Exploring Canada’s Largest Cities

Exploring Canada’s Largest Cities

Canada is a large and diverse country with vast swaths of natural beauty in its purest form, making it a pleasure for any travel enthusiast. Many people dream of taking a trans-Canadian road trip to see the pristine snow-capped mountains, dazzling glacial lakes, flawless beaches, massive national parks, and incredible historical landmarks.

The people of the country are extremely warm and hospitable, and they welcome visitors from all over the world with open arms. Because Canada is the world’s second-largest country, traveling around can be difficult if you don’t know where to begin. Continue reading to learn about Canada’s largest cities.

Canada's Largest Cities

How To Explore Canada’s Largest Cities:

Toronto

The city is densely packed with tall buildings, which pale compared to the renowned CN Tower. Trinity Bellwoods Park, Tommy Thompson Park, and High Park are just a few of Toronto’s beautiful green parks with paths and recreational facilities. Visitors may satiate their hunger at award-winning restaurants such as Buca, Dandylion, and Alo, all located in Toronto.

Montreal

Montreal, Canada’s second-largest city, is France’s home away from home. The French are also responsible for the city’s relaxed, laid-back vibe. It is a cultural hotspot with a diverse range of international influences, hosting more than 100 festivals each year.

Montreal is a vibrant, exciting city with award-winning restaurants, internationally famous institutions and sites, and upscale retail boutiques. In addition, the city is the epicenter of French-language cinema, theater, radio, television, print publishing, and multimedia in Canada.

Calgary

Unlike other Canadian cities, the weather in Vancouver is sunny and pleasant practically all year. There are a few dreary and rainy days, but more than 300 days of sunshine. Calgary’s air is extremely dry, and the weather is constantly changing.

The Chinook, a well-known warm wind, raises the temperature, allowing you to shovel snow in one moment and then lounge in the sun in a t-shirt the next. Several skyscrapers, lovely parks, fascinating landmarks and museums, and fantastic restaurants can be found in the city. Calgary is noted for its erratic weather at a mile above sea level. 

Ottawa

Ottawa is a modest, pleasant capital city that is nowhere near the scale of its equivalents, Toronto and Montreal. The city is charming and bike-friendly, tranquil and civilized, and a fantastic base for exploring the Canadian wilderness in Ontario, which is just on its doorstep.

In the summer, the city’s park-lined Rideau Canal is bustling with boats, and in the winter, ice skaters. If you’re thinking about moving to Ottawa, you’ll find it challenging to find Ottawa homes for sale. In Ottawa’s real estate market, inventory is low, yet prices are still out of reach for many.

Edmonton

Edmonton boasts a vibrant cultural and arts scene, with opportunities to see live theater, visit various art galleries, and participate in various festivals. Elk Island National Park and William Hawrelak Park will appeal to nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts worldwide. Edmonton is nestled in a verdant river valley, with the North Saskatchewan River running straight through the heart of the city.

In addition, the city is kept green by a great network of open spaces and parks designed to safeguard the natural environment. One of this location’s best qualities is its friendliness. Unlike residents of some larger cities, Edmontonians have a slower-paced, community-oriented attitude. The friendly locals welcome newcomers and guests. This positive outlook will go a long way toward assisting you in settling in and making new acquaintances after relocating to Edmonton.

Carry On Essentials For Your Next Flight

Carry On Essentials For Your Next Flight

No matter where you’re flying for your next trip, it’s important that you know which carry-on essentials you really should bring along. These are items you’ll want to have on hand even if you’re checking some bags as luggage during your next flight.

With so many people getting back out there to travel, I wanted to share some of my must-have carry-on essentials. Traveling is a fabulous way to experience new places, see extended family members, hang out with friends you haven’t seen in a while, and it’s even a great chance to meet new friends on the way!

It’s even better when you’re fully prepared to make sure the journey is just as great as the destination!

This post includes affiliate links and I will receive compensation for any purchases made through my link at no cost to you. Read my disclaimer here.


My Carry On Essentials

The Right Bag

First, you’ll need to have the best carry-on bag option possible. I recommend getting a backpack so that you don’t need to hold it the entire time. The right bag will include various pockets inside to keep your carry-on essentials organized. Make sure there are also pockets that are easy to reach, which you can use to place things you’ll constantly need to get ahold of (i.e. your passport if traveling internationally, your ticket, phone, etc).

However, if you’re more of a tote bag person, this LL Bean Boat and Tote Bag is a perfect size. I just used it on a JetBlue flight and it was awesome! We couldn’t bring an actual carry-on suitcase, so I had to improvise a little bit! Regardless of what you use it for, the boat and tote bag is a useful bag to have!

