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Business Travel, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

Under the Radar Cities to Visit in the USA

April 14, 2015

Toronto is a great hub to our neighbour to the south but sometimes the more popular cities are just too…popular or expensive. While you’re in Toronto for a short or long term stay, we found these cities to visit in the USA that are quick jaunts which are alternative destinations to the more celebrated cities you may know and love.

Cities to Visit in the USA  1. If you like San Francisco, try San Diego You can still leave your heart in San Francisco but if you want a change of pace, go south of Los Angeles to San Diego. There’s tons of surf, sunshine, and fish tacos; the ideal combination for an idyllic getaway. As a stopover it’s much closer to cruise port destinations like Mexico. Plus, there’s over 90 craft breweries in the city. If you’re with the family, there’s plenty to such as exploring Legoland, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and whale watching (over 20,000 whales migrate here from December to April.)

2. If you like Nashville, try Savannah  though Tennessee is experiencing a Cities to Visit in the USA resurgence beyond Music City (we even named it one of our top destinations for 2015). Home to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), the city is full of design shops and good eats, just like Nashville. Affordable hotel and flight packages are also in reach so you can stroll amongst the oak trees and fountains, the ideal weekend getaway that may not be as busy as Nashville.

3. If you like New York City, try New Orleans We’ll admit that there really is no place like NYC in the United States but as an alternate destination full of great Cities to Visit in the USAfood, lively entertainment, great shops, and strong cocktails, New Orleans is a great second choice. Likely, it may be friendlier on your wallet and an opportunity to continue to support its residents 11 years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Check out its food and drink festivals like the French Quarter Festival in April; the New Orleans Wine and Food Festival, May 20-23; the Oyster festival on May 30, and the boozy Tales of the Cocktail festival in July, which attracts the nation’s best bartenders.

4. If you like Austin, try Oklahoma City Twenty years ago, the only thing Oklahoma City was known for was its downtown bombings. Now, it’s on the verge of attracting a similar young and vibrant demographic to Austin or Portland (Oregon). Artistic types will love the Paseo Arts and DeadCenter film festival in May and June, respectively, without the big crowds and high prices of Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival phenomenon. In late May, don’t miss out on the H&8th night festival, where live music and food trucks merge together for one night. And if you think you’re missing out on that famous Texan BBQ, chow down on Backdoor BBQ’s “Beastwich,” for fare compare. An hour drive from OKC is the BBQ ‘N Blues festival in Cushing, not something that would be unlikely in Austin. OKC may be the weekend escape you’re looking for this summer that’s a bit closer to your home away from home in Toronto.

5. If you like Portland, try Detroit Though Portland, Oregon easily wins our hearts for its enviable food and beer scene (and Cities to Visit in the USA  multitude of food trucks); easy navigation, and quirky characters, Detroit can offer the same experience without the plane ticket if you’re staying with us for a short or long term stay in Toronto. It has a thriving microbrewery scene; an art scene and many abandoned buildings that are great for photographers; and quaint neighbourhoods like Corktown, home to boutique hotels like Honor & Folly. Give it a try. You might be surprised!

What’s your favourite under-the-radar cities to visit in the USA? Where would you like to travel to in the United States this summer?

Business Travel, Family Vacations in Toronto, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

10 Things You can Carry on a Plane

March 27, 2015

Things you can Carry on a Plane Since 9/11, travel has gotten much more restrictive but it doesn’t mean that that are there aren’t certain things that you still can’t bring on a plane. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSCA) is the official source of what items to carry on a plane. Some are a bit quirky. Others are a bit more practical. When you are traveling, here are our top picks of things you can carry on a plane.

1. Axes. Looks like that Battle Axe League in Toronto is really taking off!
2. Breast Milk. Passengers flying with or without their child will be permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than 100 ml provided it is presented to the Screening Officer for inspection prior to screening. Gel or ice packs are also permitted.
3. Corkscrews. Without the attached knife, your corkscrew is permitted on your carry-on or checked luggage. Things you can Carry on a PlaneYour swiss army knife will likely be confiscated.
4. Cremated Remains. Cremated remains in a container may be packed as part of your carry-on baggage. The container, however, must pass separately through the x-ray machine. For more information, please check the special procedures in place for screening cremated remains.
5. Razor Blades and blade cartridges. Razor blades that are encased in their plastic holders (disposable razors and razor blade cartridges) are permitted in carry-on baggage.
6. Ink/Toner Cartridges. You can carry-on but surprisingly, not check ink or toner cartridges in your baggage. Note: Ink cartridges things you can carry on a planewith a capacity of 17.6 oz. (500 g.) or more are not permitted in checked baggage for all flights – domestic, U.S. and international.
7. Juice for babies and baby food. Other things you can carry on a plane are baby formula, food, juice, water and other baby items – these are allowed in your carry-on baggage or personal items. You can take these through the security checkpoints and aboard your plane. However, you must be travelling with an infant under two years of age (0-24 months). You may bring gel or ice packs to keep your baby products cool. All items including formula must be presented to the Screening Officer and will be inspected.
8. Non-prescription medication. These items are considered to be essential non-prescription medications. You are allowed to carry volumes greater than 100 ml (3.4 oz.) in your carry-on baggage. These liquids must be declared to the Screening Officer separately. Documentation to support your medical needs or condition is not required; however, if you feel that it would help ease your screening, it should be presented to the screening officer along with your medically necessary items.
9. Protein Powder
10. Syringes. Must be for personal medical use, and the needle guard must be in place. The person must possess medication that is to be administered by means of the syringe or needle and biojectors. To facilitate screening, CATSA recommends that the medication be properly labelled (professionally printed label identifying the medication or a manufacturer’s name or pharmaceutical label – For more information, click here.

