Ways to travel better

Travel Better

Vancouver, BC #61207 Okanagan #203886 Milos, Greece #208258 Vancouver, BC #133171

You can never travel enough, for there is always something new to discover, higher mountains to climb, deeper caves to explore. Finding ways to travel better is a challenge for every trip. Every place we uncover leaves us a little wiser; every pavement we’ve paced is a lesson learned. Here are some of those lessons that can make your travel more enjoyable and memorable.

Pack light. Maybe it’s a cliché but this is the number 1 rule when you talk about traveling. You must know the difference between what you need and what you want. Pack everything you need, the basic items, those you can’t survive without. And maybe after packing and realizing you really don’t need a lot, you might still have some room for extra shoes or that paperback you are currently reading and trying to finish. Traveling light is traveling freely.

Know the local basics. It is important that you have basic knowledge of the place you are going to visit. Rules and regulations, as well as customs, vary from one place to another. What is legal in your city can be prohibited in another. Knowing the basic rules and policies can save you from doing something offending or upsetting to the locals while you are in their area. This will serve as your guideline in your traveling. Remember: ignorance is not an excuse.

Speak their tongue. It will also make a huge difference if you have some background in the local language. A few local words or phrases will go a long way. Communication is an essential part of traveling. Investing in the basics is a great idea.

Miraflores, Peru - put your <a href="http://www.rosettastone.com/learn-spanish">Spanish</a> to the test! Unit ID - 124785

Miraflores, Peru – put your Spanish to the test!
Unit ID 124785

Be spontaneous. Planning a trip is exciting. It is thrilling to make itineraries of places you want to visit, of activities you want to do, of foods you want to try. But please do not plan too much. Over-planning kills endless possibilities and opportunities. You might miss a lot of unexpected surprises as you are trying to keep to your schedule. Let the experience be more spontaneous, not stressful. Traveling is about meeting new people and making new memories, not living another day of routine or checking lists and following timetables.

Stop the fear. Don’t be afraid to acquaint with strangers. Go ask for directions if you don’t know where to go. Don’t hesitate to try new things. This is what the trip is all about: facing unfamiliar challenges, encountering extraordinary adventures along the way, expanding your horizon. Be open and explore the unknown.

Mingle with the locals. When you visit a place, make sure to get to know the people. Knowing its people is learning about its culture. Go where the locals spend most of their time, eat where they usually eat. When moving, it is better to use their public transportation system. This way, you can really get around the place and get to know it more intimately. Find time to mingle with the crowd and you will learn everything you need to learn about the place.

Ferry crossing to Charoa Island Resort, India

Ferry crossing to Charoa Island Resort, India

Spend less. Don’t spend your time, money and effort on buying things that will occupy a lot of space in your luggage. By the end of your vacation, you might find yourself carrying too much. Instead, spend them on experiences that don’t weigh at all but matter most. Like dining out and trying local foods, plucking up some courage and take part in activities offered, visiting important landmarks and many more.

Prioritize. Time is always scarce. So you need to know which places you need to see first. Traveling without priority is like traveling without a compass. You might visit loads of places and realize you didn’t get where you really needed to go.

Get lost. Getting lost is the best way of immersing yourself into the experience. Talking to strangers and asking for directions is a sure way of learning about the place. Wandering off the grid aimlessly while enjoying the people, the weather, the scenery is an excellent way of relaxing and spending a vacation.

Water Lilies and a Swim Pond. 206589

Jay Peak, Vermont – Water Lilies and a Swim Pond. Unit ID 206589

Make memories and document them. Taking pictures and collecting small mementos is encouraged. You don’t want to forget a superb vacation, right? You can even make a scrapbook to document your travels and make notes of the things you need to improve. So the next time you plan another trip, you can flip its pages and add a thing or two to your checklist.

Exotic Car Rentals for Every Occasion

Here’s a guest post regarding luxury car rentals. What a great way to make your vacation even more special by renting an exotic car at your destination!

Rent an Exotic Car on Vacation

Exotic Car Rentals for Every Occasion

The world of luxury cars is tantalizing, even if you aren’t a car person. There are vintage muscle cars for old-school motor heads, luxury sedans for consumers who crave elegance and exotic cars for aficionados. Today, the options are endless. Luxury cars can be rented for any kind of special event, like a romantic drive on the byways and scenic highways of America, a night on the town or a trip to the beach. There’s no question that a luxury car rental can make any occasion special.

