Celebrating 2016

2016 has been a year full amazing travel experiences and adventures.   We thought we would share some of our favourite personal travel moments with you.   This is such an amazing world we live in and we are so happy that we get to share it with you!

Karen’s Visit to Club Villain at Walt Disney World

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“The one thing I have learned about Disney from my past trips is to never pass up a special ticket event. My favorite that I have been to so far is Club Villain. There is themed food and cocktails. A Dj and his dancers entertained us throughout the evening. We were given an opportunity to socialize with several diva Villains. There were no lines awaiting you to meet up with Maleficent, the Queen of Hearts, Cruela De Vil and the Evil Queen.  This is an event not to miss!”

Amanda’s Jamaican Vacation

“Beautiful water and great weather.  The Jamaican people are the friendliest and most accommodating I’ve ever been around.”

Correna’s Search for Charlie Brown in Hong Kong

“My great adventure in Hong Kong began when I tried to locate this Charlie Brown Café in downtown Hong Kong.  One piece of advice, do not think you can get by with land marks in Hong Kong.  There just happens to be a Rolex store on every block!   It was well worth the search!”

Casie’s Trip to Puerto Vallarta

“It’s fabulous”

Joanne’s Blue Lagoon Plunge in Iceland

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“Iceland is the perfect destination or people looking for the unexpected.  It has something for everybody.  I was lucky enough to experience the Aurora Borealis, take in geysers and glaciers and bath in the Blue Lagoon.”

Jamie’s Family Vacation to Kauai

“Kauai Hawaii. Land of flowers, sunny beaches and Jurassic Park movies. Poipu had perfect weather and we loved the quiet, laid back feel of this Island. “

Elena’s Romantic European River Cruise

“Life on the ship is amazing.  They say food fills the soul, well your belly will be happy also.  I went on the galley tour while on board. For a kitchen so small the meals are impressive. No soup or dressings are made from powders or pre-made starters, everything is from whole natural foods, it’s evident in every bite.

The cabins are comfortable and take your breath away.  I highly recommend paying the extra to upgrade your cabin from the lead in category. You may not think you’ll spend time in your cabin but when the sun comes up around 5am or you’re leaving port then you can just draw back the curtains and doze off and on while watching the views as you sail by.  Sailing past countless Vineyards and castle is great way to start your morning if you ask me.”

Kyra’s Family Camping Trip to Banff

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“I went to the beautiful Moraine Lake and Lake Louise.  I had never been to either of those lakes before and I just fell in love with how pretty they are!”

Heather’s Destination Wedding Travels

“In 2016 I was lucky enough to travel not once but twice for amazing, beautiful destination weddings.   My brother was married in Puerto Vallarta and a dear high school friend was married in Ucluelet, British Columbia.  The first trip was another amazing family vacation but even more special.  The second a bit of a high school reunion and a road trip with two of my very best friends.”

Stephanie’s Costa Rican’ Adventure

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“Kayak and paddle boarding on Lake Arenal in Costa Rica, with beautiful views of the Arenal Volcano is one of my favorite travel memories in 2016. “

Colleen’s Bucket List trip to Newfoundland

“Ales, Whales and Newfie Tales is what is waiting for you in Newfoundland and so much more.  We went for 2 weeks but could have stayed for a month.  The people, the hiking, the music, the scenery even their own winery are just some of the things that are waiting for  you.  From Iceberg Beer which you can only get in Newfoundland to the East Coast music heard at every pub it’s a must return destination.  Oh, yes don’t forget the Puffins. “

It has certainly been a memorable year.   We can’t wait to see where 2017 takes us and hope to share it all with you along the way.    If you would like any help planning your own amazing vacation please feel free to call our office at 306-242-TRIP (8747).   We would love to help you have amazing travel experiences too.

*If you enjoyed this blog and would like to continue to follow our team as they have amazing travel experiences check out our Instagram @UniglobeCarefreeTravel
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Amanda’s Trip to Hawaii – Final Blog

Well I’m sad to say that it’s time to say goodbye to Waikiki.  I’ve had a great last few days here.

