5 tips to travel light and organized

It sure is quite a hassle to carry those oh-so-big bags and carry-on’s while traveling. You don’t realize it when you pack them, but you will have a better travelling experience without those heavy bags, whether you travel to one destination or multiple. Yes, I know it is rather exciting to pack for your next travel adventure and sometimes, we cannot help but go overboard. The most experienced travelers will tell you that it is so much more convenient, not to mention smart, to bring only the essentials and travel light whenever you go out of town.

Here are a few travel packing do’s and dont’s that I bear in mind every time I have to pack for our family vacation. Mind you, the rules never change whether we are going away for a quick getaway or a week-long trip to a far-off place. Read on to learn something you might find useful for your next trip.

Flipflops pack small and light!

Flipflops pack small and light!

  1. Love ‘em flip flops. These lightweight shoes are such space savers in your luggage and the ideal choice for travelers. In most areas, they are fashionable enough that you can wear them either with casual beach attire or with some nice dresses and slacks. Beautiful accessories will complete the look. These days, slightly more substantial light shoes such as Sanuk or Tom’s are available that are just as thin and easy to pack.
  2. Keep things organized in resealable bags

    Keep things organized in resealable bags

    Re-sealable bags do the trick. If you aim to keep everything organized when you are travelling alone or with your family, then those nifty re-sealable bags will be your best friend. These bags make organizing your clothes, toiletries and other travel essentials easy as pie. If you are a mom with a number of children, you can neatly pack each of your brood’s stuff in separate bags so they can easily retrieve them later. Packing before going home is also easy with these clear and labeled bags. The newest addition to this are compressible clear bags that do not let the air bag in after it is squeezed out, therefore saving a lot of space.

  3. Encouraging bigger children to pack their own bags. It will be of much help if you let in the children on the packing chores. If they are bigger, you can even inspire them to bring their own backpack to travel. They can stuff it with items that might come in handy while you are aboard the plane or train, like a book or a plushy to keep them entertained, or packs of snacks in case they get hungry while on the road.
  4. Do not over-pack. Easier said than done, I know. It might be overwhelming to pack especially for a travel adventure you have been dreaming about for a long while. You might want to bring as many items as you can fit in your duffel bags. But, trust me, you will only end up having a hard time carrying those over-packed bags. So be smart and create a list of the stuff you really need to bring so you can be sure that you are only bringing the essentials. If possible, try to live off this lot for a few days to find out what you use and what you don’t use – Haven’t we all packed extra shirts or pants that we rarely wear at home but thought would be great while on vacation? Chances are if you don’t wear it at home, you won’t wear it on vacation. While you are at it, do not forget to include your camera, your mobile phone charger, vitamins and med for the kids and your wallet on the list.
  5. Make an itinerary. Once you are at your dream travel destination it is easy to get excited and eager to explore as many things as you can. It is best that you do your research in advance and create a list of the places to visit and the things to do when you get there. Being organized even while traveling will allow you to enjoy your vacation to the fullest – minus the stress and the headache.

America’s covered bridges

One of my favourite tourism excursions is visiting covered bridges. Although covered bridges are usually associated with romance – blame it on the role they play in the movie “The Bridges of Madison County” – these bridges were built out of practicality. The bridges allow people to cross lakes, streams or rivers. They were covered to protect not only the people using the bridges but also the bridge itself from any weather disturbances that might cause the wooden parts to deteriorate. This way and with a good dose of proper maintenance of the roofing, a longer life span for bridges was ensured. Covered bridges have been built in America for more than 200 years now, and the oldest covered bridge was built in 1825, making it a hundred and 88 years old.

Covered bridges are commonly located in the countryside and rural settings. They are usually parts of idyllic scenery and rustic beauty of non-urban places.  They act as extensions of main roads and provide access to areas that are typically not covered by main routes, making traveling easier for traders and travelers.  And most of the time, they are the very reason people travel that way.

In America, covered bridges are historical treasures. Every state has at least one that is still in use. Pennsylvania, having more than 200 covered bridges, holds the title for the most number of these bridges within the state. This state record represents about one-fourth of authentic bridges built and still standing in the United States.

The very first covered bridge in America was located in Pennsylvania. The Permanent Bridge was built as early as 1805, but was devoured by fire in 1875. It was never restored. Pennsylvania is also home to the world’s longest covered bridge, the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge. Built in 1813, this 5690 foot bridge crossed the Susquehanna River for 19 years until it was ravaged by ice in 1832. The bridge was never reconstructed. The rich history of Pennsylvania bridges gave birth to more bridges that withstood the roughness of time and nature.

Visit Doylestown - Property ID  204917

Visit Doylestown – Property ID 204917

One of the oldest covered bridges found in Pennsylvania is the Sachs Bridge in Gettysburg. Also known as the Saucks and Waterworks Covered Bridge, it was built in 1854 and was used in the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War in America. It is one of the most historical bridges in Pennsylvania. A flash flood damaged the bridge badly but it was repaired in 1997. Another bridge in Pennsylvania is the Weaver’s Mill Bridge located in Lancaster County. It crosses the Conestoga River and is red-and-white painted, traditional to all covered bridges in Lancaster.