Rental Options

Driving through the city or cruising on the open highway is a pastime that can become unforgettable in a luxurious vehicle. Some of the most popular rentals today are the iconic Ford Mustang, a symbol of American power, the high-speed Chevy Camaro and the convertible Mercedes-Benz SLK 350. Putting the top down is more fun and more exciting in a luxury sports car. No doubt.

Making a big impression isn’t only about horsepower and muscle. Many luxury rides come in discreet packages. Mercedes S-Class sedans lead this category. This posh sedan is the vehicle of choice for business, pleasure and especially traveling dignitaries. Rentals are also about affordability. So if you want a practical option, try a Volvo, Volkswagen, Lincoln, Audi, Cadillac, BMW or Jaguar.

Who says you can have luxury and off-road power? Hummer, Mercedes and Land Rover lead the SUV pack. Hummers have become a modern classic, and Land Rovers are the original off-road wagon, but the Mercedes G-Class SUV is a serious rival with its rugged exterior, agile handling and handcrafted components. The Cadillac Escalade is the most popular vehicle in the burgeoning SUV category.

The Upper Echelon

Cadillac, Lincoln and Mercedes are certainly luxurious and definitely exciting, but they aren’t the only exotic rentals out there. The most exotic cars have world-class styling, extreme performance and a host of luxury features. They have fancy foreign names, more horses under the hood and enough style to turn heads on any drive. Anyone who admires German engineering will love the Mercedes SLS-Class Coupe, an absolute beast with gull-wing doors and a roaring hand-built engine. Of course, there are also fancy James Bond-worthy cars like Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, Bently and Rolls-Royce. The modern superhero might also choose a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Lotus or futuristic driving machine that’s built for speed. Driving an exotic car is the difference between arriving in style and making a statement.

Exotic Car Rentals

The one percent who can afford the ultimate car are likely to buy one. For the rest of us, there are rentals. In most cases, drivers need to be over 25 to rent a speedy sportster and complete the rental agreement. Exotic cars and vacation home rentals are available in most major cities, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York City, Miami and many others. Choosing the car is part of the fun. Do you want a classy, understated ride, a smoking fast roadster, vintage muscle or an all-purpose SUV that’s ready for any adventure? Make a list of your top three choices to make sure that you get one of the rides on your list. Luxury car rental services from VIP Concierge connect clients to the hottest, most exotic cars in every city, and they can find the perfect car for any special occasion. What are you waiting for? Rent a car, and grab the keys.

Romantic getaways in BC

Romantic Getaways in BC

Kissimmee, Disney World Area, Florida #54906 Silver Star, BC #201340 Myrtle Beach, SC #203745 Disney World, FL #200944

Is winter getting to you and you need to recharge your batteries? Or perhaps you would like to enjoy a romantic weekend away, just the 2 of you? Picture yourself enjoying views of snow-capped mountains or the smell of the ocean from the comfort of your vacation rental. With all of the comforts and privacy of home, a vacation rental allows you to really relax and enjoy your vacation. Consider spending a weekend or longer at one of the following romantic getaways in British Columbia.

Ucluelet

Ucluelet - #143468Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island is Ucluelet, a small village popular for its variety of recreational activities.  Catch some waves surfing, kayak along the ocean shoreline or enjoy a day hike in the Pacific Rim National Park. Care to kick back and relax? Take a leisurely walk along Long Beach. Get cozy with a glass of wine by the fireplace of your vacation rental and watch the winter storms roll in. Enjoy a romantic dinner overlooking the ocean or pick up some fresh seafood and a bottle of BC wine, and enjoy a fun, laid-back evening cooking and laughing together. Whatever you choose to do, the stunning natural beauty of the area will be certain to renew your spirit even after a few days.

Victoria

A short ferry ride from Vancouver  or Seattle, Victoria is a city with its own distinct charm and character. Victoria is well known for its mild temperatures, in fact so mild that flowers bloom all year long. But don’t forget your umbrella as it does get its share of rain. Experience its British heritHorse-drawn carrige ride in Victoria, BC #206745age with a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride and high tea in a formal tearoom, or explore the city at your leisure by renting bicycles or kayaks. If shopping is your thing be sure to check out Antique Row, a street purely devoted to antiques and other collectible items. Experience Canada’s oldest China Town and walk North America’s narrowest street, Fan Tan Alley.  The city also has a lively night life and a culturally diverse community. Plan ahead and make sure to check out Victoria’s calendar of events to take advantage of all that is going on.

