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Places in Saskatchewan you need to visit this summer!

posted by My Saskatoon    |   March 4, 2015 21:53

The Saskatoon Sports and Leisure Show starts today at 6pm!

For more details regarding the cost, time, and location click here


In the spirit of the Sports and Leisure Show, and for all of us who are dreaming of summer, we've put together some links from the Tourism of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Parks  websites that list all the amazing places in Saskatchewan we should be exploring this summer. 

Happy planning!

Photo Credit - Saskatoon Sports & Leisure

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Support Local | Travel

Is a Vacation Rental Right for You?

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 24, 2015 10:26

Privately owned vacation homes are an increasingly popular accommodation option for travellers all over the world, and websites like VRBO, HomeAway, and Airbnb have made them highly accessible. While vacation rentals can add an authenticity and freedom to your trip that can be hard to find in a hotel stay, they do present some variables to consider. If you're planning an upcoming vacation and are weighing your accommodation options, read on as we explore the various aspects of a stay in a vacation rental in comparison to a hotel or resort. 


Stay Almost Anywhere

Whatever type of lodging you're interested in, chances are you can find a vacation rental that suits your needs and style. Planning a holiday in a big city? You'll definitely find a wide range of apartments, rooms for rent in larger houses, and even full homes in peripheral neighbourhoods. Looking for a place near the beach? From a condo in Florida to a villa in Bali, you'll find a variety of vacation rental options all over the world. 

Get More Space for Less Money

If you're travelling as a family or planning a multi-family holiday, a vacation rental can be a great choice. In many cases, a vacation rental will provide more space at a lower rate than a hotel room. This is obviously great for a large group, particularly with kids. In addition to the cost savings found renting as a large group, a vacation rental will likely have a kitchen that will enable you to save cash spent on meals out. 

Enjoy Unique Amenities

From having a kitchen and a laundry room to a private pool or hot tub, vacation rentals often feature amenities that you wouldn't find at a hotel. If the property is part of a larger condo complex, you may also enjoy access to golf or tennis. However, a few amenities you might miss with a vacation rental are maid service, room service, and in-house restaurants. You may even have to bring your own linens. However, not all rentals are created equal, and those that are part of a larger resort community will likely offer a more complete amenities package than a private single-family home. 

Feel Like a Local

Renting in a city? Being in a residential neighbourhood allows you to easily shop the local stores, enjoy local restaurants, and and otherwise blend in with the locals. Do some research before you go to find out about the best places, and if your rental is privately owned, be sure to ask the owner about the local faves. Also, the ability to eat breakfast in your PJs and relax in the living room will really make you feel at home. 

Consider Length of Stay

Some seasonal destinations may lack flexibility when it comes to the rental schedule. Often, rentals will have seven-night stay minimums, and some only rent for specific weeklong stretches, from Saturday to Saturday for example. More and more vacation rentals are becoming available for one or two night stays, but this varies widely and can be more expensive. It is also important to keep in mind that a hotel reservation is much easier to cancel than a rental agreement. If your plans may change at the last minute, you will likely be better off booking with a hotel.

No Guarantees

Particularly if the rental property is privately owned, it's important to communicate your expectations to the owner and to ask a lot of questions before booking. Pay close attention to online photos of the place, and be sure to read the fine print! You could end up with a space that is less appealing than it was in the pictures, or a "beach front" property that isn't quite on the beach. In our next blog post we will lay out some of the most important things to consider before selecting a vacation rental, so stay tuned!

Depending on the size of your group, the length of your stay, and your needs and desires as a traveller, a vacation rental may or may not be the best option for you. We hope these points are helpful to you in your quest for the perfect accommodations, and whatever you choose to do, enjoy your vacation to the fullest!  

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Tips for Stress-Free Travel

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 17, 2015 12:33

Booking flights, finding accommodations, and packing all the right clothing may seem like the essential elements of successful travel, but it is often the small things that keep your sanity intact while you're in an unfamiliar place. With all the organizing and arranging that the major things require, it can be easy for little details to slip through the cracks. From helpful apps to travel hacks, we've put together a few key ingredients for a smooth travel experience. Whether you're taking a road trip to Calgary or setting off on an overseas vacation, read on for some of our favourite tips for a stress free trip. 


Stay Nourished

Spending hours on a plane or in the car can feel like an excuse to load up on fast food or even skip meals. The truth is that doing so is sure to leave you drained and grumpy when you're supposed to be enjoying yourself (and when you need energy the most). If you're hitting the highway, take the time to pack healthy and yummy vehicle-friendly snacks to last, like the ones suggested here or here. Keep your blood sugar levels in line and your emotions in check by making nutrition a priority.

Instead of hitting up a fast food joint on your way out of town, stop in at locally owned Bistro 172 on Idylwyld Drive. Bistro 172 has a handcrafted and ever-changing menu of gourmet sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts that are made with quality ingredients. Perfect for a road trip, Bistro 172's VIP Lunch Boxes are a convenient way to grab a customized healthy meal to go. For $16, choose a gourmet sandwich, soup or salad, dessert and drink- all packed into a unique box with your name on it. Conveniently located en route to the Saskatoon Airport, this also makes for a perfect pre-flight meal option. 