One of the most beautiful, and probably the most famous, covered bridges found in America is the Roseman Covered Bridge located in Winterset, Iowa. Made famous by Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, this particular covered bridge is one of the most visited of all. It was built in 1883 and some renovations were completed in 1992. Another famous covered bridge is the Wawona Covered Bridge in Yosemite National Park in California.

West Cornwall covered bridge is an attraction in Housatonic Meadows, a park in the state of Connecticut. Built in 1864, it underwent major renovations after the flooring in 1940 and was strengthened by steel bars in 1973.

One of the recently restored covered bridges is the Arthur A. Smith Covered Bridge. Named after a Civil War captain, this specific bridge is a survivor. It is the last surviving masterpiece of Theodore Burr, a well-known bridge builder from the 19th century, famous for his Burr arch. It also survived relocation from North River to Lyonsville Road in Massachusetts way back in 1886.  For a long time it was left unused in its deteriorating state and was only reconstructed in 2005. Today it is open to pedestrians once more.

One of the oldest covered bridges is found in Covington, Virginia. Built in 1857, Humpback covered bridge is designed with an arc shape. The middle being four feet higher than both ends, it is designed to protect the center from floods, the usual reason for a bridge’s falling apart, therefore increasing its life span. This covered bridge became a favorite for tourists and photographers for its unusual design. Another covered bridge found in Virginia is the Meem’s Bottom Bridge in Mount Jackson. Built in 1893, it was functioning for eighty years allowing cars to drive across the North Fork River until 1976. It was destroyed not by flood or any natural disasters but by vandals who thought setting the bridge on fire was a good idea. The original woods were recovered and the bridge was rebuilt adding some reinforcements such as steel beams.

Chincoteaugue Island, Virginia - Property ID 11590

Chincoteaugue Island, Virginia – Property ID 11590

Another favorite covered bridge for photographers and painters is the Artist’s Bridge in Newry, Maine. Being true to its name, Artist’s Bridge is no longer open to traffic since 1958 but remains an inspiration for making beautiful pictures and paintings. It is one of the remaining nine bridges presently standing in Maine that survived the floods and disasters for a long period of time.

Do you have a favourite covered bridge you’ve visited?

5 Tips For A Stress Free Family Vacation

The children’s break from school is the perfect time to plan that highly anticipated family vacation. Each member of the family is surely excited at the thought of enjoying a lazy day at the beach, going on a new adventure or, in the winter, enjoying a thrilling ski vacation with a picturesque view of the snow capped mountains. Family vacations are where memories are made.

BangTao Beach - Phuket - Unit ID 205909

BangTao Beach – Phuket – Unit ID 205909

It is definitely an amazing experience to travel with the entire family but it can also be unnerving and stressful at the same time. There are a few life hacks you might want to bear in mind to allow yourself a stress free time while in another country or in an obscure destination in the middle of nowhere. Here’s 5 great tips to have a stress free family vacation.

Travel Light

Nothing adds unnecessary hassle to your travel adventure than having to carry around huge luggage and bags. It can be time consuming to wait for them at airports and very inconvenient to move around, either on your backs or lugging them to different locations. The key is to pack light and systematically. Bring only those things you will actually need for your journey and leave those stuffed animals, extra shirts, or those huge books at home. Make a checklist so you won’t end up stashing everything into your backpack just to ensure you have not forgotten anything. You can also let the children carry their own bags, fill it with a couple of their clothes as well as with items that they might need a number of times while traveling, like wet wipes or their favorite binky or blanket, for example.

Color Coordinate Your Clothes

If you are planning to visit a number of popular tourist attractions, where people flock in like bees day in and out, it will be most convenient to color coordinate the entire family’s wardrobe to make it easy to spot your family members at any given time. Make sure you wear the same shade of tees or the same hat color while visiting a national park or a very populated beach. It will save you precious amounts of time trying to locate your son or your daughter in a throng of people.

Maximize Your Budget

While on vacation it is probably unwise to book yourself and family into a very expensive accommodation when you intend to spend the entire day at the beach or outdoors, anyway. Opting for those plush hotel rooms will just burn a hole in your pocket when you plan to make the most of the sun and outdoor adventures. It’s just money down the drain. Opting for vacation home rentals will allow you to enjoy a very comfortable accommodation at a fraction of a hotel room’s exorbitant price. Having kitchen facilities to cook meals can also save on costs too. The money you save from that hotel room can be spent on other things that will allow you to enjoy your vacation to the fullest, like a boat trip to a secluded island or snorkeling, perhaps.

In the heart of downtown Victoria, BC - Unit ID 205195

In the heart of downtown Victoria, BC – Unit ID 205195

Experience Local Food

Apart from the beautiful and amazing attractions, the local cuisine is also a pride of any destination you may be. It would be most practical, not to mention quite a welcome experience, to sample the local delicacies and dishes while on vacation. Try some of those local hole-in-the-wall restaurants and eateries that offer equally interesting and tempting food instead of opting for the famous restaurants or fast food outlets you otherwise see everywhere. Selecting a local restaurant will also allow you to possibly save on your food budget, learn more about your surrounding location and offers the option of meeting more locals too.

