Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel

Embed this content in your HTML


Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels

Channel Catalog

Channel Description:

Canada Travel news and opinion

older | 1 | .... | 117 | 118 | (Page 119) | 120 | 121 | .... | 140 | newer

    0 0

    Canada is famous for its national parks. Banff, Jasper, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and several others consistently appear on top 10 lists. However, many of Canada's best national parks are still going undiscovered, which means you can enjoy them in the summer months without the hefty crowds.

    The following four Canadian national parks will wow you with picture-perfect swimming holes, rare wildlife sightings, freshwater fjords, glaciers and wide open vistas without another soul in sight.

    Photo credit: anoldent

    Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve -- Quebec

    Convinced archipelagos can only be found in the tropics? You'll find it hard to believe you're in Canada at the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve. This park, located on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, features thousands of islets, limestone islands and reefs not far from the mainland. Despite its beauty, the park slips under the radar for most travellers. However, you won't be short of company with the park's abundance of seabirds, whales, dolphins and seals. Campsites are abundant in this park, so you can take in the sights and Quebec's ideal summer weather from the comfort of your tent.

    Wood Buffalo National Park -- Northwest Territories

    Photo credit: Tania Liu

    The Northwest Territories are a little too "out there" for some travellers, but that's why those who go experience once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Larger than country of Switzerland, Wood Buffalo National Park is home to far more wild bison than people. Visitors can explore salt plains that were left by a sea roughly 390 million years ago, swimming holes formed by craters, the world's largest beaver dam, some of the world's darkest night skies and so much more. Canada's largest national park offers something for everyone.

    Wapusk National Park -- Manitoba

    Few places in the world give visitors the opportunity to see polar bear cubs walk on ice for the first time. Wapusk National Park is one of those areas, and it offers far more than polar bear sightings. This underrated and under-visited national park sits where the boreal forest and arctic tundra collide, creating an environment that arctic fox, hares, wolves, wolverines, caribou, polar bears and more than 200 bird species adore. Embark on a river canoeing excursion, take an aerial helicopter tour or watch polar bears play before retreating to the trendy and outdoorsy town of Churchill to finish your day.

    Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve -- British Columbia

    Photo credit: Dale Simonson

    Perhaps visitors shy away from the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve because it's difficult to pronounce, but you'll enjoy the archipelago even more without tourists at every turn. This expanse of 138 islands located off the coast of British Columbia can only be accessed by boat or plane, which keeps the total number of visitors per year below 2,000. Those who have kayaked among the islands know that humpback whale sightings are common, the beaches are pristine and the waters are refreshing in the summer months. Venture over to Anthony Island to admire the remains of an ancient Haida village, complete with dilapidated cedar houses and totem poles that have endured even the nastiest storms.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook


    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Photo credit: Jocelyn

    Mid-summer is the most popular time of year for travel. Unfortunately, it's also the time of year when accommodation rates skyrocket, gas prices rise and restaurants forego the two-for-one specials they offer in the off-season. Summer is the busy season for most North American and European destinations, but that doesn't mean you have to pay more to travel during this prime time of year.

    The following are a few money saving secrets that will help your dollar go further this June, July and August.

    Be a Flexible Vacationer

    With the kids out of school and vacation days to burn, you can be more flexible with your vacation planning than at other times of year. Use the "flexible dates" option when searching for flights and accommodations to find the lowest prices within your time frame. Forego traveling on weekend days, and you could save big by extending or shortening your vacation by one day. Don't hesitate to book when you find the price that fits your budget and desired dates, because the seats (and rooms) tend to go quickly this time of year.

    Use Your Credit Card Rewards to the Fullest

    You don't have to be a frequent flyer or big spender to reap the benefits of credit card reward points. Even more budget-oriented buyers can use cash back rewards to save a few bucks on dinner or gasoline. A major way to acquire more rewards points in a short amount of time is to consolidate all of your spending to one card. By the time you're finished purchasing flight tickets, paying baggage fees and reserving hotel rooms, you'll have a few rewards dollars to spend on souvenirs or local eats.

    Don't Stay in a Hotel

    One of the biggest perks of traveling in the modern era is that you don't have to pay $200 per night for a boring hotel room. Companies like HomeAway, VRBO and airbnb allow you to rent anything from a single room to an entire vacation home. It's easier than ever to find a full two-bedroom apartment for the same price as a single room at a big-name hotel. You can save even more by sharing a rental home with your fellow travelers or opting for an apartment with a full kitchen.

    Consider the Caribbean

    Convinced you want that faraway feeling on your summer vacation? The Caribbean is one of few destinations where the summer is the off-season, and prices are cheaper than any other time of year. Caribbean resorts are trying harder than ever to lure people to their picture-perfect beaches and turquoise waters in the summer months. However, the threat of summer hurricanes continues to keep travelers at bay.

    Many don't know that only one hurricane has hit the Caribbean before July 8 in the last 10 years, and peak hurricane season doesn't start until mid-August. That means travelers have a lot of time to take advantage of ridiculously low hotel prices, cheap airfare and unbeatable specials on tours, activities and more once you arrive.

    Don't let the dollar signs keep you home this summer. There are plenty of ways to cut cost on your summer vacation without cutting the fun.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Photo credit: Mikl1303

    It's too early to start thinking about back-to-school clothes and pumpkin spice lattes, but it's not too early to start planning your fall getaways. Busy fall schedules mean exploring nearby areas can help you maximize your vacation time. The following four destinations are ones that you encourage you to run wild outdoors, indulge in hearty fall eats and explore charming towns while the fall colors come to life.

    Montreal, Quebec

    Montreal is a city that doesn't sleep -- no matter the season. The french-speaking metropolis offers everything from 18th-century architecture to glimmering skyscrapers, nightlife and those famous Montreal-style smoked meat sandwiches. Best of all, Montreal is a walkable city with charming neighborhoods just waiting to be explored (and shopped) on foot. The historic city center, known as Old Montreal, is the oldest part of the city, offering remains of New France, the Old Port of Montreal, Bonsecours Market, cobblestone streets and all of the charm of a European getaway -- without the costly flight. Visit in late fall, and you'll enjoy Montreal with lower shoulder season hotel rates and fewer tourists.

    Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

    Photo credit: Dennis Jarvis

    Cape Breton Island's 300-kilometer-long Cabot Trail bursts with color in the fall months. The trail, which winds along the coast, offers picture-perfect ocean views, reminiscent of faraway places like New Zealand and Hawaii. Although, a flight from Toronto takes just 2 hours.