Kootenays

To really get away from your everyday life, consider taking a trip to the Kootenays. During the winter, the Kootenays offer amazing outdoor adventures including powder skiing and boarding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Choose a romantic and cozy one bedroom vacation rental in communities such as Kimberley, Fernie, Panorama or  Golden.

After a day on the slopes, relax those tired muscles in the privacy of your own hot tub or Jacuzzi.  If convenience is important, consider staying at Panorama offering a self-contained ski in/ski out resort. For backcountry adventures, consider Kicking Horse Mountain in Golden, the champagne powder capital of Canada. If you are looking for volume: it’s at Fernie Alpine Resort where they receive an average of 29ft of snow annually. No matter where you choose to stay, you will be sure to feel rejuvenated after spending so much time with Mother Nature.

The Okanagan

For couples with an adventurous spirit, the Okanagan, or the Okanagan Valley, is a perfect travel destination. Nothing is more romantic than exploring the ski village Apex Mountain #203654of Apex Mountain and enjoying the snow and exhilarating outdoor activities together. And how about spending some time in the wilderness by enjoying a hike in the spring or summer? It sure makes for a romantic day to be out in the open air and marveling at the wildlife with a romantic picnic for two. After your hike, you might want to try one of the many wine and dine activities hosted here or visit the many beautiful wineries and orchards, as well as sample the wines that these lovely places offer.

Do you have a favourite romantic destination in BC you would like to share?

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.

Escape the cold this winter

Ready to escape the cold?

Maui #1538 Kauai #12293 Cape Coral, FL #201367 Calpe Coral, FL #201360 Mahahual, Mexico #204634

Have you had too much of the cold and snow? Perhaps you’ve been snowed in longer than you actually enjoyed. Yes, the pristine white all around is just too hard to ignore! And although sunny snow days can have their fun moments like making those cute snowmen and having entertaining snow fights, it can also get to be too much. If the weather has been uncomfortably cold for more than a month, the snow will begin to get you down until it finally gets on your nerves and affects your mood, too.

So after a few weeks of enjoying the snow capped grounds, you will soon crave more sun and a little bit warmth just to cheer you up! There is something to be said for a little extra Vitamin D that the warm sunshine can provide as a mood lifter. That’s why you have to fly somewhere warm and sunny. Plan you trip now!

Here are a few destinations and accommodations you might want to consider when you plan that brief yet unforgettable break to flee from the cold and snowy weather.

Castaways Cove in Grand Cayman

Beachside relaxation at this 2 bedroom condo at Castaways Cove in Grand Cayman – #203029

 1.      Grand Cayman’s Castaways Cove. It’s hard to think of sunny days and sandy beaches without giving this Caribbean island a thought. In fact, it is one of the most popular island beach destinations because of its many magnificent beaches that would appeal to the most selective of tourists and vacationers. Anyone can simply choose from one of their many  attractions and find the perfect place that suits their tastes as well as their budget. Grand Cayman’s Castaways Cove, located on the less populated portion of the island in the East End, has all the elements of one perfect holiday including a breathtaking view of the Caribbean. Enjoy one of those top floor condos and be ready to vacation like a VIP. Select one of the rooms with a king sized bed and bathtub and get ready to have your best vacation ever. It’s easy to spend the lazy hours of the night lounging in one of those cool patio chairs as you take in the soothing and relaxing island breeze. There are also provisions for a kitchen, as well as a grill area where you and your family can enjoy your very own homemade barbecue recipe.

Bangtao Beach - #207336

So much to do on Bangtao Beach – #207336

2.      The Residence Resort and Spa at Phuket’s Bang Tao Beach. Phuket has become one of the most popular beach destinations in recent years and it is no surprise that this Thai island has become a top choice for both local and foreign tourists. The unspoiled beauty of Bang Tao Beach is considered by many the best Phuket has to offer, not to mention, it is also the longest beach in the country. If you ever find yourself heading to this side of Thailand, one of the best places to get accommodations from is The Residence Resort and Spa. Not only do they meet the flawless European standards with their luxurious villas, it is also a top choice for its proximity to the beach and the airport. This world class, 5 star resort is set in a very reclusive tropical garden which is the most featured appeal to those who value their privacy even while on vacation. Notable amenities also include provisions for a barbecue, Wi-Fi, a gym, a large private swimming pool and a spa – which all aim to give any visitor a vacation of a lifetime.

