Did you know? 

Registration of Canadians Abroad is a free service that allows the Government of Canada to notify you in case of an emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home. The service also enables you to receive important information before or during a natural disaster or civil unrest.

To register, visit:

https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration

Or for more information, visit:

https://travel.gc.ca/assistance/emergency-info/roca-faq

a step-by-step instructional guide on "the over-packer's suitcase" will be available 2018

Tricks to falling asleep on a plane

It's hard to get shut-eye on planes. The idea of falling asleep is more urban myth than reality. Many travelers suffer from sleepless hours, cramped and uncomfortable. But with a few easy tricks, the sheep will come.

FLY AT NIGHT-Whenever possible.

This is when you are naturally tired. The lack of sunlight and the darker cabin will make the process of sleep easier.

RESEARCH YOUR SEAT

 

Not sure where to sit? Remember that seats near the bathroom can be unpleasant and traffic volume is high.

PICK A SIDE

 

Picture yourself in bed. Do you sleep on the left side or the right? If you sleep on the right side of the bed, try picking a seat with the same preference. Positioning yourself in the same way will help better ease you into sleep. Take your typical sleep position into consideration too. If you sleep on your side, you might want a window seat to lean on the wall.

DRESS COMFORTABLE

 

If you're planning to sleep on the plane you need to dress the part. And I'm not talking about wearing your pajamas. But loose fitting clothing that is soft will help your body prepared for sleep. And bring something to change into before you land so you feel refreshed.

PACK A SCARF

 

Planes can get chilly. Some airlines provide blankets but pack a scarf to be on the safe side. Pashmina's are the coziest but any scarf will do. As long as it's large enough. And you can use it at your destination for chilly nights.

SKIP THE ALCOHOL

 

A glass of wine will not help you fall into a deep slumber. Instead, it will dehydrate you. And leave you with a wicked hangover once you land due to cabin pressure. Stick with water. Steer clear of sugary or caffeinated drinks too. They will only get between you and your rest.

REVERSE YOUR NECK PILLOW

 

There's any easy fix to having your head flop forward while sleeping. Grab a standard neck pillow and turn it around. Doing this will prop up your chin and keep your head supported.

BLOCK YOUR SENSES

 

Planes are full of distractions. Even if you wear a sleep mask you’ll still be able to hear everything going on around you. And smell the food as it makes its way through the plane. Block out distractions by blocking off your senses. Wear a pair of earplugs. Add a few drops of essential oil on your neck pillow.

TAKE A PILL

 

Sleep medication should always be a last resort. But if all else fails you might not have any other choice. Reach for a natural option first like melatonin.

UPGRADE

 

The better your seat, the better the sleep. If you can't afford business or first class, upgrade to an emergency exit seat. They have extra leg room.

No matter what method you choose, you are bound to have a better sleep. And enjoy your final destination.

Money Saving Hacks for the Savvy Traveler

Our personal finances always take a bit of a hit when traveling. Well worth it? Yes, but...

If you want to save some cash on your next travel expenses, here are some ideas to get you started. Whether you save a little or a lot, it's worth every penny to start the savings now.

1. Use loyalty programs

Loyalty programs can definitely save you money. Some hotel and booking websites will give you a free night after a certain number of stays.

2. Always ask what's included

The awesome hotel deal you think you scored might not be as awesome as if first appeared. Always find out what's included with your stay and what's not. Things like pay parking and pay-per-use WiFi can eat up the savings. If you have to pay for extra for these things, then your awesome hotel deal is a bust.

3. Avoid Tourist Zones

An easy way to save on your hotel stays are to stay the hell out of the tourist zones. You can get a better hotel, even a larger room, for far less money if you stay a few blocks away from the tourist area. Those savings can get used on transportation costs, if necessary. But you should have plenty extra to shop at local markets were you'll also find lower prices. This is a great way to make your experience more authentic too.

4. Travel off-season whenever possible

A great way to save big is to travel outside of the peak seasons. Prices are much lower during low season to any destination your heart desires. There are usually tons of deals to be had during the off-season. This is when big resorts suffer and they need those tourist dollars. You'll likely snag a great bargain with perks.

5.  Take advantage of pre-booking the extras

If you book your travel and hotels online, take the opportunity to pre-book the little extras. Think breakfast, parking and baggage. You may reap the huge savings by taking advantage of these special offers.

6. Don't forget travel insurance

Anytime you travel outside of the country, you need travel health insurance. If something were to happen, you could be responsible for thousands of dollars. Medical expenses in other countries aren't cheap. Book your coverage when you buy your ticket. You'll have peace of mind that it is taken care of. But make sure to take the time to shop around, you'll save a few bucks if you do.

7. Try to be flexible on your dates

The biggest money saving opportunities aren't normally advertised. Such as last minute bookings that can save money on hotels. Especially when booking for Sundays and Mondays. If you remain flexible with your dates, you might get a bargain like a three night stay for the price of two.

8. Have you heard about sell-offs?

If a package deal is what you want, look for sell-offs. Many all-inclusive resorts and cruises offer these deals last minute so flexibility is key.

