Visiting 4 of British Columbia’s Most Stunning Natural Wonders

According to Destination British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province includes six tourism regions: Vancouver Island, Vancouver Coast and Mountains, Northern British Columbia, Thompson Okanagan, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast and the Kootenay Rockies. There are so many natural wonders among them, it would be difficult to experience them all in one trip, but RV travel can make it easier, while making it more affordable too.

You may want to start by researching RV rental in Vancouver. B.C.’s largest city is an ideal spot for kicking off your adventure exploring its many stunning natural wonders, perfectly situated along the west coast of the province.

Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, Whistler

You might be familiar with Whistler as the spot that co-hosted the Winter Olympics with Vancouver back in 2010. Just 90 minutes from the city, the area is home to Whistler and Blackcomb mountains which are linked by one of the town’s most popular attractions: the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola. As you ride the glass-bottomed gondola which soars a mile over Fitzsimmons Creek you may spot bears roaming the breathtaking landscape below.

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Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island can be reached via a scenic drive- or walk-on ferry ride from Vancouver. Once there, you can experience one of B.C.’s true natural wonders. Pacific Rim National Park is made up of three units: Long Beach, the West Coast Trail and the Broken Group Islands. It includes everything from unspoiled beaches and rocky shoreline to old-growth coastal rainforest and abundant wildlife, including bald eagles, bears, harbor seals, a variety of whale species and more. Surf, hike, kayak, soak in hot springs, embark on boat excursions or just enjoy quiet contemplation among some of the world’s most impressive and lush scenery.

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve

The Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, or Gwaii Haanas as it’s often called, is a remote collection of nearly 140 islands that offer the ultimate wilderness experience that includes rare animals that can’t be spotted anywhere else, including the Haidi Gawaii black bear. The surrounding waters are filled with marine life like whales, dolphins, seals and sea lion, while tufted and horned puffins, peregrine falcons and bald eagles soar through the skies. Join a guided kayak excursion and you can paddle around sea coves, tiny islands and hidden coves while watching the wildlife.

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Yoho National Park

This park is rather aptly named for a Cree expression of “awe and wonder.” Nestled in the western slopes of the Rockies, it’s the ultimate outdoor adventurers’ paradise, with everything from magnificent waterfalls like the 100-foot-high and 500-foot-wide Wapta Falls to sparkling lakes, massive glaciers and jagged mountain peaks. The Burgess Shale fossil beds can be found here as well – these incredibly detailed fossils of prehistoric marine life are a half-billion years old providing a fascinating look at the Earth’s ancient past.

 

10 Reasons Why Your Furry Companion Is the Perfect Travel Companion

Reasons why dog is the perfect travel companion

Our lives today are stressful and exhausting amidst all the chaos. It is essential to take out some time to unplug yourself from the world and what better way than taking a vacation to travel around.

Lots of planning and preparation goes into achieving the perfect vacation. You have to choose a holiday destination, look for comfortable yet budget-friendly accommodation, book flights and make sure you get the best deals. There is a lot that goes into planning a memorable holiday trip. But as much as all these factors need to be considered, what matters the most is finding the right travel buddy.

Even the most well-thought-out vacation can turn into a disaster if you travel with someone who has different interests or isn’t compatible with you. For these reasons, many people prefer vacationing alone, but at times we do want someone to be there with us in those special moments without any additional drama of course. Well, I may have the solution to your problem – take your furry companion along. Yes! Even though it may sound difficult, with a few extra preparations it is possible to travel with your dog. The effort is worth it and here are ten reasons why!

Your Dog is Always Up for an Adventure

A perfect travel companion is one that is ready to head out and explore with you and who would love adventures more than our furry friends. They are always excited to discover new places, take strolls around the town, window-shop for long hours and meet new people and dogs. Even if you are being lazy and want to stay in, your canine will compel you to head out and make beautiful memories- just the sort of motivation one needs!

