Taking a vacation is something we look forward to throughout the year – which is why it is so disheartening when things don’t quite go according to plan. It's a rare person whose travel time and money is unlimited, and I constantly strive to make the most of both when I'm on the road. So whether you’re planning next year’s summer break or a last minute adventure to tide you through the cold winter months, here are a few tips on how to achieve a perfect vacation - or, at the very least, a pretty darn good one!
How's winter been treating you?
There’s a hardware store near our house in Ottawa with a unique feature - a huge greenhouse. When Ryan and I are out doing our weekend errands, we often drop in there. We don’t have to make any purchases or pick up supplies for our house plants. No, we’re there just to soak up a bit of the warm, humid air and enjoy the beautiful blossoms. Sad, isn't it?
This is winter for Canadians. We do our absolute best to embrace it and make the most of it – and I would encourage anyone to visit Canada, no matter the season. But when you live here full time, the winter is a challenging season to survive with your sanity intact. It’s no surprise that everyone I know is always on the lookout for a deal to go down to the sunny south. We're happy to collaborate with Falcon to show you how we do it and how we save.
Hotel HHK is a heck of a deal - no matter how you get there!
Have you ever seen a series of funny TV ads that shows travelers coming to the end of an arduous journey, finally seeing their amazing resort and incredible hotel suite? The catch line is that they 'booking' got it right. Of course, "booking" is a sub in for another, less family friendly word (hint: it begins with "f") and the ads are promoting the hotel website... I bet you can guess which one.
They're cute ads and I can relate to that 'booking yeah' feeling. I had my own "booking" moment in Istanbul. Nope, it had nothing to do with Booking.com! (In fact, we actually booked through Expedia -here's a direct link to the hotel) but all the other components were in place, from the crazy journey to the gorgeous hotel.
HHK Hotel (aka Hayriye Hanim Konagi Hotel) in Istanbul is one property we absolutely got 'booking' right and, best of all, we got it for an absolute steal! Here's why we loved it, how we got such a sweet deal, and why we were so darn happy to finally arrive at their doorstep.
Athens isn't the only town to boast an Acropolis. Thessaloniki has one too!
Ancient history, crumbling ruins, and spectacular views? Yep, it sounds like the acropolis all right! But I'm actually talking about Thessaloniki, not Athens. Did you know that there are several acropolis across Greece, and even in other countries? The name means "upper city" and an acropolis is a city's highest point and an important strategic location for defense.
The Acropolis of Athens, of course, is famous the world over and it's principle building, the Parthenon, is instantly recognizable. But it is well worth the trip to seek out other acropolis, especially the one in Thessaloniki. Here's what makes it such a special spot.
On Hawaii's Big Island, you won't find a 'hotter' hangout than Pahoa and Lava Tree State Monument.
If I told you that Pahoa was one of the hottest spots on earth, you'd probably think I was exaggerating or that I was describing a spot with a lot of buzz. But Pahoa, on Hawaii's Big Island, is indeed one of the world's hottest spots and it's all thanks to its neighbour, Kilauea Volcano.
Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and, as recently as 2014-2015, lava flows threatened to destroy part of the town of Pahoa and surrounding communities. Fortunately, the lava stopped just in the nick of time, but local residents were right to be wary. This region bears the scars - and the beauty - of centuries of volcanic power. From delicate wildflowers to the toughest "trees" you've ever seen, nearby Lava Tree State Monument is a captivating tribute to the prowess of mother nature.