9.  Call the hotel directly

Say you find the deal of the century for a hotel room online, before booking, call the hotel direct. You might be able to save a little money by asking if the hotel will match the price and add a perk. Or they might offer a discount when booking through them instead.

10. Or skip the hotel completely

A sure-fire way to save money is to skip the hotel altogether. Find an apartment or rooms to rent through websites like AirBnB. Or find a house sitting opportunity. There are even house swapping sites to destinations of your choice.

11. Keep in touch with online travel groups

Join Facebook discussion groups about travel deals. Members on these pages share great offers that they've spotted online.

12. And don't forget about e-mail lists

Sign up for newsletters from airlines, hotels and tour operators. You get the insider deals first-hand. It won't be long before you find a deal that's perfect for you.

13. Comparison shop

It's worth shopping around and comparing prices. It's surprising how many different prices are out there for the same hotel room.

14. The freebies are there for a good reason...so use them

Don't bother packing certain toiletries. Most hotels offer them in-room for free. Such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, face wipes, and more. When booking, always check the in-room amenities list.

By not packing these items, you'll cut down on the weight of your luggage. Leaving you more space for souvenirs. Plus, you always run a risk of these products leaking inside your suitcase. And it makes going through security easier.

And if the hotel won't have what you need, don't bring full-sized bottles. Opt for travel size packaging instead.

15. Booking travel in advance can sometimes save you money

The best travel deals can be found either way in advance or at the last minute.

16. Use price match guarantees

Keep an eye open for prices after you've booked your trip. If the price drops, many companies will refund the difference. No harm in asking.

17. Always have an unlocked phone while vacationing

Oh, the horror. You use your cell phone while on vacation and return to a massive bill thanks to roaming charges.

Carry an unlocked phone so when you arrive at your destination, you can pick up a pay-as-you-go SIM card. You'll be able to track how much your spending on phone charges without the surprise ending.

18. Book all travel with a credit card

Using your credit card will give you extra protection in case the airline or tour operator stiffs you. Even better if the card is meant for travelers. You'll get automatic insurance coverage for rental cars (big, big savings), lost bags and delayed flights. You can even earn loyalty points or miles to use on your next vacation.

19.  Check with your bank about ATM partnerships

Out of country ATM fees can add up, quick. So, check with your bank to see who they've partnered with in the country you are planning to visit. By using those specific ATM locations, you'll save all the fees. That's more money in your pocket.

20. Kill 'em with kindness

And remember, kindness goes a long way. Being nice to staff members can result in upgrades, lower rates, and discounts. Even freebies to local attractions.


How to make your economy class ticket seem like a first class experience

Let's face it, first and business class tickets on any airline are expensive but you can get many of the same luxuries just by being prepared and treating yourself like you are always first class.

Before you leave, pack a small "first-class amenities kit".  Include an eye mask (to block out overhead lights, or bright sun coming through the windows as you try to catch a cat nap), ear plugs (for times when there are crying children or the person next to you snores), lip balm (change in cabin pressure and temperature can leave your lips parched), hand sanitizer (wipes are preferred because you can use them to wipe surfaces), travel toothbrush and paste (it's always nice to freshen up before departing), a pair of comfortable warm socks (especially if you plan to wear sandals on the plan as the floor area always seems to stay quite cool.  This also gives you the opportunity to free your feet of constriction reducing jet lag), small bag of cotton balls soaked in an essential oil of your choice (this is great to help you relax or if you have a tendency to get sick while travelling by plane, try cotton balls soaked in rubbing alcohol as it reduces nausea), and hand moisturiser (again, this has to do with dehydration caused by cabin pressure).

These items should be stored in your carry-on along with a travel pillow, a scarf that can be used as a small blanket (I love Pashmina because it's soft and warm, and they come in various sizes), headphones (airlines charge $5 per pair of ear buds), reading material (or an electronic device that stores books or music) and snacks like chocolate or nuts. And don't forget to always carry a pen and notepad.  Why?  Depending on your work situation, you may have a "light-bulb" idea and need to write it down.  And there are always customs forms that need to be filled out and being prepared will reduce stress making your flight more comfortable. 

When you arrive at the airport, don't just sit around waiting at your terminal gate like the troves of other passengers.  You are usually arriving 2-3 hours prior to flight departure and that can be a long time to sit when you will be sitting on the plane for countless more hours.  Take a stroll through the airport.  This will promote healthy circulation and will reduce jet lag.  (It's also the perfect time to pick up reading material or a light carry-on snack that you forgot to pack).  If you want to have the business class experience while waiting, stop into a restaurant and have a send-off meal including a drink.  (It will help you relax and sleep on the plane but don't over do it...one or two drinks should be the maximum.  Its been proven that too much alcohol can inhibit sleep therefore making you more tired when you arrive at your destination).  Remember to stay away from deep-fried or heavy foods as they usually don't sit well if turbulence occurs.  Soups, salads, fruit and yogurt make perfect light meals that will fill you up enough for the flight but not leave you bloated and lethargic. And drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated (dehydration is the leading cause of jet lag). If you find yourself sitting at the gates, patiently waiting, seize the moment to practice deep breathing or mediation (this will further assist with relaxation, sleep and jet lag). This is a great time to take your anti-nausea medication if you suffer from motion sickness.   Check in early at the gates and don't be afraid to ask the agent if there is any possibility of a discounted seat or class upgrade.  (No harm in asking and sometimes you can get a better seat at a reasonable price.)

