Culturally Canadian – Why You Need To Check Out Canada Now

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If you’ve never been to Canada and you’re considering going for your next holiday abroad, you’re in for a real treat. This vast country is full of things to see and do along with a rich and unique colonial history which has helped to shape some of the most beautiful cities in Ontario and Quebec. Depending what you like to do and what sorts of things you’re into there is a whole host of options for you to get stuck into Canada. Here are just a couple of great tips.

Getting In And Around

In most cases from the EU or UK the flights you get would likely fly into one of the following cities: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, or Calgary. You can grab a flight to Toronto easily, and it’s got a nice relatively short flight time to and from the UK, meaning there’s no lengthy flights to be had which can leave you exhausted. General flight time is between 6-7 hours which is fairly decent for the length of distance being covered. Once in Canada, getting around can be a bit tricky due to the sheer size of the country. Renting a car if you’re staying around southern Ontario and Quebec is a great idea and will allow you to stop off in any of the towns and cities that tickle your fancy. If you want to head out West though, the only real viable way is by plane unless you have a lot of time at your disposal.

East Coast

The East coast of Canada is a unique mix of French, Scottish and Irish influences peppered with British in there as well. The city of Montreal is stunning and is one of the favourites for those looking to sample the Canadian national dish, poutine. Be sure to check out the equally gorgeous city Quebec for a step back into Canada’s colonial history as well as some truly awe inspiring architecture. In truth, this part of Canada is one of the cultural hotspots and is great for those who are looking to sink their teeth into Canada’s identity as both French and English. For the Scottish and Irish regions, check out Nova Scotia (literally ‘New Scotland’) and the island of Newfoundland. Be warned though – all who step foot on the island of Newfoundland seem to leave a piece of their hearts there. It’s easy to see why when you have food you won’t find elsewhere in Canada, rugged coastlines and friendliness of the locals so welcoming it would warm the coldest winter.

The West

We could honestly chat all day about all there is to see in the west. From Vancouver Island and its stunning scenery and coastline to the Badlands of Alberta, the west of Canada is ideal for those who are looking for an outdoorsy, nature-based adventure. British Columbia and Alberta are prime for those who love everything from hiking to mountaineering, camping, kayaking, white water rafting or purely just kicking back and enjoying the scenery from the balcony of your own cabin in the Rockies.

So if you’re coming to Canada, come well prepared to be blown away, regardless of which side of the country you pick. If you have a lot of time at your disposal, why not rent a car and check out a bit of both worlds? You honestly won’t regret it.

4 Practical Reasons Why You Should Definitely Get Travel Insurance

If you look at your timeline or dashboard today, you will see that it is filled with photos and check-ins of people currently traveling. A lot of us would save up for a grand traveling experience, and for good reason: there is something unique about going out to the world and experiencing the things you have only ever read about. Yes, Australia is said to have some of the best surfer beaches, but how would you know for sure if you have not been there? Malaysia has a high concentration of diverse cultures, but when are you planning to experience it and see for yourself?

But imagine this scenario for a bit: you are on a week-long trip in New Zealand and you find yourself hiking up mountains with your friends. When suddenly, you grazed your right foot on one of the sharp rocks. You will need medical attention so they bring you to the nearest hospital. In emergency cases like this, what are the first things we think about? It is usually how serious the injury is, what should be done to treat it, and how am I supposed to pay for it.

Unpredictable situations such as the scenario presented above is exactly why people get themselves an annual travel insurance. It is one of the best ways to make sure your trip will remain worry-free. To convince you even more, here are important reasons why you should get travel insurance.

For medical emergencies, assistance, and evacuation

If, during the trip, you find yourself getting sick, injured, or needing serious medical treatments, here are the expenses that can be covered with insurance:

  1. Emergency treatments that you and your insurance provider have agreed on. Depending on what you have discussed, this can cover a certain amount that can be fully covered or discounted.
  2. Medical assistance which includes transporting you through ambulance, helicopter, sea rescue boat, and plane. This also covered expenses for sending you home with a medical practitioner on board.
  3. Medical evacuation, if the hospital you are currently in do not have the means to treat your condition.

In the event that something much dire will happen, like permanent disabilities or death, these will be given coverage as well.

Personal Liability

Sometimes, we do not injure ourselves during unforeseen incidents; we accidentally hurt someone else. If you have hurt other people or have broken their property, this can be covered by your travel insurance. But there are exceptions: vehicular accidents and animals that you will bring in the country will have to be discussed further with your provider. If this leads to legal troubles, your insurance can cover litigation expenses.

Missed, cancelled, or interrupted flights

In other times, the emergencies happen at our homes. If you need to cut your trip short, depending on the parameters you and your insurance provider discussed, you can get compensation for your trip. Additionally, if you missed a flight, you can get on the next scheduled flight without having to shell out additional expenses.