What are your essential items for carrying on a plane?

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?

Lifestyle talk, Markham

Welcome to Circa’s Furnished Rentals in Markham

February 18, 2015

Furnished Rentals in MarkhamLocated right along Highways 7, 407, and 404, Markham is a spacious city which is a great place to reside and a great place to raise a family. If you are looking to reside in Markham, whether it’s a short term rental, or for a long-term stay in Toronto’s GTA, here are a few of the amenities our Circa property offers.

1. Close proximity in the City of Markham. In addition to being close to Toronto’s major highways, the Circa furnished rentals in Markham are also in close distance to the GO station and York regioFurnished Rentals In Markhamn transit. For those who have families, babysitting services, local parks (like the Too Good Pond) are right across the street, and community centres are nearby. We have previously discussed a number of great things to do in Markham, including the array of Chinese food options in the city, shopping at both Markville Mall and Pacific Mall, and historic Unionville.

2. Award Winning Apartments for Rent in Markham. We don’t have to tell you we are known for our modern suites, and full-service furnished apartments with all of the bells and whistles (including 24 hour security and a satisfaction guarantee policy). People know us for our quality because we won the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

3. A FantastiFurnished Rentals in Markhamc Fitness Centre. When you stay at the Circa, you’ll save on expensive gym fees in the city. In addition to a modern gym, there is an indoor pool and whirlpool as well as a sauna and change rooms. Each member of a registered suite can bring two guests to the pool. This amenity will save you time and money. It’s all right here!

4. Pets Allowed! Don’t want to travel without Fido? No problem! You are permitted one pet in your furnished rentalsFurnished Rentals in Markham in markham. A reminder that all pets are to be leashed and carried through the Common Areas of the building at all times.

5. Parking. Save the fee and hassle of street parking, as it is included in your suite rate! As per our policy, additional parking is available upon request and additional charges may apply. Please note that the clearance of the parking garage is 6 feet.

No matter the reason you are in Markham, our Circa property offers the full-service experience in the heart of the city. Enjoy your stay!

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Food & Recipes, Markham

Five Romantic Things to do in Toronto for Valentines Day, 2015

February 11, 2015

Romantic Things to do in Toronto for Valentines DayToronto is a chock full of places to get romantic but if you wanted to get creative, go beyond the restaurant. If you’re not snuggling up in your furnished suite in Markham this year, opt to take your date to one of these great events just in time for February 14 (or opt to go when there are no crowds!). Here are our favourite romantic things to do in Toronto for Valentines Day.Romantic Things to do in Toronto for Valentines Day

1. A Helicopter Tour. What better way to cozy up to your significant other than up high in the sky with a different vantage point of the beloved TDot? Toronto Heli Tours has special discounts for your special one for a private flight for two.

2. Paint! Maybe you were inspired by that movie Big Eyes. Or maybe you’re inspired by your lover. Take the inspiration to the canvas in this creative way for a date. Paintlounge has three different locations near our furnished apartments in Markham and Downtown Toronto. Their special packages for valentines run from February 12 to 15, 2015.

3. Board Games. Popular board game cafe, Snakes and Lattes has taken date night to another level with its second location, Snakes and Lagers. Board games, beer, and a speciRomantic Things to do in Toronto for Valentines Dayal someone. What better way to get to know someone (and how competitive they are!)

4. A Tasty Tour. What better way to surprise your sweet than with a sweets tour? Toronto’s only sweets tour, Tasty Tours, will help you explore the best places to get those chocolate truffles for your loved ones and are running tours on Valentines Day.

5. The Toronto Zoo. Not just for the family, the Toronto Zoo’s So You Think You CaRomantic Things to do in Toronto for Valentines Dayn Romance event has you discussing the romantic habits of animals over dinner (next year you can book the sold out dinner at Ripley’s Aquarium, another one of our favourite places in Toronto). This event is on both February 13 and 14, 2015.

What are your favourite romantic things to do in Toronto for Valentines Day?