Keep it local in YLW and YYJ!

VISITING VICTORIA OR KELOWNA…REMEMBER HOTEL ZED

If you are traveling to Victoria and Kelowna…keep it local!

Blog Hotel ZedHotel Zed are the people behind Accent Inns, a family owned and British Columbia company. Hotel Zed can be found in Victoria and Kelowna and are not just hotels; they stand out as being unique starting with the color! There is bright colors everywhere starting with their VW and Chevy shuttle buses, rotary dial phones and ping pong lounge.

Each location offers something unique. The Kelowna location offers free rental retro style rental bikes including a tandem bike, free roller skate rentals and a mini disco with a perpetual fog machine and they also feature three outdoor patios. The Victoria location offers the ‘Zedinator’ waterslide, free long board rentals and free roller skate rentals.

The Victoria location is north of the inner harbor with two shopping malls within two blocks. The Kelowna location is right downtown across the street from the lake, the park, the beaches and boardwalk, the water sports and water park. What a great location!  Check out their website: www.hotelzed.com

Blog Current TAxi

Did someoneo call a cab? 

Next time you need a cab, choose CURRENT TAXI, the new way to ride in the Okanagan! And as well it’s the greener choice! Take a ride in the safest and most environmentally friendly vehicles on the road today—a TESLA, and for the exact same price as the other guys.

Download their mobile app – Current Taxi or book online at http://www.currenttaxi.ca. Services are available for Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country areas.

 

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Travel Tips for Returning Canadians

No one likes returning from a holiday and being held back at Canada Customs, so to make your return into Canada go smooth and quick, here are a few tips to keep in mind. The last thing you want to do is wait or hold up the line!

Blog CBSA

HAVE PROPER IDENTIFICATION

The Government of Canada recommends that Canadian citizens travel with a valid Canadian passport because it is the only reliable and universally-accepted travel and identification document available to Canadians for the purpose of international travel. To help with the process, have the page with your picture open ready to hand over to customs officer. They like it when you are ready!

Note: If you’re only travelling in Canada you can use provincial ID but overall, a passport is recommended.

TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN

CBSA officers watch for missing children and may ask detailed questions about the children who are traveling with you. If you have legal custody of the child(ren) or if you share custody, be sure to have copies of relevant legal documents, such as custody rights. If you are not the custodial parent or not the parent or legal guardian of the child(ren), carry a letter of permission or authorization for you to have custody when entering Canada.  A letter would facilitate entry for any one parent traveling with their child(ren). This permission should contact contact phone humbers for the parent or legal guardian.

Here is a copy of Recommended Consent Letter for Children Traveling Abroad.

DECLARE ALL GOODS

You must declare all your purchases and any other goods acquired while you were out of the country when you arrive at the border. CBSA officers may ask you to show receipts for the goods you’ve purchased while out of the country. They may also ask to see your hotel receipts to verify the length of your stay outside. Keeping these items altogether and readily accesible will help to avoid unnecessary delays.

Hint: Have your receipts ready in separate envelopes and in hand. It’s easy to slip a few envelopes in your suitcase for this purpose or use the ones provided in the hotel room.

PERSONAL EXEMPTION AMOUNTS–The length of your absence from Canada determines the amount of goods you can bring back, without paying any duties.

Less than 24 hours Personal exemptions do not apply to same-day cross-border shoppers.
24 hours or more Up to CAN$200 – Alcohol and tobacco cannot be claimed. Goods must be in your possession at time of entry to Canada. If the value of the goods you have purchased abroad exceeds $200 after a 24 hour absence, duty and taxes are applicable on the entire amount of the imported goods.
48 hours or more Up to CAN$800 – May include alcohol and tobacco products, within the prescribed limits set by provincial or territorial authorities. Goods must be in your possession at time of entry to Canada. Travellers absent for periods of 48 hours or more will have the applicable exemption level credited against the total value of goods.
7 days or more Up to CAN$800 – May include alcohol and tobacco products, within the prescribed limits set by provincial or territorial authorities. For the seven-day exemption, goods may be in your possession at time of entry to Canada but are also permitted to follow entry to Canada (such as via courier, mail or delivery agency), except alcohol and tobacco products, which must be in your possession. All the goods will qualify for duty- and tax-free entry if they are declared at the initial return to Canada.

