It was the end of August, just before the boys returned to school. I had a million things on my mind; I needed to shop, schedule and manage… well, life. The very last thing I was expecting was a most thrilling (and humbling) invitation to paradise on earth.
You are invited to experience Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa…
At first, I was shocked. A press trip to Hawaii? Does this even happen? Is this real life?
When I calmed down, I realized that 1) I really, really wanted to go, and 2) Hawaii is really, really far away. Okay, so it’s not other-side-of-the-world far, but a good 12 hours by plane. And when you’re travelling with kids, any long distance commute requires careful planning and execution.
Here’s what I did.
1. Don’t try to do it all in one day. When I realized that Toronto (YYZ) to Honolulu (HNL) would necessitate one stop in either Vancouver or Los Angeles, I decided that I didn’t want to spend my entire day on airplanes and in airports. My boys’ threshold is about six hours before they start to go stir-crazy on flights (or, as I like to say, three and a half Disney movies), so the last thing I wanted to do was put them through 12 hours in a moving cage at one go.
I thoroughly checked the different flight options and realized that a few carriers offered an overnight stopover. Since I’m a huge fan of sleeping horizontally – preferably in a comfortable, spacious and stylish room – it made sense to break up the two long flights.
FYI: with overnight stays, you must claim your checked baggage and then re-check it (at no additional cost) the next morning. The good news is that you’ll have access to all of your belongings so you don’t have to stress about what to pack in your carry on bags; the bad news is that it necessitates an extra step to pick up your luggage and haul it with you to your hotel.
2. Consider the benefits of an overnight stay. For me, they were plentiful! First, we were less likely to succumb to jet lag as we had a good night’s sleep in between flights. Second, because we had a change of scenery and were able to stretch our legs, inhale fresh air and enjoy a delicious meal before bed, our overnight stay felt like a mini vacation within the commute. And finally, the savings for a family of four, taking the longest possible flight itinerary (we did YYZ-YVR-HNL in 18 hours), can go a long way to offset hotel costs. In our case, we saved $610 in total by selecting an overnight itinerary both ways vs. taking a 4.5-hour stopover in Vancouver.
3. Find a conveniently-located hotel. For our overnight stopovers in Vancouver, we stayed at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel. Located just minutes from Vancouver International Airport, the modern hotel offers stylishly appointed rooms and suites, as well as fantastic amenities – including airport parking and a FREE shuttle to the YVR Airport.
Frankly, it perfectly suited our needs.
Upon arriving at Vancouver International Airport, we easily located the complimentary hotel shuttle. The journey to the property took less than 10 minutes and check in was a breeze. Because our stay was brief, we didn’t have a chance to take advantage of the stellar amenities, including the outdoor heated pool, hot tub and fitness centre. (Next time!) However, we absolutely enjoyed free standard in-room internet access and had the most divine dinner, courtesy of the Sheraton’s delectable in-room dining.
Our traditional room at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel was designed with comfort in mind, offering two queen Sheraton Signature Beds, an oversized desk and sitting area, and luxury Shine for Sheraton bath amenities. The room was spacious, quiet and clean – everything I’d expect from the Sheraton brand. (FYI: pet friendly rooms are available!)
For travellers on the go, you’ll love that the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel is conveniently equipped with a Starbucks right in the lobby. When you’re ready to depart for your flight, simply jump on the complimentary airport shuttle which runs 24 hours a day and leaves the hotel every 30 minutes.
Of course, if you have a little more time on your side, I recommend an upgrade to Sheraton Club! From previous posts, you’ll know that a Sheraton Club stay is more than a room; it’s an elevated travel experience, filled with exclusive benefits and special touches. Enjoy 24-hour access to a private Club lounge, private meeting space and stunning views from Club lounge and guest rooms. Of course, my favourite amenity is the Continental deluxe breakfast – complimentary with your Sheraton Club stay.
To top it all off, expect impeccable service.
If you’re travelling long distance with your kids and are considering an overnight stopover in Vancouver – or, if you’re enjoying the beautiful city (a bucket list item of mine for 2018!) – stay at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel. Check out their current offers for a wide variety of savings; you’ll find special promos and packages for all types of travellers.
I am thrilled that I decided to break up our 12-hour itinerary, and would do it again! Remember, your travel days set the tone for your vacation. Why arrive tired, jet-lagged and stressed when you can insert a mini vacation within your journey? Special thanks to the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel for hosting my family on our overnight stays.
This post is sponsored by the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel. The opinions on this blog, as always, are my own.