Visiting a city for the first time is always exciting! But when stress and anxiety set in, it can be difficult to figure out where to start to fully enjoy our vacation. Here are six practical tips to save time and still have fun on your next trip.
Talk to the locals
Forget about the overly edited images on Instagram and the countless travel guides that always recommend the same spots. Talk to people who actually live in the city you’re visiting! They’re the best source of information about your destination’s hidden treasures. Ask them about their favourite restaurants and things to do, the city's most vibrant neighbourhoods, and any tips they might have. Get out of your comfort zone; that’s often how the best memories are made.
Do your research
While talking to locals will certainly help you venture off the beaten path, you should still learn a little about your destination to explore it efficiently. Before you go, find out about the local customs, lifestyle, security concerns, areas to avoid and food. And why not learn a few basic sentences in the country’s language, or bring a pocket dictionary to facilitate your conversations? Be a respectful traveller, not an annoying tourist.
Shop at local markets
The best way to experience local cuisine is definitely to check out the city's markets. Discover new ingredients, ask questions, taste regional flavours and get some inspiration to recreate your own feast once you’re back home. Talk to the shopkeepers about their specialties and get their tips on how to prepare traditional dishes. You might even find some souvenirs to bring back with you!
Leave your car behind
Why waste time and get frustrated in traffic when you can use a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation that allows you to truly experience the pace of the city you’re visiting? By using public transit or renting a bicycle, you can really get a feel for the area. It will also be easier for you to stop wherever something grabs your attention!
Give yourself the gift of time. Slowly sip a café as you observe the amazing details of your new environment. Put your mobile phone away and take a long walk. Avoid shortcuts and, most importantly, don’t overschedule your visit! Trying to see everything at once will just make your trip stressful. Live in the moment.
Write down your memories
Bring a notebook with you; you’ll be glad you did. It’s the best way to remember all your little discoveries. Reading through your travel notes makes the return home a little less sad.
If you are thinking about visiting Montréal soon, don’t hesitate to ask the professionals at Hotel Ruby Foo for their recommendations to have a blast while discovering the city!
As the warm weather returns, so does our desire to play outside. It’s so nice to go for long walks under the summer sun, to get together with friends, do a little shopping, rest for a moment in a park or admire Montréal’s architecture. In our magnificent city, every neighbourhood is different and has something unique to offer. These are our favourites for a stroll:
Tourists flock to this part of the city, and for good reason! As soon as you set foot in Old Montréal, you are transported to another time and place. The neighbourhood is perfect for a long, leisurely walk, with frequent stops to admire the architectural marvels that recall our history. The narrow cobblestone streets, cute flowery patios, art merchants and horse-drawn carriages set the perfect scene for a stroll to another era.
If you’re more of a city dweller who prefers the hustle and bustle of a major metropolis, downtown is the place to be! All summer long, you can enjoy festivals and cultural events in quick succession. So, if you’re comfortable with crowds, explore the Quartier des spectacles, where you’ll find live music on outdoor stages, food trucks aplenty and a festive atmosphere perfect for an energizing walk! If you’re looking for something a little calmer and more contemplative, numerous excellent museums are within walking distance. Art lovers rejoice!
Did you know this area has been called the coolest neighbourhood in the world? And we can see why! Young, hip and buzzing with creativity, it’s the ideal spot for foodies and artists at heart. Roam the streets and take in everything the neighbourhood has to offer: trendy (but not pretentious!) restaurants, original shops, excellent cafés that really know their stuff… Mile End is begging to be explored! While you’re there, be sure to stop by St-Viateur or Fairmount for some bagels. What’s more, the neighbourhood is right next to Mount Royal, the city’s very best location for walking!
If you’re in the mood for a family stroll, this neighbourhood has more fun activities than you can imagine. You’re sure to enjoy a wonderful day filled with discoveries; the Biodôme (closed, reopens in summer 2019), Insectarium, Planetarium, Botanical Gardens and Olympic Stadium all within walking distance (or stroller distance!) from one another. Explore Parc Maisonneuve’s impressive network of paths, and throw down a blanket for a lovely picnic lunch between two activities.
This weekend, leave your car at home, put on your sneakers and go for a walk. Take your time, wander Montréal’s streets; we guarantee you’ll uncover incredible finds and see your city in a whole new light.
Winter’s not even over, and we’re already getting ready for summer vacation. How about you? Sunshine, patios, outdoor activities… We can’t wait to play outside! If you’re looking for the perfect vacation (or staycation!) destination, Montréal has loads of activities for everyone.
