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!
At this time of year, not many people are still enjoying the sub-zero temperatures. Don’t we all just want to sip a cocktail on a patio in the sun? We can’t put away our shovels and take out the sunscreen just yet, so here are a few hot spots to escape the cold and warm up your taste buds.
345 rue Villeray
First destination: Spain. Located in the heart of the Villeray neighbourhood, Mesón prepares delicious meals that will bring you right under the Iberian Peninsula sun. There’s nothing quite like Marie-Fleur St-Pierre’s bold yet comforting dishes to highlight the exciting flavours of traditional Spanish cuisine. Squid, Serrano ham, chorizo, Manchego, olive oil, sherry… Try the cocas, flatbreads from the Catalan region garnished with a variety of sweet or savoury ingredients. Open for dinner and brunch.
1216 avenue Union
How about a trip to Cuba for a taste of the Caribbean? That’s what La Habanera is offering; its lovely decor will instantly take you away, the background music will remind you of your last trip to a sunny destination, and they serve delicious cocktails with their unique tapas. Be sure to have a look at their extensive rum list, and enjoy the friendly service and warm ambiance. What more could you ask for when it’s cold outside? On the menu: ceviche, Creole chicken, rum shrimp and more!
1602 rue Laurier Est
765 rue Saint-François-Xavier, Terrebonne
Enjoy the true taste of Mexico and be transported there by the decor. You will love the relaxed atmosphere and traditional cuisine featuring all the hits: tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, moles … And why not have a margarita (or two) to cleanse your palate between bites of spicy salsa? Or perhaps you would rather explore the impressive tequila bar and discover the best 100% agave products? ¡Salúd!
La Petite Mangue
300 avenue du Mont-Royal Est
Now off to the other end of the world, Asia, to enjoy Cambodian cuisine at La Petite Mangue. Let their delicious and exotic Khmer dishes take you on a culinary adventure. Green papaya salad, crab and ginger stir-fry, and the traditional amok, of course—fish prepared with coconut milk and lemon grass and cooked in banana leaves. Just close your eyes, and you’ll be able to picture endless rice fields and a warm breeze on your skin…
1446 rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest
1212 avenue Union
Countless Quebecers dream of Hawaii during the cold winter months. Good news: no need to go to Honolulu for a taste of traditional Hawaiian poke, a fresh and flavourful bowl of “deconstructed sushi.” Head over to the delightful Koa Lua, have a seat at a surfboard, and create your very own combination of marinated tuna, onions, mango, avocado, soy sauce, sesame… Can you hear the waves crashing onto the shore?
Aloha! And bon voyage!
Want to escape into a romantic bubble with your sweetheart on this day of lovers? Here are a few suggestions to switch up your routine and celebrate your love with style.
Who doesn’t love getting pampered during a hotel getaway? You may not have time for an exotic vacation, but don’t let that stop you! Why not splurge on a memorable night at a hotel? You two don’t need to leave the city for a change of scenery. Dress up, turn off your phones, and don’t forget to hang the “Do not disturb” sign on your door. What’s more, you won’t even have to make the bed in the morning.
Now is the perfect time for lovers with fine palates to treat themselves to a gourmet meal and a fine bottle of wine. Tonight is not the night for slaving over a hot stove and drowning in dishes! You’ll be too busy whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears. For a wonderfully romantic evening, head over to L’Auberge St-Gabriel and savour its excellent cuisine. After enjoying their special Valentine’s menu, you can even go for a horse-drawn carriage ride in Old Montréal!
Escape your hectic lives with a romantic weekend at a cottage, far away from it all. Find a babysitter and go wherever you want—just the two of you. Go skiing, snowshoeing, enjoy the fresh air, then snuggle up next to the fire. And don’t forget to bring supplies: oysters, champagne, chocolate … whatever you desire.
Here’s an idea for you playful types: organize a treasure hunt for your sweetie. Leave hints and surprises at all of his or her favourite spots. Want to earn brownie points? Go back to where it all began and visit the places where you met and first dated. Enjoy the memories!
Finally—there’s no escaping it! It’s not Valentine’s Day without chocolate. Don’t settle for some mediocre box from the drugstore; anything worth doing is worth doing well. Why don’t the two of you take a trip to chocolate heaven? A decadent dessert at Juliette & Chocolat, rich, spiced hot chocolate at Suite 88 Chocolatier, chocolates from Les chocolats de Chloé to enjoy at home… Sweet kisses are on the horizon!
Treat yourselves, darlings. Whatever your heart’s desire may be! ♥
Spring break is almost here. So let’s make the most of it and have some family fun outside! These five awesome activities are sure to be a hit with both kids and adults:
Curling en lumière
February 23 to March 11, 2017
Place des Festivals, Quartier des spectacles
Curling may seem a little… old-fashioned. But Curling en lumière brings a modern twist to this time-honoured sport! Discover a unique new version that’s a bit wild and a whole lot of fun at Les Hivernales. Slide your stones in the midst of a spectacular sound and light show. Curling has never been so magical! Announcers will be on hand to give a running commentary on your performance—all for free!
Zookeeper for a day
March 6 to 10, 2017
Are your kids wild about animals? Then give them the chance to be zookeepers for a day at the only outdoor zoo on the Island of Montréal. They will enjoy an unforgettable experience full of surprises with a zoologist who will teach them 1001 things about Quebec’s species. Young zookeepers get to see the animals up close and prepare their meals!
Ice skating in the Old Port
Until March 12, 2017
The Natrel skating rink in the Old Port, just a quick glide from downtown, offers a spectacular view of the snowy St. Lawrence River and Montréal’s stunning heritage buildings. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the rink has special theme nights: Workout on Ice, Comfort on Ice and DJ on Ice. You’ll find everything you need for a magical family outing: sports, music, outdoor fireplaces and, of course, hot chocolate!
Cross-country skiing at the Botanical Garden
Until March 12, 2017
No time to head out to the country but need to reconnect with nature? Not to worry! Just put on your cross-country skis and explore the snowy trails of the Botanical Garden’s Arboretum. Access to the outdoor gardens is free all season long; come enjoy this outdoor sport—right in the city! If you want to prolong your excursion, you can continue skiing on the trails of the Parc Maisonneuve, or take advantage of the indoor activities at the Botanical Garden.
Ti-Gus refait son numéro
Théâtre de Guignol, for the entire family
Saturdays and Sundays from January 14 to March 12, 2017
Espace La Fontaine
We often go play outside at Parc La Fontaine, so why not enjoy a cultural activity while we’re there? Ti-Gus has prepared a wonderful show—all that’s missing is you! The entire family is sure to enjoy this (puppet) theatre outing.
Have a great spring break!
This year, Montréal is celebrating its 375th anniversary in a big way! It’s a great time to discover the city and make the most of a wide range of festive activities. The top 5 events below are not to be missed.