Three reasons Canada should be your summer vacation destination

April 27, 2022
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When I’m not DJing on Cincinnati’s Mix 94.9, you can find me traveling the world and sharing my journeys here.

Three reasons Canada should be your summer vacation destination (and how to pay less to get there!)

Depending on which study you read, it’s estimated that around half of Americans have never traveled outside of the U.S.  It could be for a number of reasons – fear of not knowing another language, a lack of vacation days, or simply not enough funds (although, keep an eye on my Jay’s Deals page and I’ll show you how to start a European vacation that could be cheaper than a trip to Disney!).

Cyclists enjoy a summer day in Toronto
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or still need to get a passport, I want to share a few of my favorite reasons to visit America’s neighbor to the north that, after one visit, will have you coming back again year after year.
Welcome to Toronto! (aka: YYZ)

#1) Toronto is amazing anytime of the year, but summer is perfect!

  On May 15, Canada’s largest airline and flag carrier, Air Canada, will resume nonstop flights between CVG and Toronto.  Flights will operate daily with two flights a day Monday through Saturday and one flight on Sundays. I’ve flown with Air Canada multiple times on this route and always think it’s so cool that you’re in another country in just 90 minutes!

Once you land in Toronto, you can use Lyft or Uber just like in the U.S. to get around.

Be sure to visit the famous CN Tower which was the tallest structure in the world until 2007 (it’s still the ninth tallest!).  Check out some amazing views of the city and Lake Ontario. If you’re feeling brave, you can even hop into a harness and walk around the edge of the Tower in the appropriately-named “Edge Walk.”
Whoa. That’s really, really tall!
Spend some time at the St. Lawrence Market, a 150-year-old market with over 200 vendors selling everything from caviar and Portuguese style chicken to exotic honey and natural clothing. I like just wandering around and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells!
I had pretty good seats!
If the Toronto Blue Jays are in town, take in a baseball game. On my last trip to Toronto, I got to see a game and enjoyed the unique design of the stadium just as much as the game itself. It’s a great rainy-day activity too since the stadium has a giant dome.  For a unique hotel stay, book a room at the Marriott City Centre Hotel that has one-of-a-kind rooms inside the stadium that overlook the field!
The Hockey Hall of Fame is also a must-visit. I’ve been a couple of times and even if you’re not a massive hockey fan, you’ll appreciate the well-curated exhibits highlighting the history of the sport.
Such a cool experience at the Hockey Hall of Fame!
Pro Tip:  Canada uses the Canadian dollar, and you’ll need to exchange your American currency.  Check to see if your credit card company offers a good exchange rate and if they zero out foreign transaction fees. Using a card for purchases can often be the best way to get the best rate and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
Peggy’s Cove is like a real-life postcard!

#2) Halifax will steal your heart!

  A few years ago, my wife and I had an opportunity to spend a week visiting friends in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  I have to be honest; I didn’t know what to expect and after visiting, the Google search results and tourist website images don’t do it justice! 
With Air Canada and American Airlines both offering one-stop service, you can be in Halifax in a little over five hours of travel time.  
For 20 years, Theodore the Tugboat has welcomed visitors to the Harbour
Be sure to visit the Halifax Boardwalk. It’s a beautiful stroll along this historic stretch of water.  Take in the parks and Halifax Citadel National Historic site on the hill and stop into some of the quaint shops throughout the city. If you’re like me and enjoy a little gaming, there’s a waterfront casino waiting for you.
Halifax sunsets in the woods are amongst the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.
In addition to thousands of acres of wilderness to explore, the Halifax area also has some wonderful day trips, including picturesque Lunenburg and wonderful wineries in Wolfville.
Lunenburg is so charming and colorful
Pro Tip:  Take one of the whale watching cruises from Lunenburg.  You won’t regret it. We saw massive whales surfacing and enjoyed a beautiful sunset cruise. 
That’s a HUGE whale!

#3) Vancouver is more than just Lululemon and Ryan Reynolds

 Imagine a city where you can visit the beach and surf in the morning and then hit the slopes on your skis in the afternoon.
Really.  (Check out this L.A. Times article)
Vancouver features incredible natural beauty and remote destinations while also being Canada’s third-largest city with amazing nightlife, shopping, and dining.
A breathtaking tree-top stroll awaits you in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver.
Even though Vancouver is across the country, getting there is easy with daily one-stop flights from CVG thanks to five different carriers all flying there.  Choose from dozens of one-stop flight options on Alaska Airlines, American, Air Canada, Delta, or United.  All of that competition is great for me and you because it keeps flight prices low!
One of my favorite spots to visit is Gastown, Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood. Named after a guy called “Gassy Jack,” this trendy neighborhood has some really unique bars, hip shops, and cool souvenir spots.
The famous Gastown Steam Clock is a popular stop.
Take a stroll around the Vancouver Seawall where natural beauty and city views collide. We enjoyed it even when we visited in December!  Also check out Stanley Park, which features 1,000 acres of beautiful open space.
If you’re feeling adventurous, cross the Lions Gate Bridge and head up to Cypress Provincial Park, home to Cypress Mountain and that year-round skiing I mentioned. How high up is it?  Let’s just say if you head there outside of summer, it’s impossible to reach without a four-wheel drive vehicle and snow chains (mandatory October 1 – April 30).  Here’s what it looked like when we attempted it in a two-door sedan during a visit in December:
If we look cold… it’s because we were really, really cold!
We can’t wrap up on a photo that cold now, can we?
The beauty of Vancouver awaits!
Ah, that’s better. 
A few other important things to know as we hit the busy summer travel season (June is projected to be especially busy!):
1. Make sure to arrive to the airport at least 2-3 hours before your scheduled departure time.
A lot of people ask why airports tell people to get there so early.  And it’s a valid question. I’ll admit, I have pushed my luck in the past and barely made it to my gate before they close the door. But the truth is, you’ll need to allow time for checking in bags, getting your boarding pass, allowing time to get through security, and travel time from security to your gate. And most airlines close the boarding door 15 minutes before the departure time. So, add all of that up (plus time to park if someone isn’t dropping you off), and it’s way less stressful to show up a little early! Two hours prior for domestic flights. Three hours for international.
2. Save time and carry-on your bag.
I’ve stressed this in previous Jet with Jay articles, but it can really save you time and stress if you can reduce the amount of stuff you take with you on your trip and use a carry-on size piece of luggage.  By bringing a bag with you through security and getting your boarding pass on your phone or printing it at home, you can avoid some of the lines, especially during peak travel times.  You also get to save time at your destination by skipping the wait at baggage claim.
3. For trips to Canada and anywhere else outside the U.S., including most cruises, you’ll need a valid passport.
For more information on how to get yours, visit this State Department page to get started.  It may seem like a complicated process, but it’s not too bad. Be sure to allow plenty of time before you travel abroad to receive your passport.  Expediting processing is available for an additional fee. For last-minute and emergency travel abroad, you’ll need to visit a passport office in person.
Enjoy your summer travel! I’d love to see your travel pictures and videos!  Tag me @JayKruzOfficial on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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