We went to the Chief’s Luau and it was great. The chief is really a chief and the luau is very traditional showing various dances from the various Polynesian countries.  We were picked up at our hotel and had a short 25min ride or so to where we needed to be.  Our host on the bus was very entertaining and kept us laughing while debriefing us about the night.  We arrived at Sea Life Park, where the luau takes place in a big outdoor area. They bring people in by wristband color as each represents a different package that people paid for.  They had some fun activities to do while waiting to eat such as, temporary henna tattoos, stick dance, hula dancing lesson, headbands woven out of palm leaves and spear throwing.  Then we got to eat, and when we were finished eating the luau began.  It was very intriguing and had lots of audience involvement.  Even called up all those celebrating special occasions and had a little something special for them all.  It was a great experience and would definitely recommend it to everyone. Just a heads up that we were picked up at 420pm, got into the luau area with the activities about 530 and was eating at 630pm. The luau started about 7pm and lasted at hour.  We were very hungry by the time we ate so would recommend preparing for a late supper.

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We took a short 5 min walk to Kings Village where there were a bunch of little shops.  Very cute and good prices.

The fireworks tonight were good but we were under the impression that they would be about 15mins long…they were 5mins.  They were at the Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel.  They are supposed start at 745 but was about 8pm. There were a lot of fireworks shot off all at once.  It was about a half hour walk back to our hotel.  The main street is very pretty to walk at night as they has torches and lights up everywhere for lighting.

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Our last day we started at the International Marketplace, then popped in at Duke’s Lane for last minute shopping as well as Kings Village which we found had better prices.

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Then we went to the zoo as it was only a 10min walk from my hotel.  It is a 40 acre zoo with a lot of birds and African animals.  We were there 2.5hrs or so and that included having lunch there.  The food is reasonably priced which was a nice surprise, around $8. Admission to the zoo was $14USD for an adult.

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Tips for travelers:

-Bring good walking shoes
-Make reservations for Duke’s restaurant ahead of time.
-Friday night fireworks at Hilton Village if you’re interested.  Their restaurant called Tropics was packed and a long line up, so prepare for that if you want to eat there.
-Book Friday night dinner cruise ahead of time as they stop to watch the fireworks too.
-There is no free WiFi at the Honolulu airport, but you can buy WiFi time.
-Most of the shops don’t open til 10am.
-If you want to surf, shop around for pricing if you have the chance as they do vary.
-The Chiefs Luau and Magic of Polynesia shows are great to see.

I really enjoyed my time in Waikiki, Oahu. I highly recommend visiting this lovely destination and I would love to help you with this fabulous vacation.

Thanks and Mahalo.

Amanda’s Trip to Hawaii – Blog 2

Aloha again from Waikiki, Oahu. Today was a great day as I got to do a tour around the island called “Grand Circle Island Tour.” We were picked up at our hotel and rode in a coach bus. We only had a couple of other pickups before we were on our way. The driver was our guide as well. He gave us a lot of interesting information about not only Oahu but all of Hawaii when we were driving between stops. He made jokes and was pretty entertaining.

Our first stop was Hanauma Bay which is a great place to snorkel. Lots of coral there. It was raining pretty hard when we were there so didn’t stay long. There is limited bus parking there so could only stay for 15 mins.

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Hanauma Bay

It looked like scuba divers go there as well as there was a group of them and separate booth for them. They also had a tram that brought them from the top down to the beach.

Saw lots of beaches where the pros come to surf and do other water sports.  Lots of golf courses here that are used for big championships. We stopped a macadamia nut store and I tried them for the first time! There were many assorted flavors and I think one of my favorites were the cinnamon covered macadamia nuts.

We went along the East Coast past many beaches, we stopped at a Buddhist Temple  and also went through the Dole plantation.  Who knew you could make such many things with pineapple?  The pineapple whipped ice cream was very yummy.

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A neat stop was at Kualoa Ranch where I found out lots of movies were filmed here like Jurassic Park, Karate Kid, and many others.

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Kuaola Ranch

There were a few other stops on this tour and I’d be happy to share about them sometime if you’re going to Oahu and think you’d be interested in this tour.

