How to Prepare for Hiking/Camping in Ontario

Many people have probably tried hiking or camping in various spots around the world. Not all, however, have had the chance to experience these activities across the peaceful lakes and rugged wilderness of Ontario.

Hiking and camping are beloved pastimes in Canada due to its nature-rich surroundings. Ontario is the country’s second largest province by area next to Quebec, which means that it’s full of trails and campsites where you can enjoy an exciting camping vacation. Summer is the peak season though, so this also means that these destinations can get filled with tourists. To avoid the crowds and other hassles in your outdoor escape, read on to find out how you can prepare thoroughly.

The Great Outdoors of Ontario

It’s no secret that Ontario is a hotspot for tourists, especially in its urban areas where one can find several Easy Weekend Getaways. Since Ontario  is also known for its hiking trails and campgrounds that attract outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world, there’s no better way to experience the beautiful province then to plan a camping trip.

First things first, you need to do a little bit of research in order to choose one of the thousands of campgrounds and trails in Ontario. Our Ontario camping resource,  Parks Blogger, shared some great tips on how to book a campsite in Ontario, and it was advised to have at least three choices in case your first choice is already fully booked. The province limits the number of tourists as an effort to maintain the pristine condition of parks. Once you’ve settled on a list of selected campsites, you can register via phone or online through Ontario Parks, which is the governing body behind the protected sites.

Once registered, it’s time to pack your gear. Mountain Equipment Cooperative has a great guide about the essential gear for summer camping in Ontario. For clothing, the best way to prepare is to take a set for each type of weather. Avoid apparel that retains moisture so you won’t be soaked in perspiration while hiking under the sun. But even though it’s summer, it was also mentioned that rain showers can hit Ontario at anytime. Your best bet is to include a rain jacket in your luggage as well.

A sleeping bag is also vital given that nights may be cold, especially if the park you chose is located in the northern part of the province. As for your main shelter, pick a lightweight tent if you plan to do a fair bit of hiking. If it’s mostly camping on level or low ground on the other hand, you can bring a bigger, heavier tent. Renting a trailer is also a good option, more so if you’re camping with a large group.

In terms of other equipment, a flask should always be carried so you can rehydrate at anytime. Avoid coffee, as tempting as a hot cup might sound, because it dehydrates the body faster and that’s a big no-no in hot weather. Water is still the best option, but you can have tea or herbal drink as well.

For additional tips, Scouts Canada published a piece which listed ways on how to stay safe while summer camping in the country.

For Overseas Travellers:

Tourists coming from other continents have additional things to consider, first of which is the time zone. The registration system opens at 7am local time, so factor that into account before making an overseas call.

If you have camping equipment, bringing or renting a car is a viable option to easily haul your gear. You may need to arrange parking options beforehand to avoid any hassle or extra costs, especially at hectic locations like airports. To make the process easier, there are comparison engines utilised by the busiest airports like Toronto Pearson, Hartsfield-Jackson or London Heathrow to help passengers find the best options. London Heathrow, for example, is used by over 90 airlines and according to Heathrow parking experts Parking4Less, the airport opened additional car parks and deployed a user-friendly comparison system in order to accommodate the vehicles which come and go every day.

Remember that some camping items are prohibited by security so it’s best to leave them at home to avoid the extra baggage weight. Such items include sharp and pointed objects, portable stoves and other flammable materials. If you need these tools, ask your guide or a Scout for assistance once you’re in Ontario before heading out to the campsite.

Happy Camping!

 

Photo Credit: [camping]

Solo Traveller’s Survival Guide for an All-Inclusive Resort

Solo Traveller’s Survival Guide for an All-Inclusive Resort

Varadero Beach, Cuba

Generally speaking, all-inclusive resorts aren’t my travel style of choice. Over the 15 years that I’ve been travelling, I’ve stayed at an all-inclusive resort twice, and that’s including my recent trip to Cuba. As a serial solo traveller, I crave the type of travel that challenges me and I enjoy the fear of the unknown, which has enabled me to develop several skills to ensure that I never actually feel lonely when I travel. I thought it would be an interesting experiment to test said skills at an all-inclusive resort, which is typically a place where people travel together as couples, families, or groups of friends.

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How to see Tuscany without a Car

How to see Tuscany without a Car

Greve in Chianti vineyardThey say that the best way to see Tuscany is by renting your own car to cruise through the endless hills of the countryside. But if you’re like me and don’t feel like shifting gears to maneuver around narrow cliff-hugging roads, then there is an alternative that doesn’t include booking a group tour, and that is public transport.