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Socks and Sweater

Don’t forget about the changes in temperatures as you navigate different airport terminals. Make sure you have an extra pair of socks and a sweater to put on in case you get cold. The last thing you want to do is feel uncomfortably cold while traveling far away from home.

Passport Holder

This is especially useful if you need a passport to travel to your final destination. A passport holder will ensure you keep your identification paperwork in one spot. The holder will allow you to easily grab the identification you need when asked without having to fumble through your carry-on bag. They also have larger, more functional passport holders like this one that actually holds your boarding pass too!

carry on essentials

Medications

If you take any medications, then you’ll want to have your medications packed in your carry-on. This allows you to have access to them that you’ll need to take while on the flight if an unplanned layover occurs, or your checked luggage is lost. I absolutely love this 7-Day Pill Planner from Target.

Phone Charger

I can’t stress this enough! You will need some way to charge your phone if things go awry. You can pack a travel charger in your carry-on bag for quick access to charge your phone in case of emergencies.

Backup Toiletries

Don’t underestimate the power of needing that toothbrush, toilet paper, or face wash in your carry-on bag. Be sure to have some backup toiletries available, but make sure to measure them to hold only the appropriate amount allowed by the airline (3 oz or under). These Convenience Kits are so useful and worth the money!

In conclusion, traveling by plane can be a very fun experience as long as you’re prepared with the proper carry-on essentials. I hope that my list of travel essentials for your carry-on bag will help you be more prepared as you venture out into the world to travel more this year. 


This post includes affiliate links and I will receive compensation for any purchases made through my link at no cost to you. Read my disclaimer here.

8 Things To Take On An International Trip

8 Things To Take On An International Trip

When you are planning an international trip, there are some things that are important that you take with you. Some of these things are quite obvious but others may come as a surprise.

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Since I’m planning an International trip with my friends for 2021 or 2022 (actually, whenever we can actually travel again), I wanted to share this list to help you plan your next adventure and also to keep a checklist for myself!

This post includes affiliate links and I will receive compensation (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase! Click here to read my affiliate disclosure.


Here are 8 things you must take on your next international trip:

Passport and Visa

You must have a passport (and a super cute passport case) for international travel. If you are American, you can get away with just a passport card when traveling to most North American destinations. In order to know if you need a visa, check the United States government website.

International currency

You will want to have some currency for the country you are visiting. If it is in Europe, you need to know if that country uses the Euro. Do your research so that you know how available ATMs are at the destination you are traveling to. In most countries, you will be able to use a credit card and/or your debit card at least in an ATM machine. There may be charges applicable.

Travel Alarm Clock

It is important that you take your travel alarm clock. Jet lag can make knowing what time of day it is a problem. Your body wants to sleep on your home time, not your new time, and it can be difficult to adjust and to wake up in the morning. Depending on where you are traveling and your type of accommodation, you probably have breakfast included in your rate. Missing breakfast one morning won’t kill your budget, but it is a saving if you can eat for free. Your travel alarm clock will be helpful in getting you up and out in a timely manner.

Power Converter

When you are traveling to an international destination, you will need a power converter that actually fits in the country’s electrical sockets. You will also need to have an adapter plug, so that you can plug things in. Most laptops have the converter already on the cord but you will need to adapt your plug. Don’t try to get around using the converter as you can cause damage to your hair dryer, battery charger or other small appliance.

A Phrase Book

Unless you are traveling to an international country where the native language is English, you will appreciate the fact that you have a phrase book with you. You don’t need to be proficient in a foreign language in order to enjoy yourself internationally, but it is a great ice-breaker and will usually result in someone you talk to remembering that they speak some English if you attempt to speak their language.

Phone with International Calling

Many American cell phones will not work in the rest of the world, and even those that do have to be reset to the correct frequency. Talk to your cellphone provider and ask them what you need to do. If you are taking along your laptop, you will be able to use Skype or something similar as long as you have Internet access. Worst case, just get an international SIM card instead!

Face Cloth

Believe it or not, even in Europe most hotels do not have face-cloths. You can carry one in a small “Ziploc” bag and then use it when needed. You can always wash and reuse these as needed!

Toilet Paper

Depending on what country you are traveling to, you may need to take a roll of toilet paper with you. Many countries don’t provide it and others have a quality that the average pampered tush isn’t quite used to; think wax paper.

These are just a few of the things that will make your international trip easier and more comfortable.

Is there anything I missed? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.


This post includes affiliate links and I will receive compensation (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase! Click here to read my affiliate disclosure.

How To Budget For Your Dream Vacation

How To Budget For Your Dream Vacation

When you actually start to save money, it is tempting to splurge on a dream vacation. Creating a budget for your vacation is not a bad thing though.

