Coming to the end of 2021, another difficult year for travel, I think back over my time in the industry. More than 20 years ago I went to college to become a travel agent because, well, I loved to travel. The job was presented as hard work for little pay; but the idea of learning about and perhaps experiencing the world outweighed the drawbacks. I was enchanted by the excitement of discovering exotic destinations, tasting different foods, and experiencing traditions unlike my own.
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Republishing this blog from 2020 with the revision to include that 2021 was similar to 2020 but was more of a “Stink, Stank, Stuck” kind of year! It seemed like a lot of the year we were spinning our wheels, stuck in a rut of continuing restrictions, lifting of restrictions, new restrictions…..
I think we can all agree, 2020, in the words of the Grinch, “Stink, Stank, Stunk”!
Even though this year we can’t get together in large groups with family and friends, as we usually would be for December festivities, there is still much to be thankful for and to celebrate.
December is truly a month-long time of celebrations, spanning many religions and beliefs. So, on this 1st day of the month, Happy December! And no matter what holiday traditions you celebrate in your household, may you stay healthy and safe.
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Iceland COVID-19 Regulations – info updated 16 November, 2021.
Please note: The information provided is subject to change without notice by the government agencies of Iceland, the US and Canada. We cannot be held responsible for any expenses incurred due to changes in testing requirements either before or during your travels.
Effective until the 08 December, 2021, Iceland has re-introduced domestic COVID-19 restrictions including masking and 1 metre social distancing requirements. For details check here.
Who can visit Iceland?
Passengers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection.
Can you visit Iceland? Yes. From April 6, 2021, all travelers – regardless of origin – are welcome to visit Iceland if they can show either:
- certificate of full vaccination against COVID. Read what certificates are accepted on the official Directorate of Health page. (Mixed vaccinations are accepted ie. Astra Zeneca & Pfizer, Astra Zeneca & Moderna, Pfizer & Moderna. As long as the vaccine is listed on the Directorate of Health page as being acceptable.
- certificate of previous COVID infection. Read what certificates are accepted on the official Directorate of Health page.
Please note: Iceland is welcoming vaccinated visitors from outside the Schengen zone, but further travel from Iceland to the rest of Europe and the UK may not currently be permitted for non-Schengen residents.
Do you need a PCR test? As of July 27, 2021 you will once again require a negative antigen or PCR test, taken within 72 hours of your flight departure.
Is there arrival testing and quarantine? No, if you hold an appropriate full vaccination certificate or certificate of recovery from a previous Covid infection and a negative antigen or PCR test, you do not have to undergo any Covid-19 testing upon arrival in Iceland. Read More >
This Remembrance Day we’d like to honour members of our own families and friends who have served during war time and in regular military service.
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Today, 30 September, 2021 marks the first official National Day for Truth and Reconciliation here in Canada.
It’s not a “holiday”, at least it shouldn’t be seen as one, even if it is a day off work for some. It is meant to be a day of learning, a day of listening, a day of trying to understand Canada’s colonial and settler history and the many injustices done in the name of a “civilized” society. And the systematic injustices that are still happening.
For me it’s a sad day as I think of all the children who lost their lives in Indian Residential Schools and lay in unmarked graves across our country. All the children who survived residential schools but whose lives were irreparably damaged. All the parents who had their children torn away from them and their hearts broken. All the families whose beloved children, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews were taken away by force. Some to return, often changed into strangers, some never to return.
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It is my passion to plan holidays, for myself as well as my clientele. In 2006 that started with a plan to visit Europe while attended a FIFA World Cup soccer match in Hamburg. Match tickets were not that easy to get. They were done on a lottery draw basis, so we picked 3 options in Hamburg and proceeded to plan our vacation around those matches “just in case” we were lucky enough to get tickets.
As it turned out we did get tickets but we didn’t receive confirmation of the game until well into our vacation, only 24 hours prior to the match. We had just checked into our hotel in Copenhagen when the email came confirming the game for the very next day. This meant we had to cut our time in Copenhagen short, but this was the experience of a lifetime! We were to see Czech Republic vs Italy. Italy would then proceed to win the World Cup that year. Amazing experience and great start to our dreams of travelling for Rugby, which is really our passion.
These dreams took root quickly as in 2007 the Rugby Union World Cup was to be held in France with some games in the UK. We are staunch All Blacks fans(the national team of New Zealand). Taking a good look at the schedule we saw that in 2007 one of the quarter finals was to take place in Cardiff, Wales. With our calculations, the All Blacks should qualify for that game, so we took our chances and put our names in for that game. As with the FIFA World Cup, tickets did not get confirmed until later, but at least it was earlier than 24 hours prior and we could make our travel plans a little easier.
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It might seem a bit odd for us to be talking to you about sun, sand and surf holidays when most of North America is suffering through extreme heatwaves. But, turn your mind back to those days in January and February, when the wind was howling, the air brisk and you were shovelling snow, not sand. Remember how much you wished you could be on a beach somewhere or on the deck of a cruise ship, sipping a cocktail and watching the world go by?
A recent survey of over 4,000 Canadian “snowbirds” showed that 91% intend to head south this winter, to the southern states in the US, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. 83% plan to be away at least 3 months.
Now is the time to be putting your winter holiday vacation plans into place. Travel is re-opening, slowly but surely. The resorts and hotels that are open, the cruises that are setting sail and flights that are taking off to whisk you away, are rapidly selling out for winter 2021-22. This season there will be much more demand than there is supply, especially as a number of tourism suppliers have ceased operations.
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We were just so excited about the Summer Solstice and Full Moon this week that we forgot to send out our newsletter on Wednesday, which is the usual day. (And by we, I mean me! My bad! 😉)
All the celestial happenings this week got me to thinking about the travel opportunities to witness astronomical phenomena like the auroras and solar eclipses.
Here in Canada, where we’re located, we are most familiar with the Aurora Borealis, that occur in the Northern Hemisphere. There are great opportunities to see the Northern Lights (as the Aurora Borealis are commonly referred to), in Arctic Canada. Places like Churchill, Manitoba, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon are all easy to visit and offer great Northern Lights programs. As well, we can plan a trip for you a bit further afield to Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Norway. Even the north coast of Scotland and Northern Ireland get a light show from time to time in the winter months. Maybe combine a whiskey tour with some treks to hunt for the lights?
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Calling all Canadians to take the 2021 travel pledge to travel in Canada. It has been a difficult year +, to say the least, and we cannot wait to get out there and see one another again.
With over 20 years in travel, the first half was spent mostly travelling internationally. And then, the exploration became closer to home.
When looking back, some of my favorite memories & experiences happened right here within Canada. Kayaking with the Beluga Whales in Churchill, experiencing the Floe Edge in Nunavut, and even drinking a Sour Toe Cocktail in Dawson City. Exploring Peggy’s Cove to Whistler and everything in between.
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There has been lots in the news about travel starting up again from the US and Canada, and countries re-opening for international tourism. We featured a couple of these countries in recent newsletters, namely Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
We wanted to update you on a few things regarding booking travel at this time. It’s important to note that, even though a country has decided to accept international tourists again, the availability of accommodations and tours will be limited. And may be for quite a while.
Using Iceland as an example, a good number of the moderate hotels in Reykjavik have been designated as Red Cross quarantine hotels, so are not available for tourism stays. Read More >