Help! for Sun-Starved Canadians


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A few weeks ago, around my husband’s birthday, we were thinking of taking off for a quick package-deal week in the sun. We never got to go because I was too busy at work, but we started looking into it anyway.

I am usually not the greatest fan of package vacations since I like to explore foreign places on a more individual basis, but they do have their proper place as a getaway. Particularly in a cold northern country like Canada, where the yucky weather can start in October and drag on into April, with occasional errant snowstorms in May!!!!

Package deals are great for stress relief, for slouching on the beach, sipping margueritas, playing some beach volleyball and having some all around affordable unadulterated fun. Packages usually include flights, airport transfers, all meals and some activities, so they are definitely one of the least expensive and most convenient ways of getting away from the snow.

So we started looking into cheap affordable package getaways and there are a number of great online sources to check into. Here is a list of helpful websites (in alphabetical sequence) to start you off on your package holiday shopping:

www.bookitforless. ca
www.destina. ca
www.exitnow. ca
www.expedia. ca
www.redtag. ca
www.sunholidays. ca
www.sunquest. ca
www.sunwing. ca

These websites offer convenient search engines where you can check out destinations and book holiday packages within minutes. Booking last minute (literally a day or two prior to the departure date) is usually not a problem, particularly in months from October to about January (excluding Christmas) since they are not prime travel time. February and March, when the deep winter blues hit, may make it more difficult to secure equally low priced vacation weeks since the demand shoots up at that time of year.

Popular inexpensive destinations include Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. All these destinations offer beautiful beaches and a great variety of recreational activities. In addition, for the more inquiring minds among us, they are also countries rich in culture and history.

In particular, we were looking into the Dominican Republic and places like Santo Domingo boast a rich colonial history. Christopher Columbus’ brother, Bartolomé Colón, founded the Dominican Republic's capital city, originally named La Isabela, in 1496. A number of New World ‘firsts’ occurred here, including the first cathedral, university, monastery and hospital. This is also where Spanish conquistadors set off to conquer the rest of the Caribbean, and regions of North, Central and South America.

Cuba and Mexico equally offer great opportunities for travelers who are interested in history, architecture, culture and music. So despite the low prices of these destinations, they offer a great mix of relaxation and tourist attractions. I found packages from about $400 and up, excluding taxes, departing the next day.

Florida destinations like Orlando also offer package deals that include flight, hotel and car on a last minute basis from about Can$380 and up, meals not included. Departure taxes also need to be added and they usually range between $150.00 and $250.00, depending on the destination. So from about $600 and up you can actually get an all-inclusive break from the slush and snow that the rest of us get to enjoy.

Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and Transitions( ). Travel and Transitions deals with unconventional travel and is chock full of advice, tips, real life travel experiences, interviews with travellers and travel experts, insights and reflections, cross-cultural issues, contests and many other features. You will also find stories about life and the transitions that we face as we go through our own personal life-long journeys.

Submit your own travel stories in our first travel story contest( ) and have a chance to win an amazing adventure cruise on the Amazon River.

"Life is a Journey ­ Explore New Horizons".

The interview with photos is published at Travel and Transitions - Interviews


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