In fact, I believe you can have a great vacation for less, but takes a lot organization and planning. That’s how my friends and are I are planning our trip to South Korea (whenever we’re able to go). We were supposed to go in April 2020, but due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we had to cancel and postpone!

Because of that, I wanted to share a few tips on how you can budget for your next dream vacation.

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Here are a few tips on how you can plan your vacation on a budget:

Transportation

Flights can be expensive. You can sometimes luck out on a last minute deal when an airline is trying to fill up seats. However, if you want to make sure you have a flight for your dates, the sooner the better. Sometimes booking a package through a travel agent will include the flight into the package price. That is another way to score some deals with flights.

If you are going to be traveling by train, consider a travel pass. There are rail passes for traveling through Europe, for example, that will give you a great deal for a certain number of days. Instead of trying to be a separate train ticket for travel to each location, this can be a great way to save money.

Getting around at your destination may include using public transportation. If that is the case, look for similar types of passes. Some locations offer public transportation passes for buses and/or metros for 3, 5, and 7 days.

Lodging

Choosing a place to stay can be the most stressful part of planning a vacation. However, it does not have to be where you spend the most money. There are many websites that will search hotels, hostels, bed & breakfasts, and even apartment rentals for you. You can set your price guidelines along with location and other amenities. It is easier to find deals to fit any budget.

Another option is to request the travel guide for the location you are headed. Travel guides tend to have coupons for attractions and accommodations. Sometimes you can pair that coupon with other offers, so be sure to read the fine print.

Don’t hesitate to call the hotel and ask what deals they are offering. Sometimes they can meet or beat a deal that you find on the internet. The key to finding discounts on lodging is to do your research. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and exhaust all possibilities.

Food

You don’t have to eat out every single night. If the location you are staying at provides access to the kitchen, head to a grocery store and plan to cook a few nights. You will spend less if you make your own meals. That being said, if you know you will be eating some meals out, check that Travel Guide or find an Entertainment Book for that location. Using coupons at restaurants is a great way to try local flavors without breaking the banks.

Sometimes restaurants have a kid’s eat free night. Check the local area to see what night any of the restaurants offer that discount. You can save yourself between $5.00 and $20.00 depending on the restaurant and how many children you have. If you can coordinate several different kid’s eat free nights, you can add up those savings.

Eating at a restaurant usually means large portions and large dollar amounts. It is possible for two adults to split a meal and not be hungry afterwards. Instead of spending $24.00 on two entrees, you can spend $12.00 on one. Over several meals, this will add up as well.

If you have walked into a convenience store to buy snacks or drinks as you travel, you know the costs add up. Make your own snacks or head to a grocery store and buy a lot of drinks and snacks you can bring with you. That will help minimize the costs. If you buy a case of soda before you leave, you may spend $5.00 on that case. However, that beats spending $1.00 each time you want a drink.

Attractions

It is a lot easier to find deals on attractions. You can visit the website of the place and see if they have any discounts, promotions, or coupons available. If you have ever tried to plan a trip to Disneyland, you know the entry charges add up. However, if you plan it around someone’s birthday, they can get in free. You can also buy multi-day passes if you know you will spend more than one day there.

Attractions and activities also place coupons in those Travel Guides and Entertainment books. Be sure to find any coupons that can save you admissions or cut them in half.

It is not a sign of destitution to use coupons. In fact, many people use coupons because they enjoy saving money. Even though you are getting ready to head out on vacation, it is yet another opportunity to save your money. You can have a great time without breaking the bank.

How To Experience A Dream Vacation At Home

How To Experience A Dream Vacation At Home

Destination Couch… We’re all used to being home due to COVID-19, so why not create a fun, vacation atmosphere at home and switch things up!

Whether you take a vacation every month or every five years there is a beautiful little place that even the most experienced travelers have overlooked and this little treasure is located in the comfort of your own home. Experience the familiar atmosphere in an unfamiliar way and you may have the vacation of your lifetime.

Remember the key is to relax. So make sure you decide the duration of your vacation and stick to it. If you intend to take a week long break then make sure to put responsibilities including work off for the entire time. Treat this at home getaway just as if you are going out of town. Inform everyone that you are taking a vacation so that you have fewer interruptions.

The beauty of this ideal little break from the ordinary is it can be enjoyed alone, with friends, family or whatever companion you choose. So decide whom, if anyone, you want to experience this with.

Do you want to enjoy some “me” time? Do you need to take the kids to a babysitter and breakaway for a romantic honeymoon? Do you need to call your girlfriends over for an all girl getaway?