Plan Your Schedule

Of course, it goes without saying that you really have to iron out your schedule when you plan to go on a family vacation. Apart from clearing everyone’s schedule so you can all go on a trip, it is also a must that everyone has an ample amount of free time right after your vacation. It will allow for unplanned and unnecessary delays, like flight delays or booking mishaps. Naturally, you cannot schedule a weekend getaway to a far off island when your oldest daughter is scheduled to march to her graduation next Tuesday. It will surely be very stressful trying to catch the quickest flight when everything is delayed and the weather is not cooperating so your child will make it in time for her graduation.

What tips do you have that has helped make your last family vacation stress-free?

The best trail running destinations

Hit the Trails

Property #205147 Oliver, BC Property #125959 Whistler, BC Property #119020  Dunster

Trail running is one of the most popular sporting activities of many tourists, and it’s definitely on top of my favorite things to do during a vacation. With the many different trails I have been on, I find that each of them is different. Each trail offers a unique experience. Different scenery, different terrain and different challenges but in the end, each of these experiences give the runner the same rewards: satisfaction from completing it and many life lessons that have to do with taking risks, persistence and hard work. Here are some awesome trail running destinations I would like to share with you, each of them offering something different, something fresh and something exciting.

Kalalau Trail in Kauai, Hawaii No photograph can ever capture the beautiful experience of running on the Kalalau Trail. This is an 11 mile trail which was built in the late 1800s. The starting point is the Ha’ena State Park and the end point is the beautiful Kalalau Beach. Before reaching the final destination of the trail, you will traverse through 5 beautiful lush valleys. There are many reasons to run this trail. Among them are the beautiful sights of towering sea cliffs, waterfalls, beaches that have pure white sand, fruit trees especially lots of guava trees as well as some ancient Hawaiian ruins. But the main reason you should travel this trail is for you to see a beautiful view of the Napali Coast. The trail is the only land access to the Napali Coast which is on the northwest part of Kauai. The Napali Coast is the most famous coastline in Kauai and features emerald green pinnacles along the shoreline and a scenery that is to die for.

Lovely Sandpiper 2BR Condo - Sleeps 6 - DSL - Ocean View, Princeville, Kauai - Unit - ID 9134

Lovely Sandpiper 2BR Condo – Sleeps 6 – DSL – Ocean View, Princeville, Kauai – Unit – ID 9134

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Issaquah, Washington Operated by the Regional Trail System of King County, Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is based in Issaquah, Washington, with a huge area that spans from the Cascades and Seattle and from Bothell and Auburn. This is one of the country’s most wide range multi-purpose off road systems and boasts of more than 175 miles of trails which are perfect for different outdoor adventures including bicycling, horseback riding, walking and hiking. The Regional Trail System covers an area from Seattle to the Cascades and from Bothell to Auburn. The system provides endless of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoor as well as numerous venues for recreation.  King Country Trail is the perfect choice for those who are looking for pleasurable and fresh way to enjoy the region, as well as communing with nature, exploring and living a much healthier and more active lifestyle.

El Morro Canyon Loop in Laguna Beach, California An 8.9 mile loop trail near Laguna Beach California, this trail is rated as moderate or intermediate, which means it’s not too easy and not too difficult. The trail is set in a forest setting so expect to see different types of animals while you run the trail. This trail is accessible all year round and can be run, hiked or biked. Some even complete this trail riding a horse. It can be quite gruesome when the weather is too hot, particularly during summer. There are lots of steep climbs for you to surmount. But, once completed, it will make you feel very satisfied and accomplished. Somewhere on the trail, you will find a cave where you can have a restful break and be recharged before you complete the rest of the trail. Make sure you have plenty of water to rehydrate your body while running this trail. A solution for the hot summer season is to run this trail early in the morning. The beautiful ocean view you’ll get to see on this trail is going to be all worth it.

Hermosa Beach Accommodations - Close by Laguna Trail Unit ID 203518

Hermosa Beach Accommodations – Close by Laguna Trail Unit ID 203518

Long Trail, Winhall, Vermont Considered as the United State’s oldest long-distance trail, the Long Trail situated in Winhall in Vermont, was built between 1910 and 1930 by the Green Mountain Club. The trail prides itself of its 273 miles of routes that spans the length of Vermont, running from the Canadian border to the state line of Massachusetts, including some of the state’s densest of forests and highest of peaks, following the main path of the Green Mountains. Any run on the Long Trail may require a lot more patience, as well as walking and hiking expertise, because of the steep and unexpected climbs and falls. Some adventures folks were able to conquer the entire trail in less than a week, including the Pennsylvanian carpenter, Jonathan Basham, who finished it in four and a half days back in 2009. Most of the trail system’s milder climbs and running trails can be found in the southern portion, like the first 10-mile run from Massachusetts to Congdon Chelter just near Bennington.