RESTRICTED/PROHIBITED GOODS SUCH AS FOOD, PLANT AND ANIMAL PRODUCTS

The importation of certain goods is restricted or prohibited in Canada.  As all undeclared food, plants, animals and related products brought into Canada by travellers are potential threats to the health of Canadians and Canada’s environment, all these products must be declared. Based on emerging threats, the import requirements are subject to change on a daily basis. Many different kinds of items can introduce threats into Canada such as apples, fashion accessories such as feather boas, wooden carvings, seeds, live birds and sea shells. Yep! Leave them on the beach!

Of course to determine the most up-to-date import requirements, refer to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency webite at www.inspection.gc.ca or visit www.cbsa.gc.ca.

TRAVELLING WITH CAN$10,000 OR MORE

If you have currency or monetary instruments equal to or greater than CAN$10,000 (or the equivalent in a foreign currency) in your possession when arriving in or departing from Canada, you must report this to the CBSA. Monetary instruments include items such as stocks, bonds, bank drafts, cheques, and travellers’ cheques.

We remind all travellers that this regulation applies to currency and monetary instruments you have on your person, in your baggage and in your vehicle. For more information, including instructions on how to report your intent to import or export currency in person, by mail, or by courier, consult Crossing the border with $10,000 or more?

For more information to help you delcare, consult the Canada Border Services Agency        I Declare information site. This is also where you will find information if you are traveling with alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.

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Happy Birthday Canada!

blog-firewords-logo

So Canada is celebrating 150 years of age! Congratulations! I’ve travelled to many beautiful places around the world and have been very fortunate to have travelled all across and over Canada–9 provinces and recently the Yukon. Maybe this is my year to visit Newfoundland. I  for one would like to say that Canada is tops in the natural beauty department. The sunsets of Manitoba, the rolling fields of Saskatchewan, the Rockies of British Columbia and Alberta, the history and music of the Maritimes…the list goes on.

This year Canada is planning on celebrating their 150th birthday in a ‘BIG way’ with celebrations around the country and all year long.  Following is a sampling on what will be happening in celebration of Canada’s 150th.

  1. PrintOttawa will lead the way with the biggest party. It is celebrating with a whole year  of events planned including world skating competitions on the Rideau Canal, an enormous picnic on Alexander Bridge but the biggest day with be on July 1st with flyovers by the Snowbirds, a huge street party and free concerts and events. For a full list of events visit www.ottawa2017.ca.4
  2. Charlottetown is the birthplace of Confederation and always celebrates Canada Day in a big way. For 2017 they will be featuring a 10-hour concert which will showcase PEI’s musical talent from rock to fiddlers. The city’s harbor will be guest port in a trans-Atlantic 150th Celebration Regatta showcasing 40 tradtional tall ships for you to visit. And be sure to get a piece of cake from the giant birthday cake.
  3. In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, Parks Canada is throwing open the doorsblog-canada-parks-logo to all of its national and heritage sites, offering free entrance for all of 2017. You have 47 parks and 168 historic sites to choose from. Visit Parks Canada website www.pc.gc.ca to apply for your free card.
  4. Music has always been a big part of Canadian tradition so this year stay tuned for new pieces that will honor Canada’s musical traditions.  There will also be plenty of events and performances offered throughout the year and across the country.  Visit the Toronto Symphony website at www.tso.ca/canadamosaic for complete lsit performances and events.
  5. Vancouver will be featuring the biggest Canada Day celebration outside the nation’s capital with event  spread across the city which will include a full-day music concert with impressive headliners, a citizenship ceremony where you can watch new Canadians joining the clan, street performances, an evening parade and a massive fireworks display from two barges in the inlet. As well,  the city is digging deep into its roots and hosting an eleven-day First Nations’ festival where traditional and contemporary events let you experience a side of Canada less frequently witnessed.
  6. SESQUI will be traveling across the nation and is a multimedia dome village that offers a 360-degree view of Canada, giving you the opportunity to get an eyeful of life on the other side of this vast land. Ice fish in the north, visit Victoria’s historic Chinatown and run through the red sand beaches of PEI as you visually escape on a cross-country journey that celebrates Canada’s diversity and beauty. Accompanying the surround theatre, performances by local artists take place in adjoining domes, telling the interactive story of what it means to be Canadian. Follow it and find it at www.sesqui.ca.