    While on the island, visitors can dine on some of the country's best seafood, hike amongst waterfalls, fish, canoe, golf, learn about the area's Mi'kmaw, French and Celtic heritage, and shop for unique crafts made by local artisans. Cape Breton Island is a place to feel far away from it all without using all of your vacation time.

    Churchill, Manitoba

    Visit the Hudson Bay before the temperatures become too frigid, and you'll enjoy days roaming the charming town of Churchill and snapping photos of some of the world's most intriguing animals. October and November are the best months for polar bear sightings on the area's numerous polar bear tours, and late November visitors have a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Whether you're interested in hiking, beluga whale watching, kayaking, shopping or dining on some of the best Arctic Char in the world, Churchill, Manitoba turns brief fall vacations into lifelong memories.

    Kelowna, British Columbia

    Photo credit: erwlas

    Thinking about a long fall weekend away from the kids? Consider Kelowna, British Columbia. This Okanagan Valley town is known for its accessibility to roughly 30 wineries in 20 minutes of driving time. Tour on your own or choose from a variety of guided tours for a worry-free adventure that makes all the right stops.

    However, you don't have to be into wine to love Kelowna. The outdoorsy town is full of farm-to-table eateries, renowned golf courses, uncrowded beaches, orchards, casinos, art galleries and so much more. Overlooking crystal-clear Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is the perfect combination of rugged nature and urban amenities.

    Canada is most popular in the summer months, but those who visit in fall enjoy lingering summer temperatures without the lingering crowds. Lower accommodation rates and vacation specials make fall getaways in the Great White North even more appealing.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Camino Frances, also known as The Way of Saint James, is a 775 km pilgrimage across northern Spain.

    Recently, I packed 2 small bags, boxed up my bike and hopped a plane to Paris. Lugging a massive bike box through Paris, I then took a train to Bayonne in southern France, assembled my bike and rode 3 hours to a town in the Pyrenees mountains called Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port where my journey on the Camino began.


    I set out with few expectations, only knowing I wanted to grow and know myself better. In the end, I experienced the biggest transformation of my life.
    Here's what I learned:

    1. Invest in your soul
    At school, we invest in education. At the gym, we invest in our bodies. We make financial investments in land, housing, stocks, etc.

    When do we invest in the thing we carry with us always -- our soul? If you're religious, you might go to church or mosque... but what about experiences? What about discovering what nature, God, and the universe have given us, straight from the source?

    We're born with the desire to discover. Watch how children explore the world with wonder. Don't let that child in you die. Grow and feed it.

    Travel, love, hike and bike as much as you can. Adventure on!


    Gratitude truly is the key to happiness

    I started having knee pains and feeling demotivated one evening. Continuing to bike, I noticed someone far off. Getting closer, I saw it was a woman with a white cane.

    She was alone, so I got off my bike to walk with her. I learned she was partially blind and ended up walking with her to the next town.

    I realized this strong woman is an example for everyone. She not only motivated me and made me grateful for my sight, she showed me that we have everything already. We have it all.

    I learned it's about perspective; seeing things through a filter of gratitude. From there, you will always be happy.

    The Camino, like life, is about gratitude for hot showers, dry clothes, good feet, strong knees and a healthy body. It's about being grateful for every breath.


    We are never lost; we are just not familiar yet

    At one point, I decided to let go of my phone and all technology. I wanted to free myself. I believed I'd find my way by the signs and location of the sun.

    And I got lost.

    I went south instead of west, 30kms in the wrong direction. Discovering how lost I was, I panicked.
    But then I realized it was just another Camino; another way.

    Life doesn't come with a map. We're always somewhat lost. But it's only ever a matter of time till we become familiar with our surroundings. I started to feel comfortable with being "lost."

    I also stopped seeing the Camino as a race. Which brings me to...


    Life, like the Camino, is not a race.

    A few days in, I realized I'd brought work along. I was assessing each day by kilometers covered and goals reached.

    I was doing it all wrong.

    The Camino, as in life, should be taken at my own pace. I learned not to compare myself to others - how much time they take, or how fast they go.

    It's all within my control. I choose the speed and time... when to wake up... where to stop for coffee, Spanish omelette or to drink wine... who to talk to, walk with or ride with. I choose it all.

    I am the captain of my life. It's not a race with others. It's a journey with myself.


    It is ok to feel, have emotions and express them

    Exhausted, I went to park my bike. It moved suddenly and hit a wall... so did my head. Some locals came to help. Insisting I go to the church, one took my hand and guided me. Entering, I felt a great energy. I sat down and prayed.

    It had been years since I'd truly expressed emotion. In that moment, I felt the weight of everything I'd suppressed. An emotional waterfall, a strong internal yet external feeling, hit me. I couldn't control my emotions anymore. I was overwhelmed.

    I didn't care who saw. I was so true to myself in that moment. I felt so human; so real. I decided to never abandon that beautiful feeling for anything.

    We truly own our emotions, feelings, and bodies. Let your feelings speak. Don't suppress them. They are the route to true happiness.

    Laugh, cry and love as much as you can. Never hold back.


    Succeed in your own eyes -- that's what matters

    If I succeed at work, school, or in society it means I'm able to conform to the system around me. That's only relative success.

    True success is being your best in your own eyes.

    For me, that means helping others, growing myself and my soul, and giving back. Everything else is just seasonal success defined by time, place and company.


    It truly is the journey, not the destination

    Through this beautiful mental, spiritual and physical experience I learned many things. Most importantly, that the Camino is not about the Cathedral or certificate at the end.

    It's about a Spanish guy pushing your bike 2kms uphill at a 1500 Ms altitude because you're in pain; competing with a Swiss mountain biker and laughing about it; a German girl sharing her water when none is around; laughing with strangers, so hard you forget why.

    It's about the emotion, the overwhelming feelings, the pain and embarrassment. It's playing cards with Germans. It's talking politics with Americans, food with Italians, wine with Spaniards and French, beer with Belgians, life and bad decisions with your bike... and it's about silence.

    It's the people, not the place. The journey, not the destination.

    We know where we're going, so enjoy the journey, enjoy life, make yourself happy... everything else can wait.


    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    We've all felt it: the urge to buy a property in the sun. It usually manifests right after a vacation, once you leave an island paradise wanting to go back for more. A second home purchase is a big deal. A furnished, comfy, home away from home in the likes of Lake Tahoe or Daytona Beach comes with spectacular scenery, an even better climate and a price tag. But vacation homes don't have to exist only in your dreams. Are you ready for the investment? Here are seven factors to consider when buying a vacation home.

