I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Each year, the first Monday after March Break is marked off on my calendar. I clear my schedule, drop my laptop in my handbag and make my way to my favourite local coffee shop. When the morning’s pressing emails are answered, a latte is in front of me and I’ve scanned the bakery case to decide on my afternoon treat, I dive into summer vacation planning.But it’s only March! you’re thinking. Friends, it’s the PERFECT time to plan – especially if you’re considering a family vacation to Europe, which has never been hotter (or more attainable) for family travels. Barcelona, London, and Lisbon have gained reputations for being flawlessly kid-friendly, and when you book with Air Canada Vacations, they’ll do the planning for you! Vacation packages feature a family-centric itinerary and include flights, accommodations and private airport transfers – in addition to excursions, some meals, and more! (Be sure to review the package inclusions as each package offers a unique customized experience and varies from country to country.) …
When I first started to think about this post, I had decided to craft a list of reasons “why” you should visit Hawaii. However, I realized pretty quickly that I was essentially stating the obvious; of course you want to visit Hawaii. Of course you know the reasons why. Besides the lush greenery, the remarkable hospitality of its inhabitants and the over 750 miles of pristine shoreline, Hawaii has been and always will be a bucket list travel destination. So, wanting to turn your dream of Hawaii into reality, let’s focus on the “how” – specifically, how to plan for a family vacation to the Aloha state, and how to do it seamlessly with Air Canada Vacations.
1. When to Travel. Great news, especially for family travellers: year round, the temperature in Hawaii remains relatively stable, so you can choose to travel when it makes the most sense for you. While the islands have a drier season (summer) and a wetter season (winter), the sun shines almost every day of the year so your vacation shouldn’t be impacted by precipitation. My family visited Maui and Oahu in the month of November, and save for one morning where it rained for just over an hour, the rest of the time we spent (10 days) was sunny and clear with low humidity. …
When the scent of pumpkin spice lattes and the allure of pretty blanket scarves grows old, Canadians are left with… cold weather. Time to start planning that vacation down south, eh?
For many of us, deciding where to go and what to do – and then having the entire family agree on the itinerary – can add stress to the planning process. But what if I told you that you the perfect vacation awaits? Start the car… no, really, START THE CAR!
Here are 10 reasons to Escape with Norwegian Cruise Line.
1. Proximity to the GTA. Norwegian Escape, voted 2017 Ship of the Year by Ocean & Cruise News, sails out of the Manhattan Cruise Terminal (only about an 8-hour drive from the Greater Toronto Area – very road trip friendly). Saving money on flights puts vacation dollars back in your wallet – which means you can splurge on excursions, on-board amenities or the ever-popular Ultimate Beverage Package! …
See what I did there? FALL? I know, I’m hilarious!
Now that the kids have returned to school, pumpkin spice is everywhere and temperatures will inevitably return to (gasp) single digits, there’s no better time to start planning your next family getaway. Whether it’s tacked onto a long weekend in the coming months or over the winter holidays, a little planning is key when it comes to picking the perfect resort. So grab a PSL, huddle under a shaggy throw and get ready to fall in love with Mexico!
But, why Mexico? Let me count the ways:
1. Take advantage of daily flights from Toronto (and twice daily from October 28 – April 23!) with Air Canada Vacations. That means you can customize your family vacay to suit your schedule, tastes and budget; pop down for an extended weekend getaway or take a classic 7-day all-inclusive vacation. Mexico is conveniently a 4-hour flight from Toronto, so the choice is yours – plus, save BIG when you package your hotel and flights. …
2013 – the year I was first dubbed a “Family Travel Expert” in the media. At the time, I blushed at the title, feeling undeserving of the accolades and self-conscious of my resume. Today, five years and 46 family trips later, I’m more than at peace with the designation.
There’s no doubt about it: we’re a family of travellers.
To be assured, family travel isn’t without its challenges. In addition to the obvious chores such as booking, planning, organizing, packing and managing the day-to-day responsibilities while away, vacationing with kids means that I’m also coordinating missed schoolwork, staying on top of in-flight entertainment, declining (several) requests to buy candy and accepting (several more) requests for snacks.
In short, my carry-on baggage are 8 and 10 years old – and don’t always stay where I’ve stowed them. …
If you’re currently in planning mode for a Walt Disney World vacation, I’m going to insist that you stop what you’re doing, grab a cup of tea and settle in for some valuable reading time. Trust me! Because I’m about to tell you all about a hidden gem located in the very heart of the excitement of the Walt Disney World Resort. It offers its own unique benefits and also piggybacks on many of the benefits of staying on site.
It’s the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, an Air Canada Vacations partner hotel.To be absolutely transparent, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is owned by Marriott International. So while the hotel is located on site, it operates slightly differently from other Disney-owned properties. By the end of this post, I promise that likely won’t be a deal-breaker for you. …
It’s just about the midpoint of summer and I know some mamas are currently in the same boat:
1) The kids are bored. They’ve told us they’re bored. We know they’re bored.
