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Holiday Travel

Embrace Spontaneous Travel: Why You Should Plan A Last Minute Vacation!

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Planning a last minute vacation with beforeifly in Hamilton!
Vacationing doesn’t always have to require hours of planning, micromanaged scheduling and extensive itineraries. Sometimes, it’s better to just go with the flow and see what unique opportunities reveal themselves! If you’re looking for great last minute vacation packages—even ones that are all inclusive—Beforeifly travel agency in Hamilton is here to help.

A different mindset

Impulsive trips are completely different from rigidly scheduled ones. If you’re travelling spontaneously, you have much more flexibility. New opportunities and unexpected adventures will present themselves, and you’ll have nothing holding you back from saying yes to them. Additionally, you won’t be forcing yourself to hit every major tourist destination. While you should definitely visit attractions that really interest you, also spend some time exploring the area and getting a feel for what it’s really like to be immersed in the local culture.

How to travel spontaneously

Before leaving on vacation, you can get a general idea of where you want to go. Book the first few nights and schedule one or two things you want to do each day, but leave the rest unplanned. Once you’ve reached your destination, you can use apps to search for landmarks, events, museums, or restaurants. You can also ask locals for recommendations. Try to do some non-tourist activities too like shopping or driving. This way you’ll get to experience more of the city than just the major tourist attractions.

Spontaneous travel destinations

When choosing where to travel, consider what kind of vacation you want it to be. Do you want a relaxing holiday on the beach, or an adventure in a foreign city? Do you want to go hiking or skiing, visit museums, or spend your time sipping coffee in cafés? Think about your interests and try to find a destination that fits them.

A life changing experience

Taking a spontaneous vacation might be something that pushes you out of your comfort zone, especially if you tend to be a planner. Trying something new might allow you to learn something about yourself or discover a new passion. Experiences like these can feel intimidating at first, but they’re almost always worth it in the end.

Travel with Beforeifly

Whether you’re alone, a couple, a family or a group, Beforeifly is here to help with the booking of all inclusive vacations. Spontaneous trips shouldn’t be stressful and we’re here to help make the process go as smoothly as possible. Contact us here to book your next vacation today!

How to Travel on a Budget in Costa Rica

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Traveling to Costa Rica on a budgetSticking to a budget doesn’t have to make travelling impossible or even less fun. It might take some extra planning and a bit of research, but it’s entirely feasible to have the adventure of a lifetime without breaking the bank. Costa Rica can be an expensive place to visit, but with some help from our travel experts, you’ll also find fantastic low cost travel options from Hamilton where our travel centre is located and from across the globe.

Timing Is Everything
One way to save money is to avoid travelling during peak times. Tourism in Costa Rica spikes during the dry season, so it’s recommended for people travelling on a budget to do so during the rainy season, which is from mid-May to early December. During this period hotel rates are reduced, tours are discounted and, as a bonus, the crowds are much smaller.

Eat With The Locals
Most fancy restaurants that cater to tourists are rather costly. Cut back on your expenses at mealtimes by eating at small restaurants called sodas. They’re usually family run businesses that serve simple but delicious Costa Rican cuisine for low prices. It’s also a great opportunity to chat with the locals and get advice on how to experience the country authentically. Alternatively, if you have access to a kitchen in your hotel or hostel, cooking for yourself is much cheaper than eating out.

Guided tours
Tours organized by major tourism companies are typically very expensive, so when you’re on a budget it’s best to steer clear of these. If you want to go on a tour, ask an employee at the hotel to recommend a guide. Many small guided tours are affiliated with hotels and are usually fairly cheap. Networking is everything while on the go, so be open to conversations with fellow travelers and local business owners to get tips for maximizing your budget while exploring.

Exploring Costa Rica
If you’re vacationing in Costa Rica, you’ll be happy to hear that all the beaches are free! This makes hanging out on the beach the perfect activity for anyone trying to save money. Costa Rica is also home to many spectacular national parks and the admission prices for these are quite reasonable. Hiring a guide can be interesting, but it’s not necessary to spend the extra money, as you’ll still get lots out of the experience on your own.