After we got back from our tour we walked 20mins from our hotel to the Hard Rock Cafe.  The food was delicious and our server was great. He was very efficient and attentive.  The guitar covered wall was the neatest thing to see. (Fourth pic)

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As I said there are a lot of shops and open air shopping centers.  We walked through some on the way back to the hotel.  Also stopped in a very nice park that was lit with torches.  You would miss it if you weren’t looking for it.

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The International Market Place has been closed for two years and has its grand opening on the 25th so want to check that out sometime before we leave.

You definitely need really good walking shoes when you come here. There is also a cute trolley and city bus to help you get around as well.

Stay tuned as my adventure continues. Luau, International Marketplace, fireworks, and maybe the zoo, still to come.

Mahalo.  😊

Amanda’s trip to Hawaii – Blog 1

Aloha from Honolulu, Oahu!

This is my first time here. It was a good taking the Westjet 5.5 hour direct flight from Vancouver.  I was greeted with an orchid Lei at the Honolulu airport.  It was about a 20min shuttle ride to my Waikiki hotel, the Pacific Beach hotel. I was surprised how very busy it is along this main strip in the hotel zone of Waikiki. Lots of shops everywhere you go and people happily doing a lot of shopping.  The beach is great with powdery sand and clear blue water. It was sunny with some clouds yesterday and today was cloudy. It is supposed to be 28 degrees everyday, and some days feel more humid than others.

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Beach

Eating at the world famous Duke’s restaurant was great and had some entertainment as well. There was a guy playing his guitar and singing while we were there.  They have daily entertainment with local talent.  With the meals there is usually an orchid flower on the plate. They say the flower is edible, but I didn’t eat it as it is a real orchid flower. 🙂

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All of the beaches are public so there are no chairs for you. Some hotels loan out chairs and beach towels for you to use.  The Magic of Polynesia magic show was spectacular. The performance included illusions and other magic tricks, fire and knife dancing as well as Polynesian dances like Hula! There is an option to just watch the show at $59USD per person for an adult or you can eat dinner before the show as well for an additional cost.

It was interesting to be stopped by police today on the sidewalk as they were filming a scene for Hawaii Five-O.  They closed sidewalks and an intersection to shoot the clip. Apparently this is a regular occurrence around Honolulu and Waikiki. It didn’t take very long and was a surprise as we don’t have that happen at home.
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I’m going to be taking the Grand Circle Island tour tomorrow.  Check back again soon to hear more about my wonderful adventures here in Waikiki.  Mahalo. 🙂

Colleen’s Hawaii Holiday – Final Blog

Our time in Kihei is done and we are moving to the Westin Kaanapali for our last 3 nights in Hawaii. Kihei and Kaanapali are 30 minutes apart but a world away.

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View from Westin

Kihei is low key and quite and Kaanapali is high end and busy. The hotels that line this beach are higher priced but most think it’s worth it. The beach here is beautiful and stretches at least a mile. There is a path that runs between the ocean and the hotels for easy access to everything. In the middle is Whalers Village with plenty is shopping and ladies take out your wallets for the outlet mall in Lahaina. The shopping here is like a dream.   The prices here are a little higher than Kihei but they do have an ABC store in Whalers Village to get everything you need. There is something about Hawaii that keeps us coming back. I can’t really explain it. It’s just something you have to experience.

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Colleen’s Hawaii Holiday – Part 2

After 2 relaxing days at the beach we decided to do something I have always wanted to do but never found the time: We are going to do the Road to Hana. Lots has been written about this trek and I think I have read them all. We are fortunate to have the Road to Hana CD in our condo so we took that along for reference. In all the books it says to stop in at Hana Picnic Lunch Co. for a lunch to take along and to get all the up to date Hana weather, road conditions and info to enjoy your trip. Truth is, they must pay a lot for that advertising as they asked us about getting the CD and bug spray and that was it.

To be fair the girl there was very nice and the food was good, but you could pack your own lunch or eat at one of he many stops on the highway. There is also a gas station right next door that sells food and styrofoam coolers. If anything I would recommend a stop here for the smoothie. It was perfect.