They Happily Agree to Our Choices Especially for Food

I love my family and friends, but I can’t think of one trip when we didn’t have a disagreement. Someone wanted to go to the museum while the others wanted to go to the beach. If I wanted to try Italian, my friends would want to have Chinese and such arguments would ruin the fun. With dogs, you wouldn’t have to worry about these disagreements. You can eat out wherever you’d like but make sure it is a pet-friendly restaurant so you can take your bud along.

Dogs Can Help You Socialize

Dogs are social magnets and are great ice-breakers. Whenever I go out with my pooch, I have people coming up to us wanting to pet Oscar, and that becomes a means of initiating conversations. Some people will also mistake you as a local when you are out with a dog which is a smart way to protect you from scams and con artists.

You Wouldn’t Have to Worry About Being Away From Your Furry Companion

We all love our pets and even the thought of spending time away from them can be upsetting. If you do manage to find a perfect place to board your dog or a trust-worthy sitter you will still find yourself worrying about your dog’s well-being, whether he misses you, had his food, was taken for a walk and what not. Wouldn’t it be better not to have to worry about these things and entirely unplug yourself from the world? Well, that can happen when you take your dog along, you can be stress-free and enjoy time bonding with your pal.

Dogs Don’t Complain

When you travel with pets, you don’t have to listen to anyone criticize your driving or complain about the drinks you brought along, that there aren’t enough snacks (I could go on and on about the rants I have heard.) But if you want to unload and whine about how unfair life has been, well your pet can be the perfect listener.

You Get the Best of Both Worlds

Many people like to travel solo to stay away from any drama and get some time to themselves, but there are moments when you wish to share the experience with someone you love. Some memories aren’t complete if you don’t have someone by your side. Fortunately with your furry companions you can get the best of both worlds. You can have a fantastic time with your pooch without being on your own.

Dog’s Provide Security

With your pooch by your side, you wouldn’t have to worry about unwanted visitors that don’t mean well. Your dog can be the perfect alarm system to notify you of any suspicious activity or person around you. So head out to the beach and doze off without any worries- you have your furry friend guarding you!

You Get to Explore Places You Never Knew Of

When I travel with my pup, I try my best to make sure we visit pet-friendly destinations and consider his interests. I have often discovered unique places that wouldn’t have been on my list if I was traveling alone. Since Oscar is a nature lover, we spend time sight-seeing, exploring the great outdoors, and chilling at coffee shops. I also try to look for dog-friendly destinations that offer exciting activities for both of us such as enjoying a delicious meal with my dog at the “Yard Bar” in Austin. You can find out plenty of dog-friendly cities and the activities they offer, so both you and your furry companion have a fantastic time.

Dogs Don’t Kill Your Vibe

A vacation is all about relaxing; you want to chill and do things your way. With humans that can be a problem at times. You want to spend time reading a book peacefully in a roadside café, but your partner wants to rush to the hotel. Well, this won’t happen when you travel with your pooch. Also, you wouldn’t be at the risk of getting stuck in the car with someone who has terrible taste in music or keeps nagging about how far the destination is since that can kill the entire vibe of the trip.

You Don’t Have to Worry About Your Dog Canceling on You Due to Other Commitments

I can’t even begin to whine about the plans that have been ruined because the people I wanted to travel with weren’t available and had to cancel at the last moment. You can’t blame them as most of us have hectic schedules. It does get challenging to find out a time of the year that suits everyone. The best solution is to bring your dog along; he will happily accompany you without any excuses or particular demands (except for a few essential preparations.)

When I travel with my pooch, I carry a few essentials such as travel documentation, a crate, my pup’s favorite treats and flea & tick preventives for my dog (I don’t want to risk his well-being.) Yes, it does cost more than what solo travel would and I do have to put in some extra effort, but the peace of mind and the entire experience the two of us have is worth it.

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.

Business Travelers Like to Have Fun?

If you travel for business, you have your routine. Arrive at your destination; get your rental car; go to your hotel; go to your meeting; repeat… Business travel is just part of the job and a necessity. But if you are like me, even with the many hassles and challenges of travel, you like business travel.