The world’s greatest dream trips

Dream Vacations

#135749 Palm Springs, California #203573 Canmore, Alberta #206028 Zrenj, Croatia #205800 St. Tropez, South Coast of France

Every place has its own beauty and mystery that needs to be unraveled. And for this reason alone, our list of the world’s greatest dream trips is going to be long. If you have the opportunity to travel, try to visit some of these places.

The Caribbean is a perfect destination, whether you are a beach lover or not. Get lost in its many idyllic island destinations and marvel at the beautiful and romantic island sunsets. If you love anything outdoors and natural, this is also a perfect place to visit. Explore their numerous coral reefs, as well as its beautiful and diverse marine life.

Japan is another great destination to explore. It is amazing how this country continues to advance in technology while preserving their oldest traditions and practices. Learning about their arts and culture is an experience you will absolutely enjoy. You might also want to admire those cherry blossoms in bloom.

The neighborhood - Unit ID 205591

The Tokyo neighborhood – Unit ID 205591

Cherry blossoms behind - Unit ID 205591

Tokyo cherry blossoms behind Unit ID 205591

 

 

 

 

One of the most adventurous destinations to discover is Australia. The Land Down-Under is blessed with pristine aquatic environments, popular with surfers. Koalas and kangaroos add to this land of diverse wildlife. And don’t forget the Sydney Opera House! Australia also offers many adventure activities such as hiking, skiing and cycling.

What a view from Unit ID 208267

View of  Surfers Paradise – AUS Unit ID 208267

100 Private Acres - Unit ID 207861

100 Private Acres in Australia – Unit ID 207861

 

 

 

Another dream place to be is Antarctica - if you want a unique and rare, albeit cold, adventure. Despite the chilling cold that will envelop you in this endeavour, it is a once in a life time experience. A trip to this majestic continent will allow you to meet some black and white animals that are endemic in this part of the world such as penguins and those mischievous but beautiful orcas.

Another two-toned species that you might want to get acquainted with are the cute and cuddly panda bears that are native in China. Conservation areas and sanctuaries are provided for this endangered species in this country. You might also want to walk the famous Great Wall of China. This is one of the Seven Wonders of the World for good reason.

Room to entertain - Unit ID 127487

Room to entertain in Hong Kong – Unit ID 127487

India is another stop you don’t want to miss. The home of the great Mahatma Gandhi, India is a religiously diverse country that people choose as a destination when travelling a deep and enlightening journey. Another reason to take this route is the magnificent Taj Majal. It is one of the finest architectural masterpieces in the world. You can also take a peek at the peaks of the Himalayan range which borders India from the neighboring countries.

Take in the sunset while dining in your seaside home - Unit ID 204062

Take in the India sunset while dining in your seaside home – Unit ID 204062

If you are interested in history, you might want to add Peru to your list. The fascinating Machu Picchu is a must-see. One of the new Seven Wonders of the World, this structure was built in 1450 by the Incas. There are other ruins to be examined and explored in this part of the world.

Another archeologists’ and historians’ paradise is located in England: Stonehenge is a pre-historic structure which is believed to be raised around 3000 BC. Despite the mystery that surrounds the monument, it has been a religious destination for pilgrims.

If you’re looking for some romantic locations, France is the place to be. Paris, being the most popular city in France, is considered one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. The City of Light is a haven for people who love arts, history, and fashion. Home to the well-known Eiffel Tower, Paris is also known for the most visited museum in the world, The Louvre.

The infamous Moulin Rouge near Unit ID 83492

The infamous Moulin Rouge in Paris near Unit ID 83492

After touring France, you might want to jump to another famous European country, Italy. Known for its arts and architectural contribution to the world, Italy attracts artists and students who want to learn more about their craft. Going to Rome, you might also want to visit The Vatican City. It is located inside the city but it is an independent country on its own.

People watch from your terrace - Unit ID 205485

People watch in Rome from your terrace - Unit ID 205485

Family Estate with swimming pool - Unit ID 115968

Family Estate in Rome with swimming pool – Unit ID 115968

 

 

 

The list could go on. There are so many destinations to choose from. Wherever you decide to go, just enjoy the trip and make the most out of it.

 

A review of Okanagan ski resorts

Ski the Okanagan

The Okanagan is popular as one of the best skiing destinations in the country. When winter comes, the Okanagan ski resorts are blessed with lots of snow and good weather. This and the presence of world-class ski mountains here make it a downhill and cross country ski paradise for many tourists who love to ski.

Let’s take a look at the major Okanagan ski resorts here, offering ski in, ski out accommodations, ski lessons for very affordable rates and fast lifts. These ski resorts do welcome family vacationists and have services especially tailored for those traveling with children.

Big White Ski Resort

This ski resort near Kelowna, BC, is perfect for those with children as they have plenty of facilities and services that cater to kid’s needs. The resort is only a 45 minute drive from Kelowna. Some state-of-the art facilities here include a children’s centre operated by Happy Valley Gondola, a Kid’s Learning zone, skating rink, a Mini-Skidoo centre and a comfortable day lodge where the kids can warm up before and after skiing. Kids will surely have loads of fun and will never want to leave. You don’t need to worry if this is the case because the resort has an After Dark program where you can leave them behind to have some quality time with your partner or spouse.