A couple of things that will make the trip better is to get started early:
– It is a long day and will leave you with more time to hit some spots along the way.
– Get gas before you get to Paia. The gas stations there were more expensive and were really busy.
– Take your runners not your sandals if you are wanting to trek to some of the falls. The trails are wet and muddy.
– Stop as often as you can. There are so many great places to stop and hike in to see falls or to just look at the coast line. Some places are pretty high up so the views are fantastic.
– Stop at Halfway to Hana for some of the best banana bread you will ever eat. We arrived just as it was coming out of the oven. It doesn’t get better than that.

About 15 mins before you hit Hana you will come across about 5 restaurants all side by side. From the amount of cars parked there I would assume they have great food. We opted to continue to Hana bay to eat our lunch we purchased in Paia. Yes the roads are narrow and winding and you have to drive slow but it is an experience you shouldn’t miss. We left Paia at 9:00 ( I know I didn’t take my own advice about leaving early but wished I did) and got back around 4:00 so it is a long day but was so much fun. Another thing off the bucket list.

Trail at Waikamoi

Trail at Waikamoi

Hana Highway

Hana Highway

Stephanie’s Vegas Trip

I was lucky enough to have spent 3 nights with Westjet and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and getting to see all this fantastic city has to offer. Over 100 agents from across Canada had been invited to join, which is the largest agent trip I’ve ever had a chance to participate in. It was a total whirlwind of a trip!

 

I started this journey with a 6 am flight from Saskatoon to Vegas, through Calgary, with Westjet. Everything was on time, and ran without incident. I was greeted at the airport by a Westjet and LVCVA rep, and then shuttled to my hotel. There are 4 different hotels we were split up into, and lucky me, I got to stay at The Venetian. I’ve never stayed at such a beautiful hotel – grand frescos painted everywhere, crystal chandeliers and marble floors. I was wowed once again in my suite, which was over 700 sq ft with a sunken living room, luscious king size bed, double vanity, soaker tub and 3 TVs. It almost felt like too much room for just one person.

 

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Vegas Suite 2

 

After settling in, my afternoon was free so I head out shopping. I planned to take the bus up to the north premium outlets. You can buy a 24 hour pass for $8, or a 3 day pass for $20. This will get you unlimited travel on The Deuce and the express lines. It’s the SDX line that takes you to the outlets, as the Deuce only goes as far as Freemont Street. It took about 30 minutes from the stop in front of the Wynn (there is a stop in front of the Venetian, but I missed the bus and decided to walk a little further.)

 

Group activities were planned for 5:30 on the first night, so after shopping I made my way back to the hotel to change. My group from the Venetian walked to the Wynn for a great reception hosted by the hotel management. Oh my, the Wynn is beautiful! The flowers in the lobby are flown in from Holland every 3 weeks or so, and they have a Ferrari dealership on site. I was blown away. During the reception we mingled with agents from across Canada, Westjet members, and tourist board staff. The food was amazing; I had a fantastic mushroom risotto, and an absolutely delicious Peking duck rice bun. The balance of the evening was free, but since I had been up since 4 am, all I could manage was a walk to Harrah’s before I had to turn around and head to bed.

 

The next two days were full of events hosted by the hotels, Westjet and the tourist board. Tuesday we started out at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country bar with breakfast and a day of networking with different suppliers – hoteliers, attractions, golf, weddings and shows. There are so many things to do in Vegas besides gambling, it’s impossible to fit them all in with just one visit. We ended the afternoon with a few beers and bull riding; however I was not brave enough to give it a go. A few people were, and I’m sure it’s a lot harder than it looks. I have poor balance on flat ground, so I had a feeling the bull and I wouldn’t get along.