In a recent National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey, some interesting findings emerged:

  • Ninety percent of business travelers plan to travel at least the same amount or more in 2018 (63 percent will travel the same amount; 27 percent will travel more).
  • Business travelers say they work more hours (57 percent) and have more focus (48 percent) when they travel for business.
  • Ninety-two percent of business travelers are satisfied with their quality of life when traveling for business; 89 percent are satisfied with the amount of business travel they do.Aside from the business/work side of the survey, the desire for pursuing leisure activities while on a business trip also emerged in the survey. Most business travelers feel they deserve a break while on the road. And, most bosses (92 percent) support their travelers in taking time for leisure activities.

Aside from the business/work side of the survey, the desire for pursuing leisure activities while on a business trip also emerged in the survey. Most business travelers feel they deserve a break while on the road. And, most bosses (92 percent) support their travelers in taking time for leisure activities.

Again, if you’re like me, you’ve been to many destinations for business (think Las Vegas, Miami, Montreal, etc.). But have you really experienced those destinations? If not, it’s high time to loosen up and enjoy yourself. Chances are you’ll have a bit of free time during your trip. So why not get out of the hotel room and explore the area? Break your travel routine and change up your next business trip.

With proper planning, business travel can be enjoyable and it offers a perfect opportunity to explore a new city. Here are some travel tips to consider when planning your next business trip:

  • Always take advantage of loyalty programs. Airline loyalty gets you preferred status, free baggage, lounge access and more. Hotel loyalty means nicer rooms and other benefits. Car rental loyalty provides “frequent renter” programs. National’s Emerald Club is among the best and gives you counter bypass, your choice of car, rewards, Drop & Go service, e-receipts, etc.
  • Get ready for security screening. The more you travel, the more routine it should be. As you walk up to security, have your boarding pass ready (on phone or paper). Keep your laptop easily accessible to pull out and place in its own bin. Take off your jacket and place your other personal items in bins. Keep “travel only” socks handy if you are asked to remove your shoes (so you don’t have to walk barefoot on dirty floors). A simple and repeatable routine makes security a breeze.
  • Forget about expensive, noise-canceling, big headphones. Get some noise cancelling ear buds. They’re cheap, compact, takeoff- and landing-friendly (non-electronic), and you can sleep comfortably wearing them. They’re also easy to wear at the gym and on a walk.
  • Traveler technology exists to enhance the traveler experience. Within your company’s travel program, advanced technology is available in real time and may include Travel Alerts (travel disruptions), Flight Tracker (flight change notifications) and e-Travel Tracker (traveler tracking/security). Use technology, i.e. apps, to explore your destination. Top recommendations include city guides like Headout and Guides by Lonely Planet; Open Table for restaurants; and Detour for audio walks.
  • Stay active while away. Ask your concierge for a recommended running route to explore the city in a new way. If you are sitting in meetings all day, head to the hotel’s fitness center or pool after work. Exercise relieves stress and leaves you energized. After your workout, you’ll be ready to enjoy your leisure time and explore the town.

National's Emerald Club aisle

Want to learn more? You can find more info about National’s survey here.

What’s your story? How do you enjoy life on the road? Please share your story on Twitter tagging @NationalPro and/or as a comment on this post below. And enjoy your trip!

 

I was compensated by National Car Rental for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

(Written by Mark Crone for National Car Rental)

 

The Charm of Old Quebec City

I’ve been to Quebec City a few times. The first time as a youngster on a driving vacation with the family. The first overnight stop from Toronto was Quebec City. I remember walking through the gates of the old city and feeling like I had stepped back in time. Thankfully the old city is still there today. And it’s a real treat.

Old Quebec is the only walled city in Canada or the U.S. and is designated as a World Heritage treasure by UNESCO. It’s a mix of history, architecture, heritage, art, and culture and is widely viewed as the home of French civilization in North America.

Early Canadian and French history abounds with numerous historic buildings and museums including the Musée de la civilisation . There are many art galleries and boutiques with a French flair. Restaurants and pubs have a warm and intimate feel and most feature Quebec fare including rabbit, deer, and duck confit poutine.

