Edmonton: Bargain Alert!

HOT DEAL!

4 Westjet Flights from Winnipeg

3 nights in a Westin hotel in Edmonton

Taxes included $1200.37

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Why so cheap you ask? It goes like this….

New Leaf Airlines announced a Winnipeg to Edmonton route. (That’s YWG to YEG in airline speak.) Rock bottom prices of $200 round trip taxes included. So, then, Westjet quietly beats the prices on the exact route. $198. That’s pretty fabulous, right?  The route flies Thursday to Sunday. That’s even more amazing. So, you can actually make a long weekend of it.

But here’s how you take the bargain to the next level, go to a package re-seller like Expedia.ca. Their automated system updates flight prices and calculates and discounts packages. All you have to do is get the right dates. So, I typed in any Thursday to Sunday in September, and voila! $300 per person, for a family of 4. Price includes Westjet nonstop flights, and 3 nights at a really fabulous hotel. #WIN

Why haven’t I tagged any of the airlines in this post? Prices disappear very quickly and when this word gets out, the deals will be snapped up.

If your kids would like to stay at West Edmonton Mall before school’s out,  the August 25-28th price is $359 per person at the Fantasyland hotel.

Other hotels available, from $250 per person (near the airport), up to $424 for the Fairmont.

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Shown Sept 8-11. Prices will vary according to dates

One last tip. If you’re an Air Miles collector, log in through Airmilesshops.ca and you can collect Air Miles on your Expedia purchase.

You’re welcome! And yes, please share with your friends and family if you think they could use a little trip and a heck of a bargain!

Screenshots from 8pm Monday July 18th, 2016.

 

Pokemon Go: Good for tourism?

From New York’s Central Park to the little Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot, North Dakota, the phenomenon that is Pokemon Go, is taking over.

Since its release, less than a week ago, the on-line gaming APP has become the best seller on iTunes, has rocketed Nintendo’s stock up in value by 25% and has everyone talking.

Where I noticed it, was on a Monday morning, in a small US city. We were visiting from Canada (where Pokemon Go is yet unreleased) and as tourists we were deliberately in the park to learn and explore. But we couldn’t help but to be distracted by the incredible number of young adults wandering around the park and all engrossed in their phones. They were stumbling about, even some bumping into each other. What was going on? Could the Scandinavian Heritage Park really be such a draw on a Monday morning?

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Nope, it was the game! My teen son alertly recognized this and filled me in. To be certain, I bravely asked a group of guys if they were playing the Pokemon game and they enthusiastically explained it to me and showed me their phones. Apparently, there’s 134 characters to catch and battles that take place in “gyms.” You basically wander about chasing these on-line characters in a hybrid-reality. You can set “lures” to attract character and also other players.

25 foot tall Swedish Dala Horse. A character in the park, NOT the Pokeman game
25 foot tall Swedish Dala Horse. A character in the park, NOT the Pokemon game

But what does it all mean to tourism? Most of these meeting places in the game are public spots…tourist centres, churches, parks and the like. And when you are at a location, little info bubbles pop up on your screen, so as a player if you wanted to learn about where you were located, you certainly could. Of course, you could also actually look up from your phone and see the buildings and sites around you as well.

I chatted with a tourism host at the Scandinavian Heritage Park. She said it was ‘absolutely packed’ on Sunday with Pokemon Go players. She’d never seen so many people. Was that good for business though? Maybe. It was in fact putting this park on the radar of a younger audience. And it was certainly causing a buzz around town, getting the gamers out of their homes and into city streets and public places. But were there increased sales, revenue or even signatures in the guest book? No. Not yet anyways.

What do you think? Is this a new breed of gamer-tourism? Is this going to change the way people travel and interact or are we cluttering public places and creating new obstacles?  Is this the new selfie…being seen in a hybrid on-line/reality game?

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The Gol Stave Church Museum over my shoulder. A Norwegian wood building, made without nails.

Link to a CBC News’ piece on the phenomenon.

 

Family Travel Tip: Road Trip Bingo

Want them to take in the scenery? Put down their gadgets? Just put a Road Bingo card in their hand. Custom cards are easily created to suit your child’s age or your destination.

My kids love these. The squares are just everyday things, but you’ll be surprised how quickly the competition heats up and how many laughs you’ll have.

Sample card:
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You can’t beat the price!

Why not Minot, indeed! Look at these prices! Fabulous hotels and really affordable rates. All include Wifi and most include breakfast.

I’ve been checking out the #minotselfie promotion that’s listed on they Hyatt House page. Great partnerships with local retailers and restaurants.  My to-do and to-see list, is getting longer by the minute.

