My ABC’s of travel – Letter A – Aloha Spirit


When I arrived in Hawaii the first time the air smelled different. That may sound crazy (or not) but it did. It was probably the smell of the beautiful fresh flowers that adorned the beautiful leis that the greeters were handing out as people walked through the airport. I would say that it could be more than that, my first taste of what the Hawaiian’s call the “Aloha Spirit”.

I did not get a fresh lei the first time I travelled to Hawaii. On my second trip, which was a professional education trip to the island of O’ahu, we were all greeted with our very lei2own fresh leis upon our arrival.

We wore our leis to our hotels and the next day we were told how special and sacred the leis actually were. The are regarded highly and with a lot of respect. It is customary to return the lei to the ‘earth’ either by hanging in on a tree or plant, or what has become a ‘hollywood’ tradition, bringing it to the water and letting it go into the water.

It was an educational trip that did not disappoint.We learned about the meaning of the “Aloha Spirit”, and how as I mentioned above, it is much more than saying hello.

“Aloha” was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaii.

“Aloha” is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation.

“Aloha” means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return.

“Aloha” is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.

“Aloha” means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.

Our tour guide, said to us that when people go on vacation their body is usually depleted. Depleted and in need for renewal, which makes sense. We need vitamin D from the sunshine, we need to get away from the daily routine of life with alarm clocks, working, scheduling, traffic. He said that when you come to Hawaii, you are depleted and in need of the Spirit of Aloha to lift you up and give you what you need to return home. After being to Hawaii twice, I totally agree with that way of thinking.

I am going to get some vitamin D on a personal trip to Mexico in a couple of weeks. It is not Hawaii of course, but I will take some of my spirit of Aloha thoughts with me as I get what I need for the fall and winter season in Canada.




New requirements to fly or transit through Canada now in effect


The Government of Canada has implemented a system to electronically verify that travellers have the appropriate travel documents to fly to or transit through Canada prior to boarding their flight.


Canadian citizens, including dual Canadian citizens, need to show proof that they are Canadian to board their flight to Canada. A valid Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel and identification document available to Canadians for the purpose of international air travel. If you are a Canadian citizen and fail to travel with a valid Canadian passport, you may not be able to board your flight.

Find out how to apply for or renew a passport at


Canadian permanent residents must present a valid Canadian permanent resident card or permanent resident travel document as well as a valid passport to board a flight to Canada.

Learn more about travelling as a Canadian permanent resident at


Citizens who do not need a visa to enter Canada must now have an ELECTRONIC TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION (eTA) to travel or transit through Canada by Air. If you are from a visa-exempt country you will need an eTA to check in for your flight.

NOTE: Citizens of the United States (US) are exempt, but U.S lawful permanent residents need an eTA and must present an valid U.S permanent resident card (Green Card) and a valid passport at check in.

Can I apply for an eTA at the last minute and still make my flight?

It is possible. To apply, you need your passport, a credit card, Internet access and an email address. It costs CAN$7 to apply, and the application form is accessible via any device with access to the Internet. Most applications are approved within a few minutes.

What happens after I apply?

In most cases, you will receive a confirmation email that your eTA has been approved.

While most eTAs are granted within minutes, some applications can take hours to several days to process. In these cases, you will receive an email confirming receipt of your application and indicating that you will hear more within 72 hours.

*Make sure to check the junk mail or spam folder of the email address you provided on your eTA application form.

You must wait until your eTA is approved before you can fly to Canada. This may mean rescheduling your flight.

Apply now for an eTA online at

For more questions you can go to the Government of Canada website regarding ETA documents.

Print your boarding passes

It had been about a year since I had flown to the US from Terminal three in Toronto. A lot has changed since the last time I flew as I found out a few weeks ago.

The taxi pulled up to the drop off points in terminal three at the US departures door for WestJet and some other airlines. I got out and walked inside. There was a lot of construction and temporary walls around the terminal but I did see the kiosks for the US check in so I proceeded to the area.  No more counters in this area – just kiosks do it yourself. Print your boarding passes, get your baggage tags and proceed to customs.

There was a staff person from American there asking a simple question, are you flying to the US? Yes, great proceed to print your boarding passes and baggage tags, which I did with ease.

Once passes were printed and bag tagged I went to stand against the wall to wait for my friend. What I witnessed for the next 15 minutes could have been something out of a Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel or SNL skit.

us1Picture this airport rep standing in front of this sign. There is a huge sign hanging from above which also says, US departures. There are hundreds of people wandering around dragging their bags in tow looking like they are in a zombie apocalypse movie.

“Are you going to the US ma’am” says the rep. “I am, uh, going to Vegas” so yes, check in here at the kiosk.

“Are you going to the US sir”says the rep. “I am going to Vancouver” so no, check in down at the other end.

