5 Important Things to Know Before Your Next Vacation

The best bonding time for family and friends is during a vacation. It is all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work, friends and family. We all have that vacation itch to take a break from our everyday lives. The checklist below outlines what to do before your next getaway.

flight sky clouds aircraft

1. Transport

Book your travel in advance to avoid last minute havoc. Be it a taxi to the airport or a flight to your chosen destination. The advantage of booking earlier is that the price is always low.

2. Travel vaccines

Once you are sure of where you want to spend your vacation, book an appointment with your doctor to discuss vaccines. Each country has its recommended injections depending on the area you are going to stay. Health is wealth, so do not risk your health on a fantastic trip.

person holding blue ballpoint pen writing in notebook

3. Packing list

Self-organization saves time. Write down a packing list of everything that you would need. Starting from clothes, shoes, toiletries, accessories to medication. Don’t forget your chargers and adapter plugs. By making a list you are certain that you have every important item you will require.

4. Documents

Save yourself from unnecessary headaches over travel documents. It is very confusing to start sifting through your email inbox at the check-in counter. Arrange all important documents in one folder. Better yet, get an app called Trip-It. It will gather all your travel information and compile it into a single itinerary.

woman walking on pathway while strolling luggage

5. Confirm your reservations

Double-check your reservations: The hotel, flight, taxi and any other services you had booked in advance. Last minute surprises can ruin your holiday good mood so stay prepared and re-confirm.



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Niagara Falls

Short Trip Getaway in Ontario

With having a busy schedule, sometimes it is hard to get away for a long time. This is where a short local travel trip is in order. You need the getaway from the every day, the every week,…the every month of the same old routine. Here are a few photos of our little 2 day getaway to Niagara Falls. – Adelka Molcan

wine tasting in Niagara


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Have Fun Traveling Locally

One of the most exciting things you can do with your time is travel. Unfortunately, traveling can become fairly expensive, and not everyone has the time to take prolonged vacations. That’s why traveling locally is a popular and fun pastime. There are certain things you need to consider when planning for local travel so that you can have an enjoyable trip.

When it comes to travel, you can help maximize the fun you have on your trip by thinking of previous vacations. What made your favourite vacation memories so cherished? Did you go with a close group of friends you hadn’t seen in a while? Was it a fun trip with close family members? Some say that it’s the people around you who make a trip special. Or maybe your favourite trip was a solo adventure where you explored somewhere new and enjoyed your independence. Having an idea of what you enjoy in a vacation will make planning your trip much easier.

Once you’ve figured out who you’re traveling with, or if you’re traveling alone, you can better pick a location that fits the vibe you want to create. The best part of traveling locally is the flexibility. It’s easier to grab a few friends and take a trip when you’re traveling nearby. Or if you like traveling alone, you can be spontaneous and go wherever, whenever you want. The best part of traveling locally is that you can fit in more trips because of the convenience. Alternating solo trips with group trips are an excellent way to keep things fresh when taking a vacation. Take this into account when planning your next trip and have a blast!


Three useful apps that will help you learn a foreign language for free!



Most of us would love to learn a new language. It opens the possibility of meeting a lot of new people learning a new culture. Perhaps we would like to get in touch with our roots, or better understand a friend or loved one. Regardless of the reason, learning a new language can be a daunting task.

Back in the day, options were limited to language classes and self-study books. The chance of finding a native speaker with whom to practice was usually low, and more so if your desired language had a small number of speakers. But in this information age options abound, and we are only limited by our own determination.
The following apps can be used in iOS or Android, and while they may offer premium services for a fee, their most useful features can be accessed free of charge.



One of the first hurdles when starting out in a new language is the lack of vocabulary. You have so much to say, but you just don’t know any words!

Duolingo contains a broad set of exercises designed to help you learn new words based on different categories, such as clothing, people, traveling, etc. Some of these ask you to associate spoken words to their corresponding written form, while others may ask you to translate a sentence. All the exercises come in bite-sized collections, a crucial characteristic when you can only dedicate five or ten minutes at a time to studying.

To keep you motivated, Duolingo sports an XP system, which you can use to compete in leaderboards against other users. There is an XP goal for each day, usually achieved by completing two sets of exercises, and every day you reach it your current streak grows. If you fail your goal in a day, you lose your streak. It may not sound like much, but you can be surprised at how these incentives keep you coming back.