Of course, the adults are never left behind in the fun. Up on the mountain, all adults, whether they’re beginners, intermediate or advanced skiers, can enjoy the slopes. Each of the lifts has a green run down, where even beginners can experience the 2,500 feet of vertical. Intermediates can take on a never ending cruiser that starts high up in the trees and ends on the valley floor, deep in the trees. There are also fantastic runs fit for those seeking more of an adrenaline rush.

Unparalleled excellence in this 5 bedroom 5 bathroom home (Sleeps 22) – Unit ID 90232

Apex Mountain Ski Resort

Only a 35 minute drive from Penticton, BC, this resort is one of the gems of Canadian skiing. Apex Mountain Ski Resort is a full service resort with high quality snow, amazing terrain, wonderful weather as well as extra friendly people. Being situated in the heart of the Okanagan Valley, the resort is known to feature the lightest powder imaginable. It receives around 600 cm of dry powder every winter season. Excitement and happiness are evident in the faces of the locals and tourists as they hoot and holler among the open terrain leaving beautiful and light clouds of powder behind them.

Beaconsfield at Apex Mountain Resort

Mt Baldy Ski Area

Mt Baldy Family Ski Area is situated high above the south Okanagan Valley, in the Okanagan highlands. This area was home to the British Columbia Winter Games in 1985, and is a 45 minute drive from Oliver and Osoyoos.

The community has 95 cabins which are privately owned and a condominium complex which consists of 12 units. Both of these accommodations offer luxurious ski in and ski out lodging. There are 2 T-bar lifts at this family ski area. Baldy T-bar with 1460 ft. vertical and access to 11 ski runs is the main lift. The other lift is the McKinney T-bar which has 450 ft. vertical, access to 3 ski runs and the famous snowboard park. A double-chair lift is also available and is servicing the smaller hill.

Mt. Baldy also offers free-of-charge daytime and nighttime skating for those who love to skate. All you need is a pair of skates. Other facilities at Mt. Baldy include a day lodge, cafeteria, lounge and rental shop. If you love Okanagan powder, Mt. Baldy will not disappoint you as it offers one of the best-kept secrets of the Okanagan Valley when it comes to powder.

Silver Star Ski Resort

Consisting of 2700 acres and 2 distinct areas, Vance Creek and Putnam Creek, this resort has daytime and nighttime skiing operations till 9 pm to make sure you get as much skiing in as you want. Vance Creek is situated on the mid-mountain and allows you to ski in and ski out from your accommodation when you are in the resort, which is 30 minutes away from Vernon BC.

Start your day by taking the Vance Creek Express Chair towards the summit where you can choose from black, blue or green terrain. Beginners can warm up with the green run which is enough to awaken their reflexes and get warmed up for the rest of the day. Intermediates will enjoy the spirit-lifting blue terrain, whether they go for the Gopher Glades, Walt’s Run or the Big Dipper. Advanced skiers will have an enjoyable time at Putnam Creek where steep and fast downhill routes are found on well-maintained trails.

Silver Star Guesthouses - Unit ID 1178

Silver Star guesthouses – Unit ID 1178

Sun Peaks Ski Resort

Carved from the imagination of a woman named Nancy Green, this resort is 45 minutes from Kamloops BC and offers ski lessons at affordable prices. This resort is perfect for beginners because is has services and facilities that will help a beginner become more comfortable with skiing. The green trails are excellent for beginners trying to learn new skills in skiing. The top to bottom Greenie is perfect for first timers who wish to build confidence by going down gently and safely.

The resort has a lot more to offer, including facilities and lifts for intermediate and advanced skiers and those traveling with kids. They have the Kids Ranch animated theme park especially designed for kids who are 3 to 12 years of age. Sun Peaks Ski Resort is a great destination for those vacationing with children and those who don’t have any experience with skiing yet and would like to take advantage of the lower priced ski lessons.

Sleeps 12, Private Hot Tub, and Pet Friendly!

Sleeps 12, private hot tub, and pet friendly!

Unit ID 204878

Now that we have provided more in-depth details on the different ski resorts in the Okanagan, which one will be perfect for your next skiing adventure? Make sure you choose the right accommodation for your ski trip. Check out Okanagan ski accommodations from OwnerDirect now. Accommodations that are ski in ski out, family-friendly and featuring affordable rates are all available for you to choose from.

These ski vacation rentals will make you jump for joy!

Ski season is here!

We love those lovely winter breaks and vacations! Time to reward ourselves for an entire year’s worth of hard work, or to gather our parents and siblings for one unforgettable family getaway that is sure to go down in the books. It is time again to stock up on boots and parkas, and whisk the family away to where it is cold & white, and where just the mere sight of snow capped mountains can take anyone’s breath away!