If you are catching a flight, pretzels or cookies won't get you very far and we all know that airplane food on longer flights is far from awesome and can be expensive. Check out these flight-friendly recipes you can make yourself and bring with you on the plane. These ones are awesome too, and would be perfect for a long flight. 


Utilize Your Smartphone

You never know what you'll come up against with regards to your battery life while travelling. Only have a few minutes to charge your phone before getting on a train? Putting your phone into airplane mode will charge it twice as fast. Unable to plug in to an outlet? Many hotel TVs have handy USB slots that will charge most smartphones. 

You can make your life a little easier while travelling by snapping a photo of a few key things as you go. The license plate on your rental car so you can easily register it at the hotel. The number on your hotel room door. Any attraction tickets you have purchased, in case you lose them, as the code on the ticket might be enough to get you in. If you park in a massive lot at a theme park or event venue, take a picture of a sign to help you find your way back.

Navigating an unfamiliar city can be challenging, but there some great apps that can point you in the right direction, no matter what you are seeking. Trailhead will direct you to nearby hiking trails and bike paths. All Subway can provide you with a subway map and route planner. SitOrSquat is a great public bathroom locator. Foursquare will give you nearby food, nightlife, and entertainment options. Another tip: drop a pin when you park and you'll have a much easier time finding the car again. 

There are also a ton of great apps that can add general convenience to your travel experience. Use Evernote to create a to-do list that ensures everything is taken care of before you leave home. Forward travel confirmation emails to TripIt for a handy digital itinerary. FlightAware will help you ensure your plane is on time, and WiFi Tracker will make a huge difference on international trips. 

If you're travelling internationally, you'll want to read through this information about prepping your smartphone for your trip. 


We hope you found this post helpful! February is Travel Month on My Saskatoon, so stay tuned for posts about vacation rentals, packing tips, and more!

Featured in today's post is locally owned and operated business Bistro 172, where sandwiches, salads and soups are made fresh each morning. Bistro 172 strives to keep things interesting by always coming up with great new recipes that are both healthy and tasty. 

Connect with Bistro 172 on social media, view hours of operation, and more here.  

Tips for Travelling with Kids

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 9, 2015 14:13

February break is right around the corner! For many parents with young children, family travel can feel daunting. Even road trips within Saskatchewan can be a challenge, let alone a long plane ride! But while there are bound to be a few mishaps and unexpected occurrences along the way, travel can be one of the best and most memorable experiences you can have as a family.

We all know that when travelling with kids, the keys to ensuring a great trip are paying attention to their needs and finding the right balance between rest time and fun. This looks different for each and every family, and you really have to experience family travel firsthand to know what works best for you and your children. No matter how much you plan there will always be hiccups, but we came across a few tips that we think could benefit most any family during a flight, at the beach, while touring a new city, and of course, while doing Disney!

On the Plane

Plan to get to the airport extra early. Rushing will only add to the stress that can come with organizing small children for a flight. If you have little ones, this will also give you a chance to get settled at the airport and then crawl, walk, or play them out as much as you can prior to boarding. It just might help to ensure a nice long nap once you're on the plane.

This might seem obvious, but try to schedule your flight during nap time. Depending on the age and energy level of your child, an in-flight nap might be worth any extra money spent securing a flight during the most ideal time of day. 

Be prepared for painful ear-popping. Try to ensure that you can feed your baby or give your toddler a drink during takeoff and landing. This is a great way to alleviate the pressure on your child's ears. An older child could be encouraged to yawn or chew on something, and you could give a younger child a straw to blow through. If your child is sleeping, you should wake him or her up during landing and takeoff as the discomfort can be worse if they are allowed to sleep. 


At the Beach

If it is a busy beach, go early to get a great spot near the water and check the tide to ensure that you won't have to keep moving your stuff back. It's a good idea to mark your territory by spreading your beach toys out a little bit. If you brought a cooler full of snacks, keep them behind your chair in the shade. 

Speaking of snacks, small kids are all but guaranteed to get sand in the community chip bag. Separate food into individual serving size containers to avoid sand-contamination of everyone's snacks! :) It's also a good idea to avoid getting sand in the tiny crevices of your phone by keeping it in a ziplock bag. 

Bring along baby powder to aid in brushing sand off of yours and your children's bodies. Of course you don't need to be reminded to bring sunblock, but a great tip is to try to spray it in the same direction as the wind to ensure that it actually ends up on your child. 


Touring a City

Consider an apartment rental through Airbnb or VRBO. The extra facilities that come with a vacation rental can make your stay much more convenient and enjoyable. Having a kitchen, washing machine, separate bedrooms, and extra space for kids to play certainly beats hotel rooms that were simply not built for families with young children.  