    1. Identify your goal
    Before you start shopping, carefully consider your goal. Are you looking for somewhere the whole family can escape to with fun for all ages? Somewhere quiet and romantic, just for adults? Somewhere that appeals to renters, with multiple bedrooms? Somewhere close enough you can drive if you don't feel like flying? When buying a vacation home, determine what's on your checklist: proximity to the beach, number of bedrooms, condo versus home with backyard, etc. Make sure your desire to purchase a vacation home isn't just a fad. Wait it out -- if you still want it a couple of months or even a year down the road and you have considered the rest of the factors below, it may be time to seriously consider making the investment and finally buying the vacation home of your dreams.

    2. Decide on a destination
    Climate is usually at the top of mind when considering a home, along with the scenery, atmosphere and location. Snowbirds want to escape the cold winters and venture south for sun and sand. Are you looking for something in a peaceful neighbourhood by the beach or in a glitzy, lively part of town? As appealing as having your own vacation home may be, carefully think about whether you want to visit the same place for the next ten years or if you'll get bored. If you still want to travel all over the world, perhaps settling down in one place isn't for you. Consider renting a home and vacationing there first, even multiple times, before you commit to buying a vacation home of your own. If you've fallen in love with a neighbourhood and can see yourself spending every year there, maybe you've found a winner. If you still have the travel bug to explore other places, perhaps renting is best for you.

    3. Be realistic on how often you'll use it
    Once you have a place in mind, do the math. Decide on how many weeks you'll spend at the vacation home and multiply it by the rate it would cost to rent a similar home in a similar locale. Figure out how many times it will take for you to break even, compared to if you were paying for a hotel or renting a vacation home.

    4. Find partners to go in with you
    Buying a vacation home is a big investment, so you may want to consider co-ownership. Find other interested parties that can split the costs with you and you can take turns visiting your vacation home. Whether it's your sibling, your friend or even a group of people, iron out the questions first: What happens if one party uses it more than the other? How are the responsibilities divided? What if one party wants to sell?

    5. Review your budget
    The same way you would decide if you're financially prepared for a home purchase, budgeting for a vacation home is a process that should take place early on. Account for the mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, and hydro and electricity bills, but also payments that may be overlooked like landscaping, an alarm system and someone to look after the place while you're gone. Also factor in repairs, cleaning services and other costs that could come with renting it out if you decide to do so. Consider how this purchase will affect your other financial plans like your child's education or retirement. Keep in mind, you may still need to pay for flights, depending on where your vacation home is. If your budget is just too tight, this may be a luxury you can not afford at the moment.

    6. Consider renting it out
    Make back some of the cash you invested into your home by renting it out to people you know, or even strangers, for their family vacations. Don't overestimate the price you will get from a week of renting, or how many weeks you'll be able to fill. Consult the area's rental agency or similar organization for estimates on the average rental price. Sites like AirBnB can help you find short-term renters, or you may prefer to find long-term, reliable renters to build a relationship with. Renting your vacation home comes with more responsibility and added costs to ensure it's always in great condition for your guests. Remember, the peak times you'll be able to easily rent out your property to others are probably the same times you'll want to use it yourself.

    7. Do your research
    A vacation home is not a purchase you want to rush. Take your time and invest in careful research. Understand that your taxes may be more than your primary home location, and, if you're renting it out, you may need to pay income tax on the rental income. Your home may be pricier to insure too; second homes are often in tropical areas with greater risks of hurricanes or other natural disasters and may require higher insurance to protect your home against unruly or injured renters.

    Is buying a vacation home still at the top of your wish list? After you have carefully considered this major investment and decided to start saving, Invisor can help you plan for the big purchase and reach your goals faster.

    Josh Miszk is the Vice President of Investments at Invisor Investment Management Inc., one of Canada's leading online financial advisors that provides personalized investment management services. Josh's goal is to make it easier for young Canadians, like himself, to create a plan for their families and help them achieve their financial dreams sooner.

    Follow Invisor on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for insights into financial markets, personal finance tips and other educational content.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook


    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Camping is a quintessential Canadian summer activity. There are campgrounds of all shapes and sizes offering a whole host of different activities and amenities from hiking to birdwatching to canoeing. But, come summertime, one of the best amenities you can find at a campground is a beach. Luckily, there are quite a few options for Canadians looking to pitch their tent near a stretch of soft sand. If camping with easy access to a crystal clear body of water is your goal this summer, has you covered.

    Tips for beach camping

    • Campsite options are limited as are their capacities so make reservations well in advance.

    • Apply for camping permits (if needed) in advance.

    • Prepare for any type of weather.

    • Pack proper supplies like a bear canister to keep raccoons and other animals from eating your provisions; sunscreen; insect repellent; screen tents for shade and insect protection; and long tent stakes to anchor tents in the sand to withstand wind.

    • Watch the high tide level and camp well above that.

    • Consult with park rangers for details on hiking, weather conditions and campsite conditions.

    • Plan ahead of time how to pack camping gear if you are flying.

    Sandbanks Provincial Park, Ontario
    Image: Ron Bulovs, Sandbanks Beach via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    There are many reasons to book a campsite at Sandbanks Provincial Park and one of the best is the park's three sandy beaches. The park has 500 car camping sites, many of which are on the waterfront. The beaches here are known as some of the best in Canada so you're sure to find a plot of sand that suits you. In addition to beaches, Sandbanks is home to the world's largest baymouth barrier dune formation, which makes for hilly and shady contrasts to the flat stretches of shoreline. While at the park, you can also hike one of three trails, go canoeing and, during the summer, there are interactive educational programs offered.

    Grand Beach Provincial Park, Manitoba
    Image: Justin Ladia, Grand Beach via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Located on Lake Winnipeg -- the sixth largest lake in Canada -- Grand Beach Provincial Park is another spot that features impressive sand dunes and an expansive beach. The dunes here are 12 metres high and there are three kilometres of beach to explore. Booking one of the 350 campsites also puts you close to nature trails, jackpine forest, a spruce bog, tennis courts, birdwatching opportunities and a boardwalk for scenic strolls. If you happen to visit in August, you can check out the Grand Beach Sand Castle Competition, the longest running and largest sand castle competition in Manitoba.

    Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario
    Image: phrawr, Pinery Provincial Park via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Get your beach camping fix this summer at Pinery Provincial Park in Grand Bend, Ontario. This is where you'll find an incredible 10 kilometres of sandy beach on the shores of Lake Huron. When you're not beach-hopping, Pinery is a great spot for bird watching since the park's rare habitats attract hundreds of different species. There are also 10 hiking trails of varying lengths, a biking trail and canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and even hydro bikes to rent. Don't forget your camera - the sunsets at Pinery were ranked as one of the top 10 in the world by "National Geographic".

    Prince Edward Island Provincial Park, Prince Edward Island
    Image: Dave Bezaire, PEI National Park via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    Prince Edward Island is known for its abundance of beaches, and you can find seven of them in Prince Edward Island National Park. There are two campgrounds in the park, and Cavendish campground boasts an exclusive supervised white sand beach open only to campers. Explore 50 kilometres of hiking and cycling trails or go for a canoe or kayak ride. There are several picnic areas on site as well as a popular golf course nearby.

    Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, British Columbia
    Image: Kyla Duhamel, Long Beach Pacific Rim National Park via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Looking for a spectacular stretch of sand? How about Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, which clocks in at nearly 16 kilometres. Green Point Campground offers direct access to this extensive beachfront, which is ideal for swimming, taking long walks, surfing or exploring one of the most scenic areas on the west coast. Camping in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is a chance to truly get away from it all. Beautiful beach aside, the park has numerous hiking trails and an indoor theatre where educational evening programs are offered during July and August.

    To discover more spectacular beachside camping spots for Canadians go here.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Located on the very edge of the North Atlantic, Newfoundland's Fogo Island really is a heavenly escape for those looking to take a break from the busyness of city life that surrounds so many.

    Take Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow for example: on Sunday night the 43-year-old actress shared a photo of the Tower Studio in Shoal Bay, Fogo Island, Newfoundland with the caption "Dinner spot #heaven #newfoundland #fogo."

    Dinner spot #heaven #newfoundland #fogo

    A photo posted by Gwyneth Paltrow (@gwynethpaltrow) on

    The Goop founder not only captured the stunning architecture, she also shared a short video of shore landscape illuminated by a crackling fire pit.


    A video posted by Gwyneth Paltrow (@gwynethpaltrow) on

    The impressive inn, which was founded by tech millionaire Zita Cobb, is priced between $1,175 and 2,475 CDN a night and has been featured in hundreds of travel publications around the world.

    Earlier this year Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took his family to Fogo Island during Easter weekend.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    The week of July 14 is designated National Shark Awareness Week. For over 400 million years, preceding dinosaurs by some 200 million years, sharks have ruled the oceans. Despite its enduring evolutionary run however, sharks are facing an immense threat from humans due to our widespread destructive activities that are threatening our oceans. In honour of Shark Awareness Week, SEEtheWILD has put together a list of top shark programs where visitors can get up close and personal with these misunderstood creatures.

    Thanks to Hollywood, sharks are one of the most feared creatures on earth. Unprovoked shark attacks are however extremely rare -- you are 30 times more likely to die from a lightening strike than from a shark attack. Humans are responsible for killing nearly 100 million sharks every year, or an average of 11,000 sharks per hour. Organizations around the world are working tirelessly to educate the public and protect these amazing creatures that are an integral and critical part of a healthy ocean ecosystem.

    SEEtheWILD is the world's leading wildlife conservation travel website. Partnering with the leading adventure travel and ecotourism organizations including Earthwatch Institute, Natural Habitat Adventures, and Global Vision International, the site offers more than 60 trips to over 15 countries around the world. Here is a list of SEEtheWILD's suggested shark conservation projects:

    Shark Conservation in Belize

    Join Dr. Demian Chapman, a prominent shark conservationist, on a volunteer expedition to the South Water Caye marine reserve off the shores of Belize. Learn how to track sharks, catch them to study their diets, film them using underwater cameras, and study their recovery in the newly protected waters. Lend a helping hand in the research all while enjoying the beautiful Caribbean waters and reefs of the Belizean coast.
    Credit: Earthwatch Institute

    Swim with Whale Sharks in Mexico

    Located 10 miles off the coast of Cancun, the "island of women" is the perfect place to dive into the water and be surrounded by wildlife and stunning coral sculptures. The Whale Shark Biosphere Reserve protects 145,988 acres of surface area and below of water swimming with the largest living fish, the gentle whale shark. Snorkel around the island and get up close with these giant and gentle spotted fish. Although they share the name, whale sharks do not have rows of sharp teeth like other sharks.
    Credit: Deposit Photos/Criso

    Cocos Island Shark & Sea Turtle Research Trip in Costa Rica

    Cocos Island National Park, located off the coast of Costa Rica, is internationally revered for its diverse and rare marine life and was named the best place to dive with sharks by CNN. This World Heritage site is home to many species that are under threat due to illegal fishing practices which you can help counter. Dive into the waters with renowned conservationists and come face to face with different species of sea turtles, several species of sharks, and be swarmed by great schools of fish. Your efforts will directly impact the conservation project and help protect the diverse yet delicate underwater ecosystem.
    Credit: George Duffield/Turtle Island Restoration Network

    SEEtheWILD is the world's largest wildlife conservation travel website with more than 10,000 visitors per month and a social media network of more than 60,000 travelers. Since 2012, SEEtheWILD has partnered with ten of the world's leading adventure travel and ecotourism organizations including Earthwatch Institute, Natural Habitat Adventures, Wildland Adventures, and Global Vision International offering more than 60 trips to over 15 countries around the world. For more information about SEEtheWILD's projects, visit

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook


    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    WestJet has encountered plenty of turbulence on its way across the Atlantic.

    Last year, the Calgary-based airline announced it would start flying to London's Gatwick Airport out of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and St. John's.

    But the expansion has been fraught with problems and even WestJet's CEO admits it, according to CBC News.


    In a video obtained by CBC, WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky sounds less than satisfied with the service offered by the planes the airline uses for its flights to London.

    "Clearly not," Saretsky says when asked whether he's happy with the four Boeing 767 jets. He said they've had several mechanical problems that have resulted from subpar maintenance work by a repair organization located in Lake Charles, La.

    Nevertheless, Saretsky said the airline is undergoing "teething pains" and that it is fixing issues with the 767s.

    westjet airplanes

    WestJet bought the planes from Australian airline Qantas, and all of them are between 23 and 25 years old, The Financial Post reported.