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While there’s a variety of hotels to choose from within Old Quebec and Quebec City itself, my favorite is the Auberge Saint-Antoine. Located in the heart of Old Quebec, the Auberge sits on an historic site dating back to the 16oos. As a member of Relais and Cheataux, the hotel has a strong focus on service and luxury. There are only 60 rooms with no 2 rooms alike, and each contains artifacts that were found on site. Their Panache Restaurant is incredible with Michelin star chef and imaginative menu.

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Quebec City is like 2 different destinations in the winter and the summer. In the winter, it can hit -30c. So cold it’s painful but beyond beautiful particularly during the Carnaval de Québec (the Winter Carnival from January 27 to February 12, 2017).

In the summer, there’s the Festival d’été de Québec (July 7-17, 2016), Canada’s biggest outdoor music event. Quebec City is warm and inviting with quaint streets to wonder down and walking trails to explore along the St.Lawrence River. Outdoor cafes abound and you’ll find yourself stepping back in time… and thinking about your next visit.

The Best Airports for Long (Unexpectedly Fun) Layovers

It’s not often you hear someone rave about his or her time at the airport. More often than not our layover is spent on our phones scrolling through emails or texts (or let’s be honest, Tinder) while trying not to overhear the conversation of the person next to us at the gate. But there is good news for all travelers expecting a longer airport wait this year: It turns out there is a lot of fun to be had when waiting for the next flight. We are talking everything from massages to jumping into in a rooftop pool. With fun in mind, we’ve put together the list of the airports taking the layover experience to the next level.

 1. Changi Airport – Singapore

Changi won the World’s Best Airport Award (voted on by travelers) in 2015, and when it comes to spending time during a layover, this airport certainly does not disappoint. What better way to pass the time than a dip in the airport’s rooftop swimming pool? Or take in a film at their movie theater. There is also a butterfly garden, orchid garden, and sunflower garden that boasts a field of more than 500 sunflowers. Changi is also home to the world’s tallest slide in an airport at nearly 40 feet tall. The Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel also has a swimming pool and 24-hour fitness center for those looking to spend the night near the airport. In addition to a plethora of shopping and dining locations, Changi’s unique airport features make it stand out as a luxurious and entertaining spot for long layovers.

2. John F. Kennedy Airport – Terminal 5, New York, NY

Of all the terminals at JFK, Jet Blue’s Terminal 5 is the one you want to spend your layover in. With more than 30 food and beverage spots, you can find just about anything to nibble and sip on. That includes places like Deep Blue Sushi, Dylan’s Candy Bar, and Bar Veloce. The terminal hosts more than 35 retail shops. If sitting down and relaxing is more your style, people watch on the Grandstands while you charge your phone and use the terminal’s free Wi-Fi.  The Marketplace at T5 also hosts concerts with musicians from all over the world, including Taylor Swift, James Blunt and Robyn. Travelers can step out of the airport and over to the Crowne Plaza JFK Airport Hotel to ensure a solid night’s sleep during an overnight layover. Their complimentary shuttle bus will get you right back to the airport in time for your flight.

3. Heathrow Airport – London, United Kingdom

This bustling airport caters to an exceptionally diverse crowd, and the range of shops, restaurants and entertainment options reflects just that. The airport has two spas that offer services ranging from manicures and pedicures to aromatherapy and facials. The No1 Travel Spa offers a jet lag revival package for those who need to recuperate from exceptionally long trips. The iconic shopping destination Harrod’s of London has shops located in each terminal, and personal shoppers are available by appointment to provide fashion and style advice. Restaurants and cafes regularly host events all year round, including special activities and menus for Chinese New Year, like complimentary 2016 Chinese Horoscope cards and special dishes like Hoisin Duck Puffs from Rhubarb British Restaurant and Bar. Travelers can step out of the airport and head to nearby Sofitel London Heathrow for afternoon tea at the hotel’s tea salon or check email at one of their workspaces.