Practicing by yourself is fine, but to truly learn a foreign language, it’s almost necessary to interact with native speakers. Whether it’s by text messages or by phone call, being exposed directly to your target language in a casual setting will take you to the next level.
Tandem is a simple but powerful tool that allows you to locate people who are fluent in the language you’re learning, while at the same time being students of the language that you speak. This language exchange is enabled by a messaging system, complete with translation and transliteration tools, and voice and video chat options.

If you do have extra cash to spare, Tandem also features professional tutors, who will help you in your language of choice for a set hourly fee. These fees range from $10 to $20+ USD.



HelloTalk shares many features with Tandem but adds one important piece of functionality. Not only can you engage other users directly, but you can also post ‘Moments,’ similar to Facebook’s status feed. Here you can try your skills in your target language by sharing your thoughts with the community, complete with text, audio recordings, and pictures. Other members may then comment on your post and even correct your mistakes with a handy correction tool.

This option is quite handy for people who are too shy to engage in one-on-one communication, or when time zone differences make real-time contact difficult.

As with any language exchange program, you must be careful in your interactions with other people. As with any other place on the internet, divulging personal information is risky. While most users are there to learn a new language, some are lonely people who will demand constant attention. These people are a reality of the medium, and they shouldn’t deter you from using these apps. The block button is your friend in this case, and you shouldn’t feel bad for using it.


There you have it, three wonderful apps that’ll get you talking in a new language sooner than you think. Along the way, you’ll make some new friends, learn about other cultures and hopefully have a ton of fun!

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San Diego Zoo


Being lovers of all animals, we like to see the local zoos wherever we travel. Our furry and feathery friends never disappoint and we like to see if they look happy and are well taken care of. We included the San Diego Zoo on our travels last summer and I must say, in my opinion it’s the best zoo I’ve seen in North America! The animals had lots of land and it was so beautifully reconstructed to look like their natural habitat. There was lots of walking, a fun Skyfari (air tram), a nice glass of local beer and lots of popcorn refills. For a family trip or for any animal enthusiast, this is the perfect zoo. by Adelka Molcan

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San Francisco Makes its Mark on the Farm-to-Table Culinary Scene


For those in the restaurant world, the effort to deliver an authentic farm-to-table menu is not taken lightly. Restaurants take pride in knowing exactly where their ingredients originate and that the source of their food is raised without the aid of hormones or pesticides. More stringent followers take this notion even further and factor in environmental issues such as overfishing or the ethics of supporting fair trade companies. The end result of this trend is the start of some superb dining establishments. As one of the country’s top dining destinations, San Francisco was at the forefront of this movement and has since become home to some of the best farm-to-table restaurants in the country. Here is a sampling of some of these establishments.


Farm: Table   754 Post St, San FranciscFarmTable-SanFrancisco

Located in the trendy Nob Hill neighborhood, Farm: Table states its directive from the get-go. With rustic charm and a communal spirit, Farm: Table prides itself on serving local and sustainable food all while relying on homemade ingredients whenever possible. This pet-friendly hotspot delivers delicious breakfast and lunch daily with menu items such as homespun house cereal and an off the charts tuna melt.


Nopa Restaurant, San Fransico.jpg

Nopa   560 Divisadero St, San Francisco

Self-described as a “San Francisco gathering place,” Nopa has made its mark by delivering organic wood-fired offerings all made with seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients. Found in Alamo Square, Nopa values its relationships with its farmers and even incorporates them into regular staff menu training lunches.



Spruce    3640 Sacramento St, San Francisco

Nestled in the Presidio Heights neighbourhood, Spruce embraces its ability to provide its diners with the freshest produce and other local ingredients found in northern California. With exclusive access to a private five-acre farm in the area, Spruce incorporates the bounty of fresh vegetables and herbs into its daily menu.


Saison    178 Townsend St, San Franciscosaison-sanfrancisco.jpg

With its origins formed from the wild pop-up world, Saison has thrived to become a stronghold in the San Francisco dining scene. This China Basin neighbourhood eatery offers an innovative contemporary American menu by integrating an array of local ingredients and as a result, can bask in the glow of some of the most widely acclaimed reviews in all of San Francisco.


