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Big Cajun Vacation Tips

We have returned from our annual Cajun Family Vacation, and this year we learned a few valuable things about planning. Here we give you (with some help from my wife) some helpful vacation tips.

Vacation tipo
A Vacation Tip is to visit the Halton Radial Railway.
  • We bought our La Ronde Season passes in April, and it ended up costing less than a Single Day’s pass. This was a Gold pass too, so free parking made it a great deal. Same is true for Canada’s wonderland.
  • The Toronto CityPass is another great bargain if you want to go to the Aquarium, The Science Centre, Up the CN Tower, the zoo and some other stuff that my son didn’t want to attend.
  • Always have a Plan B on vacation as well. Thanks to my son getting a bad strep throat infection we ended up not doing a lot of what we had planned to do.
  • Never a bad idea to investigate medical facilities around where you are staying. We found a walk-in medical clinic and got my son some antibiotics. Always bring your health cards and medical/drug plan information with you as well (free antibiotics). It could end up saving you a lot of money and headaches (if you are inside Canada). Travel insurance would be a good idea if you are out of the country.
  • If your hotel room has an issue, like a raucous party that goes on until say, 4:30 AM outside your door, remember to call the desk to ask for help instead of hoping for the best. When you check out mention it again, and most hotels will rebate you some of your nightly rate. I tend to be quite polite and compliment the hotel in this situation (and ask “… why do people do that?”). Worked for us, twice this summer.
  • We like to stay at hotels that provides a fridge and microwave in the room to help save money (it also helps ease our son’s anxiety to have familiar food from home). We have even been known to travel with our own toaster.

These are a few simple tips. There are plenty more out there. See which ones work for you.


Happy Victoria Day

Yes it is a holiday finally, and I get to enjoy the first long weekend since Easter (which seems a long way away). No stores are open around me, but Ottawa has some benefits that other Ontario cities don’t have because we have the Rideau Center, which is deemed a “Tourist Area” so all of its stores will be open and we are across the river from Gatineau/Hull and there all stores are open today. Will I go shopping? I might run to Tim Horton’s to have a Pro-Monarchist Coffee and Donut, but that is about it.

Happy Victoria Day

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria, no doubt wondering where Prince Albert is (in the can would be my guess)

Why do we celebrate this holiday still? We need a holiday in May as simple a reason as that. In Quebec they call it Journée nationale des patriotes , and not much is closed (so maybe I can get my beer over there?).


Let’s Take a Mental Vacation From Thinking about Money

That is what a Pollara survey was done for BMO suggests, that 34% of Canadians, “…they take a mental vacation from thinking about their finances during the summertime….“.

For those of you who think this is a good idea, read the following line very carefully:

This is a very BAD idea! Mental Vacation? What?

Human Cannonball Y'all
This guy may be on vacation, but he doesn’t forget about his finances

Agreed, I am a little laid back, but it is the summer.

In the summer, when you are going on vacation, out of your regular spending rhythms and are prone to more spontaneous purchases and such, the last thing you should be doing is taking your “eye off the ball.”

BMO’s resolution to this issue is to use one of their mobile tracking tools, but just keeping track of your receipts and spending is what you need to do (I don’t care how you do it, but you need to do it).

You might want to check your investments, too, since many exciting things can happen in the markets over the summer (you might think the markets shut down for the summer, but surprisingly they do not).


What is the 4th of July ?

A while ago, I had a post on the 4th of July What does the 4th of July Mean? For some reason that post had a huge readership for the day (not sure why, but what the heck), so with that in mind, here is another fun view of the 4th of July from America’s younger brother to the North.

To Canadians the 4th of July is a fun time to watch our American friends have a good time, since (I have said previously) no one seems to have a good time celebrating their country as much our noisy Brothers down south.

You Yanks have a great time, and I hope to one day spend a 4th of July in the states (OK I have once or twice, but it was in an Airport, so that doesn’t really count).

Lady Liberty’s Unveiling

The 4th of July is really the beginning of the summer for the Northern Hemisphere (OK Canada Day is as well).

As I have also pointed out the year is now over half over, how have your financial plans gone so far? Gone down in flames, or up in smoke like the fireworks on the 4th of July? Well, there is time to restart it all, so don’t give up hope.

Lady Liberty’s torch can be your beacon to lead you out of the darkness of your financial black hole (yeh it’s cheesy, but still a useful metaphor).

Is the U.S. economy in a shambles? Maybe, but this is the U.S., it needs to every once in a while show a little weakness and then “Hulk Up” and show the world just how strong an economy they are.

Happy birthday the United States of America, you don’t look a day over 200 (which I also remember vividly as well). Blow off more explosives than the Canadian Armed Forces, guzzle more beer than the volume of Lake Superior, and chow down millions of hot dogs, it’s time to celebrate!

The spirit of 1776 lives on!


Flying Cheaper but is it Better (Video)

So our friends at PBS Frontline did a show near and dear to my heart about the Airline industry and the cost cutting that has gone on, and questioning whether all these cost cuts are not sacrificing our safety.

I grew up flying, as my Dad worked for Air Canada, so I got to see first hand how the industry changed from a very luxury conscious means of travel to a larger more accomodating (and cheaper) transportation, to the point now where it seems to be the ultimate “bate and switch con game” service. I defy anyone to find the real price of any trip with all the new service fees they are allowed to hide and not advertise.

As competition made the airlines have to “lower” their prices, how did they do it? Gasoline has been going up year after year, their employees have most certainly taken some of the cuts, but how else have they been saving money? Frontline gives us some ideas in this full length piece:

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

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