4. Vancouver International Airport – British Columbia, Canada

Voted by travelers as the Best Airport in North America, YVR is not short on entertainment and services to help you spend your time in between flights. The airport has a Meet and Great Service that provides travelers with an Airport Butler who can customize your experience, from getting you to your gate to helping you with the purchase of duty-free items and spa services. The Absolute Spa and Hair Salon can handle all grooming needs, from hair styling and removal to massages. There is a diverse selection of international fare, from sit down restaurants and bars to fast food chains. Less than three miles away is the Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport where those with longer or overnight layovers can relax in the indoor pool and spa tub, grab food at one of many fine-dining establishments and easily hop back to the airport with complimentary on-demand shuttle service that operates around the clock.

5. Denver International Airport– Denver, CO

Denver’s airport stands apart with its appealing architectural style, complete with a vast collection of public art, more than 140 shops and restaurants, and relaxing lounges. The airport offers free Wi-Fi, but many travelers find themselves putting down their phones to stare at the gorgeous views of the Rocky Mountains near gates C23 and C24. Denver is also home to Paradise 4 Paws, 9http://www.flydenver.com/traveler_services/pets) an on-site pet resort. Dog suites have their own flat screen TV’s and massage therapy and veterinary services are also available. Cats won’t feel left out either with their own bungalow and Adventure Jungle. Who said layovers can’t be fun for pets too?

6. San Francisco International Airport – San Francisco, CA

San Francisco airport is a tech-lovers layover dream. The #Converge@flySFO loungeis a unique space inside the airport created specifically for travelers to share ideas around technology, entrepreneurship and ways to create change (among many topics). The room has free Wi-Fi, white boards to write down ideas and places to charge electronics. For less business-minded guests, the airport also houses theAviation Museum and Library, the Berman Reflection Room for quiet meditation, XpresSpa’s for spa services and a free yoga room. Travelers and their pets with longer layovers are welcome at the Aloft San Francisco Airport Hotel located just two miles from the airport. Guests can enjoy stretching their legs on the scenic jogging trail or taking a dip in the hotel pool before grabbing a bite to eat and heading back to their airport to catch their next flight.

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on March 11, 2016.

 

The 6 Best Hotels for Viewing Niagara Falls

The vistas of Niagara Falls have beckoned travelers for centuries. Long visited by newlyweds — and nowadays a mandatory stop for the Instagramming road-tripper — the self-styled Honeymoon Capital of the World has plenty to offer in addition to its thundering falls. Gambling is available on either side of the river, but it has especially blossomed on the Canadian side, which also boasts hotels situated closer to the iconic Horseshoe Falls (hello, views). Meanwhile, the New York side is home to an aquarium, wine trail, and the lushly conserved Niagara Falls State Park. So pick a country, pack your passport for optimal bridge-hopping, and book a room at one of these area hotels which will keep you close to the main attraction.

1. The Red Coach Inn (U.S.)

This historic and cozy English Tudor inn sits alongside the Upper Rapids and is a mere 15-minute walk to the American Falls. With jacuzzi tubs and a full-service restaurant featuring a distinctly old world ambiance that harkens back to its opening in 1923, this alternative lodging is much more than a simple bed & breakfast. The Red Coach Inn also offers a variety of packages for those looking to discover the Falls or simply enjoy a romantic weekend getaway.

2. Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls Fallsview (Canada)

The Fallsview Boulevard District of Niagara Falls, Ontario is home to a number of the area’s best hotels, and for good reason. As the name not-so-subtly implies, it is situated alongside the river and boasts incredible views. It’s also a developed entertainment district, and the Crowne Plaza in particular is a very family friendly choice thanks to its direct access to the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark. The hotel also sits next door to Casino Niagara and the Rainbow Bridge, which allows access to the American side and is itself a popular landmark. And don’t let its modern furnishings fool you, the hotel formerly known as the Brock Plaza has a long legacy and even hosted Marilyn Monroe during the filming of the 1953 film Niagara.

3. Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa (Canada)

The Marriott bears the distinction of being the closest hotel to the main Horseshoe Falls, and it even offers a money-back guarantee if guests on the eighth floor or higher are dissatisfied with their view. The hotel contains a luxurious indoor pool and spa as well as the Terrapin Grille Falls View Restaurant. If you want to get even closer to the water, take a quick walk to the funiculars that will lower you down to theJourney Behind the Falls attraction, where visitors don ponchos and get up close and personal with the roaring mists.

4. Embassy Suites by Hilton (Canada)

Another Fallsview Blvd mainstay, the Embassy Suites by Hilton is next door to the Marriott and a mere block from the popular Fallsview Casino Resort complex. Venture one block past that and you’ll arrive at the Skylon Tower, which offers 360 degree views of the area in case your panoramic hotel view isn’t quite enough. Guests can also unwind at the end of the day with complimentary evening receptions featuring drinks and light snacks.

5. Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino (U.S.)

If you’re looking to do some gambling on the U.S. side of the border, stay at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino for an all-inclusive experience. Furnishings are basic, but the casino attracts top comedy talent and stage shows and is conveniently located to area attractions. Book a ride on the Maid of the Mist boat tour, which lets tourists feel the power of the falls from a distinctly humbling vantage point.

6. The Giacomo (U.S.)

Situated in a stylish Art Deco building in a central location, the Giacomo offers well-appointed rooms and a cozy fireplace in the lobby for those seeking a boutique hotel experience. Walk to the State Park to explore Niagara’s natural wonders, or to the nearby Aquarium of Niagara for a fun and educational activity. Opt for the Luxury Dining Package and the hotel will arrange meals for your at area establishments, or choose from one of their many other romance, adventure, or entertainment-centric packages.

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on February 8, 2016.

5 Awesome Hotels for Vintage Fanatics

Fanatics of retro style today will no longer find it only on the shelves of thrift stores. In fact, travelers will find hotels across the world that are using vintage style at the heart of their design aesthetic. These five hotels are celebrated for being vintage meccas, filled with classics from Eames chairs to 8-track players. Perfect for travelers passionate about the past, a stay in each hotel feels a bit like traveling back in time.

1. The Burrard Hotel

The Burrard Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Canada. Built in 1956 with outdoor-facing motel-style rooms, the recently updated hotel features mid-century decor balanced with up-to-date amenities like flat screen televisions, Wi-Fi, and Nespresso machines. The Burrard is a great spot for anyone who loves the distinct “Mad Men” vibe.

2. The Padre Hotel

Another hotel that excellently balances old and new is the Padre Hotel in Bakersfield, California. The hotel was opened in 1928, and was recently renovated after several years of inactivity. The Padre Hotel draws from its art deco past, with bold marble floors, bright leather furniture accents, and neon signage. The updates to the hotel make it a nightlife destination, and it features a rooftop bar, private cabanas, and regular DJ.

3. Jupiter Hotel

The Jupiter Hotel Portland is housed in a renovated motor inn-style motel from the 1960s, and still features elements of its original mid-century aesthetic. Guests will find bold art in their room: bright-yellow pleather headboards, and wall-sized portraits of Marilyn Monroe. The hotel’s old parking lot is a now a courtyard for lounging, and guests can enjoy a cocktail or bite in the popular on-site restaurant, Doug Fir Lounge.

4. Round Hill

If vintage elegance is your priority, visit Round Hill Hotel and Villas, just outside of Montego Bay, Jamaica. Built in 1952 on the site of a former plantation, it features countless antique furniture pieces and accents that are original and immaculately maintained. The hotel’s villas have their own unique mid-century island style, and have housed celebrities like Truman Capote and Oscar Hammerstein. Designer Ralph Lauren now calls Round Hill home and helped redecorate its interior.

5. The Parker Palm Springs

The Parker Palm Springs is a classic luxury hotel in the California desert. Opened in 1959 as a Holiday Inn, the hotel passed through many owners until it was bought by Jack Parker in 2004. The Parker Palm Springs kept its classic mid-century charm, especially in its decor. The interior features vintage couches, asymmetrical armchairs, and an unforgettably bold color palette. For an affordable stay, be sure to check outHipmunk deals at the Parker Palm Springs.

 

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on January 27, 2016.