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Canada Travel news and opinion

older | 1 | .... | 138 | 139 | (Page 140)

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    Are you looking for some eye candy the next time you paddle your board? Do stunning backdrops, snow-capped mountains, mangrove forests, alpine lakes, lagoons, emerald-green rivers and tropical beaches tickle your fancy? Then you're in luck because the world's stand-up paddle boarding hotspots have them all!

    SUP is the new rage and the fastest-growing watersport in the world. One reason for this is that learning to ride a paddleboard is a breeze -- almost anyone can do it 30 minutes after stepping on it. Another reason is that it allows for a lot of freedom. You are not restricted to the ocean and waves; the only limit is your imagination. You can stand-up paddle board on the nearest lake or river, even in your city if there's a winding waterway passing through it. SUP offers the chance to become one with nature in incredibly picturesque locations, all the while 'walking on water.'

    To help you find your next SUP oasis, here is a list of the world's most epic stand-up paddleboarding trips you absolutely need to take in your lifetime.

    1. Oahu, Hawaii

    SUP Lanikai Beach, Oahu - Photo credit

    You can never go wrong with the birthplace of stand-up paddle boarding -- Hawaii. Sunset Beach on the north shore of Oahu is famous for its big wave surfing during winter. During summer, the waves are smaller and friendlier, just perfect for paddle boarding. Those seeking a bigger challenge can paddle from Sunset Beach all the way to Waimea Bay, a 4-mile (6.5 km) trip.

    Sunny and warm Oahu has plenty of other SUP spots worth hitting, like Puaena Point, Haleiwa, and Lanikai Beach, which are favorites among stand-up paddling beginners. Water temperature in Oahu is usually a pleasant 80 °F (27 °C).

    2. Florida Keys


    SUP Florida - Photo by Bill Dickinson

    With almost the entire state surrounded by water, it is no wonder that the SUP community in Florida is flourishing. The coral cay archipelago of Florida Keys off the southern coast of the state offers literally hundreds of spots to launch your paddle board. With a rich marine life that includes stingrays and manatees, mangrove forests, a diverse ecosystem and Caribbean-like waters, Florida Keys is an island paradise that's best explored on a kayak or SUP.

    Paddleboarders can take advantage of the trade winds to cover long distances. When there's no wind, the paddleboard can be used for fishing, SUP yoga, meditation or simply gliding in a slow, laid-back pace. Back on land, Florida's Fort Lauderdale is often referred to as the 'Venice of the East.' Its winding canals that empty in the Atlantic make it one of the most scenic SUP destinations in the USA.

    3. Mexico

    SUP Los Arcos in Perto Vallarta, Mexico - Photo credit

    With over 9,000 miles (14,500 km) of coastline, azure waters and sandy beaches, Mexico is one of the best surfing destinations on the planet. Quality surf awaits on both the Pacific coast and the Gulf of Mexico, and there's always a cool wave to catch throughout the year. 

    Puerto Vallarta is a culturally rich city that offers excellent SUP opportunities for all levels. Here, Banderas Bay, with its warm and calm water, is a Pacific haven. Los Muertos Beach is the most popular and active when it comes to water sports, and you can expect to see sea turtles, dolphins and humpback whales while paddling here.

    The small tropical town of Sayulita is considered the SUP capital of Mexico. Beginner and pros alike are guaranteed to have a good time, as a growing SUP community will welcome them. Cancun and Punta Mita are excellent locations too, great for the whole family.

    4. British Columbia, Canada

    SUP Emerald Lake in the Canadian Rockies - Photo credit

    It may not be the first destination that springs to mind when thinking about SUP, but British Columbia (B.C.) is a hidden gem with plenty of surprises in store. After all, it is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and a popular destination for kayakers and canoe trippers. Why should stand-up paddle boarding fall behind?

    With lakes, rivers, a maze of waterways along the rugged central coast, no wonder B.C. has a thriving SUP community. There are so many amazing spots to paddle it would be tough to list them all. So we'll just mention what we believe are the best -- the coastal waters of Tofino, Kalamalka Lake in Vernon, Muncho Lake, Emerald Lake, Whistler and the west side of Vancouver are the places to start for a scenic SUP adventure.

    5. Lake Tahoe, California

    SUP Lake Tahoe - Photo credit

    North America's largest alpine lake is perhaps the most photographed SUP location in the world. And with good reason -- its mesmerizing blue water, 72 miles (115 km) of shoreline covered in coniferous trees and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background make it a dream destination for a variety of recreational activities. What better way to enjoy this natural beauty than on a laid-back paddle boarding session?

    The crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe offer an astounding visibility of up to 70 feet (21 m) down on a good morning. Conditions are great from late spring until early fall, and the best time of day to paddle is in the morning or early evening. That's when the surface is calmer and the winds are gentle, ensuring an intimate experience. These conditions are also ideal if you're a beginner. Lake Tahoe is the venue of the annual Tahoe SUP & Paddleboard Race Series, an annual event worth attending if not even participating in.

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    When travelling, fine print is everywhere. From booking a flight to reserving a hotel room to signing for insurance, there are plenty of paragraphs of tiny text that few travellers take the time to read, let alone understand. But sometimes it can pay to know what's said in the little lines. You can save yourself money, know when you might be charged extra or even find ways to have money returned to you.

    But let's face it, you're not about to start reading all those long lines of little text. That's where comes in. We've sorted through the paragraphs and PDFs to help you understand what your rights are and what you might need to know to save time, money and sometimes sanity.

