Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fast 5 Travel Tips: Plan that epic trip

1. Define YOUR epic.  Is it walk the Abbey Road crosswalk like the Beatles did? Is it have a beer in Ireland on St. Patrick's Day? See the Superbowl? Go to the Kentucky Derby? See the fountains of Bellagio with 10 friends from the rail, like they did in Ocean's 11?  Swim with Dolphins? Learn to surf in Hawaii? Climb Pike's Peak in Colorado? Or see the original Starbucks at Pike Place, Seattle?

2. Find someone who supports your dream. Is there a friend or family member who shares your enthusiasm? If not, find a forum or chat group or on-line blog that can fuel your fire.  Borrow books from the library that inspire you and relate to your dream. Even if your goal is Pike's Peak, you will find benefit from reading books about climbing Mt. Everest.

3. Research the cost. What is a realistic cost for airfare, hotel, and activities? Now you can start your budget planning and find ways to start saving. So if "Drink beer on St. Patrick's Day in Ireland" is your goal, and you estimate $1600 for the trip and you can save $100 per month, then you know you have a realistic chance of fulfilling this dream March 2016.

4. Plan milestone rewards. If your goal is to climb Pike's Peak in Colorado, reward yourself with hiking boots or new gear when you reach your exercise and training milestones.

5. Make the commitment.  Book the time off work. Colour the dates on the calendar. Add a countdown APP to your phone. Anything that makes it visual and inspirational. Even if it seems far off into the future, you CAN and WILL get there, one day at a time.

Once you achieve your goal, share it. Inspire others. Then set a new goal for yourself. I know that I feel happier and more purposeful when I have a goal to work towards or something specific to look forward to.

YBR to PSP for $725

How about a week in Palm Springs California before the Christmas chaos takes hold?
This is a week at a 4 start resort, flights and taxes included. And the best thing about it, is you get to fly from home. (If your home is in Brandon, MB)

This example is December 4th to 11th, flying Westjet.

Book the vacation package thru or your favourite agency like Selloffvacations. They are located on 8th street, across from Superstore.

Quickie Vegas Getaway

3 nights. Brilliant flights. Cheap like borscht. Book at or your favourite agent.
$33 more, gets you Bellagio or Caesars or the Cromwell.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fast 5: Reasons to take the kids to the Hyatt Grand Cypress

My boys are pre-teen and are always running from activity to activity. They are bundles of energy and can be a handful on vacation. This time, I outsmarted them. I found a resort that had all they could handle, and a hammock for me. The best part about this.... The Hyatt Grand Cypress (in Orlando Florida) INCLUDES all recreational activities on the property, in their resort fee. There is no $5 here and $2 there from the parents for mini golf and boating fees etc. Everything is included. You really don't ever have to say no to your kids here, on account of activity fees. Want to try the rock wall for the 16th time today? Go for it!

5 Reasons to choose the Hyatt Grand Cypress for your busy kids:

1. All activities from kayaking to rock climbing, to golf and bike rentals are available.

2. There are activity directors to invite your kids to join the fun. And lounge chairs from every vantage point so you can keep an eye on your kids AND have your feet up.

3. The games room has Ms. PacMan.

4. Ice cream sandwiches are just $2.00 in the gift shop.

5. Tired kids sleep better. And say "thanks mom, that vacation was awesome!"

Probably Ry's favourite activity! The rock wall. 

9 hole golf course and NO charge for club rentals.

This old-school Ms. PacMan game kept me entertained! 

Absolutely spectacular fitness room. This isn't even the half of it!

Water slides and lounge chairs galore!
Merlot, the parrot, resides in the lobby. His handler, Tim, is happy to introduce you.

Strange little bikes were harder to pedal than you might imagine! Tons of laughs.

A little more Hawaii. $809 for 5 nights.

Westjet still has Hawaii on sale, so don't think you missed the luau just yet.  Here, I offer you a selection of apples to apples screenshots from October 13th.  Basically, it costs you $809 for the flight and 5 nights accommodation. Each extra day, will add about $100. This is just one example of a hotel Westjet offers. There are numerous others. Park Shore, (bottom photo) is one the beach and quite highly rated at

It's not Christmas, but this trip sure would be a gift to yourself!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Psssst... Christmas in California?

Celebrate an early Christmas with your little one, at Disneyland California! They work their Disney Magic in the park each November and turn it into a glorious Christmas celebration. Young and old alike will be enchanted by the characters' Christmas parade! Nothing gets you in the spirit, like an early Christmas at Disney.

And the real bonus..... the park is quiet. Oh, so quiet. Early Christmas avoids all the crowds, and your flight and hotel are half the price too!

Your shuttle from the airport to the Disney area hotels is separate, but very easy to book and will cost about $60. 

If you have Air Miles, you can pick up your park passes this way. It's one of my best tips. Disney park passes are a pricy treat, and never really discounted by much. Trading Air Miles for passes is an excellent use of miles in my opinion.

Disneyland California is perfect for a 3 day adventure. The park(s) are much smaller than in Florida, and are located together, so to me, it's one large park, even though they are "technically" divided into the main theme park plus "California Adventure."

A few more from YBR

These are fall deals, based on the current sales. All from your home base, Brandon (YBR). Screenshots from October 9th.  Some trips (like Palm Springs and Vegas) will include an overnight in Calgary. Others, like Victoria are same day flights.

When I note prices, it's always air, hotel and taxes included.

A week in Vegas at the 5 star Venetian. Show tickets included. Live well for only $828 per person.

A week in Palm Springs, at the Westin Mission Hills. $995, December 2-9th.

Three nights in Victoria. A sophisticated couples getaway to the Fairmont Empress? $694 per person. 
November 25th to 28th.