Personal belongings

Lost and damaged items can be given coverage. Discussions about your baggage and personal belongings with your insurance provider should include a list of items you deem extremely important and have them covered.

It is always important to be ready for all kinds of situations, especially for traveling. Review these points and make sure you get to have an extensive discussion with your chosen provider.

Inexpensive Communication Tips for Travel Abroad

When you’re traveling abroad, particularly if you’re gone for an extended period of time, one of your top concerns is probably how you can stay in contact with people back home. Unfortunately one of the downsides of traveling internationally is the fact that it can be expensive, or potentially even unsafe from a cybersecurity perspective to communicate in certain ways.

Some ways are cheap, easy and secure methods for communicating no matter where you might be in the world.

The following are some tips.

Consider an International Phone Plan

If you don’t travel that often and you’re only going to be gone for say a week or two, you might bring your own smartphone but talk to your phone company beforehand about getting an international plan with basic data and calling capabilities.

This is going to be less expensive than many other options, and you still get the benefit of having your contact information and your phone number so that you can get in touch with people at home, and they can do the same with you.

Email

Email is, of course, a great way to stay in touch while you travel, but you need to be aware of mail security issues that can arise. When you travel internationally and you email, particularly if you’re using public wi-fi, you’re putting yourself at risk for being the victim of a cyber-attack.

There are email security tools you can use to protect yourself while you’re away, and you can make sure you’re still connected to what’s happening back home, whether it’s personal or work-related.

Google Voice

Google Voice can be a great option for communicating while you’re overseas. With Google Voice, you can forward your calls so that while you’re away and people call you, you’ll be able to answer from your computer or device. It’s like having your phone with you wherever you go, but without the costs of a phone plan and the inconvenience of having to sign up for an international plan.

Portable Wi-Fi

Most of the best free and inexpensive ways to communicate while you abroad require internet access, but as mentioned above, using public wi-fi can leave you vulnerable to attacks.

One solution is to use something like a portable wi-fi device. This would let you use your smartphone and access the internet from anywhere, and you’ll have the benefits of security, portability, and you don’t have to worry about unreliable internet access.

This isn’t necessarily the cheapest option on this list, but it can be one of the best, particularly if you’re traveling with a group and you can all split the cost.

WhatsApp

Finally, a good way to send quick messages and stay in contact not only with people back home but maybe with people you’re traveling with is to use WhatsApp. WhatsApp will let you send messages fast and easily, regardless of the type of phone you’re using. If you needed to get in touch with your traveling companion and let them know, for example of a change of plans that evening, WhatsApp could be helpful.

Regardless of the international communication options you select, always keep security as a top consideration.

World’s Best Festivals One Shouldn’t Miss

Part of the fun of travel is the chance to participate in another way of life. There’s no better means of doing this than to get involved with one of the many colorful festivals taking place each year around the globe. Whichever continent you’re heading to, there’s sure to be something fantastic. Here, we look at five of the best.

Rio de Janeiro Carnival, Brazil
This needs no introduction. Attracting more than two million party-goers daily onto the streets of Rio de Janeiro, it runs for six days at the beginning of Lent. Rio’s samba schools are the driving force, and their colorful floats and dancers pack the streets for the main parade. However, the carnival also includes plenty of other festivities, in which anyone can join in and show off their samba moves.

Maralal Camel Derby, Kenya
If you find yourself in Kenya in August, you might want to head north to the small desert town of Maralal for its camel derby. Attracting participants and spectators from all over the world, competition is intense, although some riders show better control over their camels than others.

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MassKara Festival, Philippines
The Philippines is not yet a regular stop on the backpacker trail but you’ll be missing out if you don’t go. So much the better if you can time your visit around the MassKara festival. Held in Bacolod City and named for the smiling masks worn by participants, it includes a street dance competition, a beauty pageant and music. Characterized by the friendliness of its participants, it’s a popular festival so accommodation requires planning ahead. Luckily, real estate in the Philippines is booming, and you can easily find the best condos on Zipmatch, whether you want to rent or to buy.

The Venice Carnival, Italy
Dating back to the fourteenth century, Venice’s annual carnival is Europe’s oldest. Beginning after Christmas and running until the day before Lent, it attracts more than three million visitors annually. Many are tempted by the bright masks worn by carnival-goers, some of whom may be hoping to carry away the prize awarded to the most beautiful mask. Originally introduced to blur the distinction between the nobility in their fine clothes and ordinary people who could never hope to afford garments of the same quality, the masks remain popular today among Venetians and tourists alike.

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Holi, India
Marking the victory of good over evil, this Hindu festival of colors is celebrated in the north of India during the full moon in March. Unwary travelers venturing onto the streets can expect to return to their hostel or hotel with their clothes covered in brightly colored powder, or soaking wet from water balloons. However, this is still one of the best and most exuberant festivals in the world. People of all ages flock into the streets to perform religious rituals in front of huge bonfires, exchange greetings, dance and, yes, throw handfuls of colored powder around.