Independent Travel | The Great Canadian Travel Co. - Part 2


March 14, 2023 | Pearl McCallum

We want to paint a picture for you.   Imagine you’re at a gathering with friends and acquaintances. It’s a fairly large group, let’s say around 15-20 people. Just as you begin to get hungry, someone brings out a large, layered cake. It’s smothered in rich, chocolate buttercream frosting – …

June 29, 2022 | Lois Farley

Way back in 2017 I wrote a blog in recognition of Canada Day; 50 Great Things Canada Contributed to the World. Since I wrote that blog I’ve been studying about the Indigenous peoples who have lived on this land we now call Canada for millennia – the First Nations and …

March 17, 2022 | Lois Farley

Saint Patrick’s Day brings Ireland and all things Irish to a lot of people’s minds. And, those of us lucky enough to be Irish or are of Irish descent, particularly so! My ancestors on both sides of my family emigrated to Canada from Ireland back in the mid to late …

March 1, 2022 | Allison Silvaggio

There are so many things that we miss when it comes to travel, such as exploring new places, trying new things and meeting new people.  What I miss the most, are those extremely peaceful moments where you can just take it all in.  Whether you are enjoying a beautiful hike, …


Captivating Cuba

March 28, 2018 | Karen Pearson

On my recent trip to Varadero I stayed at Meliá Marina Varadero. I really liked this resort. The nightly entertainment was professional quality, with a variety of styles of entertainment. There was live music in the lobby every evening, including high-quality opera singers one evening. There was often a preview of the nightly show in the lobby as well. The shows were either music and dancing or acrobatic-type shows and were all well done. And of course there was lots of Cuban music throughout the week. Read More >

Au Diable Vert – the Velovolant (flying bicycles)

March 13, 2018 | Karen Pearson

Imagine you are sitting in something that looks somewhat like the seat and roll cage from a race car, without the race car around it. Imagine you are hanging from a cable 15 feet above the ground. Imagine you begin to pedal, which propels you slowly through the trees, the ground falling away until you are 60 feet or more above the ground. Imagine that it is peaceful, the only sounds made by the breeze rustling the trees, some birds chirping, and the occasional squirrel squeaking. Imagine that all you can see are the treetops surrounding you and perhaps the next rider, depending on your location along the one-kilometre trail. Imagine that the only sensation is the gentle swaying of your pod and the occasional bump as it runs over a connection in the cable.

Now imagine you have vertigo or are scared of heights. That was me exactly. Read More >

Heliskiing in Iceland

March 09, 2018 | Ian Kalinowsky

“Enormous playground of never skied colours, chutes and wide opened glaciers” is how National Geographic starts their article describing skiing in Iceland.

“Without a doubt Iceland offers some of the most mind blowing heliskiing on the planet,” says snow magazine’s “top 10 Heliskiing experiences in Europe.” Read More >

Hawaii… Paradise Found

March 07, 2018 | Lindsay Ruffeski

The fresh, floral air invigorates you. The warm, tranquil waters revitalize you. The breathtaking, natural beauty renews you. Whether it’s your first time to Hawaii, or your tenth time, the six unique islands offer distinct experiences that will entice any traveler. I encourage you to explore the islands and discover Hawaii for yourself.

There’s no place on earth like Hawaii. Home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes and the world’s tallest sea mountain.  Birthplace of modern surfing, the hula and Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Former seat of a royal kingdom and home to the only royal palace on US soil. Hawaii is one of the youngest geological formations in the world and the youngest state of the union. But perhaps Hawaii’s most unique feature is its aloha spirit: the warmth of Hawaii’s people that wonderfully complements the Islands’ perfect temperatures. Read More >

Under the Tuscan Sun

June 13, 2017 | Archived Blogs

Although we never saw Diane Lane, Tuscany was definitely full of colourful characters and beautiful places. We spent five days staying in a Tuscan villa, touring the wineries, sampling the local cheeses and wearing in our walking shoes on the various walking tours around Florence and beyond.

Read More >

Essentials for Every Adventurer…

March 31, 2016 | Allison Silvaggio

Have you ever heard veteran travellers talk in hushed whispers of their so-called ‘everything bag’?  Ever wondered what this little, underappreciated, totally essential item might be?  If so, I have written this article especially for you!  I’d like to tell you about the items in my ‘everything bag’, because every single one of them has come in useful for me on numerous occasions during my 12 years of extensive travel. Read More >

A Backpacker’s Essentials…

March 02, 2015 | Archived Blogs

Your backpack is not ready to embark on a great adventure until it contains these absolute travel essentials!  This list is compiled based on 12 years of personal back-packing experience.  Trust me, years of trial and error have gone into this list.  These items will make the difference between your travels feeling like home-from-home, compared to feeling lost and alone without the things you need!

I’m assuming here that you have already packed obvious things like documents, clothing appropriate to your destination, toiletries etc.  This list steps beyond the obvious, helping you prepare for every event.  These items are sometimes hard to find in foreign countries, so pack them before you go!

It may seem like lots to think about, but most of these things will actually fit into one small drawstring bag.  Pack it once, throw it in the top of your pack, and be prepared for almost every eventuality in every corner of the world…

I never leave home for an epic trip without:

  1. A multi-tool knife with corkscrew, tin-opener, scissors, and of course a knife blade. You don’t need a huge heavy one, just something that can help you crack that well-earnt bottle of wine or open the packaging on your new purchases.
  2. A sturdy headlamp because the power isn’t always reliable in hotels in far-flung regions of Asia or up in the mountains. Headlamps give you security walking at night, help you navigate unfamiliar hotel rooms, and can even be used for reading under the covers.  Back up your headlamp with spare batteries, and also a small candle and box of matches, just in case.
  3. Length of strong cord. Why?  Because nothing is as useful as a piece of string!  Use it to fashion an instant clothes line, or strap items to the outside of your pack, or support loose connections in the world’s crankier electrical sockets.
  4. An obvious one, not just because sunscreen has well-known benefits for your health and comfort, but also because there are many countries where sunscreen can be hard to find, expensive, and often out of date.
  5. Basic first aid kit. Nothing fancy, have some iodine tincture for instant antiseptic, a few band-aids and blister pads, some pain killers, and of course immodium and rehydration salts for any bouts of traveller’s tummy.
  6. Basic fix-it kit. Following on from the basic first aid kit, the fix-it kit is pretty much a first aid kit for your gear.  All you need is a couple of zipties, a small roll of tape, paperclips, safety pins, and a needle and thread to be ready for anything.

*Travel Tip* Hotels often have mini sewing kits available free of charge, just ask for one and stash it in your wallet.

  1. Travel Adaptor. I recommend an ‘everywhere to everywhere’ adaptor.  There are some really compact ones on the market these days.  They work almost everywhere, even if you buy a new electronic item on the road, and the best ones even have a built-in USB port.
  2. Zip lock bags. Not a whole cupboard of them, just a few.  If you forget these then you can even just grab a couple extra from the security check in the airport!  Instantly you can waterproof your small electronics, pack yourself a picnic lunch, have a little travel garbage bag for when there’s no sign of a real one, and so much more.  Absolutely essential!
  3. Pen and paper. Yup, the humble writing tools can be amazingly hard to find when you’re chatting with a local and they just told you about this incredible spot that isn’t in any of the guide books and are now giving you complex directions that you need to relate to a taxi driver…. need I say more?!
  4. Lightweight small draw-string bag to pack all your essentials in. This will not only let you find any and all of your essentials really easily when you need them, but it also becomes much easier to pack for your second, third, fourth back-packing trips.