Where to stay
Resorts with all-inclusive deals are safe, fun and can be a great option. However, if that doesn’t fit your budget, you can consider staying in a hostel or an Airbnb. In this case, research is required to find something that is both safe and affordable. The choice is really one based on personal preference and budget—either way, you’ll have a fantastic time.

Plan A Trip With Beforeifly

When it comes to planning your next adventure, our team is here to help you every step of the way. Whether you’re looking to learn more about low cost travel possibilities, or about booking an all inclusive vacation, you can visit us at our travel centre in Hamilton, Ontario, or contact us here to make your vacation dreams a reality!

How Travel Can Help Your Body and Mind

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Book travel online with beforeifly

We all know that travel is fun. You get to see places you’ve only ready about, meet new people and break free of your routine. However, did you know that travel isn’t just fun but also beneficial to your well-being? At Beforeifly, we help people plan their dream vacations and book their travel online, acting as your concierge for your next adventure. Before you skip your next trip abroad or put planning one on the backburner, consider these five reasons that travel is good for both your body and mind.

Travel relieves stress
We all know the feeling when our day-to-day responsibilities seem overwhelming. Sometimes, feeling relief is just a matter of gaining a new perspective. Taking a few days to get away from it all and treating yourself can help you feel better about your regular life (particularly when you have an online travel concierge like Beforeifly to help you take care of all the boring details of your trip).

Visiting new places helps enhance your creativity
The rest of us should take a hint from the artists who have known this for some time: travel is a great way to boost creativity. New experiences can help inspire us to find new solutions and come up with ideas for new projects that wouldn’t otherwise have occurred to us. By placing our bodies in a new environment, it allows our minds to adapt to new situations or perspectives.

Travel helps you learn more about other cultures
If you’re stuck in a rut and feeling a little down, sometimes it’s a good idea to get out and experience different ways of living life. When you’re doing the same routine everyday it can be easy to forget that there are other cultures out there who take a different attitude towards life. It is very likely that you can learn something from their experiences that will help you in your own life.

Exposing yourself to new places boost your immune system
Besides recharging you mentally, travel can actually help you become stronger in a physical sense. In order to produce the essential antibodies that help keep us healthy, we need to be exposed to small doses of new bacteria and other forms of life. Going to new places can actually make you more resistant to illness.

Travel helps you live an active lifestyle
Perhaps most importantly, going to new places will help you maintain an active lifestyle, even if it’s only walking around a new city to take in the sights. If you’re trapped in an office most of the time, what better excuse could there be to get active than to take a trip? You might even think of bringing along your mountain bike and making your vacation an adventure.

Booking your next vacation doesn’t have to be complicated. We cater to both busy globe-trotters and first-time flyers. Our experts can guide you through all the planning of your trip based on your unique needs.  Contact us today to get started on planning your next vacation and give your mind and body a little boost of happiness.

Explore Canada: 5 West Coast Destinations to Discover

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book your travel to canada’s west coast today!

One of the best parts Canada is the sheer size and variety of what our country has to offer. Not only does Canada have some of the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders, it also has some of its most modern, vibrant cities where cultures mesh and mingle. Our team of travel experts want everyone to know how amazing Western Canada is—and how easy it is to organize a trip there with no risk of running out of fun ideas. If you’re looking online for travel ideas or low-cost flights, consider booking a trip to Western Canada with Beforeifly. No one trip could exhaust all of its amazing destinations, but here are just five of the most exciting possibilities to get you dreaming about the West Coast.

Banff National Park
For the truly outdoorsy, if you only have the time to go one place in Western Canada on your next vacation, Banff National Park would be a great choice. Established as a park in 1885, Banff is Canada’s oldest national park. Located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and open to the public all year long, visitors to Banff can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and even ice climbing in one of the world’s most beautiful natural environments.