    Airline spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said it's normal for companies to experience issues when they introduce new aircraft.

    WestJet experienced growing pains when it introduced Bombardier Q400s into its fleet as part of its Encore regional service, she said.


    The airline's response comes as Internet users express deep dissatisfaction with WestJet's service to London-Gatwick.

    A forum focused on WestJet on customer review website SkyTrax had some harsh words for the airline's London flights, with one user saying a trip from Gatwick to Toronto was "really a disgrace."

    The user, identified only as "C Bower," said the flight was cancelled without notice and that it took a long wait before learning that there were no flights available until the following day.

    Others have also complained about cancellations and delays. Stewart told the Post that only four per cent (10 flights) of its London trips had been cancelled as of July 5.

    Flyers upset about lack of food

    But complaints around WestJet's London service go beyond delays and mechanical issues with its planes.

    Earlier this year, it emerged that the airline wouldn't serve a free hot meal for lower-cost sections on flights from Vancouver to London.

    WestJet defended that practice by saying that customers have always told the airline "that they do not want to pay for things they do not need or want, and that includes expensive meals."

    Like Us On Facebook

    Also on HuffPost:

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Photo credit: Me in ME

    America's Northeast isn't a long haul from major Canadian cities like Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Even better, the Northeast is one of the best areas throughout the United States to admire fall's photogenic colours. Planning a getaway to the following must-visit fall foliage destinations throughout New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and New York is easier than most Canadians think, and the region offers far more than colourful leaves.

    Acadia National Park, Maine

    Maine's Acadia National Park offers a snapshot of America's East Coast in roughly 19,000 hectares of space. Visitors can admire the changing colours while overlooking the deep blue Atlantic Ocean, offshore islands and steep granite peaks. However, you don't have to just sit back and admire the fall colours in Acadia National Park; you can hike, climb, bike or even take a carriage ride among them. Fall is one of the quieter times of year in the park, but lingering summer temperatures and uncrowded trails make this park worth the wait.

    Adirondack Mountains, New York

    Photo credit: Lida

    The fall colours are even more enjoyable when you're sipping a beer at Lake Placid's annual Oktoberfest or cruising the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail. New York's Adirondack Mountains cover a massive 2.4 million hectares of land, making Adirondack Park larger than Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon national parks combined. Lake Placid is just one of many picture-perfect home bases for hiking, mountain biking, climbing, driving and camping adventures among some of the Northeast's best fall scenery.

    White Mountains, New Hampshire

    New Hampshire is one of the Northeast's most underrated states. However, those who are in the know (and that's millions of people) visit the Granite State when the reds, yellows and oranges show. New Hampshire's White Mountains are far from white in the fall months, when visitors enjoy the area's scenic railways, the famous Mount Washington Auto Road, the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway and numerous other attractions that turn admiring the fall colours into big adventures.

    The Berkshires, Massachusetts

    Photo credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

    Western Massachusetts is the place to be for family-friendly fun this fall. The Berkshires are a highland region known for their vibrant fall tourism scene, complete with its Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival and numerous other opportunities to take in the local art, music and culinary scenes. Visitors can admire the fall colours from places as mellow as scenic roads and adventurous as hiking trails and ziplines. The area's local farms are fun for activities like pumpkin picking, hayrides, cheese tastings, beer and wine sampling and more.

    Stowe, Vermont

    Stowe, Vt., is a true vacation destination in all times of year. However, the town seems to come even more alive when the sugar maples of the Worcester and Green mountain ranges change colour in late September and October. Fall foliage enthusiasts can visit the area's Foliage Central webpage for continuously updated fall foliage reports. And when you're not hiking, kayaking or biking among the bright fall colours, you can be submerging yourself in Stowe's live music scene, funky shops, craft breweries, award-winning restaurants and more.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook


    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Photo credit: abdallahh

    Don't let back-to-school shopping destroy your end-of-summer travels. Forego your annual August trip to the nearest mall and embark on a back-to-school shopping adventure instead. Canada is home to some of the world's greatest shopping cities, where spending your savings on another pair of sneakers and several pairs of Levi's can be a whole lot of fun.

    Montreal, Quebec

    You don't have to be a big spender to enjoy the ultimate back-to-school shopping excursion in Montreal. And you'll get to teach your little ones a bit about Canadian history and culture too. The French-speaking city is known as the cultural capital of the Great White North, but you'll have to pull yourself away from the affordably priced boutiques and department stores to sightsee. Find the more budget-friendly stores along Rue Sainte-Catherine or pick up the latest high-end fashions on Rue St. Denis. Montreal is also home to the famous Marche Jean-Talon farmers' market, so don't confine all of your shopping to clothing.

    Toronto, Ontario

    Photo credit: paul bica

    Toronto is the largest city in Canada, offering everything from funky boutiques to flagship stores and celebrity favorites. Yorkville is where many shoppers stock up on their favorite luxury brands, including Burberry, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. However, you'll probably find yourself spending more time perusing the independently-owned, trend-setting shops on revived Queen Street West. It's nearly impossible to see every store in Hogtown, with more than a dozen shopping malls, several flea markets and so many places to support the community by shopping local.

    Edmonton, Alberta

    The West Edmonton Mall is North America's largest shopping mall, but it offers far more than the traditional shops, kiosks and food courts. The West Edmonton Mall houses a complete indoor amusement park, an 18-hole miniature golf course, a water park, an ice rink, a manmade lake, music venues and themed wings, including Bourbon Street and Chinatown. However, you don't even have to step foot in the massive shopping center to shop your heart out in Edmonton.

    The city is home to several other malls and a downtown area that's bustling with locally-owned boutiques and specialty shops. Fort Edmonton Park, the Muttart Conservatory, the happening Whyte Avenue district and a number of family-friendly green spaces make Alberta's capital city a must-visit.

    Winnipeg, Manitoba

    Photo credit: winnipeg's grumpy old man

    Winnipeg's unique shopping scene dates back thousands of years. The area now known as The Forks, at the junction of the Assiniboine and Red rivers, was once a place of commerce for Aboriginal people. Later, it was used as a marketplace for traders, merchants and hunters. Now, The Forks attracts shoppers from around the globe with its indoor marketplace loaded with unique shops, eateries, galleries and more. Make your back-to-school shopping an adventure by perusing the many funky, handmade and historic items in this one-of-a-kind shopping city.

