Tips for Travel Flight Savings

This is the season to travel. The holiday season is upon us and visions of family and friends dance happily in our heads. It’s a festive time of the year with planning parties, preparing for the family get together, and searching for those perfect gifts that will bring smiles and hugs our way. However, the family and friends we so long to embrace live in a land far, far away and the Christmas cash is limited.

So whether you are currently nodding your head, finding yourself in the same situation, or you simply want to get away from all the crazy, hustle bustle of the holiday rush and snuggle up in a cozy foreign oasis with your love, here are some things to do to find holiday travel savings.

Travel Agent

The most common method travel shoppers utilize is their local travel agent. This is an excellent choice if you are looking for a package that includes hotel accommodations, car rental services, area sightseeing information, etc. However, shop around for the best deals.

Travel agents use the same networks to put together their travel packages. This gives all travel agents access to the same prices. The difference is that travel agents charge varying fees, therefore it is prudent to shop around or even haggle with them to get reduced savings. Check around for those golden travel nuggets of savings.

Even if you are only searching for a flight to your desired destination, you want to shop around for the best deal providing agents. Do a bit of research yourself on some of the different air lines available in your area and then ask the agent a lot of questions. There is a great deal of competition between travel agents during the holidays so they will often take some cuts in commissions themselves if it means grabbing your holiday dollars.

Direct Contact

For those of you that are looking for a simple flight to your beloveds’ destination, contacting the source is often the best way to receive a miracle deal. In essence you are cutting out the middle man. This may take a bit more of your precious holiday time but the results could be well worth it. Again, shop around. Do your research and call around or surf the web. Go directly to the provider. When you find a decent deal, use that as leverage to see if the next air line will beat it. Or sometimes the smart thing to do is take a nice rate and see if you can get a better, more prestigious air line to match it.

Helpful Tips

No matter which way you decide to go, here are some tips for hooking that special deal.

  • Ask Questions – Don’t be shy. Ask the agent or provider a lot of questions. Often times there are numerous discounts available but they are not openly advertised. In this case curiosity keeps the cash.
  • Shop Early – Many airlines offer early bird specials or increase their rates the closer it gets to a scheduled holiday.
  • Be Flexible – Most airlines offer price slashing rates if you take an early or late flight. Also, great discounts are offered when a flight doesn’t have several passengers show up. Stand by is a wonderful way to save if you’re willing to sip a cup of cocoa while waiting.
  • Be Nice – This is a biggie during the season to be jolly or anytime. If you do your holiday shopping with a pleasant, patient attitude then you just might be the bee that finds the honey in holiday travel savings.
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Canada Vacation Tips: 12 Must Know Terms to Make Your Life Easier While Traveling in Canada

Americans and Canadians speak the same language – right?

Well, not quite and if you want to make the most of your vacation in the beautiful and rugged north, you probably want to brush up on a few local terms to feel right at home.

Of course, you will see labels and signs all over in Canada in both French and English. But, through my extensive travels I’ve learned that some Canadian words just don’t translate into American English, and vice versa.

So, here is a handy glossary of 12 Terms You Need To Know When You Visit Canada:

  1. Loonies and Toonies – These cutesy words are far weightier than they sound. They mean money. Loonies are gold colored $1 coins. Where does this term come from? Well the Loon is the national bird appearing on the front of the $1 coin. The lonesome call of the Loon is a familiar sound in the Canadian wilderness.
  2. Toonies -Yes, you guessed it. Toonies are the Loonies $2 cousin.
  3. Tuque – The quintessential winter accessory in Canada. We hear that these winter hats are called “ski hats” or “beanies” elsewhere. But Canadians will keep their tuques, thank you very much.
  4. Tim Hortons – Canada’s favorite coffee and donut shop. Located throughout the country and often referred to as “Timmies”, it’s a staple in the Canadian diet.
  5. Double-double – Often heard at Tim Horton’s, this is the way the “pros” order a coffee with two creams and two sugars
  6. Pop The common word for a soft drink, deriving from “soda pop”. Up here, soda is the fizzy water that’s good for getting pop stains out of clothes.
  7. Washroom – A synonym for bathroom, restroom or toilet. Don’t waste precious time looking for the bathroom when all signs point to the washroom.
  8. Poutine – With all the multi-cultural foods peppering Canada, be sure to try this homegrown favorite on your vacation. This dish of French fries, cheese curds and gravy originated in Quebec has won fans across the country. Trust me, it tastes better than it sounds!
  9. Canuck -This is a term of endearment for “Canadian” as in the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, who can be seen on Hockey Night in Canada. Hockey Night in Canada is a must see TV event for hockey lovers…meaning most of Canada. Ask any Canadian on your vacation to hum the theme song – it’s a catchy one!
  10. Runners – These are casual sports shoes, otherwise called sneakers or tennis shoes. “Runners” can join “sneakers” on my unofficial list of oddly named items.
  11. Click/Kilometer – Kilometer is such a cumbersome word for measuring distance. The slang “click” is a much faster way to share how many kilometers you’ve traveled on your Canadian vacation.
  12. Bill – Although you may run into a few friendly Canucks named Bill, chances are you’ll meet bill more often. In Canada, a bill is what you pay at a restaurant.

So, next time you’re in Canada, counting your loonies and toonies while enjoying your double-double after walking 10 clicks in runners and thinking about asking for the bill …you’ll feel right at home.

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Travel to Canada, but Should You Become A Canadian Resident?

Why Become a Canadian Permanent Resident? That’s one question you may already be wondering, especially if you’ve done some research into what the process requires. It isn’t easy to become a permanent resident, after all.

Plus, there are other options available if you want to work or study in Canada. Short-term, temporary visas are issued to workers and students that allow them to live and work in Canada.

So why become a permanent resident? The answer is simple: you’ll have more rights.

When you become a permanent resident of Canada, you are entitled to most of the sam e rights and privileges as a Canadian citizen. Below is a list of a few of these rights:

  • You are entitled to equal treatment and equal protection.
  • You are entitled to certain legal rights, such as; to be presume innocent until proven guilty, to be provided with an interpreter in the courtroom, if necessary, to have a lawyer.
  • You have the right to enter and exit Canada as you see fit, plus you can move freely from province to province.
  • You can work and study anywhere you choose in Canada (you cannot hold some high-security government positions, however.)

While most of these rules also apply to temporary Canadian residents, there are some social service benefits that are only or primarily designed to help permanent residents and citizens of Canada.

These benefits include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) – For families with children under the age of 18 who are considered to have a low-income, the Canadian government provides monthly tax-free payments to help cover expenses.
  • Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement, and Canada Pension Plan – All three of these programs are designed to provide financial support to workers after they reach retirement age – currently age 65. To be eligible, you have to meet specific residency requirements and to have contributed to the system by paying taxes in Canada. However, most permanent residents will qualify for at least partial payments from these programs.
  • Universal health care – Most necessary medical expenses are covered through the Canadian universal health care program. These expenses include visits to emergency room, immunizations, yearly exams, etc.
  • Free education – All children under 18 are entitled to a free education in the Canadian public school system.
  • Maternity and parental leave – In Canada, working parents are given time off when a new baby is born or adopted. Women can take up to 12 months of maternity leave and receive 50 to 65% of their normal income. Partially paid parental leave is also available for up to 35 weeks. One parent can take all 35 weeks or both parents can split the allotment of time (i. e. one parent takes 20 weeks while the other takes 15 weeks). To be eligible for parental leave, you must have worked in Canada for at least 600 hours.

All of these benefits and more become available to you when you are a permanent resident of Canada.

Additionally, being a permanent resident gives you the opportunity to become a Canadian citizen after only three years of living and working in Canada.

Once you become a citizen, you can run for political office, become involved in political activities, and vote in elections. You can also maintain duel-citizenship, so you don’t have to give up citizenship in your home country just to enjoy the benefits of Canadian citizenship.

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