Vancouver
From its famous Stanley Park to its bustling Chinatown, Vancouver has something to offer both the nature-lover and the city slicker. Routinely voted as having one of the highest qualities of life in the world, Vancouver is a truly modern and international city with central access to many of British Columbia’s wonders.

exploring Whistler BC in the summer

Whistler
Just a short two hour drive north of Vancouver, Whistler, BC is a chalet-style resort town that you won’t want to miss. Although primarily known for its world-class alpine skiing and snowboarding trails (many of the 2010 Olympic events were held in Whistler), the town itself is also worth the trip, having won prizes for its architecture and beauty. Although known for winter activities, there are plenty of things to do for the adventure and thrill-seekers in your group, such as kayaking, ziplining and even bungee jumping.

 

Haida Gwaii
Further north along the Pacific coast, the islands of Haida Gwaii are well worth visiting. Sometimes known as Canada’s Galapagos, this collection of islands is the traditional home of the First Nations Haida people and has played an important role in Canadian history. The coastal rainforest is rich in natural wildlife and historic sites where you can see totem poles that are hundreds of years old. When you’re there, you can also arrange for a whale-watching trip to see some of the world’s most majestic marine animals.

Calgary
If you’d like to experience the rugged West in an urban setting, visit Alberta’s beautiful city of Calgary during its annual rodeo, the Calgary Stampede. Canada’s fourth largest city boasts an active arts scene and some great restaurants, bars, and shopping.

Discover the Beforeifly Difference

book a west coast vacation with beforeifly!Ready to stop looking online for trips you could take and actually book your next adventure? Contact our team to start arranging for low cost travel to Western Canada. Book online, give us a call or drop in for a visit at our Travel Centre in Hamilton to learn more about how easy it is to organize your next vacation with Beforeifly.

Winter in Greece: Top 3 Destinations!

By | Destinations, Holiday Travel, Winter Travel | No Comments

Photo Credit: Discover Greece

When one thinks of Greece, they imagine islands with small villages consisting of white stucco homes with bright blue rooftops, beautiful crystal-clear, white sandy beaches and an exotic climate anyone could fall in love with. Summer in Greece is obviously breathtaking but their winter is even more spectacular, and a season a frequent tourist of Greece should never miss!
Greece is famous for its mountainous landscape and a little dusting of snow makes for the picture-perfect view for locals or first-time visitors to Greece. Northern Greece is by the far the most adventurous and magical part of the country during the winter months and Beforeifly gives you a list of the top three must-see places!

1) Agios Athanasios Pellas

Photo Credit: Siantsis Guesthouse


Photo Credit: Discover Greece

Agios Athanasios is an old village located in the Pella Regional Unit of Macedonia, Greece and was built in the late 16th Century at an altitude of 1200 metres.

This fairytale-like village offers a traditional experience with a modern twist.  Visitors can expect to find local and original architecture, cobblestone roads, and sloping rooftops.

Agios Athanasios is also known to have ancient treasures, Macedonian tombs, and jewelry, buried throughout the town.

Whether you’re a ski enthusiast or foodie, Agios Athanasios caters to all personalities and tastes and has one of the most state-of-art ski resorts in all of Greece, called the Kaimaktsalan.

Hidden Gems: Wetland Agra-Vryton-Nisiou, the Archangel of Mt. Paiko, the little church of Profitis Ilias.

Where to Stay: Siantis Guesthouse

Where to Dine: The Hut Tavern, Tsegani, Tavern Katafigio.

2) Arachova

Photo Credit: Web Greece

Arachova, is also known as the “Queen of Winter” and offers visitors the ultimate winter escape.  It is a unique mountain village, which was built on the slope of the Paranassos Mountain, at an altitude of 950 metres.

It is considered one of the most glamorous winter destinations in Greece and a cosmopolitan for celebrity spotting, idyllic landscapes, lively nightlife, and boasts one of the best and biggest ski resorts in the country.

Photo Credit: Discover Greece

TV Presenter & Journalist, Marietta Chrousala, claims “Arachova means nightlife, winter sports, and good food!” No one should ever leave Arachova without trying their local specialties, such as the handmade pasta and Formaela cheese, which is made by producers in Central Greece, from traditional sheep’s milk.

Hidden Gems: National Trail 22, ‘Unknown’  Parnassos and its secrets, The Panagyraki Of Arahova.

Where to Stay: Hotel Paransassos, Nefeles, Elafivolia Arachova Suites.

