Travel light, but travel right!

Though I was never actually at risk of packing Crocs, a fanny pack or tube top, I do think it’s important to review your packing list for trends, local customs and potentially embarrassing faux pas for every single trip.

For example, you will not be permitted in churches, for service or tourism, if you have bare knees or shoScreen Shot 2016-02-15 at 10.25.07 PMulders in Italy. Similarly modest attire is expected in Dubai, and extends beyond mosques to include public spaces such as shopping malls.

Pinterest is a great resource for visual packing lists. Perfect for pulling together whole outfits and seeing the latest fashions. And travel blogs for notes on the local customs and real-life experiences.

Of course, make sure you have seasonally appropriate clothing in your luggage. You don’t want to get caught without a raincoat if it’s rainy season on the coast.

Regardless of destination, I won’t leave home without a hat, slippers and good walking shoes.

The hat for hair emergencies, weather issues, and a chic look.

The slippers for my tired tourist feet when I get back to the hotel. Even soft little ballet slippers do the trick and take up no luggage space. Oh, and because…hotel carpet.

Walking shoes. I walk and walk and walk on vacation. I feel that it’s one of the most effective ways to explore a destination and really see things. No one likes blisters from silly trendy shoes that look good but are not practical.

What’s the one thing I tend to forget? Believe it or not…. sunglasses! This is my blind spot, my forgotten amenity. I typically leave them in the car when I reach the airport. And as a result, I’ve had to buy replacements on the road a few times.  I have the funny yellow ones from Bermuda, the glitter crusted ones from Vegas and the cheap ones that broke after an hour in California.

And when it comes to volume, pack less than you think you need. Infact, just pack half, if your hotel has a guest laundry room on site. Truly, I’d much rather spend 1 hour doing laundry while on vacation, than drag around twice the wardrobe and pay a checked bag fee.

Do you overpack? What are your tips for travelling light and travelling right?

 

Cash Back from North Dakota

When was the last time you were in North Dakota? Do you still have your receipts?

Did you know that Canadians are eligible to claim their sales tax back on purchases made in North Dakota? You can even file your paperwork on-line.

Simply go to the North Dakota government page and select the “Canadian Refund Online Application.”

Purchases of food, lodging and gas are not eligible for a tax refund, however take-home goods like electronics, clothing and toys are.

You have up to 3 years to submit receipts and claim your refund.

Links:

North Dakota Government

Eligibility 

Canadian $$ At Par!

Acting swiftly to address a downturn in Canadian tourists, Myrtle Beach South Carolina has announced a plethora of deals for Canadians.

I can tell you that I was quickly and suitably impressed with their presentation and offers at VisitMyrtleBeach.com. Specifically, their Can Am Days event, and their ease of research. What a great site!

Following the links through to some of the Can Am Hotel deals, I easily searched dates and found prices around $50 a night. (There were no special promo codes or such needed.)  Prices are shown in US funds, but reflect the substantial discount to Canadians.

While it appears that hotels and restaurants aren’t able to receive payment in Canadian funds, their discounts do reflect a savings of 25% or greater, with presentation of Canadian identification, thus levelling the value to ‘par.’

 

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The available promotion dates are now through the end of April, though some hotels are offering booking dates to May 18th, 2016.

Restaurants are in on it too. Here’s a sample coupon from House of Blues. Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 1.05.32 AM

 

The international airport in Myrtle Beach is coded as MYR. Delta Airlines will fly you there for about $420 from Winnipeg (YWG), however both Westjet and Air Canada also fly into Myrtle Beach. Be advised, there are typically 2 connecting flights. Westjet advertises non-stop flights from Toronto, but frankly I can’t see them on my searches.

I love this initiative by the Myrtle Beach tourist board and I expect that numerous other cities will follow suit in the upcoming months. Props to them for taking this bold move and reaching out to Canadians.

If I was looking to pursue a spring trip, and especially a golf vacation, I would certainly consider Myrtle Beach.