How will you celebrate? However you decide to celebrate be sure to make your plans early.

There’s an APP for that!
The Ottawa Experiential 2017 APP is ready to download to enchance your experience.

Stay in touch!
Stay up to date with what’s happening across the country by signing up for newsletter at www.ottawa2017.ca. This site offers purchase of event tickets, an online store as well as volunteer opportunities.

As well you can keep in touch on Social Media on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

Happy Birthday Canada!

Posted in British Columbia, canada, canada150, canada2017, ottawa2017, Travel, Uncategorized, world | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to limit your risk to the Zika Virus

News about the Zika Virus is everywhere these days. The virus started in South America and has spread aMosquitocross the Caribbean and most recently in a neighborhood of Miami Beach. The biggest concern is if a woman is infected during pregnancy, the virus can cause frightening birth defects in infants. Still, for most people, Zika has mild or negligible effects—as far as viruses go, it’s not much worse than the average case of pinkeye.

So the question is, how can we as travelers protect ourselves againsth the Zika virus?

  • It is important to be aware about the outbreak of the virus in the countries you will be visiting.
  • Consult with your doctor or local disease control centre for the most up-to-date information on the virus in the area you are planning travelling to.
  • If you are pregnant, hoping to become pregnant or are the sexual partner of someone in the previous two categories, avoid travelling to areas where the virus is actively circulating.
  • Use condoms when engaged in sexual activity.
  • If you decide to travel to affected areas, pack an ample supply of mosquito repellent and use it generously. Those containing DEET (recommendation: 35-50% or higher concentration) are considered the most effective although there are some milder, plant-based repellents that may also be used.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever outdoors especially when they are most active. One suggestion (although it won’t win any fashion prizes) is to pull your socks over your pant legs to prevent mosquitoes from going under them.
  • Wear permethrin-impregnated clothes which can be purchased in mountain goods stores like MEC. These clothes have mosquito repellent built-in.
  • If using both sunscreen and bug repellent, apply the sunscreen first, then apply the insect repellent.
  • Close doors and make sure window screens are fully closed when you sleep. If needed, use mosquito netting as extra insurance.
  • Be vigilant with anti-mosquito precautions around the clock, as the mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus are active during the day as well as night time.

So, the best advice?  Do your research about the area you are travelling to and arm yourself with the best information in regards to preventing infection, use your common sense and use your mosquito repellent!!!-generously.

Need more information, check out these sites.
– Government on Canada’s website – https://www.canada.ca/en.html .
– Passport to Health website – https://www.passporthealthglobal.com

Sources: Article References:  World Health Organization (WHO); Public Health Agency of Canada; http://greatcanadiantravel.com/travelling-and-the-zika-virus/; U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC); Matt Villano,  freelance writer for T+L.

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Is it safe to travel?

Over the last few weeks there have been many questions and concerns with regards to the security affecting travel to Europe and other foreign countries. It is a major concern for many of my clients, so I thought that I would address it especially with the recent events in Germany and France.

25192079137604485_DO2EHYft_bIt is natural to question safety when traveling to a strange land and in times such as these I can see that the comfort of staying home would be someone’s first choice. As a travel advisor, I would never say to a client “yes, it is safe to travel” or “no, do not travel”. It is purely a personal choice whether to travel or not. All I can advise is to trust your judgement. You can always change your mind, right?

If you do choose to travel the best way to protect yourself is to prepare yourself. If you take precautions before you travel, you will be able to relax and enjoy your trip. Here are a few useful tips.