Where to Dine: Taverna Christos, To Arhontiko, To Tsoukali.

3) Florina

Photo Credit: Greek City Times


Photo Credit: Hive Miner

Even the Mediterranean sun needs a break during the colder months to allow for the magic of winter to blanket the villages with its seasonal sparkle.

Florina is one of those lucky cities in Greece that has the chance to flaunt its natural beauty the most during winter. Located in Northwestern Macedonia, Florina is considered the “land of the lakes” with six prominent lakes surrounding its landscape.
Florina is truly a picture-perfect, stone-built city that even the most renowned director Theo Angelopoulos considers to be his favourite film-making spot.

Travelers to Florina can expect to enjoy amazing architecture, with houses reflecting elements from the 1930’s, ranging from neo-byzantine to art deco.

Hidden Gems: Archaeological Museum & River Sakoulévas

Where to Stay: Boutique Hotel Philippion & King Alexander Hotel

Where to Dine: Terpsi, Aposperiths, Kontosoros

Ready To Book?

With Beforeifly, we are your very own online travel concierge! Call one our live agents to learn more and enjoy the best deals! Book a winter vacation of worry-free travel.  Contact us today!

About The Author:

Nicole Zoe Singh is the Administrative Assistant and Blog Writer at Beforeifly Travel Centre.  Nicole has a background in journalism and has written publications for Anokhi Media.  Her number one passion is writing, although she also adores everything to do with photography, fashion, and travel!

How to Plan a Romantic Getaway

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Couples that are able to travel together enjoy many benefits in their relationship. Studies show that travelling not only rebuilds relationships but sparks romance and intimacy as well. Being able to connect without the noise and interruptions of everyday life while in a beautiful relaxing setting can do wonders for the soul. Whether you’re hoping to rekindle the magic of your relationship, pop the question or just relax with the one you love, planning a romantic getaway is a great way to celebrate your relationship. Creating a truly relaxing and memorable experience, however, requires some planning. Here are four essential steps to planning the perfect romantic getaway:

Step 1: Plan Your Budget

It’s probably the least romantic part of the process so get it out of the way well before the fun stuff. Having a clear budget will help you with all the subsequent steps and keep your mind off of finances when you’re on vacation. If you know that you’re the kind of couple that likes to regularly take trips, you might even consider opening a dedicated bank account for savings toward a weekend shopping spree in Paris or even booking an all-inclusive vacation to escape the woes of winter in Canada for some quality time with your loved one.

Step 2: Plan Your Main Events

Some people like to surprise their partner with a romantic vacation. Depending on your personalities, some couples like trips to be surprises—others wouldn’t appreciate decisions being made by only one partner. Whichever kind of couple you are in, be sure to thoroughly research the main events of your trip well in advance. The “main events” should be the things at your destination that you absolutely can’t miss and have a special meaning for your relationship. They can be big (local festivals, monuments, historic sites, etc.) or small (a favourite restaurant, a beach you’ve been to before, etc.) but should help you celebrate who you are together.

Online travel booking can be a great help with this step as many reservations can be made well in advance and tracked to be sure nothing goes wrong before you’ve even left for your destination.

Step 3: Plan to Improvise

One mistake a lot of people make is to overload their schedules to try to make the most of their vacation. If you’re constantly running from event to event, however, you’ll be spending more time worrying about reaching destinations than enjoying them. Having one or two main events per day is often enough. Between them you have room to do whatever you feel like that day.

Don’t feel guilty about doing what you like on vacation, including throwing out plans if they are less appealing than they were when you planned them. If your partner just wants to spend the day in the hotel room—be spontaneous! It can be a way to make great memories as well.

Step 4: Unplug and have fun!

It’s tough to do these days but consider putting all of your electronic devices in the hotel safe once you’ve arrived at your destination. Your romantic vacation should be about you, not the stresses you’ve left behind.

If you’ve got the budget but need some ideas, call our agents to get some inspiration and for the best recommendations for planning your vacation! As your online travel concierge, we ensure all the complicated details of your romantic trip can be consolidated in a single, easy to read source with our app. If you’re ready to take the romance one step further and book an all-inclusive wedding or honeymoon, don’t hesitate to contact Beforeifly today! We offer low-cost flights and no booking fees with our entry guarantee. Contact us today to find out more.

a couple enjoying the view from the deck of a cruise ship in the Caribbean

How to Get the Most Out of your Caribbean Cruise!

