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. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Vegas Package from Brandon $259 & tax

Here's a last minute bargain to jump up and down about! Seriously.  (prices current as of Oct 7, 1AM) to book or call your favourite travel agent in the morning.  To book on-line yourself, go to the Westjet page and type in your home airport (YBR) for Brandon, and LAS for Las Vegas. Dates on sale are Oct 28-31st, as shown below. The Flamingo is located in the centre of all the action, on the strip, but so are all the other 3 hotels shown below.

I have stayed at Caesar's Palace this year, and of course, recommend it. The Cromwell is also of the Caesar's chain and is a gorgeous boutique hotel with a fabulous signature restaurant, Giada's.

Ooooh, if I didn't have to work this week, well, I'd be in Vegas.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fast Five Travel Tips: Should I book?

You will hesitate. You will second guess yourself. You will rationalize and stress....but you really want to book that vacation. Here are 5 tips that may help your decision process along.

Whether you are worried about a particular destination, or a hotel or a luxury expense, ask yourself these.

1. Do I need to change my perspective/recharge/de-stress?  A vacation, any vacation, will do that.

2. Will it take away anything from my life or cause hardship?  No? Then why not go.

3. Will I be safe? Am I in good health and insured?  You should live before life takes a plot twist.

4. If not now, then when? Years pass in a blink of an eye. You know this. Work will wait.

5. Price drop guarantee or not.... will $25 change my life or potential to enjoy this vacation?

If you are wondering which destination to choose? Rationalize it down to 2 choices. Then flip a coin. While the coin is in the air...... your heart will tell you where you really want to go.  Ignore the coin. Listen to your heart.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

November: Hawaii under $1000

Aloha & Mahalo! Those two words will always bring a smile to your face once you've experienced Hawaii!

Whether you choose to fly Air Canada, or Westjet. And whether you choose Honolulu (HNL), Maui (OGG) or Lihue (LIH) islands you have plenty of bargains to choose from, if you act now. You'll sure see the difference between flight prices in November and those same flights at Christmas time!

The first place on your on-line research should be Go Hawaii! It's their official state tourism site and can lead you to your ideal vacation. This link will help you plan your first Hawaiian Vacation

Want to surf? See whales? Shop? November is a fabulous month to do all of these things, and at a bargain price. While the busy tourism season is just winding up, you can capitalize on a bargain vacation and enjoy the beaches without the big crowds. December is the beginning of the rainy season, so you just might have better weather if you do choose November.

First, let's take a look at flight examples, current as of September 30th, 8pm.  (Prices are subject to chance in the blink of an eye.)

Next, let's look at the package prices, from Air Canada and Westjet. These packages include flights, taxes and transfers.

If you would rather buy your flight and hotel separately, you can find bargains through your favourite hotel sites and loyalty programs. Here's the screenshot of a hotel bargain you could pair with your bargain flights. Remember to read the fine print and trip advisor reviews every time.  It's only a bargain if travellers, like yourself, enjoy the stay.