–    Always be aware of your surroundings and be observant.
–    Try to blend in like a ‘local’. Now is not the time to wear that Canadian flag t-shirt!
–    Never ever wander alone into alleys and side streets.
–    Don’t wave around large amounts of cash. And leave the expensive jewellery at home.
–    Use common sense! If something doesn’t feel right, remove yourself from the situation.
–    Know where you are headed when you leave the airport or hotel. I like to pick up a business card from the hotel to have the address at the ready.
–    Book a tour with a reputable tour operator with travel guides.
–    Be aware of your health risks and safety before traveling. Know before you go! Visit Gov’t of Canada’s  website for up-to-date information.
–    Make a copy of your passport and keep it a separate place than your actual passport.      –   Be sure to register on the Government of Canada website by visiting  https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration.
–    Buy travel insurance to protect your travel investment.
–    For up to date information on travel alerts and advisories, please go to Gov’t of Canada website… https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories

I came across this blog from One Mile At A Time which I thought offered an honest opinion.

And lastly, the travel and tourism industry accounts for nearly 10% of the global gross domestic product, which makes it one of the most important in the world. David Scowsill, World Trade and Tourism Industry President, says that tourism can be a “driver for peace”. While the threat of terrorism may tempt some people to stay put, it’s a timely reminder that travel is a force for good.

Happy and safe travels!

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Our Trip to Iceland

IMG_4014Traveling to Iceland has always been on the top of my bucket list. I fulfilled that dream recently after spending a week in South Iceland with my daughter and 15 month old grandson. Many of us are intrigued with Iceland—this little island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It was a very unique experience and I’ve had a lot of questions…how, when, where and most of all, why? I hope this blog will answer some of those questions.

 Iceland is truly a remarkable country. Remarkable on many levels and offers visitors an extraordinary variety of experiences. Right now, it is a perfect time to visit Iceland as it is not overrun with tourists (yet). But don’t wait!

Airport: KEF Keflavik Airport
Capital:  Reykjavik, means “smoky bay”
Population: 330,000 (two thirds live in Reykjavik)
Language: Icelandic, but English is no problem
Landscape: Volcanic land but have many glaciers and natural wonders
Water: There is no need to buy bottled water when you’re here. Water out of the tap is pure, clean and tasty! Locals boast it’s the best in the world!
Electricity: 220 volts
Stay Connected: Internet hot spots can be found everywhere!

We travelled in late April, early May and flew direct (6 hour flight) from Edmonton with
Icelandair. We stayed 2 nights at the Icelandair Hotel Fludir and 4 nights at the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura. We opted for a self-drive program.Driving the South Island was very easy; the roads are mostly two lanes—some with finished shoulders, some with not. Our stay was based on visiting the South Island’s Golden Circle Route.

 IMG_3995Just a reminder that we were traveling with a toddler so we made frequent stops and our evening activities were cut short.  I have to say that our little traveler was ‘golden’ . Start them young I say. PS. We purchased him a seat on flight which enabled him to sleep comfortably. (Icelandair offers a 20% discount for children). Which was definitely worth it!

FYI! Icelandair has a stopover program from Canada allowing a stopover of up to 7 nights on your way to Europe. Icelandair flies to 28 European destinations.

HOTEL DESCRIPTIONS

ICELANDAIR HOTEL FLUDIR (3*)
One hour from Reykjavik and located 20 minutes from the Geysir and Gulfoss Waterfall. All rooms overlook a patio with garden access (odd, but door exits from the bathroom). The restaurant serves traditional Icelandic food made from organic produce. The lobby bar is a pleasant setting for a relaxing drink. The staff can help arrange activities like fishing and hiking trips. Free Wi-Fi internet access. Reykjavik city centre is a 1-hour drive away. Parking is free at the hotel.

ICELANDAIR HOTEL REYKJAVIK NATURA HOTEL (4*)
IMG_4043The hotel upgraded us to a family room upon check-in. Rooms appointed, comfy beds and all the expected amenities.