#202808 in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Sunset from the 3rd floor patio in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico – #202808

3.      The Penthouse Delfin in Mexico’s Nuevo Vallarta. Some parts of Mexico are known for their hot, dry climate which makes it another top pick for a warm getaway during the wintertime. Idyllic sandy beaches are one of its most popular attractions. You can’t go wrong choosing any of Mexico’s sunny destinations if you aim to escape the snow and the cold in your country. A notable choice will have to be the Penthouse Delfin situated in Nuevo Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. This one bedroom penthouse allows any tourist to vacation like a king with its very own private jacuzzi and a stunning view of the dolphins taking a swim below. A panoramic view of Puerto Vallarta, as well as the enthralling sunset view are but some of its added charms.

Maalea vacation rental #204782

Come to Maui, enjoy life and know why we say “Maui No Ka Oi” (Maui is the best!!!) – #204782

 4.      Maalaea Yacht Marina in Maui. Hawaii still is and always will be a leading destination if you are yearning for the sun, the sand and the surf. Known for its many stunning beaches, it is summer all year round in this state. And the locals do not just say Maui No Ka Oi for nothing. At this accommodation, be blown away by the seemingly endless stretch of beaches just outside your windows. In addition, this island paradise destination is just a walk away from some of the islands famous attractions, including Haycraft Park, Kealia Nationa Wildlife Refuge, as well as your chance to enjoy a number of outdoor and water adventures. Here in Maalaea Yacht Club, their Posturpedic pillowed beds are just the tip of the iceberg.

Where are you heading to escape the cold this year?

A great vacation idea: Catch a Broadway play or musical

This way to the theatre

London, England #205337 Wimbleton, England #204608 Las Vegas, NV #206475 Downtown Vancouver, BC #205096

Some of us love the theatre and try to take in a play or show whenever possible. Others need to be gently pushed to “to give it a try”! Years ago my gentle pushes paid off when I convinced my other half to take in a show. It was a dinner theater production, but that was my strategy: The ‘dinner’ was my leverage and I figured he would appreciate having the excuse card (“I went because of the food”) in his pocket should he ever have to tell his buddies about it.

Fortunately, he’s never used that card. In fact, I receive random texts every so often from my husband that are all in caps so that I know he’s serious, saying, “WICKED IS COMING TO VANCOUVER, WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO?” I smile to myself over what I have unleashed!

The majority of us immediately thinks of New York City when considering a Broadway show. Not only can you enjoy an authentic Broadway experience, you can shop, take in the sites and experience the sounds of New York City while staying in your home away from home.

Lovely 2BR apt in Brooklyn Historic Neighborhood 20mins from the CITY

Lovely 2BR apt in Brooklyn Historic Neighborhood 20mins from the City – Property ID 207480

All Broadway tickets for musicals, plays and even for off-broadway showings can be found through Broadway.com; you never know what movie star you may get a chance to see!

In the hip and trendy city of Vancouver, BC, theatre abounds with world renowned shows. With Owner Direct Vacation Rentals offering a wide variety of accommodations guaranteed to suit everyone’s needs, taking in a Broadway play or musical should really be on your list of “to-do’s”.

Million Dollar View - Downtown Vancouver - Unit ID 123023

Million Dollar View – Downtown Vancouver – Property ID 123023

What about skipping across the pond to London and spending the evening listening to all the greats by the Beatles?! Featuring “Let It Be” at the  Savoy Theatre, this theatrical musical concert will be a sure hit for everyone. Check out the London Theatre Guide for all listings and to purchase tickets.

Wonderful Covent Garden one Bedroom Flat in the Center of London - Unit ID 205337

Wonderful Covent Garden one Bedroom flat in the Center of London – Property ID 205337

So with that, I challenge anyone who has not yet had the opportunity to go to a play or a Broadway show to step out and do so. You will be pleasantly surprised. I wonder if I’d be pushing my luck if I sent a text to my husband saying, “THE OPERA LA TRAVIATA IS PLAYING, WANNA GO?”

For all of your vacation needs, pop by and visit Owner Direct Vacation Rentals.

 

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.