If you have not planned your winter break yet, do not fret or despair. Sure, it is peak season and you can assume that rates are higher and accommodations might be hard to come by at this time. But thanks to last minute deals, you can still pull off an awesome winter vacation for the family without having to break the bank or stressing out unnecessarily.

Although it pays to reserve your ski vacation rentals a few months back to get the perfect home, it might also be a wise decision to hold off until the last minute, as a number of vacation home owners are dropping their rates at the last minute if otherwise vacant. This will allow you to go on that well deserved ski vacation at a fraction of the original price! An awesome vacation plus great savings, what more can you really ask for?

Should you decide to bring the family to a snowed-in adventure at Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, Owner Direct Vacation Rentals has a large assortment of vacation homes to choose from including some fabulous Okanagan last minute deals if you are running out of time. Check out this cozy, modern ski in/out condo with private deck and hot tub that can sleep 6. Starting at $295/night.

Cozy, modern ski in\ski out condo at Big White with private deck and hot tub.  ID# 104881

Cozy, modern ski in\ski out condo at Big White with private deck and hot tub.
ID# 104881

If you would rather ski at Silver Star Mountain Ski Resort, you are in for a treat if you choose any of OwnerDirect’s perfect accommodations such as this 2 bedroom suite in a duplex. These bedrooms have large windows that will allow you to have a great forest view, just perfect for your getaway!

Beautiful forest view home

Large windows afford you forest views from all rooms. ID# 104959

In case you would like to experience the amenities that Sun Peaks offers, apart from the award winning ski slopes and many boutiques and relaxing spas, go ahead and find the right OwnerDirect accommodation for you and your family. This property is well-maintained to cater to great family gatherings. It has all the amenities you could ever need: 3 bedrooms and a total of 6 beds, a beautiful living room, dining area, kitchen, bedrooms plus a bar area and hot tub inside. What more could you ask for? Get your 4th night for free, except during President’s week, Christmas and New Year.

3 Bedroom , Sleeps 9, Hot Tub, and in-Suite Laundry!

3 bedroom, sleeps 9, hot tub, and in-suite laundry! – ID# 207749

Consider a Whistler Ski Resort getaway, where snow conditions are reliable and two new lifts have been installed for this winter season. Find the best vacation home rentals only at OwnerDirect such as this beautiful vacation rental townhouse in the village. You are sure to get a spectacular mountain view here as this property is located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain in Upper Whistler. Nice amenities await you whether you visit in the winter or the summer. Rent for 2 occupants on a 3 night stay is only $704.

Cozy two bedroom townhome, walk to ski lifts, shopping, restaurants and golf

Cozy two bedroom townhome, walk to ski lifts, shopping, restaurants and golf
- ID# 201780


Fernie Alpine Resort
will not only let you enjoy uncrowded trails and a mild climate, perfect for all those exciting outdoor adventures, but you also get access to 2,500 acres of skiable terrain and the best après ski fun, as well as big discounts, especially if you are an RCR member. If you plan to visit Fernie, you can get access to some of the best OwnerDirect rentals. Check this mountain view suite which gives you a very comfy experience, just like at home. This spot is just a few minutes to downtown and the ski hill. You will never be bored. Love everything in this house especially the cozy electric fireplace in the living room.

Mountainview Suite - Experience Fernie!!

Mountainview suite – Experience Fernie!! – ID# 144950

A winter getaway to Panorama Mountain Village not only promises to be one beautiful vacation, but is also bound to be an unforgettable experience. Try blending in with the locals as you wander the idyllic snowed-in village or be ready for an adventure of a lifetime as you give skiing, snowboarding, and each of the outdoor activities offered on its 2,847 acres of skiable terrain, a try. For those who are highly adventurous this chalet rental will surely make your vacation more exciting. With the Panorama Mountain village being only 1 to 2 km drive from this chalet, you will have fun. Travelling with a group? This is just perfect as each of these chalets can accommodate up to 10 people. There’s enough room for everyone.

Panorama luxury cedar log chalets 2,000 Sq Ft

Panorama luxury cedar log chalets 2,000 Sq Ft – ID# 54254

Finally, no Mont Tremblant vacation is ever complete without braving the famous Linear Park of Le P’tit Train du Nord, considered the longest linear park in Canada, which will allow you to immerse yourself in your experience of Mont Tremblant and the Laurentians. For your vacation, we recommend this executive lake front stone chalet which is only 10 minutes away from the number #1 ski in the east plus 10 minutes to the national park. Staying here will give you a comfortable, peaceful and unforgettable experience with your loved ones. Whether you visit in the summer or the winter, you are guaranteed to have a beautiful view everywhere you look. There’s even a private pool for you to enjoy and a beautiful lake front view. Visit here to find out more.

Supreme stay - Canadian wilderness at its best - Ten minutes to #1 ski in the NE

Supreme stay – Canadian wilderness at its best – Ten minutes to #1 ski in the NE
- ID# 205444

With a variety of last minute winter travel deals it is no wonder more and more people are taking on those 11th hour trips to select winter destinations. These promos and travel deals not only give you more value for your money, but also allow you to experience each travel adventure to the fullest.

