Travel

 Moving out of your comfort zone can be quite the mental blocker. Travelling somewhere you know nothing about, not knowing a soul… can be stressful. But with all of my useful corky information below you can be sure to learn some useful  realistic tips I have learned over the years of travelling.

The world is yours…….

I know almost about every person I have met has some kind of interest in travelling or visiting some where they have never been before. However I feel as so many other daily things such as work, relationships, pets and bills become the first priority. When I think back to what I spend my money on, I have never ever regretted spending a dime on a plane ticket or doing something unique and thrilling. To travel and explore fills the void of wonder and for myself it actually makes me more creative and it helped me discover more about myself and other cultures.

Once you have decided to let yourself live a little and get out there, the next step is to decide where the heck to go and how can I budget everything accordingly? If you have a burning desire to visit somewhere.. stop thinking about it.. stop telling your friends about it… just do it! Life is short and if you really feel the need to go somewhere then you owe it to yourself to do so.

In 2013 I had a dream of going to visit Paris, I talked about it, I covered my room in Eiffel towers and I thought one day, one day, until It clicked …. what was I waiting for? To be older? To have more money? To have more time? .. Nope! It was just something I kept putting off until I met a good friend of mine who shared the same thoughts and before you know it I booked my ticket the next day and I stayed there for two weeks shortly after. One of the best decisions of my life, but I can truly say self discovery and pleasure is priceless. Do it for yourself, make a list of places you want to go and carve out the time to do it.

Reliable online flight companies;

( Kayak )   http://www.kayak.com/flights
( Sky Scanner ) http://www.skyscanner.ca/
( Expedia )  http://www.expedia.ca/
( Cheapoair ) http://www.cheapoair.ca/
( Air Canada Tango Flights! )  http://www.aircanada.com/en/offers/index.html#YYZ-CA3

Flight Companies ;

Air Canada:

***** 5 Star : Ah Air Canada, that is a sigh of relief! Within Canada we all know we don’t have very many options however Air Canada is by far my favorite. Air Canada is Canada’s largest airline, currently providing service to 178 destinations. They’re headquartered in Montreal, QB and were one of the founders of the Star Alliance Program. They have healthy food, Tv’s, pretty good service and on some of the larger aircraft’s they have really comfortable chairs.  TIP: If you sign up for their email list they send deals all the time of nation wide seat sales etc, and there is usually always deals attached with Tango flights.

West Jet:

Westjet is the second largest airline in Canada, providing flights to 71 destinations across Canada, The United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Westjet is known across Canada as being the “funner” of the three airlines. Stewards and Stewardesses are encouraged to show some personality and have fun on the job, which ultimately leads to a more pleasant flying experience.

  • Friendly & Fun Staff
  • In-flight Entertainment (Satellite TV)
  • Customer Service that cares (They actually reply via Twitter)
  • Free Coffee, Tea, Pop, Juice, and their famous Bits & Bites
  • More legroom than Air Canada
  • Westjet Dollars to help save on future flights

Sunwing:

If you are taller then 4’5 I don’t suggest using Sunwing.  They have the smallest Seats, no TV’s, my flights have always been delayed and my baggage has taken hours to reach the airport. OH! And if your luggage is overweight by a little bit they charge you an arm and a leg per pound.  Sorry Sun wing but you are not a favorite of mine.

Porter Air:

Porter is a regional airline headquartered out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. They’re hands down the smallest airline in terms of size and numbers. This can be seen as either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on where you’re trying to get to. Porter operates primarily in Eastern Canada and parts of the United States. The pros I would have to say is they treat you extremely well and feed you snacks as well as much liquor as you can handle.

  • If you’re in downtown Toronto, you can walk, take the TTC or better yet the FREE Porter shuttle. This saves a lot of money on cabs out to Pearson.
  • Regular seat sales can save you up to 50% off!
  • Complimentary snacks in the Downtown Toronto Airport lounge (Starbucks Coffee, tea, water, juice & cookies)
  • Complimentary WIFI in the Downtown Toronto Airport lounge
  • In-flight liquor is FREE!
  • Complimentary meals
  • Friendly Stewards & Stewardesses
  • Stylish staff uniforms
  • Planes offer plenty of leg room
  • VIPorter for Frequent Porter customers

Transportation ;

Google from your location exactly every transportation option available for airport drop off or pick up.