The savings that come from having your own kitchen and being able to cook your own meals can be significant, especially for a large family. This also means more control over the ingredients in your food and the ability to keep things healthy over the course of your trip. If you plan to do a lot of eating out and want to save costs, consider doing breakfast or lunch out and cooking dinner at your rental. Another tip for keeping food costs down is to eat away from touristy streets. Even stepping a block or two off the beaten path to eat where the locals eat can mean less expensive meals and a more authentic experience. 

Do the free stuff! Visit festivals and free concerts or street fairs if you can. Spend time in parks, take a bike ride or just wander and enjoy exploring the nooks and crannies of the city you're in. Most museums have special discount times and even free days that you could take advantage of. With some advance planning, you should be able to include at least a few free activities into your visit. 


Doing Disney

There are endless books and blogs out there with tips for getting the most out of your Disney experience. One of our favourites is to try to stay at the park as late as your kids' schedule will allow for it. This might mean heading out later, as exploring the park can be tiring, but it just might be worth it. Disney World is a whole different place near the end of the day, as the crowds tend to majorly thin out later in the evening. Not only are lines much shorter, but this makes for a great time to leisurely explore the beauty of the park and you'll notice things you wouldn't have seen amidst the throngs of people. 

Buy t-shirts and other Disney swag before you go, as this sort of stuff is a lot more expensive in the park. If your child is of the age where he or she is interested in trading pins, consider buying a variety pack of pins online before you go. It doesn't matter what you end up getting because you can trade with other pin-traders or Cast Members once you get to Disney World. Learn more about Pin Trading here

Don't fear long lines. You'll be through a half hour line before you know it, and if the time starts to drag you can always spend the time catching up with your kids about their favourite parts of the trip so far, taking funny pictures, or looking for the hidden Mickeys that can be found throughout the park. It is also super helpful to work the Fast Pass system, which you can learn more about here


Do you have a tried and true tip for travelling with kids? Tell us about it in the comments!

Looking for more ideas for travelling with kids? We've pinned a ton of lists and hacks for various destinations on our 'Travel' Pinterest board.

Stay tuned for more about travel during the month of February on My Saskatoon!

Health Tips for Travelling

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 3, 2015 10:49

Do you have an amazing getaway planned for February break? We know the chill that has returned to our Saskatoon air has us all dreaming of warm breezes and sandy beaches, and a week away certainly breaks up the remainder of winter nicely! As you prep your tan and resort wardrobe in anticipation of that hot holiday, now is more important than ever to keep a close eye on your health. February can be prime time for colds and flus, and you don't want a pesky bug cutting into your beach time. There's nothing worse than being sick on a holiday, so we've put together a list of healthy habits to employ prior to your trip to ensure you can enjoy yourself to the max!


Get Your Greens

Trying to keep a cold or flu at bay? Vitamins and minerals are essential in maintaining a healthy immune system, and eating a wide range of nutrient dense foods will help you to keep your bases covered. Nutritionally conscious people have varying opinions on which foods are best for optimal heath and which should be left off the grocery list, so our advice here is to consult a source you trust. But we can say pretty confidently that in the weeks before your trip, it's a good idea to avoid fast food, packaged products, and sugary treats. We can also confidently suggest that upping your intake of dark leafy greens will help your immune system stay in fighting form! Make it easy with this delicious smoothie recipe.  


Keep Natural Remedies on Hand

After reading through this Harvard Health Publication, we learned that the way our bodies respond to natural remedies can vary, and a herb or supplement that your friend insists packs a punch against oncoming cold symptoms may not work so well for you. There isn't much solid evidence for the effectiveness of 'immunity boosters' among large groups studied, but that doesn't mean that the herbal remedy your grandmother swears by doesn't work for her. It probably does! Certain remedies may work very well for individuals in fending off a cold or flu. Echinacea, garlic, ginseng, and probiotics have all garnered some attention from researchers in the area of immunity, so they may be worth including in your diet in the weeks leading up to your vacay. Check out our past post about fighting a cold with natural remedies for one of our bloggers' sworn-by methods! 

Manage Stress

Have you ever noticed yourself getting sick when a big project is due or when you're in the thick of dealing with a relationship issue? Your mind and body are closely linked, and emotional stress can leave you more susceptible to illness. Many people work harder in the weeks prior to a vacation to ensure that loose ends are tied up before heading out on holiday, resulting in less sleep and a tired brain. This can leave the door open for stressors to take their toll, so it's important to keep stress management front of mind during this time. Everyone has different commitments, priorities, and stress triggers, so the key thing here is to be self-aware. Try to mediate stress by being aware of your stress levels and prioritizing a stress relieving activity for even just a few minutes each day. Every person is different, so take some time to discover the things that help you to manage stress, whether its meditation, time with loved ones, exercise, or alone time. 


For optimum health these habits should of course be extended to daily life beyond your vacation, and if you haven't been adhering to them now is the perfect time to start! Our hope is that with these keys in mind you will be in prime health for frolicking on the beach and splashing in the pool. Stay tuned for more posts about travel this month on My Saskatoon!

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