I still remember the feeling. It was my first-ever trip to Europe, way back in 1979, and I’d taken an overnight flight from San Francisco to London and had my passport stamped at customs at Heathrow Airport in London. I took a train to the city centre and then transferred on the Tube to the Russell Square station. I walked out and there it was. A red, British telephone box. Just like in the movies, I thought, with breathless wonder. And then I dropped in some coins and, like a good son, called my parents to let them know I’d ... continue reading →

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From Bonavista to Vancouver Island, indeed. We’re blessed – far beyond blessed, actually – to have so much natural wonder in this country called Canada. I’ve been lucky enough in my travels to see a bit of it. So here’s a look at some of our most wondrous national parks and other top natural sites. Hope you enjoy the slide show. And Happy Earth Day … parkscanadashots

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What a great study. I mentioned on Twitter the other day how I found a study that compared the cost of club sandwiches and a mini-bottle of vodka at various hotels around the world. That was fun. But now comes a far more exhaustive study that looks around the world at everything from the cost of a Big Mac to the price of a man’s haircut, a standard beer, a cheap date and the cost of a five-star hotel room. It’s useful information if you can believe all of it. But I’ll get to that in a minute. In the ... continue reading →

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Nobody will ever agree – ever – with anyone else’s list. That almost goes without saying. What you think are the top 10 wines in the world are almost certainly not mine. And I’ll never understand Academy Award or Grammy Award voters. So it’s probably not surprising that I take a bit of umbrage (and that I’m also dissatisfied) with CNN’s list of the top 100 beaches of the world. Before I launch a miniature rant, let me say I’m actually pretty happy with this list. I usually think of CNN as pretty U.S. focussed, but this is a very ... continue reading →

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I’ve always loved this kind of study. Instead of looking at boring things such as the cost of a hotel room and a cab, a Washington Post blogger has used Trip Advisor data on room service costs to come up with the cost of some of the basics for room service. They looked at 15 U.S. cities and tallied up the cost of a club sandwich, a bottle of water, a bag of peanuts, a bottle of soda and an individual serving of vodka. (By individual serving they mean those tiny bottles that aren’t really a proper serving, but that’s ... continue reading →

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March Break is officially in our rear view mirror. Ditto for Easter. So it’s time to plan for your summer vacation then, right? If you’re looking for a trip to the U.S., you’re likely in for sticker shock at your nearest bank. The loonie is still hovering around 80 cents U.S., and I recently paid something like $130 Canadian for a hundred dollars in U.S. greenbacks. With that in mind, here are a few out-of-town spots you might not have thought about. AUCKLAND My nephew recently booked a flight from Toronto to Auckland, New Zealand for $1,600. That’s not cheap, ... continue reading →

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The deliberate crash of a Germanwings flight in the French Alps last week set off alarm bells with many airline customers. Airlines and governments around the world, including Canada, immediately brought in rules to require two people in the flight deck at all times. It is probably an improvement, but some travellers remain uneasy about low-cost carriers (December’s AirAsia crash is still a recent memory). Consumers are naturally attracted to the cheaper prices of airlines such as Germanwings, Ireland’s Ryanair and Florida-based Spirit Airlines, which flies a number of Canadians to the sunny south each winter – by some estimates ... continue reading →

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