Meet Our Team


Martha Banias, CTC | Travel Consultant

Who is Martha:
Martha is one of Great Canadian Travel’s senior travel consultants and has been in the travel industry for 30 years, having owned and operated her own agency for 20 of those years. She has a list of clientele that date back to her first year in the industry. Martha speaks fluent Ukrainian. Martha can book it all, from cruises, to tours, to hotels, to airfare and she works closely with Arnie, our Africa Specialist and handles many of Great Canadian’s bookings to Africa.

Top Travel Experiences

  • Martha has done her fair share of travelling over the years.  The office is happy to be home to the tall, wooden giraffes she carefully brought back from a safari.  But, these days, she is happy to stay home and send her clients anywhere they need to go.  

What is Martha’s closing comment:
Keep calm and let Martha handle it for you!

New from Martha Banias, CTC

How To Stay Safe As A Female Solo Traveler

March 27, 2017 | Martha Banias

There’s solo travel advice and then there’s solo travel advice for women — in very many circumstances, these two lists intersect quite often. Everyone should upload their travel plans, ticket numbers, passport pictures etc, to a Dropbox, Google Drive or other cloud-based service. Everyone should keep some cash socked away in a secret spot in their bag. It’s a good idea in hotels to leave the “do not disturb” sign out or your television on so people think the room is occupied and you avoid thieves sneaking in while you are out.

Then, there’s advice specific to women — and specific ways female solo travelers can stay safe while traveling alone. Here are few of our favorites and a few tried and true ways that keep us ladies safe on the road.

Wear a Wedding Ring

Obviously, if you are traveling to meet men, this is really going to put a dent in your social life. But if you are nervous about unwanted advances from men, a wedding ring will often detract them from making a move. Even if you are traveling to meet other people along the way, having a ring that you can slip on your finger just in case things aren’t going the way you thought, can be a good backup plan.

Protect Yourself

The cat keychain is one of my favorites — as well as having a whistle. The keychains are totally adorable but can inflict some serious damage. I just like to carry one for the sheer feeling of empowerment those two little ears provide. Of course, if you feel safer with mace or pepper spray or even a pocket knife, it’s all the same. Just make sure you follow the rules for packing these and don’t put them in your carry-on bag.

Don’t Let Others Know You’re Alone

This is where you can feel free to let your imagination run wild. If you order room service, don’t feel shy about pretending like you are waiting for your friend/spouse/boyfriend to return, get out of the bathroom, whatever. If you are taking a cab, call a friend and tell them you are arriving in 5, 10, 15 minutes — even if you aren’t meeting a friend, pretend. Make a fake phone call, tell waiters in restaurants about the group you are traveling with — whatever it takes. The more people who think there is someone with you on the periphery, the less likely they are going to be to try and take advantage because who knows when that mystery companion is going to show up.

Know Where You Are Going

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with where you are and where you are going. Getting in a cab? Know the route the driver will likely follow. Walking to a local market, plan your route in advance and try not to follow the GPS on your phone as you stroll. If you feel like you are lost, duck into a cafe and check a map or your phone rather than standing on the street. Check your route with the person at the front desk of the hotel or hostel to make sure you aren’t walking through a bad area. And always bring extra money to get a cab or other transportation if you feel uncomfortable walking back on your own.

Blend In

Try to blend in with the locals as much as possible. Sometimes this is what travel is really all about — experiencing and feeling like part of the local culture. Make sure you aren’t making any unnecessary or accidental fashion statements or behaving in an offensive manner and drawing unnecessary attention to yourself. Getting and receiving the respect of the locals will not only go far in keeping you safe, but also provide a much more rewarding experience in the long run.