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Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

How to Avoid Expensive Holiday Airfares

March 12, 2015

Save on AirfareAs many of our guests are, you may be on the go and expected to travel frequently, whether for business or pleasure. (Check out our tips here on how to get the best deals.) But sometimes, the only time you can get is over the holidays –when everyone else is traveling. Here are some ways how to avoid expensive holiday airfares.

1. Do not book last minute. More likely than not, the closer you travel to your desired date of departure, the higher the price of your flight. You may be lucky and get a last minute fare -if others are not going to your destination or it’s not a popular destination – but the best advice is to book as far in advance as possible. This advice is especially useful for summer travel to Europe and the recommended time to book is around three to six months in advance, if possible. Rumour has it, however, that the ideal number to book in advance is 49 days or 7 weeks in advance.avoid expensive holiday airfares

2. Be flexible with your dates and times. Inflexibility could result in a higher airfare. If you cannot budge on your date or time or if you’re traveling on a weekend, this will increase the costs of your flight. But if you can travel on an early weekday (Monday to Wednesday or even a Saturday, as some experts say) or in the early mornings/nights or nudge your date a day or two, it could be worth the change in savings.

3. Track your fare. Services like Yapta and airfare watchdog enable you to track and analyze when your flight price will increase, which can help you make decisions.

4. Alternate modes of tranAvoid Expensive Holiday Airfaressportation. If your flight is too expensive, consider driving to your destination or taking an alternate airport like Buffalo (a popular option in recent years). What you will lose in time, you will make up in savings.

5. Points. If you can’t get around the cost for an airfare, using your airline points (if you are loyal to one airline), Air Miles, or a co-branded credit card that will accumulate points for you, will help towards the cost of your flight.

How do you avoid expensive holiday airfare or save on flights? We’d love to hear your tips! Do check out our top ten essential travel apps for your next trip here. Of course, if you’re staying in Toronto, check out our properties.

Fitness and Health, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

Five New Trends in Travel, 2015

February 20, 2015

TravelIn the past five years, travel has made significant changes. We’re going farther to more adventurous and closed-off destinations; we depend on technology for our travel decisions; we’re focused on making healthier decisions to extend into those when we travel (and airports are taking notice); and we want more for less – when we fly and where we stay. Here are the some new trends in travel that you may see pop-up as the industry continues to change, evolve and make the process easier and more convenient for you, hopefully while keeping the price affordable.

1. Closed-off Countries are Opening Up One of the biggest news items of 2014 was that Cuba and the United States were restoring their relations with each other since the Cold war era. This means that travel restrictions could soon be loosened for Americans on a country that is one of the most popular travel destinations for Canadians. There is no prediction on how this will affect Canadian travel patterns to Cuba but here’s hoping it will be positive (if anything, hopefully, the food options will improve once the embargo is lifted).

Similarly, travelers are flocking to Myanmar since government reforms and the election of Aung San Suu Kyi (an activist of democracy and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient). An untrodden country is now open up to capitalism, so it will be interesting how Myanmar will evolve from these changes. Other countries that were feared by travelers from either politics, religion, or disaster like Iran and Haiti are getting a boost from tour operators like G Adventures as safer and textured places to travel.

2. Airports are getting healthier. Being healthy on the road has been an increasing trend over the past 5 years. Just look to SFO where you can take a yoga new trends in travelclass; and the introduction of a Goodlife fitness location at the Toronto Pearson International Airport (Pearson). At Pearson, healthier and more varied eating options are now available to improve your experience via some of the best chefs and restaurants in the city.

Roger Mooking just opened Twist, which features a comprehensive breakfast menu, a step up from that sausage on an english muffin you were getting from Starbucks for the same price. Freshii is a great grab & go option, which will help you hit the mark for your 5-a-day. For heartier meals -or at the very least, fresh meals try Corso for its pizza (from famed Libretto chef, Rocco Agostino) and Boccone Trattoria Veloce for great Italian food (from Mistura’s Massimo Capra). Also look out for new restaurants coming soon from Chefs Lynn Crawford (Ruby Watch Co.), Susur Lee (Lee, Luckee), and Claudio Aprile (Origin), where you will likely see hearty and healthy fare, global flavours and twists on airport food.

That said, if you want to chow down on a smoked meat sandwich from one of Toronto’s most popular restaurants, there is now a Caplanksy’s in both Terminals 1 and 3. Rejoice!

