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Tips For Flying South for the Winter

Birds of a Common Feather:
Tips For Flying South for the Winter

When people hear the term “Snowbird” they often envision shuffleboard, early bird specials, Canasta, white shoes and ubiquitous and endless games of Bingo. Images of George Costanza’s vociferous and vituperative parents kvetching about their cantankerous neighbours at Del Boca Vista, the fictitious retirement community in Florida also comes to mind.

The truth is that “snowbirding” is a lot cooler than it used to be! Baby Boomers are a youthful bunch and are changing the idea of what it means to head south for the winter! About 1.3 million lucky Canadians head south for the winter, avoiding the pitfalls of our rather harsh Canadian winters–trading in snow, sleet and freezing temperatures for sun, warmth, and relaxation, and this number is on the rise as more Canadians reach retirement age.

Whether you are a seasoned snowbird or thinking about joining the great Canadian migration, the following snowbirding Tips will help you reside successfully down south!

Healthy Enough to Travel?

The most important thing to determine before you plan on traveling south for the winter is your level of health and health care needs. Before embarking on a lengthy trip, be sure to consult your doctor for a checkup, and be sure to keep all of your medical records, and prescriptions. You’ll also want to do a little research and make sure that you know the locations of hospitals and medical centers near you.

It’s also a very good idea to book a pre-travel consultation with TravelSafe, to determine if the location(s) you are traveling to requires you to have a vaccination or immunization.

When you have booked your trip, you’ll want to secure a travel insurance policy, as medical treatment could cost you thousands of dollars if you don’t have a snowbird travel insurance policy. Make sure to spend some time researching insurance policies that are right for you and don’t be afraid to shop around.

Show Me the Money!

Before you head south, make sure that you have access to your finances. The easiest way to ensure you can manage your finances and pay bills is to set up an online banking account. Your local bank branch can help you set one up if you are unsure of how to do it. Another good idea is to set up pre-authorized bill payments so that you don’t have to worry about missing any payments while you are away from Canada. It’s also one less thing to think about!

Securing your Home

When you are away from your home for an extended period of time, it’s imperative that you secure it! Here are some helpful hints:

  • Ask a close friend, relative or trusted neighbour to check in on your home while you are away.
  • Put a hold on your mail. Click on the link to access the Canada Post website to manage your mail.
  • Check that all windows and doors are securely locked and that your home security system is armed.

High Tech Options

These days there are many easy and relatively inexpensive ways to keep an eye on your home while you are away, giving you peace of mind while soaking up the rays! Check out the following wireless options:

Blink Home Security Cameras  

Blink cameras detect motion in your home and send alerts with HD video and audio right to your smartphone.

Nest Indoor Camera

The Nest Cam Indoor security camera is designed to help you look after your home and family – even when you’re away. With 24/7 live streaming, a versatile magnetic stand, person alerts with Nest Aware and one app for all your Nest products, Nest Cam Indoor helps you keep an eye on what matters. From anywhere. With Nest products, you can even control your thermostat, doorbell and smoke and CO alarm!

Canadian Snowbird Association

For extensive and comprehensive resources for all things snowbird related, including important tax and travel insurance information, visit http://www.snowbirds.org. 

 

Have Fun!

Congratulations to all new and veteran snowbirds! Enjoy your time down south!

by Kristin Gagnon, RN Kristin Gagnon, RN No Comments

Destination Philippines

 

Adventures in Philippines!

 

Philippines is made up of about 7,641 islands and it seems there is almost that many things to do! From the bluest waters and pristine beaches to the most delicious mangoes, amazing diving and snorkeling, surfing, cave exploring, rice fields, miniature primates and cliff jumping – the Philippines has it all! The hardest part about traveling in Philippines is how to choose between all the amazing places to explore. Keep on reading for some of the highlights of my trip while traveling for two months in Philippines.

Manila

Your main point of entry will be the busy city of Manila. I have never seen crazier traffic than in Manila (and this is coming from a person who has traveled through SE Asia, Central America and Africa)! Allow extra time for getting from one place to another in Manila, especially if you are on your way to the airport to catch a flight. Be sure to check out the rooftop city bars and the Mall of Asia.

La Union

If you’ve ever been curious about surfing La Union is a great place to take a lesson. Located north of Manila it’s a quiet town with a great surf vibe. With a long beach break and consistent waves it makes it an idea place to learn to surf.

Sagada

North of La Union through the mountains and rice fields you’ll find the small town of Sagada. Surrounded by pine trees and mountains it is a cool relief from the hot climates further south. Check out the hanging coffins – the traditional burial technique in this part of Philippines where the dead are buried in hanging coffins, nailed high to the sides of cliff faces. A short hike out of town will bring you to an awesome lookout of miles of rice terraces built into the mountains. If you are feeling brave take the “cave connection” tour. This tour is about 3 hours of navigating your way underground between two main caves, through tiny crevices and up cave walls. Not recommended for the claustrophobic or those with fear of heights!

Palawan

Palawan is a tropical paradise. With its secluded beaches and lush jungles Palawan was a highlight of my trip. In Sabang we took a boat into the Subterranean River. Visitors can explore the first 2km but the river continues through the cave for more than 8km. A short walk along the coast in Sabang brought us to an amazing secluded beach with not another person in sight. Our only visitor was the monkey who crept up on us out of the jungle and tried to steal my shoe! We then traveled up the coast to Port Barton. With an unpaved road this was a bit of a rough ride, including getting stuck in the mud on the way! With the challenges of getting here this town remains calm and quiet, especially compared to the touristy town of El Nido just a bit further north, and snorkeling tours are half the price! El Nido is an exciting town with a great party atmosphere, not to mention beautiful beaches!

Tao

From El Nido to Coron we embarked on a 5 day, 4 night boat trip with Tao Expeditions. We booked this trip several months in advance as the tour fills up quickly (for good reason!). As Lonely Planet states, “Tao is perhaps the highlight of any trip to Palawan… Such a trip offers a rare opportunity to experience and interact with people and communities in the area, unmediated by the mass of the tourism industry.” We visited pristine snorkeling spots, cliff jumped, fished off the boat, slept in huts on small islands each night, and ate the best food we had on our entire trip. Check out the link below for more information about Tao. I can’t recommended it highly enough!

https://www.taophilippines.com/

Boracay

If you’re interested rest and relaxation at a nice hotel or resort then Boracay is the place to go. While definitely being one of the most touristy places we visited in Philippines it has miles of white sand beaches, beautiful calm water, and tons of restaurants and bars.

Bohol

Bohol is the land of tarsiers and chocolate hills. We rented a motorbike and visited the tarsier sanctuary. Tarsiers are tiny primates about the size of your hand. Although you cannot touch them they are certainly a sight to see!

Cebu

If you’re looking for adventure then Kawassan Falls is the place to go! A canyoneering tour will take you jumping off waterfalls, floating down clear blue river water, and sliding down natural water slides. For the less adventurous traveler you can still visit Kawassan falls by floating on a bamboo raft.

Going to Philippines? Don’t forget your shots!

In addition to your routine vaccines you may need vaccines for hepatitis A, typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, rabies and traveller’s diarrhea. Depending on your itinerary you may also be at risk for malaria and other mosquito borne diseases. Book your consultation at TravelSafe clinic to review your itinerary and health risks and to receive any vaccines you may need!

 

While two months may sound like a long time in Philippines it still left so many places to check out! Where will YOU choose to explore?

Before you travel, protect your health.

TravelSafely with TravelSafe Immunization Clinic

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