Pet friendly vacation rentals for you and your furry friend

Pet friendly vacation homes

Scottsdale, AZ #205534 Croatia #204904 Big White, BC #202059 Vancouver, BC #205479 Sun Peaks, BC #203919

It used to be very difficult to find accommodations that opened their doors to the furry members of the family. Thankfully this has changed! Many vacation home owners have dogs of their own or have simply realized that welcoming pets is a great way to attract a wider range of guests who plan their vacation getaways to include their dogs and cats. As dog lovers, we know that our furry friends love the snow, those great beach days and long hikes just as much as we do, and quite frankly the vacation would not be the same without them. No longer is it necessary to leave our four-legged friends behind, only to worry about them and wonder whether they will forgive us after we return. Here are some great pet friendly vacation rentals to get you started. The snow has started to fly, xc ski areas are opening and the downhill resorts are not far behind. Check out this great dog friendly condo up at Big White Ski Resort, located just outside of Kelowna, BC, Canada.  There’s room for everyone to warm up beside this fireplace.

Dog Friendly Big White Condo

Property ID 202059 - Dog friendly Big White condo

Along one of the most amazing coastlines in the world, we found a fantastic “let your tongue hang and chase the waves” beach for Fido by using a private path from this Arch Cape, Oregon unit. Located just 4 miles up the road from Arch Cape is the world-famous Cannon Beach, which is one of the most dog friendly towns along the coast of Oregon.

Unit ID # 207799 - Arch Cape, Oregon

Property ID # 207799 - A dog’s dream beach!

How about exploring some of the designated hiking trails for dogs throughout Smoky Mountain National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee? While the park somewhat limits where your dog may go, for a real sense of adventure try the Gatlinburg Sky Lift, taking you and your pooch up 1800 ft. over the Crockett Mountain and providing you with the most spectacular view of the Smoky Mountains.

Endless trails - some designated for dogs

Property ID #107489 – Great Smoky Mtns. of Tennessee

While we have showed you just a few of our pet friendly vacation rentals, we want to assure you that finding your ideal accommodations to include your pampered pet is very easy. Simply visit Owner Direct Vacation Rentals, choose your desired destination then toggle “yes” in the search settings option for “pet friendly rental” on the left side of the page. Remember to wag more and bark less!

Featured destination: Big Island, Hawaii

Big Island

Kailua Kona #74659 Kailua Kona #140662 Kailua Kona #142934 Kailua Kona #112939

This week we have a guest post from Discover Hawaii Tours:

The Big Island is definitely one of Hawaii’s most beautiful spots. Though Oahu is usually the first island most people think of when Hawaii is brought up, there is just as much to see and do on the Big Island – if not more! With beautiful rainforests, beaches, volcanoes and wildlife, the Big Island certainly has its own unique sights and landmarks to experience. Spending a day, or even a few there is definitely a must do when visiting.

Nature awaits with many surprises in Hawaii and on the Big Island. But not only does the Big Island have many natural sights, it also has a rich history. Guided tours can shed light on times past, when the Hawaiian natives developed the traditions and rituals that remain to this day.

With regards to beaches, there are many great ones to stop at and take a swim at, such as Onekahakaha Beach Park near Hilo, Kahaluu beach near Kona, or Kealakekua Beach south of Kona. Don’t forget to visit the Punaluu black sand beach as well. You can even visit the Kapoho tide pools if you’re looking for something besides the beach.

One of the Big Island’s most amazing landmarks has to be Mt. Kilauea. One of the most active volcanoes on earth, visiting this mountain and the Volcanoes National Park gives you the chance to see the lava flow, walk through a lava tube, and learn many things about volcanoes at the museum.  You could even take the Big Island Hawaii Volcano Eco-Adventure Tour, which can get you an amazing view of the volcanoes!

You can purchase locally made products, such as Kona coffee and raw organic honey right from the Big Island. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, the Hilo Farmers Market is open from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Featuring over 200 local farmers and crafters, this market is certainly an amazing one, with an abundance of fruits and vegetables, many of which are grown on the Hawaiian Islands.

There are also a few Eco tours available that will take you to and from the Big Island. One of them, for example, takes you around the island to various sights and then to the Volcanoes National Park. Some include Waipio Valley, an amazingly beautiful and remote valley, not accessible by car. Zipline tours are also available. If you want to be adventurous and see the beauty of the Big Island in an exciting way, you should consider going snorkelling, going out to see whales in the ocean, swim with the dolphins or going on a sunset cruise that departs from the Kona Coast. The options for fun things to do on the Big Island are endless.

There are many things to do! Check out Discover Hawaii Tours to get started. You can experience many things on the Big Island, making it a trip that will be an experience of a lifetime.

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.