all things Jetiquette related, check out The Sky Steward, a flight attendant, media presonality and flight etiquette ambassador! Plane Etiquette

[Images by The Sky Steward]

Random Baggage/Security Rules

random baggage security rulesRecently, when I was double checking if I could bring scissors in my carry-on, I came across some random rules for what you could and counldn't put inside your carry-on and checked luggage. Here are some specific items that might surprise you:

What you Can Bring Carry-ons

  • Liquids & personal care aerosols under 100ml/3floz
  • Contact lens solution and medical gels & creams over 100ml
  • Baby food, formula, water and juice over 100ml {until child is 24months}
  • Scissors {with blades measuring 6 cm/2.4 in.}, cuticle clippers, nail clippers, tweezers and disposable razors
  • Razor blades in a cartridge
  • Gel-filled bras and similar prosthetics
  • Toy weapons like squirt guns that do not look like real weapons
  • Dry ice {up to 2.5 kg per person in a labelled package must permit the release of carbon dioxide gas}
  • Duct tape
  • Lawn darts {measuring 6 cm/2.4 in. or less}
  • Whips {may be permitted by airline carrier provided certain conditions are met}
  • Bricks of cheese, meats, nuts, fruits & veggies {anything liquid like yogurt must be under 100ml}

Checked Bags

  • Ammunition
  • Arrows used in crossbows & crossbows
  • Axes
  • Belts made with fake bullets
  • Bullet casings
  • Firearms {unloaded}
  • Sabres, swords and scuba knives

Other: batteries are allowed in your carry-on but NOT in your checked bag. For your carry-on, aside from what's already in your walkman electronics, you're only allowed 2 spare batteries per person.

{Trip Styler Tip: for a full list of what you can and can't bring go to Catsa's Pack Smart in Canada and the TSA's they-don't-have-a-cool-name-for-it in the US.}

Related Liquified :: Larger Liquids May be Making a Comback in Carry-Ons Packing 101 Packing 102

[photo by shamanic shift]

The Travelling Mom's Tips for Happy {and Sane} Family Travels

travelling with kids {Editor's Note: This is a guest post from The Travelling Mom who writes a modern mom's guide to {sane} family travel. Her blog inspired me when I read this: "When I became a mother, I knew that we'd continue to be travelling enthusiasts. We took our first child overseas to Europe when he was 5 months old." Since then, she's continued to travel with her husband and two kids. Here are her tips...}

If you're a new parent, or haven't done much travelling with your wee ones yet, the idea of being in a car or airplane for any length of time can be nightmarish. How can you keep baby/child happy and thus ensure your own happiness and travel sanity? These tips will help you maintain that sanity while on the road, in the air, and once you're back on the ground again, so you can relax and enjoy your family holiday.

1. Plan for Sanity: Be Prepared The travelling mom and dad share this Boy Scout motto: be ready for anything and everything that might happen. This motto applies to all the things you're planning while on holiday, and even before you leave home. For example, preparing for the right amount of luggage; carry-on or check in? Planning what's going into that luggage (we have a great check list for that!) for all members of the family.

While you may not be able to predict or prevent an accident or injury, you should pre-plan your health care, emergency plan and travel insurance. If you know you'll need a rental car overseas, book it from home where it's cheaper, and it's guaranteed to be waiting for you upon your arrival. If you need a car seat for that rental vehicle, determine if you're taking your own, or renting one while you're abroad. Have your contact and emergency numbers with you while you travel, and photocopy your passport, credit cards and driver's license before you leave, in case of theft or loss while on the road. If something happens, you'll be very thankful for the time you've spent planning for that what if scenario. It's just good travel practice.

2. Pack Your Magic Bag of Tricks Whether it's a diaper bag, backpack, or designer tote, travel sanity will be greatly increased depending on what you include in that Magic Bag of Tricks. The essentials (may) include; bottles of baby formula (if not nursing) or baby food; diapers, cream, wipes and a change of clothes; age-appropriate snacks in bags or containers; empty water bottle (to fill after security check); childrens' medicines (less than 100 ml bottles only); adult headache meds; two or three small, lightweight books; a few of those special stuffies, soothers and blankets; UNO or Go Fish playing cards; a small but carefully chosen selection of toys; and electronic entertainment (i.e. iPod, DS PSP), if you permit them. I like to include a special, small 'surprise' toy item, specially purchased for the trip, and something that is 'lose-able' (ie. Polly Pockets, mini-dinos or toy soldiers). Translation: if a part gets lost or left behind somewhere, it won't cause panic or meltdowns. A special food item that you may consider a special treat, such as chocolate or candy, can also be pulled out in times of crisis.