This eco-friendly hotel is next to Icelandair offices and at the Reykjavik Airport. Very closed to Öskjuhlíd Hill’s quiet woods and a short walk to the Perlan, as well as a very short walk to the Nauthólsvík geothermal beach. WiFi and gym access are free. Natura Spa on site. There is a fee to use the pool and spa (30Kr).

A fridge, tea/coffee facilities and satellite TV are standard in Icelandair Natura’s modern, soundproofed rooms. Some rooms include access to the spa. The in-house Satt Restaurant serves a breakfast buffet and Icelandic daily specials. The stylish Satt Bar is a nice place to relax and chat with others. The hotel is also home to the Icelandic Modern Art Exhibition. Other facilities include a tourist desk and bike rental in the summer time. The Icelandair Natura received the “2014 Environmental Award from the Icelandic Tourist Board” 

Free bus passes are available to all guests. The pick-up and drop-off point is in front of hotel and is an easy walk to the city. Very handy!

FYI!   There is also the Icelandair Hotel Marina in Reykjavik—right now there is lots of construction in the marina area, but I would consider staying at this hotel in the future. Great location—walking distance to everything! We also visited  the Icelandair Hotel in Vik—very nice! Great place to stay when visiting the black beaches and making your way around the Ring Road.

ATTRACTIONS AND PLACES WE VISITED (in no particular order):

Fludir: We visited the Secret Lagoon (Gamia Laugin) at Hveraholmi, the geothermal area near Fludir. We were able to visit this particular lagoon as there were no age limit compared to the Blue Lagoon. It was made in 1891 and is the oldest swimming pool in Iceland. Plenty of locals were amongst the tourists, which is always a good sign. Towel rentals available. Geysir and Gulfoss a short drive away.

Laugarvatn: Smaller, but as equally as nice is a visit to the Fontana (www.fontana.is) Geothermal Baths and Natural Steam Baths (30Kr, bathing and towel rentals available). There is also a local kitchen that offers a lunch and dinner buffet daily. Three times a day, experience the Geothermal Bakery–staff explain how and show how they bake their famous Iceland bread in a geothermal ‘oven’. You can also sample the warm bread with butter (15Kr).

IMG_3931   IMG_4027   IMG_3961IMG_3775.JPG   IMG_4147

Skogafoss Waterfall, Skogar: Folk Museum and Skogafoss, a dramatic 180 foot waterfall. Hike up to the top as it’s worth the view!

Eyjafallajokull Volcano: The centerpiece of Iceland which also includes the Solheimajokull Glacier, Reynisdrangar Cliffs and Reynifjara for the black sand beach.

Thingvellir National Park: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the geological wonders of the world where you can see the effects of the tectonic plate movements are visible (there are scuba diving experiences available here). Also was the site of Iceland’s Viking Parliament. Lots of hiking trails to enjoy the unique landscape of Thingvellir.

Gulfoss: Huge and powerful two tier waterfall on the River Hvita. It was saved during the 1920s from a dam project by the first environmental activist in Iceland. There a new coffee shop/deli and souvenir shop located here. Just a 5 minute drive is Hotel Gulfoss, recently renovated. We enjoyed a buffet breakfast here after viewing the waterfalls.

Geysir Hot Springs: Set on a hillside, we viewed violently bubbling pools and watched erupting 60 foot water spouts of Strokkur Geyser. Hiking trails here as well as souvenir shop and café.

Fridheimar: (www.fridheimar.is) is a unique food experience just outside of Reykholt. It is a vegetable farm where its main product is tomatoes. They recently opened up their greenhouses to visitors and now offer yummy lunches every day from 12-4:00 pm—and of course, tomatoes are the star. Tomato soup is always on the menu along with a variety of homemade bread and fresh cucumber salsa. As well, you may want to try their famous Bloody Mary. This was a perfect lunch stop if you’re doing the Golden Circle. There is a corral of Icelandic horses on the property.

Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa: On our last day, Amy took a bus from the hotel to the Blue Lagoon. Age limit is 2 years old. Amy purchased the Premium Package which included entrance free, silica mud mask, algae mask, use of towel, bathrobe and slippers, 1st drink of your choice. Yes! There is a swim up bar at the Lagoon. Cost was 70, the price goes up to 80 during the summer months—June to August). Reservations are highly recommended for both visiting the Blue Lagoon and bus transportation. Luggage storage available at 4 per bag.  TIP! Do not get your hair wet! The water sucks all the moisture out of it.

I Heart Reykjavik Tour: We found this tour through Audur’s Iceland blog. We met at Hallgrims Lutheran Church for a 2 hour walking tour of Reykjavik. She explained the history, culture, some of her favorite restaurants and cafes, gave us lots of hints of worthy things to see and do in Reykjavik. Well worth it….check out her blog at http://www.iheartreykjavik.net/

Reykjavik:

  • Saga Museum
  • Perlan – great view of Reykjavik from here
  •  We checked out the Kolaportio flea market near the Harpa and harbour.
  • Harpa Building, an iconic landmark in Reykjavik
  • Leif Erikson Statue and Hallgrims Lutheran Church
  • There are lots of short half day tours in and around Reykjavik
  • Hop On Hop Off City Sightseeing Bus with 15 stops

IMG_4211Puffin Tour
See puffins up close! 10,000 pairs of puffins arrive to the island of Akurey, an island known for its puffin population, just off the coast of Reykjavik between early May to August. Akurey is covered with small hills and slopes with rocky shores with is a natural habitat for these small birds. The puffin-watching boat is specially designed to get you as close to the shoreline as possible and get a close-up look at the puffins.  This tour was booked through Viator and offered pick up and drop off at our hotel.

FOOD EXPERIENCES
There are lots of great places to eat! Here is a few of our favorites. 
IMG_3987 Barjarins Beztu Pylsur (open since 1939)-an Icelandic hot dog with all the toppingsketchup, sweet mustard, remoulade, crisp fried onion and raw onions. I like mine with mustard and remoulade. You choose!
   Frodheimar grows their own tomatoes in a geothermally-heated greenhouse and produce delicious courses using the tomato has the main ingredient.
   Hotel Gulfoss – great buffet breakfast after viewing the falls. They also have a buffet at lunch and dinner a la carte. Reservations recommended.
   Halldorskaffi – Great soup and sandwich options.
   Svarta Fjaran in Vik – Great soup, both vegetarian and seafood, homemade bread and smoked salmon.
Pizza With No Name – The best pizza around! Hidden Gem! You will have to ask where to find it!

PACKING LIST
We used a packing list found on Emily Winfield’s Pinterest Board. It was designed for a 11-day stay so we cut down some of the clothing category.

DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT:
Jacket – while you may not need a wool or down coat in the spring, you will want a lighter coat for the cool mornings and a waterproof warmer jacket for cold and wet days.
Puffer vest – this was great for layering and warm enough for an unseasonably cold day.
Shoes – We were comfortable in our hiking boots and sneakers but we saw some people with rain wellies. On warmer days in Reyjkavik we wore our Birkenstocks.
 

 

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One Day In Kelowna- Best Travel Tips from Best Health

kelowna

One Day in Kelowna – Best Travel Tips from Best Health

The following article is from Best Health.   Photo from Tourism Kelowna.

Only have a day to explore a great Canadian city?  Relax:  We’re mapping the highlights for you.  Here’s how to spend one day in Kelowna, BC

Fun Facts

Kelowna gets its name from the indigenous people’s word for “grizzly bear.” Located in the southern interior of British Columbia, Kelowna is nestled in the Okanagan Valley on the shores of Lake Okanagan. It’s the third-largest metropolis in the province.

Accommodations

The Delta Grand Okanagan Resort & Conference Center is situated in the heart of downtown Kelowna, making walking to dinner and shopping a breeze. Though it’s loaded with the typical amenities (think pools, fitness room, sauna, shops and restaurants), what you’ll long remember is the show-stopping view. The resort sits on the lake and offers up mountain vistas of blue and grey that will take your breath away. Make sure to book a lakeside room.