 

For the evening we had a reception hosted by the Cosmopolitan in the absolutely amazing Chandelier bar. It’s the largest chandelier in the world at 3 stories high, and made with over 2 millions Swarovski crystals. I was in heaven. The service at the Cosmo was top notch, and the reception appetizers were delicious. I wish I had more time to explore the hotel. It’s very modern, and one of the few hotels on the strip where most rooms have a terrace. After the reception, we split into 6 groups to attend different shows or activities. I was with the group to the Cirque du Soliel show Mystere. If you have never seen a Cirque show, I highly recommend it as the acrobatics and athleticism is outstanding. The show was at 9:30, so by time it was over at 11:15, I was pretty exhausted. Since we didn’t have a huge meal prior to the show, I was on a mission for food. I wasn’t really up for sitting in a restaurant for 90 minutes for a full meal, so I went to the Grand Luxe Cafe at the Venetian and got a nice turkey sandwich to go, which I took back up to my room to eat. After a long day, it was nice to just relax in bed and catch some zzzzzz’s.

Vegas Chandelier

 

On Wednesday, the group split up for the morning, and we each went to a different hotel for a site inspection. My group headed to Treasure Island, which luckily is just across the street from the Venetian. Another great hotel, TI is not part of any major chain in Vegas. It’s a “boutique” size hotel for Vegas, though it still has around 3,000 rooms, and most things are compact around the casino floor. They are also building a new shopping complex on the façade of the hotel, which should be opening this fall. We also had breakfast at the buffet here, which was delicious and offered something for everyone – made to order omelets, eggs benedict, hash browns, sushi, fruit, and an assortment of breakfast meats. The hotel was at full occupancy, so we were only able to see one room, a petite suite. It’s a bit larger than the standard room, with a sitting area and split bathroom design, but the decor and general layout are the same.

 

After we were finished at TI, we headed to the Monte Carlo to meet up with the other groups for lunch and games hosted by MGM resorts. Lunch ended up being only about 2 hours after breakfast, so I didn’t have anything but a small sandwich. MGM hosted their own customized version of Scene It, which is trivia game about movies. They gave out prizes with complimentary hotels stays, but I was not a lucky winner. I guess I’m not as good with movies as I thought I was, but it was still loads of fun.

Afterwards we were split into groups again for another activity. I chose a visit to the Mob Museum and a ride on Slotzilla, which is the newly renovated zip line on Freemont. The museum was great, but I definitely could have had more time there. We had just under an hour, and I probably could have spent three. There is everything from Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, Frank Lucas, and Lucky Luciano, to a piece of the wall from the St Valentine’s Day massacre, history on the mob in Vegas, and different movies based on mobsters. It made me want to go home to watch Casino and American Gangster.

Vegas Mob Museum

With a few free hours that afternoon, I decided to go check out the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. With over 170 stores, there is something for everyone. If you love to shop, be sure to pick up one of the discount coupon booklets, which are worth over $2,000 in savings. The coupons don’t expire right away, so you can use it again or give leftovers to a friend who is going later.

For the third and final night, we headed to the Flamingo for dinner at their steakhouse, Center Cut. What another great meal! We started out with a seafood platter, which had crab legs, shrimp and oysters. I’d never had an oyster before, so another agent showed me her way to eat one – lemon juice and Tabasco. It wasn’t awful, but I don’t think its top on my list to order again. The rest of the meal however, I could eat every night. A Caesar salad to die for, grilled asparagus, mashed potatoes, and a fillet mignon that melted it my mouth. My mouth is watering just thinking about it again. As dessert was being served, a few speeches were made by Westjet and the LVCVA, when a surprise visitor came by – Donny Osmond! He was just stopping by the restaurant kitchen to get a salad before his show, and decided to come in and say hello. What a great way to end dinner!

For one final activity, we had a ride on the High Roller, which is the newly opened observation wheel. At 90 feet taller than the one in London, it’s the largest observation wheel in the world. The ride is approximately 40 minutes, and the views are amazing. At night you can see all the hotels lit up, the Bellagio fountains, and the city all around you. It’s just breathtaking. Each capsule holds up to 40 people, and they can even be booked for private functions and weddings!

Vegas High Roller

So thus ends the night and now we had to part ways. Unfortunately I had the earliest flight back home the next morning, so I had to miss the breakfast windup. I said my goodbyes to the Westjet reps and the many new friends I’ve made, and made my way back to my room to pack. I can’t wait to go back to experience something new next time. Viva Las Vegas! Until we meet again.