    Vancouver, British Columbia

    The only reason you wouldn't want to do your back-to-school shopping in Vancouver is because you may be completely overwhelmed. From the Vancouver Mall, the contemporary Aberdeen Centre and the international designers on Robson Street to Main Street's hip, local trends and Chinatown's endless array of accessories, you'll never find yourself wishing you had more options. Fortunately, you can kick your heels up at the end of a long day and enjoy some of the country's best cuisine in Vancouver's countless cafes, casual eateries and world-class fine dining establishments.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook


    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Photo credit: pdbreen

    Roughly 80 percent of Canadians live less than 80 kilometres from the United States border. That means that an unforgettable international vacation is less than an hour away. However, many Canadians don't know that a number of American border towns are well worth of a visit. The following four American towns are ones that will have you wondering, "Where did I put my passport?"

    Stowe, Vermont
    Montreal city dwellers only have to spend about 2 hours in the car before finding themselves in the tree-covered mountains of Stowe, Vt. The city, known for its vibrant fall colors, uncrowded mountain vistas and trendy downtown streets is the ideal place for a getaway in any season. Visit in the winter months, and you'll find yourself shredding the steeps of Stowe Mountain Resort or visit when the snow has melted, and you can hike, mountain bike, zipline and enjoy countless other warm-weather outdoor activities. When you cross the border on a journey to Stowe, you'll be able to feel the stresses of city life melting away.

    Distance from the border: 104 kilometers

    Eureka, Montana
    Photo credit: Mikal Kenfield

    Enjoy a wild experience in the American west without a costly plane ticket in Eureka, Mont. This mountain oasis prides itself on being, "A small town with a big heart," and you'll quickly understand why when you make the short 9-mile-long drive south of the Canadian border. The city is its own outdoor playground and also serves as a cozy jumping point for adventures in nearby Glacier National Park.

    The Pacific Northwest Trail crosses through the city, offering impressive hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing adventures just minutes from the charming downtown streets. Bring a tent and camp alongside the lakes, rivers and mountains of the Tobacco Valley, or stay in the heart of downtown amidst Eureka's locally-owned shops, galleries and restaurants.

    Distance from the border:
    14.5 kilometres

    Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
    Not to be confused with Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, the city of the same name across the border sits in Michigan's scenic Upper Peninsula. Located minutes from Lake Superior, "The Soo" is known for its Point Iroquois Lighthouse, shallow swimming waters, the famous Soo Locks, and a number of other natural and historical sites. Whether you're into hiking along the shoreline, museum hopping, or dining on a patio on a warm summer day, you can find it all in this small, historic, and scenic Michigan vacation destination.

    Distance from the border: 6.4 kilometres

    Niagara Falls, New York
    Photo credit: Jeremy

    Experiencing Niagara Falls from the American side of the border is an entirely different experience, and the town is nearly as enticing as the thundering of 600,000 gallons of water flowing just minutes away. In addition to hopping aboard the famous Maid of the Mist tour boat and enjoying the seasonal Falls Fireworks, visitors can explore the captivating town of Niagara Falls, N.Y. Biking, hiking, sailing, fishing, birding, golfing, wine tasting, fine dining, and shopping are just a few of the activities you can enjoy in this outdoorsy and tourist-friendly city just seconds south of the border.

    Distance from the border: 1.4 kilometres

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Live on an organic farm while visiting your dream travel destination with WWOOF!

    By Ava Agata Gorecki


    Some of us nomads and wanderers want our pet fix, but can't quite commit to the full-time responsibility pet ownership entails. Luckily, temporary love is just as beneficial as furever love. When you're in a stationary period, some possibilities for getting pet adjacent include fostering a dog, volunteering at a shelter, pet-sitting and dog walking.

    But what about when you're on the move? Instead of lurking around a dog park on your next sojourn, hoping for a quick grope, there is a constructive method out there that can satisfy your need for the breed. It's called WWOOFING and it gives you the best of all worlds; travelling to new places and hanging with all kinds of creatures big and small.

    What the bleep does WWOOF stand for
    ? No, it's not dog for "Hey girl, hey." It is World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.

    What is it and how does it work? It is a loose network of national organizations that facilitate the placement of volunteers on organic farms. You register online for the country in which you wish to WWOOF, pay a small fee and create a profile which allows you to search for farms that suit your interests. In exchange for a fair day's work you get free food and accommodations. Some of the jobs you may encounter on a WWOOF include: gardening, fruit picking, planting, harvesting, small construction projects, cooking, making breads and cheeses, cleaning and milking.


    Did you ever want to own a pony but no matter how much you argued to your landlord that it's basically a large dog, they just wouldn't agree?

    Since WWOOFING happens on farms, it provides the opportunity to interact with cats and dogs. But here's the bonus; you may also get to play with so many other animals including sheep, pigs, horses, alpacas, chickens, donkeys, goats and yes, even ponies. Sure, playing may mean cleaning a stable, or bottle-feeding baby sheep every two hours through the night... but they're so cute and loving you won't be mad.


    WWOOFING is great if you're travelling on a shoestring budget. The length of stay is discussed between you and your host and is typically between a week or two. Length of stays can also range anywhere from two days to six months, but let's be real; they'll probably adopt you if your fruit-picking game is on point. Then you can live your farm animal dreams forever! The great news is you can become a WWOOFER at any age.

    If you want to live a fun, alternative and colourful lifestyle full of furry friends, WWOOFING is definitely for you.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    If the stunning native art, or expansive mountain view weren't enough to let travellers know they were in the Vancouver International Airport, maybe free yoga will do the trick.

    YVR announced Monday it's offering a space in the domestic terminal for passengers to practice "self-guided" yoga before their flights take off.

    yvr airport yoga

    People can also use the space — which has a wooden floor, mats, and partitions for privacy — to meditate or simply stretch.

    An instructor from YYoga, a chain of yoga studios, will be available to welcome users and offer tips on best poses for travel, but there are no structured classes.

    Carleigh Oude-Reimerink, a master's student in the UBC planning program came up with the idea after her own stressful travel experiences, reported CBC News. She said yoga can help ease people's anxieties over flying and security.

    Her research identified about a dozen airports with dedicated yoga spaces, but YVR is the first in Canada, said CBC.

    Sitting in cramped seats for long durations can be bad for your health; in fact, passengers are at risk of developing fatal blood clots because of low blood flow in the legs. Yoga and stretching can improve circulation and limber up one's muscles.

    The program is available every Friday between July 15 and Aug. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. across from Gate 46 in the domestic terminal.

    yvr yoga airport

    YVR regularly ranks high on lists of best airports in the world.