Whatever you decide you have many opportunities to enjoy. I’ve listed a few choices that I’ve had fun with and I hope you will too.

This post includes affiliate links and I will receive compensation (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase! Click here to read my affiliate disclosure.


6 Ways To Experience A Dream Vacation At Home:

If you can’t make it, fake it.

Whether a tight budget or schedule is keeping you from escaping to an exotic land, remote island, or bustling city that you’ve always dreamed of seeing you can still have a little taste of the far away. You can choose one location or a few and create a theme. Stock up on decorations that will represent the country or city that you are imitating. Then you can search for recipes on line from your most desired destinations. You can try different cuisines each night and add a little decorative flare accordingly. I also suggest reading a book or watching a movie that takes place in that setting of your choice to experience more of that culture.

Hobbies

In our hustle bustle lives we tend to leave our hobbies unattended. Take a weekend or week vacation to dive into your favorite past times or learn new ones. Start scrap booking or building that model car that has been collecting dust.

Pamper yourself

Create a spa at home. Stock up on those women’s magazines you never give yourself time to read and try their beauty tricks. Try at home facial masks and cucumbers on your eyelids. Take a bubble bath with candles and music and drift off into relaxation. Try new hair styles and master the technique of bobby pinning and hair spraying your do in place. Maybe even do some online shopping.

For the artsy

Rent documentaries or borrow books form the library about your favorite artist or musician. Tap into your talents and practice your musical instrument and have a jam session. Pull out your paper and pencils and improve your drawing technique or write a poem.

Indulge yourself

Maybe you simply would like to be a couch potato. Buy some junk food, pop some popcorn, and prepare to relax. Buy a series of your favorite show and have a marathon or check out the selection on Amazon Prime Video to pick your favorite movies or watch some that you haven’t seen yet.

For lovebirds

Create your own honeymoon or prom. Remind yourself of why you fell in love with your significant other. Dress into formal attire and put on some music and dance. Remember to prepare some lingerie underneath and decorate your house and bedroom for the perfect ambiance.

Whether you are entertained by one or all six of these options you are in store for a great personalized vacation. A vacation at home is the perfect way to reconnect with yourself or your loved ones and to be creative. Go ahead and live a little right in your living room.

4 Ways To Unplug While You’re On Vacation

4 Ways To Unplug While You’re On Vacation

We live in an ultra-connected world and it’s hard to unplug. With our phone at our sides 24/7, we’re constantly reachable by text, call, email, or instant message whether we want to be or not, and the need to constantly be ready to field whatever comes your way can be exhausting.

When it’s time to vacation and get away for a few days, it’s important to use that time to truly rest and recharge your personal batteries – which means disconnecting from the the things that typically drain us.

The next time you take a vacation, try to truly unplug and enjoy the experience.

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Here’s how you can unplug on vacation:

Delegate whatever you can.

Life happens while you’re on vacation, and in some cases, you might not be able to shirk all of your obligations during your time away from work. However, you can always try to delegate whatever you can to others. Ask a coworker to run your weekly report or see if your neighbor’s willing to do you a favor and water your lawn once or twice. The more you’ve addressed before you leave, the less you’ll have to worry about while you’re on vacation.

Go off the grid.

If you’re on a mission to really unplug on your next trip, choose a remote vacation destination where cell service is all but nonexistent. Sign your family up for a cruise and take to the seas so you won’t be tempted to text or browse all day, or choose to spend your time off outdoors at a tropical yoga retreat or cabin nestled deep in the mountains. It isn’t too hard to find a place with poor cell signal – people are often very quick to comment about this in reviews, so you can usually learn all you need to know by skimming one or two!

Stay off of email.

Most of us rely heavily on email to schedule meetings, set appointments, and otherwise handle our business. Disappearing without warning isn’t very professional, so you should set up an auto-response before you leave to set expectations around when inquirers and others will receive a reply to their messages. Turn it on, then try your best to forget about email and enjoy your vacation!

While this sounds like a dream, for some people, this simply isn’t possible. If you truly can’t go a week without checking your inbox, don’t feel too bad. Keep it limited to a designated window of time each evening if you can and hold yourself accountable.

Check in with loved ones back home at regular, scheduled intervals.

If you’re constantly providing updates to friends and family members back home about the state of your trip, you’re not truly enjoying immersing yourself in the experience. Don’t stay tethered to your phone, tapping away and firing off texts. Instead, make a plan to sit down each evening and share a quick update via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. This way, you’ll reach everyone at once, appeasing worried relatives and interested friends alike. #boundaries

Do you try to stay connected when you travel, or have you mastered the art of disconnecting and unplugging while you’re off the clock? Leave a comment and let me know.