There’s a great site called Tripcentral.ca. They have a chart that can show you the lowest prices based on dates. Using this, I often clue into the destinations in my price range. For example:
From this point I chose the Turks and Caicos. (For me, it would be a repeat destination.) I’ve been there twice and absolutely love it. It’s first world caribbean and very safe, casual and beautiful. I wish for the Turks when I’m exhausted and just want sunshine, in a laid back and relaxed tropical paradise.
So, once you click on the destination of your choice, you will see then next chart. I quickly spy the best price in April. I see it’s at a 4 star hotel with a great reputation. In March that same hotel package will cost you twice the price.
Clicking on the $1753 it takes you to a new chart which shows you the specific dates, plus the package carrier. I see that the deal is a Wednesday to Wednesday vacation, by Westjet.
So, with three clicks, you can hone in on the best price and lowest priced dates. At 40% less than the same hotel, same airline, in March I consider this a bargain. Thank you Trip Central.
This is the beautiful, and recently restored King Street Amtrak Station in Seattle.
Insider tip:If you’re travelling here, pack a lunch and bring your own postcards as there are NO restaurants, lunch counters, coffee shops or souvenir stands. A ticket booth, and a vending machine is all you have.
Let’s take a step back in this saga, before we proceed. Why am I camping like a newbie and why don’t I have deluxe camping equipment at my age? Good question. I can explain.
Though slightly embarrassing to admit, I’ve never taken my kids camping outside the backyard. At age 14 and 11 they haven’t slept in a tent in a National Park. There are a couple reasons. Firstly, my free time in the summer is extremely limited. I’m lucky to get one week off in the summer, so I really want to make the most of that time.
The marketing lure of Disneyland trumped camping one year. Cheap summer flights to the Caribbean and my intense desire for beach and turquoise water won a couple other years. Both these types of summer vacations were much more attractive than camping because camping was too much like home. (We lived on a beautiful acreage, surrounded by trees.) But now that we live in the city, the boys are missing “home” and the trees/wildlife they grew up around.
My oldest son Riley is keenly interested in wilderness TV shows, and survival videos on YouTube, and as I mentioned in a previous post he wanted to borrow my credit card to buy camping survival kits online.
So it was crystal clear to me that THIS was the time to plan a camping adventure. It won’t be long before he loses interest in family trips and becomes too strong willed to let me lead or teach. But let me say, I LOVE this age. While he’s still willing to hang out with his mom, I’m going to take every opportunity to make it memorable.
The next several instalments will be about our National Park adventure on the east coast of Canada.
Dollar store camping success stories… The tools in action!
There’s no point theorizing. If you don’t take it on the road, you don’t truly know. So… we went camping. Here are the things we bought from the dollar store/ Dollar Tree and how we rank them.
Paper plates: Huge win. Use, then burn in the campfire. You can have spiderman birthday plates, or 50th Anniversary. It does not matter. Theme your camping and feel extra special.
Re-usable plastic cups: 2 for $1. Big win. Think wine cup.
Cutlery multi-pack: Win. Much better than asking for extra cutlery with your baked potato at Wendy’s.
Cotton balls: Riley used them for sparking the fire, with his flint. Made him feel boy-scout-ish. So, personal win for Riley.
Deck of cards: Weak. Didn’t get used. However, I think if it were raining and the campground didn’t have WIFI it would have been a big hit.
Tablecloth: YES! So good. Picnic tables are old and beat up and have bird poop. Table cloth and you’re set!
Solar puck light: I could not believe how well this worked. We charged it in the sun on the car windshield as we drove. It glowed all night in the tent.
“Copper” bowl with handles: YES! Another great one. I cooked soup, water, and even sauted scallops and spinach over a camp fire. It held its shape. The handles were effective. WIN! $3
Oven mitts: We used them once. Could have used a towel instead. And while we could have used them to lift up the copper cooking bowl, we chose to lift it with a marshmallow stick threaded through both handles, because it was more fun. So oven mitts….waste of $3.
Tin foil: Yes, the rolls are fairly short for $1.25 but they were perfect for campfire cooking. A no-brainer. Grocery stores charge $3 or more for the same.
Bubbles: For blowing. Lame. I should have bought dish soap with that money instead. Maybe with toddlers, they would be a hit, but a fail with my teens.
Giant marshmallows. They were gross. You could’t even cook them thru. Fail.
All things considered, the Dollar Store/Dollar Tree had several things that were very useful for camping. If I could only take 5 things, or $10 worth, they would be:
Or at least the price war on flights to Iceland is heating up.
With Air Canada now offering flights from Toronto & Montreal, to Reykjavik and competing with Iceland Air on these routes, prices are dropping.
The same can be said for competition on the America east coast routes where Delta/Air France and KLM have dropped their prices to meet or beat those of WOW Air and Iceland Air.
Today, Delta/Air France/KLM are offering round trip, tax included flights from JFK Airport in New York, as well as Boston Logan Airport for as low as $316.(Or $421 Canadian funds if purchased through Expedia.ca) These bargain prices can be found on certain dates, from the end of August through to October 2017
Even though Westjet does not have flights to Iceland, you can nab a bargain and still fly part of the way with them. Use the website for Iceland Air and leave from Winnipeg, and you will see your connecting flight Winnipeg to Toronto with Westjet. Prices as low as $636 from Winnipeg.
To start your planning and learn more about Reykjavik start with their official tourism website.