    Credit card fine print


    Know the perks of your card: There are more than 75 travel rewards cards available to Canadians, but not all cards are created equal. What might appeal to you in credit card perks will depend on what type of traveller you are.

    Do you spend your money on dining and entertainment? Then the Scotiabank Gold American Express card -- with its four points for every dollar spent on gas, groceries, dining and entertainment - might be for you. Are you a business traveller looking to lounge before your flight? You might be interested in the BMO World Elite MasterCard, which grants holders access to Priority Pass lounges. Got a big trip coming up quick? With the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite Mastercard, you get 40,000 bonus reward miles when you spend $1,000 in the first three months of opening your card.

    Either way, knowing which benefits you're looking for, as well as which spending habit you might be able to monetize, can pay off in the form of travel points.

    Travel Insurance Fine Print

    Plan ahead: Almost all travel insurance policies require that you purchase insurance while you're still in your home country, so be sure to have your coverage booked before you head out on your trip.

    Know when you're already covered: Have one of the credit cards mentioned above? Your card might already have insurance that will cover your health and travel expenses should things go wrong. The Capital One Aspire card includes travel emergency medical insurance and trip cancellation insurance, so cardholders can save on buying extra coverage. Some cards like the American Express Air Miles Credit Card even offer coverage for domestic trips outside of your home province.

    Fine print while travelling

    Image: David Wan, Traveler via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Accommodation costs: If you've ever stayed in a hotel with a mini-bar, it's safe to say you're familiar with the idea of getting charged for the bag of chips or mini bottle of wine awaiting you in your room. But, in some cases, you may be surprised by what is not included in the cost of your room. Be sure to check before booking whether or not hotel and hostel extras like breakfast, towels and luggage storage are included in your price or are available at an extra cost, so that you can plan and pack accordingly. Also be aware that leaving your room or home stay in an extremely messy state or lost keys can sometimes incur extra cleaning charges or loss of security deposit.

    Data plans: If you're travelling abroad with a phone, be sure to turn off your cellular data or stick within your allotted minutes and data limits to avoid surplus roaming and usage charges. Download offline maps, sync music to your phone and be vigilant about Wi-Fi in order to avoid running into these costly traps.

    Travel bookings and reservations

    Not checking in early enough: Passengers must meet the airline's check-in deadline by checking in with the airline within the airline's stated times. Some airlines require passengers to be at the ticket or baggage counter by a certain time while others require passengers to get to the boarding area by the stated time. Some airlines require that time deadlines at both the ticket or baggage counter and boarding area be met.

    Missing or skipping one of your flights: If you are holding confirmed reservations that you can't or don't plan to use, contact the airline. If you don't, the airline will cancel all onward or return reservations on your trip. Similarly, if you've booked multi-city travel and only plan on using a portion of your trip, be prepared to forfeit all onward and returning trips booked as part of the same reservation.

    Seeking compensation

    For lost luggage: If your bag is declared permanently lost, you will have to submit a claim, generally within a few days or weeks of the luggage being lost. Airlines don't automatically pay the full amount of every claim they receive. Be sure to double (and triple) check with the airline that all claims forms have been submitted because missing the deadline for filing it could invalidate your claim altogether. Once you settle your claim with the airline, the airline may offer you a cash payment or free tickets on future flights. If you opt for the travel voucher, be sure to confirm any restrictions, such as blackout dates, destinations and voucher expiration.

    For a flight delay: Generally speaking, there is no legislation (yet) for Canadian travellers that offers entitlements based on delayed flights. On a case by case and airline by airline basis, there are a few ways the airlines try to compensate passengers for delayed flights. They range from free reservation changes for delays of two or more hours on Air Canada to travel vouchers for delays over 12 hours. If you do find your flight delayed for any significant period of time, many airlines will also offer meal vouchers.

    Making a claim
    Image: Sean MacEntee, pens via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Keep the paperwork: Receipts, invoices, emails or any written documentation of the event will be necessary to offer as proof of what went wrong as it was going wrong, and what financial charges you may have incurred.

    Contact the government: If you have filed a complaint, and either not heard from the company or been denied compensation but still feel entitled to some form of settlement -- or if you want to take steps to make sure your experience is not repeated for other customers -- you can file a complaint with government bodies. The Canadian Transportation Agency allows travellers with air travel complaints to submit a complaint online. Some other government bodies, like the Travel Industry Council of Ontario, also allow travellers to file formal complaints, so be sure to do your research to find out who you can reach out to.

    There are plenty more opportunities hiding in the legalese for savvy travellers to save money, avoid charges or make sure they get any refunds or compensation they are due. Learn about more ways it pays to read the fine print here.

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    Traveling for months on end is an option now. Hooray!

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    Be a traveler, not a tourist, in 2017.

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    As far as amazing places go, there's truly no place like home. After all, why fret about exorbitant airfare to far-flung locales when you can experience some of the world's most stunning sights right here in North America?

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    KIRUNA, SWEDEN For the indigenous Sámi people of northern Scandinavia, the aurora borealis were thought to be the energy

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    For the discriminating traveler looking for something different that combines an international flair with rich history and natural beauty, the territory is a "hidden gem" among North American tourist destinations.

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    Traveling for months on end is an option now. Hooray!

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    Traveling for months on end is an option now. Hooray!

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    “The first thing he asked us point-blank is, ‘Are you anti- or pro-Trump?’” one Canadian recalled.

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    KIRUNA, SWEDEN For the indigenous Sámi people of northern Scandinavia, the aurora borealis were thought to be the energy

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