2) The ratio of play time to screen time, previously planned to be about 75:25, has slowly crept up in favour of screen time. The ratio’s about 10:90 now, let’s just be honest.
3) You’d love to plan a family outing, but it’s not always easy (read: affordable) to do everything you want on a limited budget.
And to that I say… AIR MILES Summer Fun to the rescue!
Three cheers for the best time of year! There are tons of things you can see and do with the fam this summer using your Dream Miles. In fact, there’s more selection than ever for Dream Rewards under 1000 Miles, in addition to “show your card” perks where you’ll get instant savings on merchandise and experiences. This is in line with AIR MILES’ ongoing commitment to Canadians to offer new ways in which they bring Collectors closer to what matters to them! …
Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of EQ Bank. As always, all opinions are my own.
The probability you have some money set aside for a future vacation? Medium.
The probability you’ll spend that money before you book your vacation? High.
It happens much too often, I’m afraid: you’ve saved for a hard-earned, long-awaited family vacation, but before you can book the getaway you deserve… the money is spent.
Look, I’m not pointing fingers here. Usually, it’s due to an emergency financial situation, like a leaky roof, car repair, etc. And I understand – life happens. But the thing about withdrawing money from your vacation fund to pay for the unexpected means that you’ve effectively prioritized everything else over your family time together. While, in the short term, it can address an immediate concern and perhaps keep you out of debt, in the long term, forgoing time to rest, relax and recharge can be even more taxing to your health and happiness.
The bottom line: make sure your vacation funds are spent on your family vacation. …
My husband and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary this past weekend! I’d say that time flies but it feels like an understatement; somewhere along the way we collected a couple of kids, a home or two, and hundreds (thousands?) of incredible memories I’ll always hold dear.
Last year, for our 10th, we returned to Niagara-on-the-Lake where we were married. At the time, we couldn’t envision making the destination “family friendly” – but perhaps that’s just because all our memories tied to region were pre-kids. However, when invited to check out a new adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew at The Shaw Festival, and scanning over a masterfully-planned itinerary, we quickly realized that we can enjoy our favourite getaway as a family! Here’s how to spend a magical weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
1. What to Do: See The Magician’s Nephew by Michael O’Brien.
“Tricked into using his Uncle Andrew’s (Steven Sutcliffe) enchanted rings, young Digory (Travis Seetoo) and his new friend Polly (Vanessa Sears) stumble into a magical portal that takes them to other worlds. Before returning home to Victorian London, they travel to the desolate world of Charn and unwittingly unleash Queen Jadis (Deborah Hay), a malevolent sorceress bent on domination. With the assistance of Aslan (Kyle Blair), Digory must undertake a valiant quest to the mysterious locked garden that holds the key to defeating evil and defending the new world of Narnia.” …
The wait is finally over – Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Resort, inspired by Pixar Animation Studios’ Toy Story films, is now open!
Become an “honorary toy” as you discover the whimsical workings of Andy’s backyard. Here, you’ll be surrounded by giant building blocks, Tinkertoys, board game pieces and more – all while encountering your favourite Toy Story characters. Fun! …
In just two short weeks, the kids will be home for the summer holidays. Chances are, you’ve already figured out how to keep them continuously entertained for 60 days… right?
(I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to stress you out like that.)
For some parents, summer camp is a viable option. I normally have my boys in day camp for at least three or four weeks during the summer, because I need to work and they need to be busy. But for the weeks they are at home, I often struggle to find ways to stay on top of my work while keeping an eye on them. In the past, I’ve simply declared defeat and rented a cottage for a week. If you have vacation time this summer and are thinking of doing the same, here’s another idea: how about spending a week at an all-inclusive resort in paradise?
Let me break it down for you. …
Just before I wrapped up my recent review on Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa, I promised that I would be back to address some of the frequently asked questions I received while on location.
(To be honest, I had no intention of answering questions while I was in paradise. That’s what post-trip blog posts are for! But my sincere thanks to all who DM’ed – I’m happy to answer your questions now!) …
This post was sponsored by BMO Insurance. The opinions on this blog, as always, are my own.
Be an adult, Susan.
Look, most of us have made some pretty sketchy travel decisions in our youth. Whether it’s staying at a 1.5-star motel or taking that red-eye flight to Vegas (bonus points if you stayed at a sketchy motel in Vegas), there’s no doubt about it: we’ve likely taken a gamble or two. (Pun intended!)
But here’s the thing: we grow up, we become accustomed to daytime flights and smoke-free hotel rooms, and we begin travelling with the most precious cargo of all: our children.
Still willing to take those vacation risks? Me neither. Here’s how I do my best adulting. …
Friends, I want to let you in on a little secret. Heaven on earth exists – and it can be found at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa.