For sports enthusiasts…
Montréal is a hockey town. Everybody knows that! But what can fans do once the season is over? Not to worry! The Montréal sports scene is hot year round. We have the Formula 1 Canada Grand Prix, of course, which draws in visitors from around the world for an electrifying weekend. And for those who enjoy watching tennis pros battle it out on the court, the Rogers Cup is sure to be a thrill, with the women vying for the top prize this year. Are you more of a participant than a spectator? Then why not sign up for the Montréal triathlon or marathon? Every year, thousands of international athletes come to the city for these events. Or you could just cheer on the participants… ;)
For music lovers…
Montrealers love music, that’s for sure! Just look at all its festivals, which shine the spotlight not only on world-famous artists, but also on up-and-coming local talent. All tastes and styles are featured, with the International Montreal Jazz Festival, Les FrancoFolies, Osheaga, the Montreal International FestiBlues, Nuits d’Afrique and much more! Do you prefer electronic music? Then don’t miss Piknic Électronik: every Sunday, DJs and other artists will have you dancing under the sun. If classical music is more your speed, be sure to check out OSM in the Park, a summer series of free concerts by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal!
For art lovers…
With its impressive array of museums and exhibits, Montréal is a great place to immerse yourself in art and culture. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is showing Impressionist Treasures, which will astonish you with its collection of European masterpieces. The Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal is presenting Leonard Cohen: Une brèche en toute chose/A Crack in Everything, a multidisciplinary exhibition inspired by the city’s great singer-songwriter which explores the theme of light. These are just two of Montréal’s countless artistic and cultural offerings!
Why so serious? A vacation means letting go of everyday work-related stress. It’s the perfect time to have a good laugh and to catch a comedy show! Keep an eye out for the Grand Montréal Comédie Fest and ZooFest schedules for a chance to see the established comedians you love and discover the stars of tomorrow. Is family fun and excitement what you’re looking for? La Ronde is definitely the best place for that! Roller coasters, fireworks and fun are on the menu. And if you want to sneak in a little educational content during the summer break, take the kids to the Montréal Science Centre, where they’ll have fun while they learn… And so will you!
If you’re looking for something to do this summer in Montréal, you have tons of options. The only problem is you might not have enough time to take advantage of everything the city has to offer. Our advice? Extend your holiday! ;)
Summer is coming to an end in Quebec (already?!), but believe it or not, there is an upside. Fall doesn’t just mean beautiful colours: it’s also harvest time in Quebec’s vineyards, so wine lovers, rejoice! Are you up for a road trip to visit a few wineries and sample some terrific bottles? Be sure to stop by our favourite spots.
7100 Rang St-Vincent, Mirabel
Established in 1993, Négondos is Quebec’s first organic vineyard. Its focus is sustainable viticulture, so its vines are pesticide-free. Not only are these wines excellent, but they are also better for you and the planet! Visit this winery, taste the wines (including the orange wine!), and join in on the harvest. Open from June until Thanksgiving. Check out their online boutique: http://www.negondos.com/boutique/.
150 Chemin Boulais, Farnham
Founded in 1991, the vineyard has been organic and biodynamic since 2005. All its grapes are certified organic and hand-harvested. Come meet the grape growers, pick up a few bottles and admire a magnificent view of the Appalachian Mountains. You can go on a self-guided tour and visit the vineyard at your own pace with an audio guide. The tasting room is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., from the Fête nationale du Québec (June 24th) until the Canadian’s Thanksgiving (Oct. 9th, 2017).
Pinard & Filles
1700 Chemin des Pères, Magog
This family vineyard is located in the magnificent Magog area of the Eastern Townships. It uses organic viticulture methods, growing Pinot Noir/Meunier, Gamay, Dornfelder, Chardonnay, Riesling and Savagnin as naturally as possible – which produce excellent wines! You can visit the vineyard by appointment; go to their Facebook page or website for more information.
100 Chemin Richford, Frelighsburg
How about some cider to shake things up a little? Clos Saragnat has excellent products, all of which are organic certified and made with indigenous yeasts. They have won several prizes, including the Governor General’s Award in Celebration of the Nation’s Table; it’s definitely worth the detour! Be sure to try the straw wine, a sweet wine made from grapes that have been dried for several months before being pressed and vinified, to concentrate the sugar and flavour. Visit their boutique; you’ll make some delicious discoveries.