The Starving Rooster looks like a fun place & so does the Souris River Brewing Company. Will have to put those ones on my list.

10 North Main is the restaurant of famed Minot son & North Dakota Legendary spokesperson, Josh Duhamel. And then of course there’s Paradiso. It’s very hard NOT to go to Paradiso when you visit North Dakota. Manitobans…. we’re starved for good Mexican food at home, like the ol’ Chi Chi’s restaurants we had in the 90s, so it’s not a surprise we race to Paradiso just as soon as we cross the border. Ah, Chi Chi’s, those were the days!

I’ve been told that downtown Minot restaurant, Charlie’s diner, has been serving up top quality breakfasts for decades, making it a must see as quite possibly, the oldest serving restaurant in the city.

I hope there’s a jogging path in the city, or a workout room at the hotel as it sounds like there’s a lot of great eating to do in the “Magic City”. Might have to stay a few days.

Minot, North Dakota. Start your planning here.

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Bombarded with inspiration

Ever feel overwhelmed by travel planning? I’m feeling it right now. Travel planning anxiety…is that a thing? TPA?

Here’s the thing, I want a vacation. I need a vacation. But there seems to be a veil of social media pressure to have an AMAZING vacation. And right now, it clouds the view on everything. There is an air of pressure to have THE BEST vacation, a hey LOOK at my photos vacation. And every single time I open my email there’s a “LIMITED TIME OFFER that is EXCLUSIVE” for me.

I’m tired of being shouted at. I just want to go somewhere quiet and lovely and relax. Am I right, or am I wrong? Can’t anyone just casually tell you about their happy place?

I opened an email this morning from KLM Airlines. I’m a fan. They definitely know a thing or a million about travel. Today’s sales lead was about the new Dreamliner planes flying from Toronto and Calgary four times a week (as low as $685 direct and tax in). I found myself clicking links and looking for flights that suited my budget and wondering when I could go to Amsterdam and with whom. And then I started to feel stressed.

And then I started to think about the Tropicana Hotel in Vegas, because it’s been over a year since I’ve been to Vegas, and Vegas is my default (quick, cheap and always a good time) getaway. And I truly love Vegas, because when I’m there, I’m bombarded with lights and activity that I forget about work (which is admittedly very hard for me to do). And I like that feeling of “forgetting about work.” The Tropicana is alluring for me because it smells like coconuts, and is so small that you can get to the pool from your room in 2 minutes, and there’s a Starbucks on the way and right now I’m so tired (from work) that a two minute commute to a lounge chair is all I have energy for. And their rooms are pretty and white and tropical, which I love. BUT my inbox also has invites and “exclusive offers” from The Wynn (which I have never been to, but is definitely on my list) and The Bellagio (which is my favourite but is expensive and I don’t know if any visit can ever compare with the time I was upgraded to the Bellagio Suite, so why bother) and Caesar’s Palace (which is celebrating their 50th anniversary and I love their Laurel pool) and Monte Carlo (which is so central and has a great pool and I could stay practically free) and lastly (probably not lastly, I ignore a lot of emails) The Cosmopolitan Hotel (where I would love to stay to try to be hip, but I probably wouldn’t fit in, but still, “see Bruno Mars at the Chelsea” at the Cosmopolitan Hotel is on my Bucket List).

And I desperately want to go back to the Turks and Caicos because it probably IS my happy place. And I even see great flight prices right now, but I can’t get the time off work. And I probably don’t have the budget for it right now. It’s expensive, but less so in the summer. And honestly, there is no wrong time of the year for the Caribbean.

So there it is, dear travel diary, my cluttered, overwhelmed travel thoughts and why I’m stuck in the mud right now and desperate to go, but overwhelmed with offers and flat broke in time.

I have TPA. Travel planning anxiety. And I’m going nowhere.

Do you feel it too?

Bargain Alert! YWG to YVR

****** June 27th Update*****

The hot deals disappeared on Monday. Back to $460 round trip. Had to act quick on that one.

*******

$250, tax incl and return, sound like a nice price from Winnipeg to Vancouver?

Select dates available. (see calendar) 

We have New Leaf Airlines to thank for this. They have inspired Westjet (Prices shown are Westjet) to discount a few flights and match prices on this route.

Other cities included as destinations from Winnipeg are Abbotsford, Kelowna and Toronto.

Bookings available now, for flights July 25th, thru October, including Thanksgiving. Many of the cheap flights to Vancouver are actually non-stop. Bonus!

IF you find the right dates on flights to Vancouver or to Abbotsford you might be able to pair it with a discounted cruise to Alaska. Possibilities here are endless.

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Screenshot from Sunday, June 26th. Westjet’s price calendar.
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Just a couple cruise options from Expedia.ca