Every year, around this time, thousands upon thousands of Canadians set their sights on the upcoming March Break holiday. In fact, last year—two days prior to the official kick off of March break—Toronto's Pearson Airport estimated they'd see over 226,000 travellers pass through the airport. A typical day at Pearson sees around 100,000 travellers. Are you ready for the crowds?

With Canadians winging their way to their spring break destination, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) says you may want to keep a few things in mind when you arrive at the airport.

Come to the airport prepared

To ensure the safety of all passengers, everyone that boards a plane must pass through the security checkpoint. However, because this process can be involved, it pays to come prepared.

Liquids and food products
CATSA reminds travellers to pack liquids, aerosols and gels in checked baggage. Although certain liquids may be packed into carry-on luggage there are restrictions. Liquids must be in a container no larger than 100 ml, and must fit into a clear, closed and re-sealable plastic bag with a capacity of no more than 1 litre. The same is true for liquid or gel-based food items; however solid food like granola bars, crackers, apples, bananas, and cheese slices or cubes, can be brought aboard the plane.

There is one, clear re-sealable plastic bag allowed per passenger.

Travelling with a child under two? Some items are exempted from the 100 ml limit, including baby food, milk, formula, water and juice, if you're travelling with children under the age of two.

Electronics
Passengers are free to take electronic devices with them in carry-on luggage as well. Things like cellphones, MP3 players, e-readers and tablets do not need to be removed from bags when going through the security checkpoint; however, laptops do need to be unpacked.

Although permitted on board, air carriers may vary in when, or if, they can be used.

Attire
CATSA also recommends coming to the airport dressed for success because how you dress can affect the time it takes you to get through security. You'll get through security faster if you:

  • Limit the jewelry you wear to the basics: earrings, watches and rings. Also, remove hidden body piercings.
  • Avoid wearing clothing, shoes or belts that have any metal (buttons, studs, arches, steel toes, buckles etc.)
  • Dress comfortably with easy-to-remove outwear, jackets and belts.

Visit CATSA for more tips about what you can bring to the airport, airport wait times, and security screening.

Remember important documents

While taking CATSA's tips can help expedite the air travel process, it's also important to remember all the documents that you'll need especially if you're travelling to another country. Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada reminds travellers that:

  • Passports are crucial. This is the only reliable and universally accepted identification.
  • Travelling with children sometimes requires special documentation like a consent letter.
  • Travel insurance is a must for all trips outside Canada.

Keep your eye on the prize: a week away

Since March is typically one of the busiest travel months of the year, you'll certainly have earned the need for this week off.

Give yourself plenty of time at the airport, heed these March Break travel tips and you'll be on your way in no time.

Back to top