So you want to try an Ironman?

Supporting the Ironman Triathalon

Kailua Kona, HI #203668 Kailua Kona, HI ID#87353 Kailua Kona, HI #206849 Kailua Kona, HI #203078 Kailua Kona, Hawaii

Is it safe to say that it is every athlete’s dream to participate in an Ironman Triathlon? Organized by the World Triathlon Corporation, the world-renown triathlon is a one day sporting event which is actually made up of long-distance races that participants must complete within a set timeframe. It includes a swim, a bicycle ride and a marathon in that order without any breaks. The swimming race is 2.4 miles long, the bicycle race is 112 miles long and the marathon is a long 26.2 mile run. In most of the worldwide Ironman events, participants are limited to a 17 hour timeframe to finish the race.

Beginning at 7 o’clock in the morning, all racers must be able to complete their swim in 2 hours and 20 minutes. They should complete the 112 mile bicycle ride by 5:30 pm. And everyone must be able to complete the marathon on or before midnight. The Ironman world championship event is held each year in Hawaii, beginning in 1978, known as the Kona Ironman. There is a sequence of pre-qualifying events to determine who will compete in the championships.

What made Ironman racing so popular is the combination of the difficult race conditions, the length of the individual disciplines as well as the magnitude of this personal challenge for every racer.

What does it take to participate in an Ironman triathlon, and successfully complete this race?

First, you need to be prepared and conditioned not only physically but more importantly, mentally. Because the mind is the most powerful part of our body, it can tell us to do something or not to do it. Your success in the race will depend on how prepared you are mentally for it. Only the ones with much determination will be able to succeed in the race. As we know, an Ironman Triathlon is the world’s most difficult race that takes place within a day. Plenty of motivation and drive is required to succeed in it.

If it’s your first time to participate in an Ironman, you have to determine whether you already have experience racing shorter distance triathlons. For those who have some experience, you can start extending your training and targeting longer races such as an Ironman 70.3 event. But, if you are not a trained athlete, it is advisable to start off with shorter races such as Sprint and Olympic distance events.

Going in shorter races will also help you determine your endurance and physical capacity, and it will help you get a feel for those races, before you actually try the longer races.

Second, you need to start your training well before the actual event. You cannot just show up for these races without training for it. You need to prepare your body and do your best to ensure that you will be able to successfully complete your race. The best way to do this is to set aside at least 10 hours each week for training. If you are participating in the World Championship event, of course, expect that you need to allot more hours each week for training. The longer and more difficult your race is, the more hours you need to allocate for training each week.

You don’t need a lot of special gear to do the training and to participate in the actual race. All you need is a swimsuit and wetsuit, a bike including bike shoes and a helmet, and a good pair of running shoes. You might also need other non-basic gear but these are the most important. We recommend that you go for high quality gear that is sure to last long and make you comfortable during training and competition.

The official website of the Ironman Triathlon can be found at http://www.ironman.com/. Be sure to check it out because there’s plenty of helpful information and resources there that can help you prepare for your race. Then select one of the many Ironman races worldwide, combine it with a vacation for yourself and your family and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment afterwards.

Top 5 destinations to view fall foliage in North America

Get ready to enjoy the fall colours

Tuscany, Italy #39339 Canmore, AB #102154 Mont Tremblant, QC #50734 Hockley Valley, SW Ontario #203112

Fall season is the time of the year when I get more comfortable staying inside the house watching movies, baking, cooking or sleeping. Sometimes I could just lie all day on the couch while reading a good book.

But there’s one thing that makes me look forward to this season and want to go outside: getting to view the fall foliage. The changing colours of the leaves, the smell of the trees, and the autumn sky are enough to lift my spirits up and inspire me to get going. It gives me hope, vitality, and zest to continue with life, happily with enthusiasm and passion.

Because of this, I would like to share my top 5 list of destinations in North America which are perfect for viewing fall foliage:

  1. Vermont, USA – Nothing shows a more perfect view of fall foliage in North America than Vermont. To view the beautiful fall foliage scenery in Vermont, follow Route 100 which winds through the middle of Vermont from North to South. While traveling the route, you will also drive through the Green Mountains where some of the best fall scenery in the area can be viewed. Travelers have noted that the best view in Vermont can be seen when you take a trip in the Killington Gondola up to Killington Peak – a journey 4241 feet long.