3. Premium Economy and Better Boarding Practices.
Getting those perks of business class – like more leg room, better meals, privacy dividers, and lounge access – for a price less than business class but slightly higher than economy class, is something travelers are willing to pay for, as reported by Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler. This is especially true for airlines that offer longer haul flights like Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Finnair, Japan Airlines, and New Zealand Air (search for their Skycouch). Just make sure to read the terms and conditions for refund policies (which are much more lenient in business and first class).

Boeing has recognized the increased need for better bins for carry-on luggage and has created Space Bins for its 737s. They feature more room for carry-ons (up to 174 bags, almost a 50% increase from its current capacity) and are now lower so it’s easier to hoist your bag up into the bin. Hopefully, it will be this trend and not “Carryon Shame” that people will discuss this year (which has its own twitter account).

new trends in travel4. The Accommodations Rental. Alternatives to hotels are getting more popular as travelers want to be situated in local areas but have the amenities and decor of a hotel room. With DelSuites, you’re in luck! Not only are our furnished apartments and suites situated across the GTA in central locations to get the best of a local experience but they are also have modern interiors and extras like stocked kitchens (plates, cutlery, cleaning supplies) and laundry facilities. Many of our properties also have state-of-the-art fitness facilities and some will have a pool (like our rooftop pool at 300 Front Street East across from the CBC. A full review is here). If you are in Toronto, it’s the ideal solution for a short-term or a long-term stay.

5. Giving back and back to nature.
According to the Deloitte Hospitality 2015 report (source: Responsible Travel) 95% of business travelers surveyed believe the hotel industry should be undertaking ‘green’ initiatives.

Awareness of sustainability is also influencing trip decisions to destinations where you can volunteer like Haiti or New Orleans. Travelers now want to unplug to new trends in traveldestinations where they can’t acess their wifi. National and State parks are a big trend in North America. Instead of big cities (where half of the world’s population lives), think of that road trip to the Redwoods National Forest in California, Oregon’s coast, hiking Machu Pichu, or walking along the Trans Canada trail in our home and native land. Closer to home, we have one of the most majestic parks, Algonquin Park.

Companies like Pack for a Purpose encourages guests to bring essential items to local communities who have development goals in their partnership with hotels. As a business traveler, this is a simple and small thing you can do to help developing cities and nations.

What are the biggest new trends in travel you think will happen for 2015?

Community Events, Entertainment, Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, North York, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

Top 5 Things to do on Family Day

February 12, 2015

Family DayAs one of Ontario’s statutory holidays, Family Day is a time to connect with the ones you love. This year Family Day falls on the Monday after Valentines Day on February 16. Whether you’re hanging out in your furnished suite in Etobicoke or want to go somewhere nearby, here are our ideas on some things to do on Family Day.

1. DJ Skate Night. Harbourfront’s Natrel Rink is just steps from our 300 Front Street property and a great activity to spend with the whole family. On Valentines Day they are hosting the last of their weekend DJ SkaThings to do on Family Dayte nights and this event is a queer-friendly theme.

2. Get Away for the Weekend. There are tons of choices for great weekend getaways near Toronto in the winter (we wrote about that here!). If you want a soak not too far from Toronto, try the Nordik Spa at Gatineau Park, 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa. It is the largest spa in North America and features baths (hot, cold and temperate), 8 unique saunas, infinity pool, outdoor and indoor relaxation areas as well as a restaurant & lounge with terrace.

3. Play ToThings to do on Family Dayurist. Visit an iconic Toronto tourist attraction for the first time that you haven’t been to or look at it from different eyes the second or third time around. Check out our top ten things to do in Toronto. Toronto in Ten Photos for exploration inspiration is here.  Or you may want to check out our ten fun family activities in Toronto. Another option is to check out some of the incredible exhibitions at one of our many art galleries downtown and in North York.

4. An in-night. Sometimes, staying in and relaxing can be one of the most enjoyable weekends. Get a board game, order-in, have a movie or TV marathon, plan your next vacation, or oThings to do on Family Dayrder your groceries from Grocery Gateway to cook dinner for your loved ones. (It is one of the many services we offer.)

5. Specific Family Day Events. Toronto Tourism has a great round-up of events from iconic attractions and landmarks in the city. There are also a lot of things to do on Family Day in Etobicoke, Mississauga, Brampton, and Markham.

There are plenty of things to do on Family Day. Enjoy your Monday off with the people you love.

