When booking your dream holiday, North America is an option that provides serious food for thought as a potential destination. The US, Canada and Caribbean each offer their own completely amazing and unique characteristics. The Caribbean offers a tropical beach getaway mixed with that famous laid back island life, while Canada is a complete wonderland for lovers of the great outdoors that regularly tops polls for the best places to visit. And the United States offers a sprawling canvas of tourist hotspots each one as iconic and diverse as the next.
No matter where you are planning on going, it’s worth your time to do some preparation. Know what the weather will be like for the area at that time of the year, what festivals and events are happening during your travels, and any local customs you should be aware of. Each of these destinations are rich with attractions and amazing things to do. If you want to make the most of them the most helpful thing you can do is make a list or schedule for yourself. This is especially recommended if you are travelling with a family large or small.
When travelling to Canada you will need to obtain an electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA). Irish citizens can stay in Canada for up to 180 days per entry, though the eTA grants multiple trips within the 5 years after it is issued or until your passport expires.
If you are an Irish citizen, or from a Visa Waiver Program country, you don’t need a visa to visit America but you will need to complete an ESTA online, so long as you intend on travelling for less than 90 days. The recommendation is to complete it more than 72 hours prior to travel, but it is worth getting it out of the way early in case you forget. The ESTA costs $14 and can be obtained on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. You will usually be approved or denied permission to travel within a few seconds.
Although Irish citizens who are visiting for less than 90 days won’t need visas to visit most destinations in the Caribbean, it is worth noting that each country will have their own set of conditions when it comes to access. But they generally stick to a variation of these basic rules and things that you will need:
The International Air Transport Association has a handy section on their website that will provide you with all the information you need to know before travelling to the majority of global destinations. Visit IATA’s website to check personalised Passport, Visa and health requirement advice based on your details and itinerary.
Once you’ve decided on your destination, booking flights will be your next big consideration. You can keep an eye out for seat sales or visit flight comparison websites to find some great deals. If you don’t happen to catch a good deal, there are guidelines on how far in advance it is best value to book flights and the least expensive months to travel. The general acceptance for flights is between 140 and 50 days before you plan on travelling.
When it comes to accommodation you can leave this a little later as you will tend to find that prices go down closer to the date. Waiting to within 30 days is usually the turning point but it is understandable if you consider this too much of a gamble. If travelling during peak season it may also backfire as you find all the most desirable locations are booked out. Going through a travel agent can also be a good option, especially if you are looking at doing an all-inclusive trip in a resort.
Ideally you should be booking your insurance when you book your trip. You can buy your travel insurance at a later date, but that means you won’t be covered for any events that happen before you purchase your travel insurance. Leaving it late or booking the wrong cover could lead to some hefty expenses, such as high medical bills, lost luggage or finding new flights if facing a cancellation.
AIG provide a range of single trip, multi trip and extended stay options to help you take the stress out of your holiday. And if you’re planning to do extreme water sports, skydiving, snowboarding or something similar, we can provide a policy that covers that too.
Buying travel insurance can be done in a matter of minutes and earns a 20% discount on annual travel insurance when bought online. Get an online travel insurance quote today.