Dining Options

For an authentic taste of the Okanagan, head over to the Sunset Organic Bistro at Summerhill Pyramid Winery. Here, you’ll find fresh ingredients plucked from the winery’s own biodynamic gardens and nearby organic farms. Start with the Tomato Salad, but save room for the Steak and Frites, a 10-ounce rib-eye with blue cheese butter and bone marrow.

Going for Cocktails

A trip to Kelowna would be incomplete without a stop at RauDZ Regional Table – pronounced “rods” – for a sip (or three) from their cocktail menu. Try the Lavender Bees Knees, made with Okanagan Spirits Gin, lavender honey, lemon, grapefruit and hops bitters, or the popular At The Drive-In, a mix of buttered-popcorn-washed Bacardi Superior, Old Sam rum, lapin cherry and cola reduction, orgeat (like liquid marzipan) and lime.

Best Wine Tours

If you’ve come to Kelowna for the wine, you won’t be disappointed by the tastings available. From crisp young Chardonnays to old-vine Pinot Noirs, there’s a varietal or blend for every bias. Where to start? Tourism Kelowna has created several trails, including Lake Country’s Scenic Sip Trail, Westside Wine Trail, Lakeshore Wine Route and the Kelowna FabFive. Some will take you into the barrel room, some will let you explore the vineyards and others offer lunch opportunities. Start planning your oenophile experience here.

Best Adventure Tour

Burn a few calories – and give your liver a break – with a bike ride along the Kettle Valley Steam Railway line, where you can travel over the old train trestles of Myra Canyon. Sign up for guided tours created for various fitness levels at Monashee Adventure Tours. Bike rentals are included, but don’t forget to bring your camera.

Getting There

Both WestJet and Air Canada offer direct flights to Kelowna International Airport. From there, it’s a short cab ride into the heart of the city.

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5 MUST HAVES WHEN TRAVELING INTERNATIONAL WITH A TODDLER

Toddlers can be a handful at the best of times but that shouldn’t stop you from traveling. Here’s are my 5 ‘must haves’ that made our more recent adventure to Iceland much more enjoyable.

Child’s age – 14 months
Destination – Iceland (Reykjavik & Fludir)
Duration – 6 nights (+ 1 overnight on airplane)
Season – Spring

1.Tide Packs – As we all know, toddlers can get a bit messy at times. Laundry can be expensive when requested at the hotels and some may think it’s a waste of precious time visiting a laundromat, so tucking in a few Tide packs in your luggage can be useful for washing up a few items in the bathroom sink when needed. (FYI!  Bring along a portable clothesline for drying clothes).

IMG_40432. iPad – Ideal entertainment on the airplane as well as in the hotel room. There are many child friendly apps that don’t require an internet connection, thank goodness! (Kids Doodle, Sesame Street on the Go, Laugh & Learn) I also used the app as a sound machine, as my son uses a Sleep Sheep in his crib. Hotels can be noisy and some familiar noises helps!3. Snacks! – Great way to entertain and keep a little one happy. No one likes to travel with a hungry baby! It’s worth packing a few extras before you can get familiarized with your surroundings and the nearest grocery store and markets. Organic squeezable purees are always a good option.  Especially when you don’t know when you and where your next meal will be!.

4. Sanitizing wipes – Wipes, wipes and more wipes will never go to waste (even if baby is out of diapers). Let’s face it, toddlers touch everything! Wipes can take care of sticky faces and fingers and are great to have on hand to clean up spills (on you too!) and to use to wipe down tables, eating surfaces and play surfaces.

5. Stroller – We used our stroller a lot! Some people travel with a umbrella stroller as it’s “easy to pack”.  I love my Bugaboo Cameleon for a number of reasons. There’s lots of storage space  in the undercarriage which allows the ability to bring extra essentials. It also has great all-terrain style wheels, so easy to hit the trails or the cobblestones! The Cameleon can be positioned in multiple positions as it reclines fully. This allows you to hit the road and not have to go back to your home base for nap time! IMG_4238I will mention the one downside to the stroller is that the 2-piece design is not as ideal for gate checking. We also had the detachable bunting bag which is much more convenient than carrying around a bunch of blankets. Ideal for Iceland’s spring weather.