Downtown Toronto, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk, Vacation Travel

The Best Destinations for 2015

January 23, 2015

Best Destinations for 2015 As we settle into 2015, we may be thinking about our travel plans for the year and our vacation plans or island escapes. Our list is based on destinations that have dominated travel magazine headlines; places that are newsworthy, have flown under the radar for the past few years, and are booming with new hotels, attractions, events or dining scenes.

Nashville, Tennessee
No longer solely the destination for starry eyed country musicians, Nashville has become a mecca for foodies; less honky-tonk and more Music City, home to popular musicians like the Black Keys, Kings of Leon, and Taylor Swift. Until the ACE Hotel comes along in 2016, try The 404, a hotel and restaurant hybrid, housed in a former garage (very similar to Chicago’s Longman & Eagle). Get acquainted with the burgeoning hip neighbourhoods and food scene with Walk Eat Nashville! tours. Don’t forget to get a reservation at the new outpost of Husk, from famed chef Sean Brock, who interprets Southern cuisine in a modern way. Late night? Check out hipster-themed Pinewood Social, where you can drink, eat, lounge by the pool, bowl and sing karaoke. If you’re looking for an alternative to Los Angeles or Charleston for a fun weekend escape, this is your ticket.

Toronto, Ontario
This year, your home away from home, Toronto welcomes the Pan Am Games from July 10-24. The metropolis is gearing up with the games with new facilities, including the Best Destinations for 2015 revitalization of the West Don Lands. Explore the Corktown Commons park (with a picturesque view of the city skyline) and a pit stop at new, upcoming cafe, Odin. New restaurants and bars are opening up at a rapid pace. Look out for Bar Isabel’s second outpost, Bar Raval on College Street and try the sleek Rush Lane if you haven’t had a chance. DelSuites has furnished apartment rentals in Toronto for short-term stays, including a review of our 300 Front Street West property. We also have guides to North York, Mississauga, and Etobicoke, if you need a place on the edges of the city. Here are ten photos and ways to get inspired to see the beloved T Dot.

Portugal

Situated on the western edge of Europe, Portugal is a great country to explore independently and solo. Travelers are now taking advantage of its coastal delights (by the beach and on the table); its stylish hotels; and more affordable prices than its European neighbours. Ride the historic tram 28 through the city of Lisbon; take a day trip to the Unesco-world heritage site, Sintra, with its glorious mountains and architecture; or head north to Porto, with its golden beaches, its first Michelin-starred restaurant at the Yeatman hotel, or a wine tour of the Duoro Valley. Don’t forget to bring home some port!

Best Destinations for 2015 Taiwan
Off the radar of other Asian countries, Taiwan is a clean, active and filled with delicious and affordable eats. Taipei has experienced growth in the past five years and is expecting a few new hotels like the W, Mandarin Oriental, and Citizen M to open in the next two years as it ramps up to be named the World Design Capital in 2016. Taiwan is more than its capital. The ideal R&R can be found in the idyllic Sun Moon Lake. With its hot springs hotels and meandering bike paths, it’s a nice 1-2 day getaway. Take the high speed trains down south to the majestic Taroko Gorge (ideally, if you can get a guide to drive you there, it is a drive of a lifetime). Further south, you’ll find another food capital: Tainan. Tainan is known as the city of snacks and is as chock full of street food as it is Taipei, whether it’s tofu, chicken chop or those addictive steamed dumplings (xiaolongbao).

Myanmar
This country formerly known as Burma until 1989 feels like going back in time. That said, now at the helm of democracy activist, Aung San Suu Kyi and with a change in government in 2010, Myanmar is rising to the top of traveler’s wish lists. E-visas make the process to explore a little bit quicker too. As a result, travel magazines list Burma at their top destinations and consequently, a flurry of hotels, restaurants and other trappings of western civilization will result in places like Yangon and Bagan to meet tourism demands. Like any good traveler, do your research, and try to glimpse at this magical place and meet the locals while you can. There are quite a number of tours here including Woodland Travels, G Adventures, and Kensington Tours.

What are your travel plans for 2015? What would you include on your best destinations for 2015?

