Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mingling with Wildlife At Banff National Park

I'm currently visiting Banff National Park. Watch this site for all kinds of Banff tips and activities.

Friday, March 26, 2010

An Evening of Literary Entertainment

Looking for an enjoyable evening with a low price tag? Author reading nights may be just the thing for you.

Traditionally held in a café, up and coming writer’s present excerpts from their works. Often numerous genres are highlighted throughout the evening…all for the price of a coffee.

Two sites that announce Café nights in and around Toronto are Sherry Isaac’s Wildflower and Brian Henry’s Quick Brown Fox. Prana Coffee also holds monthly readings. To find an author’s reading night in your area, just google ‘author cafe reading event’ and the name of your town or city.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Eastern Delight in Oakville

A delicious all you can eat meal, great service, and budget price is what I received at Oakville, Ontario’s Eastern Japanese & Asian Fusion Restaurant.

The staff is charming. Although service is fast and friendly, you never feel rushed. I’ve enjoyed both quick forty minute and leisurely two hour meals here.

Options from either the menu or all you can eat meals are available. The all you can eat lunch or dinner options offer numerous selections from Soup, Salad, Appetiser, Tempura, Teppanyaki and Desert categories. Non-alcoholic beverages are also included in the price.

Customers check off their selections from a pre-printed menu and food is brought to the table at regular intervals. If you’re still hungry after eating your choices, it’s no problem to order more.

Lunch is served daily from 11:00am-3:30pm. The cost is $11.99 per adult (seniors over 65 and children under 9 are $8.99, 2-4 year olds $2.99). Add $2.00 on weekends and public holidays.

An extended menu with even more choice and exotic sushi is offered for Dinner. The cost is $19.99 per adult (senior $17.99, children $10.99 and 2-4 year olds $4.99). Add $2.00 on weekends and public holidays.

Take out options are available.

With its delectable food, enjoyable atmosphere and great price, visiting this restaurant can easily become a habit.

Eastern Japanese & Asian Fusion Restaurant is located on the south/east corner of Ford and Royal Windsor Drives in Oakville. Phone (905)337-8888.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Relaxing at Deerhurst Resort

Over March Break, we spent a few nights at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario. We purchased the March Break Maple Sugar Package and stayed in a junior suite.

At over $450.00 for two nights, this was not a budget getaway.

With relaxation as our main objective, the resort filled the bill. The weather was beautiful and despite being off-season, the surroundings were still gorgeous. Summer, fall and winter would be breath-taking. We took full advantage of the views from Algonquin chairs on the pavilion deck.

Our suite was clean and well laid out, however the décor could benefit with some up-dating. The beds were blissfully comfortable, and I appreciated the crisp white sheets and duvet. The gas fireplace was also enjoyed as was the wireless internet.

The Sugar Bush tour included in the package was well done and my kids took full advantage of the unlimited apple cider, muffins and maple taffy offered at the end of the tour.

Activities were pricey.

The pool was large but often crowded as was the hot tub.

My boys enjoyed the large chess board set up in one of the halls. Ping pong tables and a play area, mostly geared to younger kids, were also available.

The spa was everything a spa is supposed to be; relaxing and pampering. My hand treatment and eyebrow shaping were skilfully done. Like the activities, spa services were also pricey.

At the end of the day, Deerhurst provided a relaxing getaway in a beautiful setting.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Going Wild

Today was a perfect day to visit the Toronto Zoo. The sun was out, the air warm and both humans and animals were in high spirits.

The Toronto Zoo never fails to delight and always seems to have some type of upgrade in the works. I’ve never visited and not discovered something new.

Today we were entertained by the Polar Bears along the Tundra Trek, the gorillas including an adorable six month old baby in the African Rainforest Pavilion and the Orang-utans in the Indo-Malayan Pavilion. The Australasia Pavilion had wonderfully revamped aquarium exhibits including seahorses and jelly fish.

It was well worth the cost of just under $80.00 for a family of four, including parking. An even better deal is a one year family membership for $135.00. This membership includes discounts offered at other Zoos and Aquariums.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Choose Your Shoes Carefully

I love shoes. Unfortunately, now I’m paying for years of high heels and cheap but fashionable footwear. Like many middle-agers, I need to be careful about what I wear.

When travelling with airline luggage weight restrictions, you have to choose your shoes carefully. Footwear must be comfortable, have good support and be versatile.

I’ve become a huge fan of Mephisto shoes which carry both women’s and men’s styles. Although they’re not cheap, it's money well spent. In Canada, a pair of sandals usually starts around $170.00 but are often 40-50% less in Europe. This is true for many high-quality, European brand shoes. I always save space in my suitcase to bring back one or two pairs.

If you're going on a trip that includes a lot of walking, don’t cheap out on your shoes. There's nothing like sore feet to ruin a fabulous vacation.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Weigh your Options

Have you ever had your bags weighed at the airport only to find you’re a few pounds over? That happened to me in London and I was given the choice to either get rid of five books or pay 50 pounds sterling (over $100.00 CAD).

Airlines frequently charge baggage overage fees. In the past I’ve gotten around this by moving things to family members with lighter suitcases. However, it’s a bit awkward opening your suitcase in public for all to see as you make the transfer.

I’ve since purchased an inexpensive luggage scale with attached tape measure. Now I weigh baggage and make adjustments in privacy before I’m at the airport. The scale also keeps my desire to buy heavy items in check.

You can find luggage scales in most baggage and travel stores.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

London's Historic Royal Palaces Membership

Do you have a trip planned to London? You may just want to buy the Historic Royal Palaces membership which covers the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace.

These sights are also included in the 55 attractions of the London Pass which costs 82 pounds sterling per adult or 58 pounds per child for a six day period (other periods available).

You could easily spend three to four hours each to properly visit the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace. Depending on how many attractions you can realistically visit in one day, the London Pass might not be your best deal and the Historic Royal Palaces membership may be the way to go.

For example, if you were to stand in line and buy admissions for a family of four to Hampton Court and on another day to the Tower of London, it would cost 85 pounds for a one time visit to both sights. The Royal Palaces family membership (up to two adults and three children) costs 77 pounds and lasts for one year. The pass includes discounts at the gift shops, the privilege of skipping the regular admission line and includes entrance to the other royal palaces.

Sounds like a deal to me.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Save those Coupons

I have often saved travel dollars by using local coupon books. Generally the best savings are found in the local discount books that you purchase such as the Entertainment Book. Coupon books such as the Entertainment Book are more of a North American thing but you can still search on line to see if there are any available for your international destination. You can also find discount attraction books at airports and travel sights.

In the past, our family even found a buy one flight on Hawaiian Airlines, get the second free. I haven’t seen that deal for awhile, however there are often many other deals. The book often pays for itself with the use of just two or three coupons.

Check on line to see what offerings the book contains. If you have an idea of the sights or services you are interested in, you can evaluate its worth to you.