By Michael Linennen
As winter is closing in, some of us would simply prefer staying indoors because it’s too cold to be outside. But Canada has so much to offer, especially during the winter and offers a different experience. If you don’t have any plans for some winter weekend getaways, let me give you some ideas on where you should visit and some tips on travelling!
Located in Muskoka, two and a half hours north of Toronto. The park transforms from a tropical forest to a winter wonderland. Arrowhead offers a 33 km cross country skiing trail and a 1 km skating trail. If you don’t know how to ski, not to worry, because there are different levels of skiing trails you can choose from. Make sure you check their schedule for their fire and ice nights, where they light up the torches along the ice skating trail. It’s really romantic!
Algonquin Provincial Park
Thirty minutes away from Arrowhead Provincial Park. The park is another great place to cross country ski. It offers 85 kilometres of groomed and 32 kilometres of non-groomed ski trails. The park also offers snowshoeing and dog sledding in Algonquin Park.
It might sound a bit basic, because many people have been to Niagara Falls already (I’ve been there at least 20 times by now and I still find it magnificent). The Falls in the winter is so much different than summer because the Falls can freeze, giving it a whole new look. It’s fascinating to watch the ice break from the Falls and smash below, creating a beautiful mist at the bottom.
There are still a lot of places to explore during the winter. But let me move forward and continue with the some of the travelling tips for many of us who do not have a car.
Get yourself an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) card.
The ISIC card is great to save money when travelling. It is also the only internationally recognized student ID card that can be used worldwide. One of the discounts I use is the 25% off Greyhound bus fares, which is a great money saver.
Always plan your trip early.
Have you ever kicked yourself a bit when you find a cheaper price for something you already bought? Well, you can save a lot if you plan and book early. But if you have to do a spontaneous trip, look online! There are always good deals and sometimes they offer web-only fares, which are way cheaper than regular price.
Always try to find different discounts when you rent a car.
I’m not a fan of car sharing programs because they are way too expensive. I think the traditional car rental agency prices are much more reasonable. Always look for promotion codes you can apply and you can save a lot. Also, the prices for car rentals from the airport are generally cheaper on the weekend. There’s this one time I managed to book a car for three days for only $40. For insurance, get a credit card that covers auto rental collision damage and you’ll be all set! (Make sure you read the terms and conditions though.)
Travel medical insurance.
I can’t stress this enough, but getting medical travel insurance is very important when you’re in a foreign place. You don’t know what will happen to you, and you do not want to pay the medical bills when you’re not covered. It’s better not to take your chances. (If you travel a lot, get a one-year travel medical insurance)
Bring a first-aid kit and always go with a buddy if you’re are going off the grid.
If you are going to somewhere really rural, there might not be any phone signal for you to call for help; you’ll be on your own. If you got a cut or a fracture, the first aid kit can help with your injuries!