Once you have found your seat on the plane, prepare your area.  Grab your first-class amenities kit and other essentials before stowing your carry-on overhead.  Time to get comfortable and settle in.  Start with wiping the tray with your sanitary wipes and any other hard surfaces.  Remove your shoes and store under the seat in front of you; put on your comfortable socks.  (I like to wear bright colours or patterns because it tends to be a good conversation starter.)  Store your travel pillow and scarf in the pocket in front of you for easy access.  While in the air, instead of watching a movie, try reading and using your "smelly" cotton balls to keep you calm and relaxed.  If you start to feel drowsy, put on your eye mask and use your ear plugs to have a restful snooze.  When you wake up, make sure to get up and move around, stretch in the aisle or take a walk, even if it's just to use the washroom.

Economy class will never have the same leg room as first-class but you can get the pampered feeling by being prepared and armed with the essentials.  Beside, don't you always treat yourself like first-class?  Enjoy your flight!

TIDY TIDBIT

Do you ever feel like you are being snubbed or rushed through airport security and check-in lines?  One of the reasons could be the way you dress.  Yes, your choice of comfortable clothing could be sending signals (like you are an un-organized and sloppy traveller and it screams economy class,  There is nothing wrong with flying economy class...I do most of the time but I don't act-or dress like it).  It's like the old adage, "dress for the job you want not the job you have."  Same thing applies when travelling especially via airplane (and how are you going to get that last-minute business class seat upgrade if you don't look pulled together, smart and professional?).

 I understand that you want to be comfortable on your flight (especially long flights), but wearing track pants, pajama bottoms or even yoga-style pants could result in being treated unfairly or with little respect.   I'm not saying that you have to wear a cocktail dress and heels (although heels are always fashionable and get you noticed no matter where you go), but a pair of jeans with a blouse, and a touch of make-up and a pretty pair of shoes will have the airline ticketers and security guards showing some respect.  They will speak to you with courtesy and will be dripping with politeness.  Dress to impress and it will boost your own confidence, therefore, when you feel good about yourself others around you take notice and will treat you in the same manner.

http://www.veranda.com/travel/how-to/a749/travel-dressing-town-and-country/?src=spr_FBPAGE&spr_id=1455_143941376


THE EMPTY SUITCASE

I never mind lugging out the 5 suitcases that our family shares.  It means opportunity and new experiences. The joy of packing it full of delicate clothing and fun accessories is a delight.  I also  love to unpack my clothing at my dream destination and have everything smelling fresh and beautiful.  That's why I do the following:

-Spritz  air freshener spray inside  empty suitcase before packing

-Place a bounce sheet in the bottom of the suitcase and one in any zippered pocket

TIME SAVING TIP

Instead of wasting time ironing clothing in your hotel room and missing out on precious moments of exploring your new surrounding, use Downy Wrinkle Release.  

Hang and spray garments when you arrive.  You plan to unpack your luggage anyway, why not take one small extra step that will save you time (no more ironing) and will leave your clothes smelling fresh.

This product really does work.  My husband used it on his shirt, suit and tie after travelling to Paris from London via rail.  His garments were at the bottom of his suitcases, so his shirt was the most wrinkled.  But with one spray and a day of hanging, the shirt was perfect.  But the most impressive results...my satin wedding dress looked amazing and was completely wrinkle-free.

I suggest that you purchase a small spray bottle from your local dollar store and fill it with the wrinkle release. (Don't forget to label the bottle.)  100 ml should be enough to spray several shirts and pants.  (Because I am an obsessive compulsive packer-I bring the whole 500 ml bottle in a clear plastic bag in my checked baggage.  This ensures that no one in our party holds us up due to ironing).


HAIR DRYER WOES

My beloved hair dryer.  Yes, the same one that almost ended up in a London trash bin.  http://high-heelsandsuitcases.com/european-vacations.php

That hair dryer comes with me on all my vacations.

Why do you bring a hair dryer if the hotels provide them, you ask?  Simple.  Your hotel room will only have ONE hair dryer.  If you are sharing a room with someone, you might be flipping a coin as to who gets to use it first.  But not to worry; I bring my own.  Plus, I have found that the hair dryers available are never powerful enough.  I can blow-out my long hair with my own appliance in 5-7 minutes.  The hotel unit... usually around 15 minutes.  That's ridiculous.

It seems like an extra burden in your baggage but if you fit it in just right, you'll have plenty of room for more shoes or whatever else you choose. (Stay tuned for packing tips, lists and the final shoe tally...all coming August 27th)

Tip: Always bring along the nail polish colour you are rockin' so that you are prepared if touch-ups are necessary.