FYI!   Upon arrival in KEF, don’t expect to see your stroller at plane door. You will have to retrieve it at the oversized baggage. However, there are strollers for complimentary use once you enter the terminal until you arrive a baggage area.

 

Happy Travels!

Amy

 

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Why a Hotel Is Better Than Airbnb

The debate over which is better-hotels or short-term rentals (online or otherwise)-continues to be a hot topic among travelers and industry experts. Here are some benefits that hotels–tried and true–offer that can’t be found in an Airbnb.

1. Consistency – There are so many variables on the road-but travelers can take comfort in knowing exactly what to expect when they walk into a hotel room. From cleanliness to room size to service to quality, there are no surprises, whether you’re in New York or Copenhagen.
2. Safety – Security measures vary widely among online rentals, and there have been horror stories of guests being harassed by hosts with hidden agendas-or even with hidden cameras in the bookcase. Hotels, on the other hand, have trained staff, surveillance systems, security guards, emergency response plans, and connections with local law enforcement to help keep you safe.
3. Amenities – Amenities vary from hotel to hotel, but typically they include housekeeping, WiFi, pools and fitness centers, restaurants and room service, laundry service and in-room toiletries.
4. Service – TV not working? Forgot your hair dryer or the plug for your iPhone? Did you lose your key or lock yourself out of the room? When you’re staying in a hotel, any issue can be solved with a call to the concierge-who can also book your transportation, dinner, concert, or theater reservations.
5. Expertise – Concierges are also experts of their destination. They know the ins and outs of the city, and can offer advice on where to eat and what to see in keeping with your interests and your budget.
6. Loyalty programs – Major hoteliers offer loyalty programs, where points can be redeemed for free nights, upgrades, or other gifts.
7. Meals – From complimentary breakfast to room service to fine dining, having access to food can make life on the road a lot easier. While vacation rentals generally have kitchens, you’ll have to shop for and cook your own food.
8. Meeting spaces – Hotels are designed to be good locations to host events and conferences, or to just talk business or make new friends in a safe and central location. They offer meeting spaces, lobbies, bars, and ballrooms where guests can connect and network.
9. Reliability – Airbnb hosts can cancel at the last minute, leaving renters scrambling for a new place to stay. Hotels will find a way to accommodate every reservation, even if it means a free upgrade to the Presidential Suite.
10. Location – Hotels generally are found in the center of cities, where the action and the business meetings take place, while 74% of Airbnb properties are outside of the main hotel districts, often in neighborhoods far from public transportation and major tourist attractions.
As reported by E-talktravel News Desk, February 23, 2016.
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When in Vegas Get Your Art On!

Picasso Exhibit Opening at the Bellagio!

Recognized for bringing world-class art exhibitions to the Las Vegas Strip, Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA) will debut “Picasso – Creatures and Creativity” on July 3, 2015, featuring 43 works from one of the 20th century’s most influential artists. The exhibit will focus will be on Pablo Picasso’s favorite theme, the human figure. The new exhibit will showcase 19 lithographics, 13 linocuts, 8 paintings and three rare plates, each telling a different story.

Las VEgas Picasso“Picasso  – Creatures and Creativity” is a unique exhibit offering visitors the opportunity to dive into the mind and life of Picasso, “said Tarissa Tiberti, executive director of the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art.

Similar to most artists, Picasso drew inspiration from his life experiences. The women around him had a tremendous influence on his art, which changed whenever a new muse entered his life. The various mediums he used to share his sentiments and influences spanned multiple periods. The exhibit will showcase Picasso’s modern work from 1938 to 1971.

The new exhibit will be on view July 3, 2015 through to January 10, 2016. Admission is $19 US per person, $16 US for seniors 65 and older and $14 for students and teachers with valid ID. For additional information visit www.bellagio.com/bgfa. BGFA is open daily 10 AM to 8 PM. Last admissions are sold 30 minutes prior to closing. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary daily docent tour at 2 pm.

Source: Virtuoso Artilcle #45112, published May 13, 2015.

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