Time to Firm Up Those Winter Travel Plans

Winnipeg Free Press, August 10, 2013 | Go to article overview

Time to Firm Up Those Winter Travel Plans


There is still many days of great summer weather to follow before the cold winds of September and October signal an end to our great Manitoba summer. But that does not mean sunspot travel is out of the picture during this time.

Those destination wedding couples have already been busy informing their guest list of their plans, asking them to hold holiday dates for the week of their nuptials at the resort they have selected.

Those who want to be away during the Christmas holiday period have started to take actions to secure the accommodations and dates of travel most important to them.

And smaller family units are taking advantage of the group fares that are available to groups with as few as 10 travellers.

So our questions this week, in spite of the season, take on the hue of the winter travel period.

QUESTION: Over the past couple of years, we have taken to driving south for a couple of months each winter.

We don't mind the extra time it takes as we travel different routes to experience different scenery as we move through the various states.

However, I find the service-station experience to be frustrating since the pumps will not take our credit cards because a zip code is required. As a result, we have to go into the station, specify an amount of gasoline we wish to buy, fill up, and then go back into the station again to make sure we get a receipt and are charged the appropriate amount.

I was told you have a method that allows Canadians to gas up using some modification of our own postal codes. Is that correct?

ANSWER: Indeed it is. This solution came to me from a regular reader of this column. At first I was skeptical and even undertook an informal research study of my own via readers who travel south by automobile asking them to test the method given to me.

While not universal in every state, it works in most places every time. I have tried it myself since and can verify its authenticity.

What you need to do is to ignore the letters of your postal code and input only the three numerals and then add two zeros at the end.

For example, the Journeys postal code is R3L 0L6.

If that was the billing address for your own credit card, you would input the numbers 30600.

I have had conversations with the Snowbird Association and, while they say it won't work everywhere, their feedback from members has been that it works much more often than it doesn't.

I would again invite readers to try it on their next automobile trip to the United States and let me know your results by email.

QUESTION: We are planning a Mexican vacation this winter with our baby daughter. …

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