1086 Rue Bruce, Dunham
Beyond its amazing wines, L’Orpailleur has a lot to offer! You can enjoy a delicious meal at the Tire-Bouchon restaurant, or rent a hall for a wedding or special event. You can also go on an initiation tour and taste the wines, and even take a bottle sabering course! Accompanied by an experienced guide, one of the course participants will have the opportunity to sabre a bottle of Brut de l’Orpailleur. Will you be the lucky one?
Admit it: you can’t wait to hit the road, make some amazing discoveries and support our local wineries. Let’s raise our glasses to Quebec’s wine produ
You’re eager to travel but don’t know where to go; the options are overwhelming! Admittedly, this is a fortunate dilemma. So, which exciting destination is the one for you? If picking at random isn’t your thing, ask yourself the following questions to make an informed decision.
1- What’s your budget?
Right. Let’s get the financial discussion out of the way before we move on to more interesting topics. How much can you spend? If the sky’s the limit, excellent! We’re jealous. If not, you have to eliminate certain destinations—which works out in the end, because that’s the reason for this exercise!
2- What’s the purpose of the trip?
Why are you going on vacation? To rest? For a change of scenery? To discover another culture? To party? To learn how to make authentic sushi from a Japanese chef? To beat the world record for the longest solo Antarctic expedition? There are no wrong answers; you just need to find the perfect adventure for you.
3- When would you like to go?
With work, kids and about a million other obligations, you probably have scheduling factors to consider. At what time of year do you wish to travel? Christmas? During the school holidays? Do you want to attend a particular event? If you’re interested in going to Holland and see the tulips in full bloom, the timing is pretty specific. Don’t forget to consider the weather at your destination; also, during high season, your trip will be more expensive … and more crowded.
4- How long will your vacation last?
If you only have a few days, it’s better to go somewhere closer to home, so you don’t spend hours and hours on the road or in the air. Your dream to travel to the opposite side of the globe will have to wait until you have more time: reaching your destination is not the only consideration; you also have jet lag to contend with. Furthermore, a longer trip makes the plane ticket cost more worthwhile.
5- Who are you going with?
Are you travelling alone? With your significant other? As part of a group? With your family? Obviously, your companions will influence your destination decision. A bachelor party in Las Vegas with the guys or Disneyland with the kids both sound amazing … but we wouldn’t recommend the opposite.
The world is vast and the possibilities are endless. All you need to do is ask yourself the right questions to find your ideal destination. Good luck with your vacation exploration, and bon voyage! :)
Whether you’re an experienced backpacker visiting the world off the beaten path or you prefer fancy 5-star hotels, it’s always better to travel light. If you’re the kind of person who brings too many things that never make it out of the suitcase, these 5 tips are for you.
Tip 1: Reduce at the source.
Want to know a sure-fire way to travel lighter? Buy a smaller suitcase! Admit it: no matter what size it is, you’re going to fill it up. Bonus points if you can limit yourself to just a carry-on! You’ll avoid additional charges for your bags, and they won’t get lost.
Tip 2: Buy light
Every detail counts when you’re trying to lighten your bag, so the weight of each item is important. You can now buy very strong yet ultra-light suitcases and backpacks, which is an excellent place to start. Also, opt for “performance” fabrics like merino wool, which will keep you warm without weighing down your bag. A microfibre towel is another must: it’s very light and compact.
Tip 3: Make the most of your wardrobe
Bring clothing you can mix and match, and limit yourself to a few colours. When everything goes together, it’s easier to create more outfits with less. Instead of packing a bulky coat, dress in layers. You can even bring clothes at the end of their useful lives and leave them behind to make room for souvenirs.
Tip 4: Do you really need it?
Now THAT is the question to ask yourself before you put something in your bag. Be ruthless! Few things are indispensable—A third pair of stilettos? Seriously?—and unless you’re going to a desert island, you can find whatever you're missing at your destination. No need to bring items “just in case.” If you forget anything, you can buy it when you get there. Stick to the essentials, in small formats, like medication you might not be able to purchase abroad. And remember, the hotel has toiletries.
Tip 5: Think multipurpose
Don’t fill your bag with different products when a single item will suffice. For example, you can use a small bottle of concentrated liquid soap (like Campsuds, which is biodegradable too!) to wash everything: your body, hair, clothes, dishes and so on. How about a pareo? It’s a skirt, shawl, blanket, towel… Lastly, technology can be a great tool on your quest for a lighter bag. Your tablet is a book, travel guide, map, GPS, camera, movie screen and game all rolled into one!
So think light, and bon voyage!