3. Embrace Compromise You love museums. Your partner loves castles. Your children are 1 year, or 3 years, or 10 years old and don't like either. Balancing the many needs and desires of family members on a holiday are an exercise in patience, compromise and understanding. Family travel is about the 'we', and not so much about the 'me.' There is a way to ensure that everyone is happy, regardless of whether your destination is Disneyland or Paris. Before you leave, sit down as a family and discuss and write down your 'must see and do' list, and ensure each family member gets to check off at least one personal highlight. You can plan your days in advance so everyone knows when their special activity or destination might be on the itinerary. You can even assign a day per family member. Every child would love to be the Trip Tour Guide for one day.

The age and abilities of your children will help determine what is possible and the level of compromise that is necessary. Instead of 3 museums per day, it might be one museum per trip, but it should be THE museum, and the visit might be limited to 3 hours versus eight. But, if it's a museum that can meet everyone's interests, such as a transportation or antique toy museum, you may be able to get in more than one visit. The amount of activities in a day should be kept to a manageable amount, keeping in mind fatigue, distance and interest. If your end-of-day activity is time by the hotel pool or at the beach, you may have a better chance of success getting through a busy day of visiting relatives, art galleries or ancient ruins. Such promised rewards work wonders.

4. Ask for Help When you travel as a family, you (mom/dad) are responsible for everyone's well-being---remember the 'we' versus 'me'? There are times when you will be stretched to the limit dealing with kids, jet lag, delayed flights, getting lost, etc... Know in advance you'll have to ask others for help, whether it's a sympathetic fellow plane passenger, a flight attendant, tour guide, hotel staff person or server. Not everyone will be willing to assist you, but you may be pleasantly surprised at how many would when asked politely and directly for assistance. Babies and children can bring out the best in many people, and they'd rather hear your child laugh than cry, much less see an adult cry out of frustration! So ask for your baby's bottle to be heated on the plane or in a restaurant, ask if there is a fast-track, family-only security check-in line (many airports have them now) and even ask your seat-mate if they wouldn't mind holding your baby for a second if you need to run to the washroom. You will feel better (and infinitely saner), and potential problems/crises may be averted in the process.

5. Be Adventurous It can be hard to leave one's comfort zone, surrounded by familiar things like toys, friends and routine. What's great about travelling is the joy of appreciating those things all the more when you return from a great trip. You don't have to begin your family travels in a foreign land; you can start small and local with weekend getaways, or week-long camping trips. This will get everyone used to travelling, being together in different places and doing things that are fun (and often amazingly educational for both kids and adults). Once everyone has some experience with shorter-haul journeys, take the plunge and plan a longer trip somewhere new, where they may or may not speak the same language you do! The payoff in family time together, new discoveries, and lasting memories is priceless.

Author Bio Name: Claudia Laroye Website: Details: Claudia is an avid local and world traveller, writer, and Vancouver resident. Her blog offers a modern mom's guide to travel sanity with your family. She is passionate about family travel and about educating children through travel. You can follow her travel tweets and blog post updates on Twitter: @travelling_mom.

[photos by  @travelling_mom]

Jetset Jingles :: Turbulence Playlist

music for a plane in turbulenceWe're trying out something new this month, and want your feedback. Would you be interested in a once monthly music post featuring perfect playlists for all things travel? Jetset Jingles would feature music to get you in the Aloha spirit, to calm airport chaos, to transport you to beachy vistas, to complement a sunny afternoon spent dockside, and so on. The first Jetset Jangles is debuting with a turbulence playlist.

I hate turbulence, but unfortunately it's a mainstay of air travel. Some of the worst turbulence I ever experienced was on a flight from Toronto to Nassau. The entire {not exaggerating} 2.5 hour flight was fraught with big bumps and deep dips. Physically, I had the constant feeling of...let's just say my barf bag was on high alert. Mentally, I was in a anxiety-ridden tizzy.

Aside from the Tums and Gravol to counter in my physical angst, what I needed was a soothing, spa-like playlist that would calm the not always friendly skies. And don't worry, Tom Petty's "free falling" won't be making an appearance below.

Turbulence Playlist {turning storms into sunsets} 1/ Breathe In - Frou Frou 2/ Hide and Seek - Imogen Heap 3/ Watermark - Enya 4/ Try a Little Tenderness - Michael Bublé 5/ You Are the One - Elliott Yamin 6/ Everything - Lifehouse 7/ Lullaby - Creed 8/ Come Away With Me (Deluxe Version) - Norah Jones 9/ Gravity - John Mayer 10/ The Dress Looks Nice On You - Sufjan Stevens

Listen to the Turbulence Playlist here.

[photo by kevin dooley]