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If you’ve never taken a Caribbean cruise during your holidays, the amount of choice they offer might seem a little overwhelming at first. Imagine someone combined a great hotel, a theme park and a theatre, and then made it travel around the world, stopping at various amazing destinations. For couples or families looking for a way to make the most out of their vacations without having to personally plan all the details of the trip, cruises are definitely an attractive option. Each cruise offers unique opportunities so be sure to be fully prepared before going on your trip.

Here are a few tips that we’ve put together to help you maximize your fun on your Caribbean cruise during your holidays:

Eat, drink and be merry!

One of the easiest ways to customize your cruise experience is to take advantage of all the food and drink options available to you. Here are just a few tips on how to navigate all your choices:

  • Most cruise lines let you bring a few bottles of your own wine or champagne on board without a corking fee, which will help you save a little money.
  • You can usually take cocktails from area to area so you can plan ahead and always be one step ahead of the crowd.
  • Buffets are a great way to try new foods while making sure you can still get what you like. This is your chance to try something new!
  • Break up your routine with specialty dining options. They cost a little more but are still a lot less than a comparable meal on land. Cruise lines such as Carnival offer rotating menus of guest favourites.
  • Research how much you’re allowed to order during regular meals. Often, you can order and share several appetizers or entrees. It’s a great opportunity to try new things with your entourage or to make new friends aboard.
  • Although you may have to pay for brand-name ice cream, the ship’s soft-serve is often free.
  • Order room service whenever you can—it’s free most of the time.

Entertainment secrets

  • Sometimes people don’t show up for reservations they’ve made for free shows, allowing you to snag their place if you’re quick.
  • Reserve places for can’t-miss events early. Places go fast if the show is free.
  • Bring walkie-talkies so your group can do different activities but stay in contact (cell phones don’t work at sea).

What to do when you call at a port

  • Only do the activities you can’t miss, stay on the boat otherwise. The ships activities are usually crowd-free when docked at a port.
  • Purchase shore excursions in advance so you can plan the rest of your time effectively.
  • Be mindful when doing activities that aren’t arranged through the cruise—you don’t want to miscalculate your time and miss the boat.

With Beforeifly, we are your very own online travel concierge that can help with all your arrangements for your next Caribbean cruise. Your holidays will be easy to manage using the Beforeifly app, which consolidates all your booking information in a single place. Contact us today to find out more about the Beforeifly difference and how we can help you maximize your fun the next time you leave Canada!

Holiday Travel Tips

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Photo Credit: Dreamtime.com

The holidays make for some of the busiest travel days of the year. Visiting friends and family, or just a getaway to a tropical destination, while taking advantage of the time off work affect the rise in airfare, and accommodation prices.

But it doesn’t mean that you should turn into a scrooge. Here are some travel tips from Beforeifly, to ensure that your travels are just as merry and bright!

Planning

Do Your research.

Before even choosing your dates, know that the most expensive times are a few days before and a few days after Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Booking well in advance will also save you some extra for holiday spending.

Being flexible will not only save you money, but also the stress. Early morning flights tend to run a little higher in price, as do direct flight. If you want to save on costs, choose a flight with one or two stops, depending on your destination. You do not want to turn what would be a 5 hour direct flight into a day and a half of travel.

Packing

Vacation and Packing

If taking a vacation to a tropical destination, pack light. Take a carry-on bag and skip the suitcase if you can. Not only will this save you money on paying for checked baggage, but time as well, when you don’t need to wait for the luggage to get unloaded at your destination, and you don’t run the risk of the airline misplacing your belongings. Just remember that any fluids in a carry on must be 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.

If you are planning on visiting family, remember to leave all gifts unwrapped when packing them into your suitcase or carry on. This way you do not run the risk of having a customs agent tear into the perfect wrapping job you have already done. Remember all packages run through the security screening. Just wrap them once you get to your destination. If an option, ship your unwrapped gifts separately a few days before you take off and have them arrive in time to wrap and gift.