If you want a comfortable ride check out chaffeur services in Toronto or other locations  http://www.gtachauffeurservices.com/
– A taxi can be a bit pricey but usually will have a flat rate of $50 ( from downtown to Pearson, I suggest Diamond Taxi )
Shuttles range from $25 / $35
– The street car and subway is the cheapest at $2.75 ( however be prepared to travel an extra hour and a half )
– A personal driver is also a reliable source and negotiation of the cost is up to you

 

Packing;

Ask yourself ” what do I need for every occasion?” Day clothes, night clothes, swimsuit, gym clothes, walking shoes.
If you don’t want to be charged an extra $70 for an over weight luggage I suggest you weigh your suitcase at home and always put your shoes and heavy items in your carry on and or purse as you are allowed an extra 44lbs on the aircraft plus the standard 50 lbs for checked baggage.

To create more room in your suitcase I suggest rolling your clothes and putting breakables in the middle. To keep organized plan out your outfits or have each clothing item in a plastic bag  so you know exactly where everything is and you don’t end up with 25 T-shirts and only one pair of pants. ( Yes I’ve done that before )

For long flights I suggest taking a good book, I pod, neck pillow, snacks, water bottle, mini blanket ( It gets cold ) and of course earplugs! ( for screaming babies ) Melitonin is a natural sleeping aid that helps calm your nerves and put you to sleep, for long flights this is key for a good sleep.

Timing;

If your flight departs at 7:00am you should be at the airport no later then 5:45. The airlines won’t allow you to check in or drop your bags after an hour before departure, which means to be safe give yourself an extra 15 minutes in case there is a huge line, traffic or an accident on the way there, or if you end up at the wrong terminal. If travelling internationally I would be safe and give yourself at least 1 hour and 45 minutes before departure.

Unfortunately the airport has absolutely no remorse for a missed flight, and therefore not planning ahead could lead you to spend anywhere from $75 to $150 to catch the next available flight if there is one. Always complete the online check in the night prior to save yourself some time and to confirm your departure time.

Unfortunately, I have had my fair share of missed flights, for reading my itinerary wrong, traffic on the way to the airport, waiting too long in line, and by checking in my bags two minutes too late.  I have also had to spend a full day from 8 am in the airport to catch the next available flight at 7 pm. Trust me, avoid this!

Boarding;

The attendants always call out the row numbers of the people who can board the plane and then follows a huge line. If you are like me and you feel the need to read another chapter of your book or go to the washroom, make a call, paint your nails…. don’t fret, the plane wont leave! Being the very last few people to board isn’t a bad thing because it allows you to skip penguin walking for the next 15 minutes and if there is an empty seat available that you want then you can grab it or if your lucky like me, you might be able to score a full row! Now when choosing a seat always remember to stay far far away from the washrooms, unless you want a constant line of tired, antsy people waiting beside your seat, leaning on you waiting for the washroom.

 

International Flights;

One word… Wine!

Take advantage, relax with a good flick and have a nice complementary mini bottle of wine… or two if you are flying a long flight to China and there are screaming kids beside you. If you have any food allergies or dietary preferences let the airline know online prior to your flight and you can usually have a meal that fits your guide line. If you’re like me and you decide you want to be vegetarian for the day and skip out on the pre-heated meat dish… let a flight attendant know upon boarding the plane, and sometimes they may be able to help. Or bring your own prepared meal.

If you get cold or your legs start going uncomfortably numb, a flight attendant will get you another complimentary pillow or blanket .. or check the unused seats and snag them from there. When exiting plane make sure you check your seat 3 times! Underneath, behind, honestly everywhere! I cannot even explain how many things I have accidently left, and once you leave the plane and exit out the doors you arn’t permitted to go back and try and find your cell phone or passport, unless you have ID.. and if you leave your wallet with your ID in there.. well then you have yourself a situation. Always remember to fill out your landing paperwork and remember your flight information.. aka don’t throw out your ticket just yet.

 

Safe travels! 😉 Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!… Just kidding, just don’t get put in prison, every country has their own set of rules.

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