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Web page:  www.visitmyrtlebeach.com

Twitter: @mymyrtlebeach

Instagram: @mymyrtlebeach

 

Disney Cruise Twitter Party

If you’d like to learn more about a Disney Cruise, their home ports and destinations, there’s a Twitter Party taking place February 3rd, 8pm Eastern/7pm Central.

What’s a Twitter Party? It’s an on-line event hosted by a moderator(s) and focuses on one company or activity. It is an audience participation event. You can follow along on Twitter using the designated hashtag and following the moderators’ accounts. Typically there are prizes to win for participation. The event lasts just one hour, so mark the date and time on your calendar.

The hashtag for this party, which is open to Canadians only, is #Disneyfamilytravel.

The host is @listentolena

The Disney Cruise Line official account is @disneycruise

There are $1200 in prizes available to be won!

Did you know that the Disney Wonder sails a Vancouver to Alaska route each summer? They have been since 2011. If you’d like to know more about that specific route, do ask me. I quite enjoyed that cruise and so did my kids.

See you at the #disneyfamilytravel Twitter party this Wednesday!

 

$20K Superbowl Extravaganza

So, let’s say you are a die hard Broncos fan, and are desperate to see Peyton Manning play in what could be his last game. What’s it going to cost?

The quick answer is, about $20,000 Canadian.

Here’s how it breaks down.

Delta Airlines flights, from Winnipeg (YWG) to San Francisco (SFO) are as low as $500. That’s economy. First Class is as low as $1250. (You might want to go First Class considering…. this whole event isn’t cheap.) Fares, depend on dates and times. I have you leaving on Friday the 5th of February, returning on Tuesday the 9th. (I expect this holds true departing from just about any Canadian major airport.)

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Screenshot from blog.fandeavor.com

Hotel, for 4 nights at approximately $250 per night off of Hotwire.com is $1000 Canadian funds. You’re not within walking distance of the stadium, but they are hotels with 90% approval rating. We’ll build taxi/uber money into the budget.

Then you’ll need game tickets. Good news is, there are lots available on Stubhub.com and they’ve even dropped in price since last Sunday when the teams were decided. Tickets are currently priced as low as $3000 each, but those are upper deck. Since you’re spending a bunch anyway, you likely want to sit a little closer. According to fans familiar with Levi Stadium you’ll do well to sit in the end zone, 200 level tickets. Here are a pair in row 3. So, for about $3800 US that’s what we’ll pick for this (fantasy) example. (That’s about $5400 Canadian.)

 

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From Stubhub.com on Friday January 29th.

 

Now, you’re going to need some tickets to the pre-game events. Back to Stubhub.com for their selection of events. We’ll pretend the Maxim and Playboy events are of little interest, since you’re just going for the game. Therefore, we’ll add the Sports Illustrated party to the list with tickets at just $500 US a piece.

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We’ll be generous with spending money on food, assuming you’ll want those jumbo soft pretzels (that my son CJ really likes) with your hotdogs and beer. $1000 CDN for 2 people.

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Summary for 2 people to see Superbowl 50 next weekend.

Flights:  $2500

Hotel: $1000

Tickets: $10,800

Party Tickets: $2800

Food/Drinks: $1000

Transportation in San Francisco: $400

Grand Total: $18,500 Canadian funds.  Based on my overall estimate of $20K I’d say you have a little money left over for souvenirs. (It’d be great if you’d grab a t-shirt for me too!)

Go Broncos!

20 second margarita

Doesn’t everyone love a travel hack? This one was inspired by my recent trip to San Diego.  If you’re at home, this one comes together pretty quick, is smooth and tastes great.

Just cut the lime, salt the rim & add ice to the glass. Then pour, stir, enjoy.

I love a good margarita! Or should I call this one, the at home mom-garita?

Patron reposado tequila, Brisk lemonade, ice, lime, salt.
Patron reposado tequila, Brisk lemonade, ice, lime, salt.