    Last month, YVR unveiled a new "washroom" for pets, which includes artificial grass.

    Follow The Huffington Post B.C. on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    MONTREAL — Air Canada is indefinitely suspending service to Rio de Janeiro this fall due to lagging Olympic Games demand and Brazil's weak economic environment.

    The Montreal-based carrier says other airlines are adopting similar changes.

    air canada plane
    An Air Canada airplane about to land at Pearson International Airport. (Photo: Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

    "Service adjustments are part of normal airline schedule planning and the number of flights across our network may vary at certain times of the year due to a number of factors including customer demand and aircraft availability," said spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur.

    Air Canada (TSX:AC) will end its triweekly flights from Toronto in mid-October but will continue to operate daily flights between Toronto and Sao Paulo. In December, it will deploy new Boeing 787 Dreamliners with 251 seats to replace older Boeing 763 planes with 211 seats.

    Passengers can also connect to Rio with Brazilian codeshare partners GOL and Avianca Brasil.

    Air Canada launched its new arrangement with Avianca in May to ease travel to the South American country ahead of the Summer Olympics.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Hotel food is rarely ever good and it is often overpriced.

    In fact, the chefs who work within these business conglomerates aren't keen to sing its praises either. It's rare to have a dish that deviates from the standard chicken, beef, or salmon selections. For big hotel chains that cater to business folk and large conventions, it's all about the high volume production and offering something familiar rather than creative.

    However, Curio Collection, a new string of boutique hotels, aims to change such stigmas held against hotels and alter perceptions that it only offers cuisine that has been subject to forms of industrialization.
    Chef de Cuisine Jacob Verstegen at LondonHouse, Chicago explains:

    Curio chefs I spoke with say that it is possible for hotel kitchens to have life and vibrancy; and more importantly, they do not have to go through chains of command to exercise creative control.

    Curio hotels hope to offer authentic experiences coupled with enriched dining moments. Since launching the brand in 2014, the collection currently offers 25 hotels that span the United States, Jamaica, Spain, Germany, and Argentina. In an ambitious push to expand, they hope to have 300 more locations open by 2021.

    The newest hotel to join the family, LondonHouse in Chicago, is a sign of the times. Curio belongs to Hilton Hotels and this latest entry into the market proves that even large organizations cannot be complacent; they must innovate and stay ahead of the curb. But Curio is decidedly less flashy than its hotel relatives. In fact, there's nary a Hilton sign in sight (with the exception of a small Hilton HHonours sign at Check-in). SVP and global head, Curio – A Collection by Hilton and DoubleTree by Hilton, Dianna Vaughan, explains that it is more about showcasing "individual components" of the hotel and how it ties into the local community. The aim is to cultivate and maintain a unique personality that will attract locals and tourists. For instance, the LondonHouse building itself is a historic landmark. The integrity of the interior and exterior have been preserved to honour many of the architectural components that were created in 1923 when it was originally an insurance company: the London Guarantee & Accident building. This building was considered one of four 1920s anchors of the Michigan Avenue Bridge, which included the Wrigley Building, Chicago Tribune Tower and the 333 North Michigan Avenue.

    Along with architectural significance, Curio hotels hope to capture the spirit of each city through its Food & Beverage Program. Ironically, to execute this successfully-- these hotels do essentially the opposite of what a regular Hilton does. At all Curio hotels, it is about freedom and not adhering to conventional standards.

    Chef de Cuisine Jacob Verstegen at LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton says that he probably wouldn't have taken the job had it been offered through a regular Hilton Hotel. It remains to be seen if this evolution of hotel dining will affect Hilton's other brands in the future. At the moment, Vaughan says that they are not in conflict with one another because this type of hotel attracts a different kind of audience.

    But if you're a talented Chef and restaurateur to begin with, why you would enter into a partnership with a hotel chain at all? Executive Chef Frank Bertram, owner of Slowman at the Reichshof Hamburg, Curio Collection by Hilton in Germany explains his decision:

    All the chefs spoke about their craft in relation to preserving the integrity of their artistry at Curio.
    Chef Stephanie Thiboutot-Bollinger of Diplomat Resort & Spa shares her thoughts on this:

    Chef Frank says that when you eat their Cordon Bleu for instance, your memory will always be tied to them. Imbued within his dishes are the spirit and story that he wants diners to take away. For him, he partners with Curio because the hotel allows him to not only maintain his local and seasonal philosophy, but offers more resources to build further relationships in the community that wouldn't otherwise be feasible due to financial or time constraints.

    The most important aspect for these restaurateurs is to have a symbiotic relationship. They do not have to adhere to stringent hotel regulations when it comes to menu planning and dining experience. This freedom results in financial success not only for the hotel but the restaurant too.
    Chef John Tesar of Knife at the Highland Dallas Hotel explains:

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    This year why not skip your usual beach vacation, get out of your comfort zone and push your limits with a truly extreme activity. Head to the top of a mountain, deep into a rain forest or the middle of a desert. Do something you've never even considered before -- try surfing a volcano in Nicaragua, arctic diving in Iceland, paddleboard yoga in Aruba or perhaps becoming a ninja in Tokyo! has the widest selection of accommodation around the world offering some of the most unique and extreme activities imaginable.

    Surf a volcano in Nicaragua
    Keen to hang 10 whilst surfing a volcano? Near Leon in western Nicaragua you can learn how to hit the ash slopes of a volcano and slide on down. Riding the molten lava in Cerro Negro is a once-in-a-lifetime thrill. Hotel Azul is the perfect spot to stay, only 20km from Cerro Negro, making it close enough to all the action. After riding the lava heat, you can cool down in the pool of this stylish hotel.

    Photo credit:

    Dog sledding in Canada
    Take in the exhilarating sport of Canadian dog sledding! Bundle and buckle up as you adventure through Algonquin Park while being pulled by seven of man's best friends. After you've mushed the day away, relax by the fireplace and take in the view of Little Joe Lake at the Arowhon Pines.
    Photo credit:

    Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) yoga in Aruba
    Have you ever done a downward dog on a paddleboard? It's time to go to Aruba and get your yogi on in the warm, blue ocean. Instagram sensation, Rachel Brathen aka @yogagirl, is a one-of-a-kind guru offering SUP yoga classes. Stretch and relax while the Caribbean wind touches your skin. This is the perfect way to get in shape whilst having fun on the water. Bubali Bliss Studios in Eagle beach offers private studios close enough to all the action on the island.
    Photo credit:

    Arctic diving in Iceland
    Despite the cold temperatures, taking a plunge in glacier water is sure to get your blood flowing. Diving is one thing to master, but also swimming in ice cold water requires breathing techniques and body control. Venture out into the North Atlantic Ocean, explore the deep blue and the mesmerizing sights around you. Saeluhus Apartments & Houses is situated just off Iceland's ring road with access to that icy cold ocean. Breathe in the fresh mountain air and relax in your own apartment when warming up from that chilly dive.

