Contiki Greek Island Tour Review

Are you considering doing a Contiki Greek island tour?  You may have heard of Mykonos and Santorini, but Ios?  Although not as popular as the other islands, Ios is a pleasant surprise for those who have the privilege of visiting it and there’s a reason why it’s the last island of the tour.

Ios is a smaller greek island only accessible by boat.  Since it doesn’t have an airport, you’ll notice a big different in how quiet the island is.  Also, being less popular, Ios has many untouched beaches and lots of nature.

contiki greek island

Overall, the island offers the perfect balance of relaxation and parties, while maintaining environmental balance and sustainability.

During your stay, one must-do is a visit to Pathos Lounge.  During the day it is an amazing pool hangout, while at night it is an unreal party spot with world-class DJs.

Contiki Greek Island Ios

So what are you waiting for?  YOLO! #NoRegrets

Toronto Airport (YYZ) Showers

If you arrive early or have a stopover at Toronto’s Pearson Airport (YYZ) and feel the need for a shower, there are some available in the international departure Plaza Premium Lounges in Terminal 1 and 3.

Although there is a fee to get in, the price includes food and drinks (alcohol too!) and a relaxing place to wait for your plane.

For a full review of the Plaza Premium Lounge in terminal 3, see this post or video above.

Zip Lining in Toronto and Around Ontario – Tree Top Trekking Review

Think you need to go south in order to experience the thrills of zip lining?  Luckily, it’s not the case.  Treetop Trekking has various locations around Ontario where you can experience both zip lining and treetop obstacles, all while safely strapped in to a harness.

This review is based on the Brampton, Ontario location.  For their other locations, please see their website. Reservations are required for all locations and you should arrive 30 minutes early to fill in all the required paperwork.

 

The Overall Experience

The day will start with an orientation session where you will learn the safety skills required to navigate the obstacles and ride the zip lines.  After a short hands-on test of the safety skills, you are off on your own to navigate the numerous courses.  Each course get progressively harder, ending with the longest/hardest (assuming the guides feel that you are ready for it and time permitting).  In general, be prepared to be out on the courses for about 3 hours.

Tip: Go to the washroom beforehand!  Having to go while you’re out makes for a lot of work (i.e. removing your harness) and lost time.

Tip: Bring snacks and water with you in a small bag that you can hang for a branch.  Leave valuables in your car.

Tip: Bring fingerless gloves to prevent your hands from chaffing.

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Using Mistake Airfares to Increase Tourism.

Mistake Airfares and Flight Discount Websites

How Tourism Boards and Airlines Should Work Together to Increase Demand by Leveraging Airfare Tracking Websites (ATWs).

An Introductory Report by Rain Digital Inc. and RainTravels.com. PDF available here.

With the rise of Google Flights, ITA Software and other similar tools, it is now significantly easier to search and compare airline pricing. This has lead to the rise of Airfare Tracking Websites (ATWs), which originally shot to popularity for publicizing mistake airfares. Some are listed below:

Canada:
http://www.yyzdeals.com
http://www.nextdepature.ca

U.S.:
http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/
https://flightfox.com/
http://www.secretflying.com/

These sites crawl the web for airfares that fall below its moving averages. For example, if a flight from New York to Tokyo averages $900 during off-peak season, but one becomes available for $650 or less, this would trigger an alert to the above ATWs who would then post it to their sites as a flight deal. This in turn gets seen by thousands of the sites’ followers through email and social media.

Mistake Airfare Websites
An example from NextDeparture.ca

 

Getting Posted

It goes without saying that in order to get posted on these sites, the airlines simply need to reduce their airfares enough to get noticed; a tactic already employed by airlines (hey, at the end of the day it’s free advertising).

 

The Other Player

Taking a step back, let’s take a look at the role of Tourism Boards. Most countries or regions have one that are usually funded by its respective Tourism Ministry or government body. The Board’s goal? To increase awareness and ultimately increase tourism to the country/region. This ‘awareness creation’ can take the form of advertising, PR, sponsored events, and conventions to name a few. The problem with most of these tactics is that it’s hard to measure its effectiveness and to track back the results to a specific campaign.

 

The Board Math

Although not a perfect science, the effectiveness of a Tourist Board can be measured by the below.

X = Total visitors for the period (usually yearly)

Y = Number of estimated visitors that would come regardless of the Board’s efforts

$ = Total board budget

Therefore, the average cost of ‘acquiring’ a new visitor = $/(X-Y)

Once this figure is known, it must be compared against the estimated economic benefit of an additional tourist to determine the return-on-investment (ROI) generated from the respective Board’s efforts.