Ready For Take-off

Phot Credit: CNBC

Make sure to do an online check-in 24 hours prior to departure. If you chose not to do seat selection and pay (on some airlines) this is also a good time to select your seats at no additional cost.

The day of your travels, ensure you have checked your flight status, and allow plenty of time to arrive at the airport.

Ensure you have all your necessary travel documents with you, including any Visas, you may require for certain layovers, or destinations.

If you re travelling through the Northern United States, check the weather, and be prepared for any long airport delays by charging your devices and packing backup batteries.

Beforeifly’s Top 5 Christmas Market Picks!

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Photo Credit: @elizaioan

The sweet aroma of hot cocoa fills the air, laughter can be heard from children on the carousel, while bright light canopies give warmth to the winter sky.

Christkindlmarkt, also known as, Christmas market, brings the magic of Christmas to life in cities all over the world, with a trendy outdoor street market during the month of December.

The history of Christmas markets date back over 600 years ago to the Late Middle Ages.  Originating in Germany in 1310, the wildly popular holiday festivity has now become one of the most “Instagrammable” events in the world and an annual Christmas tradition in cities across every continent.

Christmas markets bring the fun and fantasy of the old world to the modern day.  Let’s have a look at Beforeifly’s top 5 choices!

1. Frankfurt, Germany

Photo Credit: Raddison Blu

Being the country of origin when it comes to Christmas markets, of course Germany had to be number one on our list!

Located in Frankfurt, this Christmas market is commonly known as one of the most beautiful markets in all of Germany, attracting both locals and travelers from around the world.

Frankfurt’s town square is transformed every year into a winter wonderland, with lots of lights, festive decorations, and traditional wooden stalls filled with Christmas-themed delicacies.

2. Toronto, Canada

Photo Credit: Toronto Christmas Market

The Toronto Christmas Market made it to the number two spot on our list and was ranked one of the world’s best Christmas markets by Fodor’s Travel.

 Even with all the hustle and bustle of this huge metropolitan, Toronto manages to provide a picturesque setting right in the heart of the city.

Located in the Victorian-themed Distillery District, along cobble-stone streets, this annual event has something for the whole family.  Visitors can sip on hot seasonal beverages while shopping for locally hand-crafted gifts, and taking pictures with Instagram-worthy scenery.

3.Zagreb, Croatia

Photo Credit: Stylish Travel Tips

The capital of Croatia, Zagreb, received the most prestigious award for having the best Christmas market in all of Europe for two years in a row by European Best Destinations, and is the third market on our list.

Nestled in the middle of the city, Croatia celebrates four weeks of Advent with its cultural heritage and magical scenery.

Vacationers to Croatia can take in the country’s traditions, while enjoying Christmas concerts, festive light displays, and various food specialties.

4.Strasbourg, France

The Strasbourg Christmas Market was ranked number one by CNN Travel and has made it to the number four spot on our list!

This market is in Eastern France and is considered one of the oldest Christmas markets in all of Europe, with it’s first event taking place in 1570.

Strasbourg makes last minute Christmas shopping easier with its 10 different locations, and over 300 booths, packed with gift ideas and festive decorations.

5.Brussels, Belgium

Photo Credit: Brussels Guide

Brussels’ Christmas Market, officially known as, “Winter Wonders,” was named one of the biggest Christmas markets in the world on The Culture Trip’s Top Ten List, and is ranked number 10 on CNN Travel’s list of the world’s best Christmas Markets.

“Winter Wonders” is considered one of the most impressive holiday markets on the European scene, which runs until New Year’s Eve.

Visitors to this market can expect to find over 200 vendors, a 200-foot-long ice rink, a Ferris wheel with over 18,000 illuminating lights, and a huge Christmas tree at the Grand-Place, towering at 22-meters.

About The Author:
Nicole Zoe Singh is the Administrative Assistant and Blog Writer at Beforeifly Travel Centre.  Nicole has a background in journalism and has written publications for Anokhi Media.  Her number one passion is writing, although she also adores everything to do with photography, fashion, and travel!