Whether a tried and true locavore or just someone that can appreciate an incredible dining experience, many will find that San Francisco may just be the heart of the farm-to-table movement today. With access to the freshest local ingredients and a flair for innovative cuisine, San Francisco is and will continue to be, a top destination for diners seeking the best farm-to-table eateries.


attractions of the world pictured on top of a cartoon globe as planes and air balloons fly above along with birds

5 Safety Tips For International Travel

International travel is exciting, particularly to those who experience it for the first time. Inexperienced tourists on vacation will be immersed in exotic cultures, walking tours, and museums. However, world travel should be taken seriously to avoid problems such as theft, personal injury, and detainment. To assist tourists in making safety a priority, listed below are 5 practices that will ensure a stress-free vacation.

Guard Your Valuables

When traveling to a foreign country, your passport is your most important item. Credit cards, cash, and electronics should be locked in a hotel’s safe. Be sure to make at least two copies of your documents in case of loss or theft.

Follow The Law

Some countries can have laws and practices that are entirely different than the laws of your home country. Laws can sometimes be unclear and difficult to understand. As a rule of thumb, vacationers should adhere to the same rules of their home country, when in doubt. It is imperative to research the host nation’s policies and customs before arriving.

Be Careful When Walking or Driving

Getting hit by a car is one of the most frequent injuries to pedestrian tourists. Driving practices can vary greatly, along with driver’s regard for pedestrians. Always avoid jaywalking. Due to the amount pedestrians hit by vehicles, be sure to take appropriate measures to ensure your safety when crossing streets. Additionally, avoid using your phone when walking or driving.

Understand Your Itinerary

Give yourself lots of time to read over and understand all your travel components such as booking with connecting flights too close together, which can cause unwanted delays and unneeded stress.

Pack light

One overlooked travel nuisance is arriving at your destination and then realizing you brought too much luggage. Heavy luggage can impact movement during an emergency and is more expensive to take on airplanes. It also can keep travelers from buying the souvenirs they want.


How to Save Money for your Vacation

Travel Jar
Future travels

Most people would like to travel more, but they don’t know how to save for it. When money is tight, finding ways to save can definitely be a challenge. Fortunately, “challenging” does not mean “impossible.” You just have to think creatively and be willing to make some changes. Here are some creative ideas on how to save for your next vacation.

  • Open a vacation savings account & set up automatic payments from your regular account. Some banks will even round up your purchases and put the extra into your savings account
  • Dine in or pack a lunch more often & cut back on your monthly food budget
  • Sell your clutter and make cash with a garage sale or sell online on
  • Switch to a credit card that give you air miles or point towards travel
  • Cut out or put on hold any monthly subscription plans
  • Eat out of your pantry or go on a diet for 1 week a month & save on grocery costs
  • Cut your energy costs by using energy less during peak times
  • Turn off lights when not needed
  • Don’t fall asleep with TV on & set timer to shut off
  • Downgrade your cable, phone or internet, can always switch back later
  • Break bad habits or at least cut them in half
  • Cut down on car use & walk, bike, carpool or ride the bus
  • Cut down on entertainment expenses & go out less
  • Shop grocery store flyers, collect points for discounts & use coupons
  • Switch to generic store brands and save (don’t like it you can always switch back)
  • Never go to grocery store hungry & always go with a list to avoid impulse shopping
  • Pick up a side job or take surveys online & get paid
  • Skip your morning coffee run & add $2 a day to a vacation jar
  • Offer your services instead of buying gifts for friends and family
  • Avoid extra bank fees & only withdraw money directly from your bank’s ATM
  • Put half your tax refund in your vacation bank account
  • Sell your gold or silver jewellery to a reputable local agency, even if broken, as you’re selling it for scrap
  • Pamper yourself at home and save by skipping that monthly pedicure or facial
  • Take a time out when considering larger purchases. Ask yourself “is it a want or need?”. Often you will realize you don’t need it & save!
  • Put $5 or 10 into your travel jar each time you cheat on your diet
  • Exercise at home & skip the gym membership fee
  • Avoid bottled water, use your own reusable bottle & also reduce your carbon footprint
  • Take care of your things to lengthen their life & save by not having to replace more often

When you have a vacation goal, it is easy to adjust your spending habits for a short time to achieve what you want. The reward is worth it! There are many more ways to save so don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

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Comicon’s Villains, Heroes and Creatures

To my joy and amazement my nephew won, by lottery tickets to comicon in San Diego. He was allowed to bring one guest and yes, lucky me, I was on my way to a world of chaos, beauty and many wonderful geeks like me. Whether it’s World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons, or the new favourites like Doom or Fortenite this is the place for you!