    Photo credit:

    Snake spa in Israel
    Some people run a mile by the thought of snakes but for others, it's relaxing. Overcome your fears and discover serenity. In Barak's snake spa in Talmei Elazar you can discover spa therapy with snakes. Relax, unwind and let the snake do all the work. All are non-venomous so don't worry! Alma Suites is located 8km from Talmei Elazar in Caesarea and offers you a private room with all the facilities you need.

    Photo credit: Getty Images

    Be a Ninja in Tokyo
    HiYa! Master an ancient art of Japanese culture and learn to become a Ninja. Tokyo is the epicenter of modern culture and ancient folklore. Here you will find various Ninja schools known as 'dojo's' where you can practice your sword skills. In traditional style, sleep at First Cabin Tsukiji, a modern cabin hotel near the largest fish market in the world. Karate chop your way through Tokyo!

    Photo credit:

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    When it comes to country comparisons, Canada often comes out near the top, but there’s one where the Great White North is right near the bottom: The cost of air travel.

    Canada places 124th out of 141 countries ranked by the World Economic Forum on the “cost competitiveness” of its travel and tourism industry, and a recent analysis says much of that has to do with ticket taxes and airport fees.

    “Ultimately, these taxes and charges represent extra costs that are passed on to consumers and to air carriers,” wrote Alexandre Moreau, a policy analyst at the Montreal Economic Institute.

    travel cost competitiveness

    Research from the World Economic Forum finds Canada is 124th out of 141 countries when it comes to "cost competitiveness" of air travel and tourism. (Chart: WEF)

    Moreau notes that the federal government still owns almost all of the 26 major Canadian airports run by the National Airports System (NAS), and collects rent from the lease-holders. That rent can amount to as much as 12 per cent of an airport’s revenues, he writes, and Canadian airports don't receive government subsidies.

    That helps explain why Toronto's Pearson International Airport ranked as the world's most expensive airport to land in for years, before recently falling to fourth place.

    pearson airport
    Toronto's Pearson International Airport ranked for years as the world's most expensive airport at which to land. (Photo: Bruce Bennett via Getty Images)

    To reduce costs to airlines and travelers, Moreau says the federal government should consider privatizing the country’s major airports.

    “Replacing the current system of excessive rents ... with a tax on companies’ profits would encourage airports to invest more and to reduce the fees charged to carriers and consumers.”

    The federal government relies on airport revenue to meet its budget; it collected $313 million from NAS airports in the last fiscal year.

    But Moreau argues that the loss of government revenue “would be counterbalanced by the long-term economic gains made possible by the increased competitiveness of Canadian airports.”

    (H/t: CTV News)

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    The idea of packing your bags and boarding a flight alone can make some people anxious, but for people who love to travel solo, exploring a new space by yourself can be rewarding.

    "There are so many options today for the solo traveller be it a cruise or a safari depending on whatever it is that a person is looking for. You can travel alone without feeling alone," says Mary Jean Tully of Tully Luxury Travel.

    solo travel destinations

    Besides making you more adaptable and independent, travelling alone can build your confidence, broaden your network (you are bound to meet others when you travel solo) but also give you that much-needed quiet time.

    Tully says that while all destinations seem ideal for travelling solo, she advises to skip some places like Las Vegas or trips that you've already done with others in the past.

    woman hiking

    In the slideshow below, we look at some of the best destinations for travelling alone. Breaking it down to the type of traveller — from those of you who just want a relaxing holiday to people who love being outdoors — there is something here for everyone to explore.

    Let us know in the comments below, what was your favourite solo trip?

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Life for most of us these days is hectic to say the least. Between long work hours, family demands and social life, living in a big city like Toronto can wear you down. I've been very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel regularly and whether for business or pleasure, I make a point of working in some relaxation, leisure time and of course, fitness. I always advocate that the money spent on getting away from the city doesn't have to be a huge investment and is always worth the rejuvenation you experience while away. Each time I come back from a quick getaway, I find myself coming back calmer, well rested, more focused and often with a new perspective.

    Viamede Resort
    I recently had the opportunity to escape the city with my family and experience a weekend of leisure outdoor activity and relaxation at a quaint resort situated on Stoney Lake just outside of Peterborough, Ontario. This was our first time even hearing about Viamede Resort and we were pleasantly surprised. Upon arrival to our room we were greeted with a bottle of wine and a personal welcome note. The room itself was one of several rustic but quaint little cottages fully equipped with everything we needed as well as a barbecue on the wrap around deck facing the lake.


    From visiting the onsite farm with the kids and shooting hoops at the basket ball court to hiking and exploring the shores of Stoney Lake on kayak, Viamede offers activities for everyone. The lunch experience at The Boathouse and dinner at Mt. Julian was outstanding with a variety of foods locally sourced and prepared to perfection.

    Living Water Resort, Collingwood Ontario
    If you prefer the comfort of a hotel setting, the Living Water Resort might suit your needs with it's modern decor, lakeside views and cottage country activities. Another weekend getaway took me to Collingwood, really by default. I had planned to take the family to Wasaga Beach to have some fun in the summer heat; however, booking last minute left me with very little options in the Wasaga Beach area -- definitely nowhere I'd feel comfortable sleeping in. Looking at nearby areas, I stumbled upon the Living Water Resort in Collingwood which was just a short drive from Wasaga Beach. What I liked about this property, was the ability to rent a modern fully equipped suite to allow for the convenience and cost-saving of cooking at home. I was truly impressed with the accommodations from the sleek design and modern decor to the amazing views of the Blue Mountains and the marina on the Georgian Bay. From an activity standpoint, you could do just about anything with access to boat and kayak rentals, to tennis courts, fitness classes and even a near by 18-hole golf course.


    Next time you're planning to book an airline ticket for your next vacation why not look closer to home, you might be surprised what options you have at a fraction of the cost and far less hassle.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

older | 1 | .... | 117 | 118 | (Page 119) | 120 | 121 | .... | 140 | newer