Post Christmas Cuba $1387 tax in

With the school holidays starting late and going into January this year, a lot of people are looking for a post-Christmas getaway. There isn’t a lot of deep discounts out there. You can expect to pay between $1500 and $2500 for most hot beach vacations. The good news is that most are all-inclusive and most with Sunwing and Air Transat do offer direct flights.

So, if your significant other is just too hard to buy for or a trip browsing the mall gives you panic attacks, this might be the perfect solution.

Give a luggage tag with the destination written on it, as your gift under the tree, then pack and enjoy the trip together just a few days later.

I’ve spied these options at Redtag.ca

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Screenshots from retag.ca on December 8th. Prices and availability subject to change

 

Here’s the ‘big picture’ post-Christmas holiday price grid. It will give you some of the options still available to book. The prices DO include taxes.

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The handy price comparison grid from RedTag.ca

Under $1500, All Inclusive

Looking for a Christmas/school break getaway. Here’s about the best value package I can find from Winnipeg. It’s with Air Transat, includes direct flight, 4+ star hotel and is all inclusive.

Here’s the direct link to the hotel itself. Do check out the resort and make certain it’s the vacation you’re after. Price alone should never be the ultimate decision factor.

You can book on-line, or with any travel agent you choose. Screen shot and bargain were found at www.TripCentral.ca this time.

If you need a hotel at the Winnipeg Airport before your beach getaway, consider the Courtyard Marriott. It’s my favourite and right at the terminal. Very convenient.

 

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Screenshot from Tripcentral.ca

 

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Recent reviews

Save over $1400 per person

Size matters? Nah, in travel, it’s the DATES that matter.

Check out this last minute deal to Varadero, Cuba, from Winnipeg.

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Screenshot, Nov 25th at www.redtag.ca

 

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Same vacation package, but over the holidays.

 

Exclusive Pool Access – Vegas

If you love the heat and want to spend a little time just relaxing by the pool, may I suggest the Laurel Collection rooms at Caesar’s Palace.

The Laurel section of the hotel has its own exclusive check-in desk (around the side, not the front entrance),  its own elevators, its own security, a Starbucks location near the check in desk and very best of all, its own pool.

Access to the Laurel pool is by room card and check in with an attendant. The area has attentive service, complimentary treats (water coolers, and we were offered freezies) and great quality lounge chairs and towels.

The main pool area can be packed. Of course, in 30C weather, it SHOULD be packed. But for just a few extra dollars you can get an upgraded room and access to the exclusive pool. In my mind, it is WELL WORTH IT.

To find these rooms, simply look on your preferred booking site for “room types” and make sure you book a “Laurel room.” I found it here with Westjet for less than $100 more, per couple, over 4 nights.

Thinking about Caesar’s Palace and my favourite tips, may I also suggest that you eat at Bobby Flay’s restaurant on site there. Excellent! Everything we tried was simply excellent.

Screenshot, May 2nd, 2016
Screenshot, May 2nd, 2016 Westjet Vacations

Do your photos reflect your memories?

The thing about travel photos is that they don’t tell the whole story. The true story gets muddled even further when those photos are prepped for Instagram. This isn’t a slam on Instagram, far from it. I think that global photos bring us a brighter more accurate picture of what the world has to offer. And it’s absolutely your choice to pick what you share with the world, and in what form

My point is this, are you tainting your own memories when you enhance or only share the perfect photos? I want to make my case by showing you a series of photos that I took at La Jolla Cove in San Diego, California.

I’m in love with this first photo. I think it’s spectacular. My money shot. But it doesn’t accurately reflect my experience.

 

This sweet baby was huddle in the centre of the pod.
This sweet baby was huddled in the centre of the pod. His eyes were open for mere seconds. Taken with my Canon 510s. This photo is completely unedited. I haven’t even cropped it, though I did consider cropping out the scar of the other seal in the right corner, however, I think it shows his age and life marks and they are an appropriate contrast to the seal pup.

 

Taking a step back, you see the whole pod of seals as they lay on the beach.

The photo was taken around 11am that day.
The photo was taken around 11am that day. Don’t they look peaceful and relaxed?

 

Let’s take one step further back. But still make sure the shot is tight and deliberately angled.

Here I am posing for a quick photo with my new friends. I love this picture. First time I've ever had the chance to pose with seals.
Here I am posing for a quick photo with my new friends. I love this picture. First time I’ve ever had the chance to pose with seals. (Unedited)

 

Same pod of seals, same beach, less than two minutes later than the above photos. Completely different picture of the experience, isn’t it?

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This one is taken from 4 paces back and a different angle, purposefully to show the crowd of visitors assembled. The seals are notable unhappy after a few folks got too close. Hipstamatic lens used to show the mood.

 

This last photo is shown from the viewing platform at street level, about 5 minutes after the first photo (of the baby) was taken.

Quite the group isn't it? On a Monday in January.
Quite the group isn’t it? On a Monday in January. Can you still see the seals in the centre?

 

My memory of this moment during the vacation, is of the big picture, the crowds and the whole perspective. However, I do still get lost in the moment of the baby seal and his soft eye when I look at it. An entirely different feeling about that day. And while I have already shared a couple of the seal photos on my Instagram feed, I have withheld the photos of the baby feeling that it was intimate and a real treasure, personal to my experience and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to share it with the world.

So, which picture is the “right” one to share?  What view of the scene do you relate to? Which of these pictures is the true reflection?

I’d love to hear your comments! Please share.