Few things to remember: Get there super early…like days (yes, days) if you want to see any panels. There are many confusing lines

  1. for people with passes which they have received in the mail,
  2. for people who want to get wrist bands for special panels
  3. for people who already have wrist bands for special panels

so plan early, load up on water and snacks and enjoy the colourful people who are just as excited as you are to get in there. And please remember to always ask permission before snapping a photo like I did 🙂

Final note: Once you are in you can scan your pass to come and go in case you need to bring your purchase back to your hotel like we need. My nephew had me loaded up with 4 bags of pop vinyls. We had to unload his new bought loot and went back for more speed walking through a maze of vendors and many, many fans! – Adelka Molcan

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 20: Actor Tom Hiddleston speaks onstage at Marvel Studios “Thor: The Dark World” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” during Comic-Con International 2013 at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) ** TCN OUT **

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Fish eye view of the Tomorrowland concert in Belgium

Summer Festivals Around The World

With warmer weather in the summer months millions of people around the world gather outdoors and celebrate for various occasions and events. Here are a few fun and unique festivals to check out on your next summer adventure.

The Festival of the Sun – Inti Raymi Festival, Cusco, Peru

June 24, 2018
Each year on June 24th, a tribute to the worshiped Sun God Inti includes more than 500 actors who assemble to re-enact an ancient Inca ceremony in adoration of the sun god. The 9-day celebration is held in the great square of the Sacsayhuaman fortress and includes large banquets, festive music and thousands of people dressed in colourful costumes.

Pride Week, New York City, NY, USA

June 24, 2018
The New York City Pride March attracts tens of thousands of participants and sidewalk spectators each June. In addition to the parade, other NYC Pride events include a LGBT rights rally, a family movie night, a street fair and the Dance on the Pier, which has featured popular artists including Janet Jackson, Cher and Ariana Grande.

Running With the Bulls, Pamplona, Spain: July 6-14, 2018

The Running of the Bulls is a time-honoured Spanish tradition, which will raise your adrenaline levels, whether you’re running or watching.

This exhilarating race takes place during a nine day festival unlike any other. Locals and tourists come together in a rowdy crowd ready to take on nine days of celebratory drinking and eating. The actual bull run itself includes a half-mile course that winds through four different cobblestone streets of the historic Spanish town.

Just for Laughs Festival, Montreal, Canada

July 11-29, 2018

Spend time laughing, see some celebrity comics and tour one of the most beautiful cities in the world. During the day street performers delight the crowds and at night the city comes alive with comedy happenings scattered throughout the City. Comics who have played Just for Laughs include: Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Hart & Howie Mandel.

Comic Con International, San Diego, California, USA

July 19-22, 2018

With the rise in popularity of animated films, video games and other fantasy novels, the franchise of Comic Con has been growing. This festival features a 4 day event that is held at San Diego Convention Center in California. Some famous movie and TV personalities can also be seen in this big event such as Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) and Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)

Tomorrowland, Boom, Belgium

July 20-29, 2018

Tomorrowland has quickly grown to become one of the world’s largest electronic dance music (EDM) festivals. It stretches over 2 weekends and usually sells out in minutes. Over 100,000 visitors flock to this Belgium festival to dance the day and night away.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, Scotland

Aug 3 – Aug 27, 2018

The world’s largest arts festival transforms Scotland’s capital every August, as thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages all over the city to present shows of all kinds and for every taste. The work on show ranges from huge names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers.

Elvis Week, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

August 9-18, 2018

Each year fans from around the world gather at Graceland in Memphis to celebrate and honour the life of Elvis Presley during Elvis Week. Unprecedented concerts, special performances and guest appearances take place at Graceland’s new entertainment complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis.

La Tomatina, Bunol, Valencia, Spain

August 29, 2018

This festival takes place each year on the last Wednesday in August. The event is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, located in the east of Spain. Thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to take part in this food fight where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. Participants get involved purely for entertainment purposes.

Epcot at night. red light on ball like building. Mickey Mouse statue next to it.

Epcot Food & Wine Festival, Orlando, Florida, USA

August 30 to November 12, 2018

Special kiosks are set up around the World Showcase with food and drinks that reflect various countries. This year’s festival will continue its tradition of fine dining events, appearances by favourite Disney culinarians and top celebrity chefs, and a slate of concerts from favourite bands of the last few decades.

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