Lifestyle talk, Sun Destinations, Vacation Travel

Sunny Getaways and Island Escapes for 2015

January 8, 2015

Sunny Getaways and Island EscapesWhen the Canadian weather gets cold, wet, and slushy, thoughts immediately scurry to soft white sands and eight hours of sunlight. Sunny getaways and island escapes vary from year to year. If you have a case of cabin fever in your temporary housing North York or Toronto, it’s time for an escape or some R&R this winter. Our sunny getaways and island escapes for 2015 are based on destinations that are a mix of those destinations that have been newsworthy but also offer the luxury you’re looking for on a vacation.

Cuba
Cuba may be at the top of your list for that cheap and cheerful vacation since President Barack Obama’s decision to lift American trade embargo against Cuba, after 54 years. Though American citizens can’t legally travel to Cuba yet, it could happen sooner than you think. Whether it’s an all-inclusive getaway to Varadero, a historic trip to Havana, or less-visited spots like Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Coco, Trinidad, or Holguin,or tour more parts of the island via cruise, Cuba is having its moment. It’s your moment to bask in those beach glory days.

Bermuda
No longer a site for just the rich and famous, 2015 is the start of Bermuda’s moment in the sun. In October of 2015, it will host the America’s Cup World Series, the first stage of competition in the America’s Cup, a racing circuit which features the best sailors in the world. This competition is the lead up to when they host the America’s Cup in 2017. Though known for its sailing and its famous beaches, Bermuda needs to be known for its scenes in both food and culture. Check out one of the best collections of Bermudian art at Masterworks (and take that instagram-worthy photo of the John Lennon statue just outside); concoct your own scent at the perfumery; or take a bike ride (tour or solo) the historic Railway trail. If you can’t make it for the America’s cup, fly into town for the Rugby Classic in November. Whether you’re having a high end meal at local favourite, Port O Call, on bustling Front Street or just want a great sandwich like the sky-high fish-stacked one on raisin bread at Art Mel’s Spicy Dicy, you won’t go hungry!

Your retreat? Rosewood Hotel’s Tucker’s Point, complete with its own beautiful artwork at the Point restaurant; some of Bermuda’s best golf courses, and its own beach. That is if you’re not ordering room service in one of its spacious suites with a view of the Atlantic Ocean outside of your balcony.

St. Lucia
Listed as one of Lonely Planet’s top ten countries to visit in 2015, it’s our pick because it offers a mix of a luxury all-inclusive vacation and an adventurous element with its Sunny Getaways and Island Escapesscenic trails on lush landscapes. Whether you opt to stay at themed luxe resorts like the BodyHoliday by Le Sport or Boucan’s stunner, Hotel Chocolat, they’re both great resorts alongside activities like hiking the Tet Paul Scenic Trail or the adventurous trails of the iconic Pitons. Taking a family vacation? Coconut Bay is a great option with its waterpark and paintball facilities. Bonus: there is an adults only section to the side of the resort.

Haiti
It has been five years since an earthquake rocked Haiti but it doesn’t still have to be off your radar. The western Caribbean island is set for a rebirth from the ashes. For you, the traveler, try a tour from G Adventures. Their cultural and sustainable tours will enable you to visit a foundation teaching arts to at-risk youth, learn about Vodou culture, savour creole cuisine and visit Basin-Bleu in Jacmel. If you wanted to partake in the voluntourism trend and help those still affected by the earthquake, there are a few organizations out there making that happen. Yoga Ventures has two retreats in July and October that will offer a mix of volunteering with daily yoga. Elevate Destinations combines a beach vacation with a volunteer trip and works with the Edem Foundation – a non-profit supporting the education of children in Haiti and the development of economic activities in Haiti by working with local communities and offering youth leadership programs. Not into volunteering? You can stay at a number of new hotels that have opened up in Port-Au-Prince recently like The Best Western Premier Sunny Getaways and Island EscapesHaiti and the new Marriott hotel to open early in 2015.

Indonesia
If you’ve been looking to go somewhere further afield, Indonesia may be your ticket to an island escape. Opt for popular Bali with its luxurious infinity pools and rice paddy fields, or booming Jakarta (Fairmont, Raffles, and the St. Regis are opening properties here in the next year). Our picks in Bali include the Chedi chain of resorts or the secluded One Eleven Hotel, offers pools and private yoga in each villa. Yoga retreats are equally as popular for the R&R you need away from your regular routine. Desa Seni and The Yoga Barn in conjunction with Bali Spirit offer holistic yoga programs and accommodations.

We hope our 2015 island escapes have given you inspiration for your 2015 winter vacation. Where are some of your favourite sunny getaways and island escapes?