Don’t fear the charter

I get it, you’re nervous about travelling with so much in the news about COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus). It’s definitely top of mind for everyone. The more accurate information you gather, on any subject, the better decisions you can make.

The only official website that speaks for the Canadian government and can issue public travel advisories is www.travel.gc.ca. Please don’t take something you read on Twitter or other social platforms (including blogs) as gospel. The best source of information is our Canadian Government.

When people talk about being afraid to fly I would encourage them to think about the logistics and routes of specific flights they are considering.   For example charter planes that service one or two specific routes are very low risk, in my opinion. Here’s why. I’ll use an example of a plane that flies direct from Winnipeg to Cancun twice a week, and then Winnipeg to Puerto Vallarta twice more. This plane does NOT connect in Toronto or any other major hub. There are not people using this plane to connect to Europe or anywhere else. It simply goes back & forth from Winnipeg to Mexico. This specific plane does NOT fly to Italy, nor China at all. The people aboard this plane (Winnipeg to Mexico) are leisure travellers. They are going on a holiday. These are not folks coming back from a business trip in China, thru Cancun and on to Winnipeg.

The pilots and crew of the charter plane do not work for full service airlines and do not fly in/out of Korea on their days off. They work for a specific, single airline whose business is to take Canadians to/from hot holidays December thru March. They are Canadians who live and work in our communities just like you and I.

What can you do on holiday to stay healthy? The same things you do at home.  Be wary of contaminated surfaces like door handles and touchscreens. Wash your hands rigorously and often, with soap. If you feel ill, stay home. Stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.

Would I go on a hot holiday right now? Absolutely, positively. Without a doubt. Yes. If I had days off and a vacation budget, yes I would. I would book the trip, buy the insurance and pack my bags.

 

Highlights of 2016

I’ve made it a personal goal to see at least one new city or town each year. This is a pretty easy thing to accomplish. And I do enjoy it.

In 2016 I visited San Diego, California. I really loved it. Especially the seals on the beach, dinner at Old Town and the cake on the patio at Scripps Pier. Those were fabulous. Actually, that whole trip was great. Really good food, great scenery and even better company. San Diego is a must visit on my list for couples, families and buddy trips. It’s one of those locations that truly has something for everybody. I will definitely go back.

In February, I travelled with my friend Kim to Florence Italy. Hard not to wax poetic over a trip like that. We took a pasta making class, travelled the tuscany region on a wine tour and even climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We stayed at a small boutique hotel near the train station. The breakfast and hospitality and constant cappuccinos made us feel oh so very comfortable. We also LOVED the market and the shops and made a dear friend in Stefania.  We saw museums and statues and paintings. We laughed and made the best memories. If you ever get the chance, GO TO FLORENCE! I would go back in a heartbeat.

And Cleveland. Wow! It was so much more than I expected. What a great sports town, and even though we saw the Cleveland Browns kick off their worst season in history, we enjoyed that game and baseball too. Then there was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Unreal! Must see. And for me, it will always be memorable. 2016 was a tragic year for the loss of legendary musicians David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael.  I bought myself a CD in the gift shop, Prince’s Purple Rain. A really nice souvenir of a special trip with my youngest son. Would I go back to Cleveland? Yes, absolutely.

 

YBR to the World

Now available thru Expedia.ca, bookings are available to Europe and beyond using Westjet’s codeshare partners. And booking a flight to Paris, from YBR (Brandon municipal airport) is surprisingly convenient. The flight itself is now almost as convenient. You can be in Italy or Finland 15 hours after leaving home!

Here are just a few examples.

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To Florence Italy
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To Helsinki Finland
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To San Francisco

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To Seattle

 

Cooking School in Italy

While on vacation, we signed up for a day session at a cooking school in Italy. It was actually as indulgent as it sounds!

Even though I personally do own a restaurant and cook about 60 hours a week, it was my choice to sign up for this whilst on vacation.

The thought of learning to make pasta and sauce from scratch, in Italy sounded like an authentic and dream-come-true experience. I was right.

It took place in a state-of-the-art kitchen, with two professional instructors. There were overhead cameras at the teacher’s station and big screen TVs for us to watch them on. This enabled us to see the techniques from all angles.

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It seemed like a televised cooking show. Like something you’d see on a Rachel Ray or Martha Stewart episode.

At the end of the day we sat with our classmates for dinner and shared a bottle of wine. A certificate, the recipes and apron were ours to take home. Everyone was all smiles.

I haven’t actually made pasta for my family since the trip, but I have gotten really good at sliding the story into casual conversation. I just love saying “when I was at cooking school in Italy, we…”

I can be a bit of a joker, but in all seriousness, I really treasure having had this experience and I would highly recommend taking a class or pursuing your hobby while on vacation. A fresh perspective and the chance to do something ‘just for fun’ is such a memorable way to spend  a day.

Better stories start with travel. 

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