This went on and on with almost every person walking through the terminal. I just stood there watching her ask everyone the same question and their dumbfounded looks as they answered her. People holding their boarding passes in their hands yet didn’t know where they were going. She just kept smiling, directing the lost to their found place in the airport. Smiled all the way through each person’s redundant questions and comments about where they should be and convinced they are going to Calgary with WestJet and should check in at the US kiosks.The best was the man looking for the Air Canada counter. When she told  him he was at the wrong terminal and he said, “how do  I get there”. With a smile she said, “you need to take the tram to terminal one”.

I kept chatting with her and said she deserves a medal for her efforts. She said she worked for American for years.

Then my friend arrived and said she was dropped off at the other end of the airport and had to walk through. Proceeded to baggage drop off and away we went. Until we hit the customs line. Thankfully I finally have my Nexus card. Can`t wait until I can use that for the first time.



Sweet intervention

When you go on a holiday you expect to try new things, enjoy a beverage or two and eat des1great food. You will probably do more of the last two than you would at home at any time. Multiply that by going on a cruise, where you can order more than one of anything at any time. That all adds up to potential trouble as well as pounds on the scale.

I recently went with a group of friends on cruise. One of the folks in my group admitted to me that there was about 10 extra pounds on the scale upon returning home. I have read many articles that said that people can put on between 7 – 10 pounds on a one week cruise.

It is not hard to get caught up in the food frenzy on a cruise. It is really available 24/7 on the ship, which is different than even on an all inclusive where there are set time for breakfast, lunch, dinner and maybe a late night snack bar which usually isn’t very appetizing. Cruise food will be better than any all inclusive food any day (In my opinion).

Discipline. Self control. Have a plan. All three are something you need to come to the table with when you go on a cruise. It is hard to do. Everything is so tempting and hard to resist.

Much like I think alcohol would be for someone that can’t drink. I am not sure you are des4aware, but there are AA meetings on board cruise ships. If you ever wanted to know what “friends of Bill W” is on your cruise daily calendar, that is what it is. I think it is a good thing that they have it available to those in need.

I was at my doctor today and I was saying that they should have an OA (over eaters anonymous) available on cruise ships as well. Maybe a meeting you could attend to check in before your go to dinner. To just prepare yourself for the choices that lie ahead. Maybe so that you only order one dessert or main course or not to order something from all the courses on the menu. Just like AA it wouldn’t be something that everyone would need or want, but if you do need it (for medical reasons, psychological reasons) it could be there for you.

Maybe it already is, I am not sure. I just looked over all the daily cruise handouts you get every day and didn’t seem to see any code words for a meeting. Maybe I should approach a cruise line with the idea. I wonder if there would be any interest.






The Importance of reading emails

If your inbox is anything like mine (both personal and professional) you may be thinking on a regular basis, how do I get through all the email? What is considered junk and what needs to be read and kept and what can be read and deleted.

When you make an online purchase you are normally sent an email after completion confirming your purchase and all the details. I would suspect you would want to review it just confirm that all the details are correct, because if they are not, you have a very short window to make corrections to your order. This holds true for a travel purchase.

Case in point.

Back in June a client made a booking to Las Vegas. She had been looking between the Hard Rock and the Excalibur. She confirmed prices on the Excalibur and then went to price out the Hard Rock. She decided she wanted to book the Excalibur and proceeded to book the package. No brainer, right? Not quite.

The system needs a ‘refresh’ or it won’t go back to the original price and you end up purchasing the last item on your screen. This doesn’t only apply to travel as I have ended up with an extra item or two on my Best Buy order a couple of times.

She did receive a confirmation email about a minute after she booked the trip, followed by the agency invoice the next day. When did she decide to read the invoice and see that she booked the wrong hotel – one month later! The only reason she noticed the error was because she called the Excalibur to request a room next to her friends and they said she wasn’t booked there. That prompted her to look at the invoice and then call us freaking out that WE booked her at the wrong hotel. How could WE book the wrong hotel when you made the booking yourself. Of course to change it to the Excalibur now was going to cost her extra money. Money she felt she shouldn’t have to pay.

That led into no less than five conversations back and forth regarding the fact that she would never have booked the Hard Rock, it isn’t on the strip, I always book with your company, and this has never happened. I received a copy of her booking confirmation which is date and time stamped. When I sent it to her I asked if she received that as well as our invoice to which she replied, “yes, but I always book with you so why do I need to check it”. Well, because for this exact reason. I told her if you had reviewed your confirmation and your invoice on the date it was sent you would have seen the incorrect hotel and we would have been able to change it for you without any incident and probably without change fees.

She was not happy with that answer and said she would phone the tour operator herself. I suppose she didn’t get the answer she thought she would get and called me back the next day to pay for the change to the correct hotel. Once I made the change for her I asked her to review the email and confirm with me right away if she had any concerns about anything.

I can’t stress enough about the importance of going over all your details, regardless if you book on-line or with an agent. Any errors can cause a lot of grief down the road and closer to departure when availability can really become an issue. What would have happened if the Excalibur was sold out a month later when she called? She would have been staying at a different hotel than her friend and really unhappy. In this case she would have been 100% responsible for her end result.

It really is buyer beware so buyers – be aware.

If you want to speak to an experienced trained and certified professional I am always here for you.