$65 Hotel for Black Friday

Planning to do any Black Friday shopping in Minot, ND this year? Time to think and act if you want the best deals. If you are a Hyatt (loyalty club) member you can book at $65 per night for November 24th and 25th.

If you are a CAA member, there are offers for you as well, $70 per night.

I have personally stayed at this hotel in 2016 and have nothing but compliments for the hotel. A hot breakfast buffet is included in your stay, with omelettes made to order.

A mere 7 or so minutes from the Minot airport and on the north west side of the city, you are conveniently located to shopping and amenities as long as you have a car.

Book directly off their website for most flexibility. Important in our winter weather.  Hyatt House Minot



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?


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?

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

Link to a CBC News’ piece on the phenomenon.


Road trip ready

If your best friend dropped in today and said… “we leave tomorrow” could you do it? Would you do it?

What holds you back?

Work waits, I can assure you that. Haven’t you ever been knocked off your feet sick? The world stops for those two or three recovery days and believe me, when you get back, work will still be there. So, instead of being sick, couldn’t you just take a quick vacation?

Could you be the instigator? Could you grab the golf clubs or the bikes and your best friend and just hit the open road? All you need is music and a sense of adventure. Buy a clean t-shirt at the first souvenir stand and send a postcard home!

I tell you, better stories start with travel. Write yours, it’s a great adventure, I know it!

Wouldn’t you like to cruise, old school?

But my town has nothing to offer

Have you ever said this? “My town has nothing to offer.”

Travel can help.

Nothing but blue sky, open road and red rocks.

Here’s the thing. When YOU travel, you see and experience new things. Perhaps you come home with a business idea or a fabulous way to plan events or promote your own industries.  Or perhaps, in your travels you meet a friend and invite them to visit your community at some time.  That helps your town. You help your own town by travelling and returning with new ideas and renewed energy.

The other side of the coin is when you INVITE tourists to your community, you stimulate the economy. You see, when tourists come to visit, they stay in your hotels and eat at your restaurants and buy souvenirs in your shops.

Staff that work in the tourism and hospitality industries are often students, and when you put money in the hands of students (through employment), they SPEND it. That’s a good thing…. no, it’s a great thing! When your part time worker is not burdened by a mortgage or a heavy debt load, they spend money on dining and clothes and car repairs and social events etc.  Their disposable income is much more than the burdened family, so these part time employees are injecting new money into the economy rapidly.

It’s the circle of LOCAL. When a student shops locally, with their paycheque, they help shop owners provide additional jobs, which in turn pays for groceries, and car sales, which pays for taxes and health care, which pays for music lessons and birthday parties and so on and so on.

But what if  you’re back to the stumbling block of “our town has nothing to offer?” That’s impossible! I offer you Pisa, Italy as an example. Simply a small community with a bell tower built on swampland, that started to lean and a builder who never took credit for the error. Hundreds of years later, tourists are still gawking at the sight and also paying $35 a person to climb the legendary example of construction gone wrong.

So, I believe every town absolutely has something to offer! You just have to look at things a little differently. See things from a new angle! And invite the tourists to come.



Oh Canada… that exchange rate!

I could write this article in two emojis and you would know what I meant. The dollar sign and the emoji with clenched teeth, they pretty much sum it up.

So, what can we do as travelling Canadians with a 70 cent dollar? What if it gets worse?

What will we do with a 59 cent dollar? Forecasters are saying by the end of 2016, our dollar could hit an all time low.

Here are our best options as I see it:

  1. Stay home! Let’s explore and celebrate our own country. Let this be the year you see the coast, see the mountains and most importantly re-connect with your own family. Let this be, the year that we revive the family road trip.
  2. Be the best hosts! Let us, as a community and as individuals, invite our American friends and neighbours to come and visit Canada. An injection of funds will stimulate our economy. Let’s use tourism so as to build our own jobs and showcase our great nation.

Start exploring with these links:

Travel Manitoba

Keep Exploring Canada


Best of 2015

The ultimate resource for the people by the people, Trip Advisor, has posted their comprehensive ‘Best of 2015‘ lists.

Curious as to the best all inclusive resorts? What about the best beaches? It’s all there! Defintely check it out.

One of my all time favourite beach holidays has earned the number two spot on the world’s best beaches list. Congratulations once again to the Turks and Caicos islands! We stayed at the Ocean Club Resort, located right on Grace Bay beaches. It was glorious!

If you’d like to go to the Turks and Caicos islands, both Westjet and Air Canada will take you there. A round trip flight from Winnipeg will cost about $550 at an average sale price.

Since the Turks and Caicos main tourist island of Providenciales is a developed island with services and standards similar to North America and Europe,  you will not see all-incluvice packages offered as the norm. Here, except for the Beaches Resort and Club Med which ARE all inclusive, you will pay as a european style vacation, sourcing your own food and beverages.

Did your favourite beach make it to the list? Where would you recommend? Please do tell us in the comments. Have a question about the Turks and Caicos… just ask! I’ll do my best to answer or find you resource that can.

The signature pink umbrellas of the Ocean Club Resort on Grace Bay beach, Turks and Caicos
The signature pink umbrellas of the Ocean Club Resort on Grace Bay beach, Turks and Caicos.