Travelling puts years into your life.

I know what you’re thinking… Cathie has that saying backwards.

“ Travel doesn’t put years into your life!  It’s travel that puts life in your years!”

I’m actually going to argue that here for a moment. Indulge me, if you will.

I was listening to a travel podcast while I was crafting a pottery vase on the wheel . I find it very therapeutic to listen to an audio book or podcast. If I can focus on a topic or listen to someone’s voice then I tend not to overthink the pottery and thus I’m a better artist for it.

The podcast I was listening to was talking about the virtues of having different chapters in your life. If you think about certain years as individual pieces you can definitely see successful chapters and be proud, rather than trying to look back at a whole lifetime and giving it one grade of “pass or fail.”

For example I can look back at the decade I owned a restaurant and feel very successful for two of the personal things I accomplished. One was  absolutely proving myself as an entrepreneur. (I always knew that skill and drive lay within me.) The second thing was being proud of the positive influence I had on dozens of employees.  I genuinely cared to see the teenagers graduate high school and go on to shape their own career goals.  The fact that so many of them are still in touch and in my life, makes me feel really really good.

But now to focus on this blog’s headline. How do you put more years in your life? It goes like this….  if you do the same thing over and over and over it becomes a blur. Just the same as if you drive by the same billboard on the street day after day after day. At some point it becomes part of the landscape and you no longer read the sign.

The theory is if you do the same thing for work or for pleasure over and over it creates only one track in your brain. One essential memory of doing the same repetitive task, however,  if you travel and see and experience different things you are literally creating new memories in your brain.  You are using new data to write a new path in your memory. So if you take five different trips you are creating  five different memories in your brain. So now when you look back and reflect on your life,  you remember one episode of work and five episodes of travel.  Now your brain actually remembers your life as being six chapters in total not just one chapter.  Thus, six diverse chapters appears longer, than just one book of one continuous chapter.

If someone were to ask you to reflect on your life and the one thing you talked about was work, it would be a short conversation. However if you started talking about a camping trip you enjoyed, you would likely  remember other trips and start talking about them as well. Suddenly you’ve talked a lot longer about your life and your life seems more “full.”

Therefore the more variety of things you do in life, I believe the longer and more full your life will appear in recollection.

So, travel! Make memories!

 

Book online and you could be missing out on the best deals.

 

I love this catchy little phrase!

“Internet to look… travel agent to book!”

Credit goes to my colleague, Holly, in the Winnipeg office for sharing her motto.

Here are 5 good reasons to use a travel agent, even if you’ve done all the research & are confident in your vacation selection.

1. Get the best price!  The Internet won’t offer you an in-office discount, but a local agent could.

2. Exclusive offers. Which ones do YOU qualify for. What offers are you missing?

3. Review the terms and conditions of your vacation package. Don’t miss out on Price Drop Protection because the Internet didn’t show you how to register.

4. Insurance. The “worry free” insurance you add for $50 in the booking screen doesn’t offer you cash back, interruption coverage, medical insurance or ‘cancel for any reason’ protection. A travel agent can show you why you need a comprehensive package and give you hassle-free peace of mind. If you’re under 29 years old, you can get a full package of insurance including medical for just $48.15.

5. Payments! No interest, no credit check. Put as little as $50 ($50 is an early bird promotional rate… $250 is the norm) down on a package for next year and make payments at your own pace. Pay with your debit card in office if you like. A credit card is not required. Save the interest & keep your money in your own account longer.

 

 

All inclusive, not all exhausting.

It’s hard to explore all the time. Maybe you can relate?

I can’t be the only one who is so exhausted that I just want to have an ultra-easy vacation with comforts that I know I can count on.

A big fluffy bed in a clean room, with a big shower and maybe even a tub. A hotel room where there is room to spread out so the kids aren’t tripping over each other and no one is fighting for space.  Somewhere where no one has to sleep with their brother or compromise with a cot.

I want room service. And I want a balcony.  I’m not even fussy about the view. It could overlook a garden, the pool or even give only a glimpse of the ocean…. it doesn’t matter.  As long as it doesn’t overlook my unwashed car,  my neighbour’s dog house,  or the lawn I need to mow and the bike I need to repair.

I don’t want to walk 4 km to get to the pool or the beach or get up at 6 AM to reserve a chaise by the ocean.  I don’t want to stand in line to make a reservation and I don’t want to have to walk up to the bar each time to get a drink. Is it so wrong that I just want a drink delivered to the pool deck  so I don’t have to put my book down?

And I don’t  want to negotiate either an appetizer or a dessert with the kids. I would love for them to eat as much as they want, so they are no longer hungry, without me having to calculate the cost and take away from my meal accordingly. (Teenagers eat a car payment each month at home!)