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Brexit and Travel – Is Now a Good Time to Visit the UK?

With the United Kingdom voting to leave (Brexit) the European Union it has left the region in a chaotic state with lots of unknowns.  Within the next couple years, the UK must, among other things, negotiate its departure through new trade agreements and treaties.  So how does this play into the travel world?  Is now a good time to visit the UK?  Some thoughts below.

Firstly, there won’t be any dramatic changes before the UK’s official departure from the EU.  Like all agreements and laws, changes will only take affect once it is officially launched.  For people outside the EU, there likely won’t be much change after the fact either.  As it stands, the UK still requires passport checks at its border crossings.

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A Weekend in Bologna, Italy from the UK (or other cities in Europe)

You’ve got the itch to get away. But you’re tight on time so you can only satisfy the itch by taking a weekend jaunt. If this sounds like you, Bologna, Italy might be just what you need.

A little bit off the grid compared to Florence and Rome, Bologna allows for a relaxing weekend with authentic Italian experience without the crowds and tourists.

If this sounds tempting, take a look at the below to get the most from Bologna over the course of a few days.

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New Social Media Video Tools for Bloggers

DubDub Video Editing App

Blogging is competitive.  No surprise there.  And with the rise of video use and consumption, more and more bloggers are turning to video for exposure.  So what tools are available to help bloggers stand out from the crowd?  Below are some must-have tools that all bloggers should use.

1. Enlargeify.com
Uploading videos to YouTube and Facebook is a pain.  Yet the advantage of uploading a video to Facebook directly is the larger video preview.  Luckily, Enlargeify has found a way around this.  Simply convert your YouTube link on Enlargeify and paste the new converted link into Facebook and BAM! big video preview!

Enlargeify Larger Facebook Vidoe Previews

 

2. DubDub.io
Take a lot of video on a smartphone?  Join the club!  See it. Shoot it. Share it. 12 tracks, drag and drop, point and click video, editing for creating and sharing high quality videos, on the fly. All entirely on your mobile.  Nobody has time to edit on a desktop anymore.  Get DubDub now!

DubDub Video Editing App

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Top 10 Safest Countries and Destinations 2016

Porto Portugal Europe
Worried about safety when travelling?  Consider these countries for your next trip to ease your anxieties.

 

#10 Canada

A video posted by Rain Travels (@ra_raines) on

Although many see Canada as being very similar to the U.S.A., there are a lot of differences between the two countries.  Canada has one of the highest standards of living in the world and one of the lowest unemployment rates.  It rarely sees acts of terrorism, although some of its major cities have a minor amount of violent crime.  Overall, Canadians are very open, multicultural, and welcoming and unlike their U.S. neighbours, have strict gun laws.

 

#9 Slovenia
Formerly part of Yugoslavia, Slovenia experienced its violent uprising in the 90s, but has since emerged as one of the safest nations in the world. The country now rarely sees violent protests, engages in few international conflicts, and has low crime rates.  Known for both its coastline and scenic alps, there is something for everyone in this up and coming country.

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Top European Destinations for U.S. Travellers

Italy Venice Contiki European Discovery Summer

MMGY’s annual study on American travelers was just released.  The study includes the top European cities Americans are seriously considering visiting over the next two years.

Top Cities for US travellers 2016

The study, which has been conducted for more than 20 years, surveyed nearly 3,000 active travelers living in the U.S. with an annual household income of at least $50,000 (with 815 respondents having an annual household income of $125,000 or more). They also took at least one leisure trip of 75 miles or more during the previous 12 months that included overnight accommodations. Respondents were evenly distributed between males and females and between all generations.

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Using a Travel Agent is Important and Why Millennials are Increasingly Doing So.

Reasons to use a travel agent

A new report released by the American Society of Travel Agents (which reached out to 14,000 households) suggests that U.S. Millennial travellers are increasingly turning towards travel agents to book their holidays. Per the report, 30 per cent of Millennials have booked through a travel agent, while another 45 per cent of Millennials polled also said they would recommend a travel agent to a friend.

“At this point, consumers have tried it all – they’ve booked online, they’ve gone direct, and they’ve used a travel agent,” said ASTA president Zane Kerby in a statement. “This study dispels once and for all the myth that booking direct with suppliers or spending hours online yourself gets you a better deal or gives you a happier travel experience. In short, if you want a better travel experience, use an agent.”

Although this statement is slightly biased due to the releasing organization, it does reinforce the many advantages of using a travel agent, which include:

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