    Fall foliage in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

    Fall foliage in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec – Property ID # 200299

  2. Quebec, Canada – One of the top places to go to have a good view of fall colors in Quebec is from the Laurentian Mountains. This place is found in many top fall foliage destination guides and for a good reason. You should check it out. The Mont Royal Park in Quebec City is a place where you can enjoy a stroll while watching the fall foliage. The beautiful contrast between the skyline of the city and the colors of the trees is indeed eye-catching and very uplifting to the spirits. I love going here again and again. Plus if you have kids, you can have them play and stroll around in the park while you marvel at the beauty of the colorful trees or take pictures of them.
  3. Michigan, USA – The Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan offers an especially spectacular scenery of fall foliage in Michigan. Various places in Michigan are highly advertised in televisions and radio for their natural beauty and scenery, and I could not disagree with it. The place is just beautiful, especially during fall season when the colors of the leaves are especially stunning.
  4. Colorado, USA – When you visit Colorado during fall season, you will find that it has a striking difference to the other places you will visit. Commonly, you’re going to see strong shades of red and oranges but the trees found here give out a striking yellow color which is quite unique. You will still see red and orange trees but a great part is yellow forest which is quite pleasing to the eyes and creates a sense of interest. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, you can view fall foliage in Colorado by car, by foot, by bicycle or even by horse.

    Autumn garden in Burnaby, BC

    The front garden in autumn at this award-winning dutch colonial heritage home for rent in Burnaby, BC. ID# 115322

  5. British Columbia, Canada – The West Coast is usually not included in lists when thinking about viewing fall colors. This is because of the abundance of coniferous trees which maintain their green colors throughout the year. But there are great places to view fall colors here. Vancouver is one of these places. Vancouver is a perfect fall getaway destination. Visit Stanley Park, the VanDusen Botanical Gardens and Queen Elizabeth Park where you get the best views of fall foliage. The Okanagan is another great place to visit in BC during the fall season which is also their harvest season. You’ll be welcomed not only by beautiful colors of trees but also by delicious fruits, rolling hills and many wineries to choose from within the area.

Where is your favorite place to visit during the autumn season?

5 Popular Hiking Trails in North America

Let's go hiking!

When it comes to traveling, hiking never gets old! It allows travellers to experience the world around them in close contact. Hiking is one of the best ways to exercise, to bond with peers, to experience nature and to unwind or distress. There are plenty of popular hiking trails in North America, being one of the best places to go for those who are looking for hiking adventures.  Whether you prefer a brisk walk, a stroll, a canter or a saunter, here are the most recommend hiking trail spots you should try in North America. So get ready and put on your hiking boots!

Wailua Falls, Kauai

Wailua Falls, Kauai

1. Kalalau Trail Along the Napali Coast in Kauai Hawaii – This trail is known to be the most famous hiking trail in Kauai, Hawaii. The Kalalau Trail involves an 11-mile hike.  Enjoying a hike here is the perfect way to explore more of Kauai’s natural beauty since about 90% of the island is actually not accessible by road. The trail starts at the end of Kee Beach road. Most hikers stay a minimum of one night before returning to make the most of their travel. Others who are unable to proceed through the 11-mile hike only finish the first 2 miles which ends at the Hanakapiai Beach. Both types of hikes will allow you to enjoy the scenic view of the north shore of Kauai. For camping and day hikes past the Hanakapiai Valley you might need to secure a permit through the Hawaii State Parks Division.

Bow River Three Sisters, near Banff National Park

Bow River Three Sisters, near Banff National Park

2. Johnson Lake Trail in Banff Alberta – This trail is a 3 km loop and has no elevation gain, with the trail head being the Johnson Lake picnic area. Along the lake are Douglas fir trees which are considered to be amongst the oldest in Alberta. Hiking on the Johnson Lake Trail will allow you to enjoy great views of the beautiful mountains such as Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain. The trail around this lake is definitely a fine walk especially during the early season. This is considered as an easy trail in Alberta.

3. The Cory Pass Loop– Named after the Cory Pass in between Mount Edith and Mount Cory, this is a trail found in Banff National Park in Alberta and is considered to be one of the most strenuous day hikes in the Banff area. However, despite the difficulty of this trail, it is highly popular because the views of the limestone monolith of Mt Louis are said to be worth all the effort. The best time to do this trail is during mid-season when all the snow is gone. Additional factors that make this trail a little more challenging is that no water can be found anywhere along the trail, and routes can be difficult to locate.

Hiking in Canmore

Let’s go hiking!

4. Black Tusk Trail in Whistler BC – There are plenty of popular hiking trails in Whistler but Black Tusk is on top of the list for many reasons, mainly for its breathtaking views and incredible geology. A hike on this trail is just amazing. This is perfect for highly adventurous hikers. Standing at the top, you can have a view of almost everything underneath. The Black Tusk trail is actually three hikes made into one. You can access the Black Tusk trail through Garibaldi Lake and return through Taylor Meadows. These two are both great destinations alone but when combined with Black Tusk, it becomes the best. It’s a 30 km hike for a round-trip hike, trail head to trail head.

5. John Muir Trail in Yosemite National Park, California - This is a long-distance trail, about 215 miles. The John Muir Trail runs through the Sierra Nevada Range. The starting point is the Yosemite National Park and the end point is at Mount Whitney with an elevation of 14,505 ft. Mount Whitney is actually the highest point in the continental US. This trail was named after the naturalist named John Muir. July till September is the primary hiking season here at John Muir. A permit is a requirement to enjoy a hike on this trail. A hiker can obtain it from the Yosemite National Park, the starting point of this trail. Only one permit is required throughout the duration of the entire hike.