And lastly what I want from my vacation is something to do in the evening after dinner.  It does not have to be a Cirque du Soleil show or anything. It could be a movie theatre with old movies, or it could be a games room with a ping pong table. Just something where we can laugh and share an experience as a family.

Sounds like exhausted-me wants an all inclusive resort.  A small property, by the beach, family friendly and “unlimited luxury included.”

Now, if I can just find the right space on the calendar!

Last minute vacation deals

I’m going to give you a tip.  If you live in a market smaller than Toronto,  don’t ever count on a last-minute travel bargain.  There’s simply not enough competition in the market.

In my experience, and in my opinion only, it is NOT possible to net an amazing deal on a five-star vacation two days before you want to leave from the Winnipeg airport.

However, I’m not telling you to lose hope. What I am telling you is that if you are from Winnipeg your last minute window “opens and closes earlier.” Booking a last-minute vacation at a reduced cost over retail is possible 40 to 14 days in advance of travel.

Why 40 – 14?   If you ask me to find you a bargain three days before you travel, you are asking a travel agent for a miracle. If you ask the same travel agent for a bargain trip two weeks from now… You will find options. Often several options. However you will need to decide instantly yay, or nay.  Bargains get snapped up quickly and there is no such thing as “holding” a package.

Availability is only guaranteed in the payment screen and when the booking is confirmed by the airline.

Why do I call a “last-minute” bargain 40 days before travel?  Well, it goes like this: If someone is making payments on a trip their total balance is typically due 60-45 days before the trip starts.  If full payment is not made and passenger defaults on the trip, the airline will take back their space and put it into inventory and try to resell it.  Now these open seats or excess hotel inventory can be discounted for resale because the first party already partially paid for it. (Deposits are 100% nonrefundable .)   This bounce back inventory often occurs around that 40 day mark.

So it’s just a matter of rethinking the definition of “last minute travel bargain.”

Your odds are better if you plan AT LEAST two weeks before you go.

If you do plan to take a last-minute trip I also highly recommend having your passport in hand, your dog kennel already booked, and full payment for of the trip ready.

And an open mind.  Last minute bargain-hunting requires an open mind! I think last-minute travellers are happiest when they are flexible with choice of resort and/ or destination.  Aim for the moon, but be happy when you reach the stars!

 

A cup of nostalgia

The Seal Rock Inn is as close to Lands End National Park as you can get. It’s a multi-million dollar location, for sure.

The Inn itself, is “retro” in decor and old fashioned in customer service. This sweet girl at the front desk genuinely worries about her travelers. She has a lovely way about her. She’s an innkeeper in the nicest sense.

Guest room

The Inn has a coffee shop type restaurant.  You know, the kind of restaurant that keeps their clean coffee cup on the tables turned upside down and ready for the next guest.

I was drawn to the coffee cups in a nostalgic kind of way. They were the very kind of coffee cups that Chi Chi’s (Mexican restaurant) had when I worked there back in the 90s.  At Chi-Chi’s we used to have cases of those coffee cups in  the storeroom.  Whenever they were chipped or a handle would break I would just go grab a couple more out of the boxes and take them to the dining room. Seeing the cups at Seal Rock Inn brought back memories, so powerfully in fact, that I sat down to have a sandwich just so I could hold the cups.

That plain brown glaze was always so smooth and the way the cup tapered in, it fit in my hand nicely.  It’s a very tactile experience, almost as powerful as your sense of smell taking you metaphorically back to grandma’s kitchen and her fresh baked cinnamon buns.

Anyways, I enjoyed my turkey sandwich.  True to its old fashion values, Seal Rock Inn was the kind of place that roasts its own turkey, carves it fresh and puts it on plain brown bread, mustard on the side.

From the vinyl seats of the booth,  I could see clear to the ocean and I could imagine all the joy this place has brought to weary travellers over the years.

Seal Rock Inn is at the North west corner of the city of San Francisco, a mere block from the Pacific Ocean. A walking mile away you will find a stunning stretch of public beach.

 

Why is this a bargain?

Prices and availability subject to change without notice. This screenshot was valid for booking Aug 4, 2019. The further past this publishing date the less likely the bargain is still available.

This Air Canada vacations package came up in a recent search. It is priced for two adults and two children under age 12.

To have the total cost under $4000, (or 1000 per person) is remarkable when considering your package includes flights, bus transfer, checked luggage, plus a week in five-star accommodations, including meals and beverages. Wow!

Why is it so cheap? These are quiet travel dates, halfway between US Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Dreams Resorts are part of the AMResorts chain and are known for their family focussed entertainment, accommodations, and unlimited luxury.  Unlimited luxury refers to 24 hour room service, snacks, no limits on a la  carte restaurant reservations, free kids’ club programming and much more!

To go to this resort with your family over Christmas, expect to pay about $2400 a person.

I’d love to book this, or any other Dreams Resort, for your family.  If you live in western Manitoba, please do track me down at SellOffVacations in Brandon.