For years – perhaps even as long as a decade – a visit to Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa has been on my travel bucket list. From the promise of pristine turquoise waters to the heavily-lauded hospitality, I refused to consider my stint as a family travel blogger complete until I experienced this slice of paradise for myself. …
Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.
Sure, I know a thing or two about travelling with kids. We travel as a family, on average, eight times per year! And with four trips already taken or booked right up ’til end of June, we’re well on our way to maintaining our nomadic lifestyle in 2018.
I’m often interviewed or asked to provide tips for my favourite family travel essentials. Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a collection of “must haves”. Today, I’m sharing my top picks with you! …
You’ve heard it all before.
“Last minute vacations are the best way to go! You can save a ton of money!”
“Don’t ever book in advance! There are so many deals if you wait until the 11th hour.”
“Hotels will practically give away their rooms if you wait long enough.”
One word: MAYBE.
Look, I’m not here to dispute the fact that you may score a better deal if you book a last minute vacation. However, I’m here to share all the reasons you may want to book early – which, in many cases, outweigh the potential savings!
1. Half the fun is in the planning. From the moment you think it’s time for a vacation until the day you pack your bags, something subtle is happening on the inside. It goes by many names: anticipation, wanderlust, contentment, excitement, hope. It’s a feeling of expectant joy, knowing you’ve initiated a countdown and at the end of the journey: a well-deserved rest. The farther out you plan your vacation, the greater the feeling of elation you’ll experience. Plus, think of all the teaser Instagram photos!
2. You work too hard to accept your second (or third, or fifth) choice. The single most convincing reason to book early is to secure the vacation you’re dreaming of – not one that’s been slashed to sell because no one else wanted it. (Kind of crazy when you think about it in those terms, huh?) Especially during peak travel times for families, such as summer months and winter holidays, the best destinations and resorts tend to fill quickly. Don’t leave your well-earned vacation to chance. …
I am a reformed over-packer.
In fact, phrases like “emergency outfit”, “extra jeans just in case” and “after dinner shoes” were once in my vocabulary! However, a combination of checked baggage fees, managing two energetic little boys and – okay, it’s really all about the checked baggage fees – made me rethink my packing technique. Now, more often than not, we do carry on luggage only! Since we travel so often, after just one year I was able to purchase four airline tickets from Toronto to Orlando with the money I saved on checked baggage fees alone. Crazy, huh?
Today, I’m sharing a few of my fave tips for travelling with carry on luggage only!
1. Edit your wardrobe. Here are two things I want you to remind yourself of when packing for any vacation: 1) plan whole outfits, not items of clothing, and 2) people RARELY (if ever) notice or care what you’re wearing. Seriously. …
My family loves to cruise. In fact, we are so into taking cruise vacations that it’s often the first thing I recommend to friends and family – especially if they’re looking to unwind at a more leisurely pace. However, as much as I adore exploring the high seas while indulging in all-you-can-eat ice cream, cruising can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never cruised before and don’t know what to expect. Here are 10 tips to ensure a most memorable cruise vacation.
1. Do your research. Are you travelling with young ones – in which a family-friendly ship would be more your speed – or are you vacationing with older children, who would prefer a more sophisticated experience? On-board entertainment, ports of call, cabin size and options such as dining and shopping vary from ship to ship, so you’ll want to narrow down the type of cruising experience you’re looking for and then select a cruise line that can fulfill your travel desires. …
Travelling with kids is a challenge.
Let me just put that out there, lest you believe my Instagram reel is real life. (Hint: it’s not always sunshine and smiling faces.) Now don’t get me wrong; I didn’t say it was impossible, or even difficult. I simply stated the obvious: travelling with kids can (and will) throw a wrench into your best laid plans. That’s why when it comes to Mexico or Caribbean travel, I always recommend booking a quality all-inclusive resort with a reputable vacation provider, such as Air Canada Vacations. They take a lot of the guesswork out of arranging a perfect family vacation, leaving you with more time to enjoy your family and less time spent pouring over the details.
But why should you book an all-inclusive resort? Let me count the ways!
1. Convenience. Beach time, pool time, tours and excursions, restaurants – you name it – you can find it all in the same place, and often, with on-site support to assist you with your in-the-moment vacation dreams. All-inclusive vacations are packaged to maximize fun with limited planning on your end; simply decide when you want to travel, where you want to go and select from a variety of resorts that cater to families, big and small! …
For hundreds of AIR MILES Collectors, it’s a cruise they’ll never forget.
In November, AIR MILES celebrated their 25th anniversary by rewarding a ship full of Collectors and their guests with a FREE cruise aboard Princess Cruises’ Crown Princess. The five-night Caribbean cruise brought together Canadians from coast to coast, celebrating AIR MILES’ anniversary as well as their own special occasions: anniversaries, birthdays, honeymoons and even some new engagements onboard! …