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Travelling Slow: 10 Days in Italy

Travelling Slow: 10 Days in Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy

I spent quite a bit of time sifting through numerous 10-day Italy itineraries, and came across many suggestions to zip around the country like in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but I knew that I wouldn’t be doing beautiful Italy any justice.  As a returning visitor to Italy, I knew that it was better to stick to my usual style and travel slow. I decided to focus my efforts on Tuscany, and throw in a short getaway to Cinque Terre for good measure. Read more

Easy Weekend Getaways in Ontario

Grand Hotel & Suites Toronto
Rooftop Views at Grand Hotel & Suites Toronto

I’m a bit of a sunchaser, so during our short-lived Canadian summers, I like to stay local and absorb every ounce of sunshine that I can. I prefer to visit the beach destinations during our world renowned frigid, and in my opinion unbearable, winters. Nevertheless, I still like to squeeze in a little getaway here and there throughout the summer, and what better way to do that than to explore my home province of Ontario. Since I’m typically a last-minute traveller, I find that I’m always behind the ball when it comes to booking cottages or planning trips to popular Ontario destinations like Muskoka or Niagara Falls. Almost always, I find myself scouring accommodation sites on the Thursday before a long weekend, hoping for a miracle (aka: a vacancy).

This summer, I decided to save myself some time and avoid the spots that I knew were already booked up months in advance. I managed to sneak in a spontaneous getaway for each of the long weekends in the summer. Read more

Discovering Hamilton’s Hidden Gems

hamilton supercrawl
Streetside Art around James Street North

I would have never guessed that Hamilton, of all places, would be a food and art lover’s haven. Just under an hour west of Toronto, Hamilton is known to most as home of the beloved Tiger-Cats, and also for it’s rich history and preservation of National heritage sites. Contrary to popular belief, Hamilton is an undiscovered wonderland for foodies and art lovers alike. I’ve been to the Hammer several times back in my University days, but have never actually seen anything outside of Hess Village (which I’m kind of embarrassed to admit). Lucky for me, my friends at Travel Massive and Tourism Hamilton gave me a true dose of what Hamilton is really like – here are some hidden gems that I had the pleasure of discovering: Read more

GUEST POST: Hotel Stays Filled with Delightful Surprises

Intercontinental Hotel

I asked Michelle Dias what she had to say about travelling for work, and here’s what she had to say:

Before working in the hotel business, I thought that the “big-box” branded hotels were all the same: cookie-cutter versions of the same formula, like your neighborhood Best Buy or Target. Boy, was I wrong! I am now one year into my role as Marketing Manager, PR and Communications, with the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and I have seen my fair share of hotels. From hotels in Vancouver to Atlanta to Nisku (5 minutes outside of Edmonton’s airport), the 13 brands we represent all have similar standards, but each hotel comes with a unique surprise waiting to be discovered. Typically when I go on a business trip, I have the pleasure of getting a hotel tour. It’s a great way for me to get to know the staff and the property. Although friendly smiles and great hospitality come standard, there have been surprise “WOWS” that I won’t soon forget. After a year of jet setting, here my favourite delightful surprises that I have stumbled upon during my hotel stays:

https://twitter.com/BrookeHenderson/status/771516053532864512

1. A bowling alley, arcade, and huge fitness facility at the Crowne Plaza Kitchener-Waterloo

Crowne Plazas are known and enjoyed for their upscale facilities (restaurants, meeting spaces etc.) and cool décor. When touring the newly renovated Crowne Plaza Kitchener-Waterloo, I was shocked to see their underground bowling alley and arcade – which was formerly a parking garage. This space looked like a gamers-dream, and a perfect space for business and leisure guests to unwind. LPGA Golf Professional and Canadian-favourite Brookie Henderson recently took a swing and got a hole-in-one (surprise, surprise!) while playing on the mini-putt course in this cool underground space.

 

2. Piece of the Berlin Wall at the InterContinental Hotel Montreal InterContinental Hotel

I kid you not! This section of the Berlin Wall was given by Germany to Montreal for the city’s 350th birthday. I’ve been to Berlin, Germany and have to say that the piece of the wall inside the InterContinental is so lively – it really brings that part of history to life. The graffiti looks freshly painted and the markers at the base give you an informative lesson into this grime piece of Germany’s history.

 

 

3. This amazing view!

One of my most memorable trips this year was to Vancouver. I was lucky enough to be there for Canada Day and was awestruck by the nature, the number of fit people (seriously, everyone hikes and jogs), and also the vast amount of green space. Coming from Toronto – I feel as though Vancouver has a certain Euro-style: everything is modern, the buildings are glass, and it’s so clean. After hosting an SEO workshop at the Holiday Inn Vancouver-Centre, I was given a tour of the property and stopped for 5 minutes to play tourist while on the building’s highest level overlooking the Pacific ocean.

holiday-inn-vancouver, Intercontinental

 

I know most hotels are just a stopping ground for travellers – folks are more concerned with seeing the outdoor sites and neighborhoods, but I would encourage you to learn about your hotel on your next trip. Some hotels are historical buildings or conversions from old factories, while some house priceless art or have entertaining game rooms.

 

InterContinental HotelAUTHOR BIO:

Michelle Dias is an energetic, A-type traveler who doesn’t travel without a detailed itinerary. She is a known over-packer who enjoys taking photos and over-sharing on social media. In her role with IHG, Michelle is responsible for Marketing and Public Relations for all Canadian hotels.

Follow me as I travel @MichelleHotelLife

Photo Credit: [Hotel], [InterContinental Photos]


Panama Hotel Review: Bocas del Toro

Panama Hotel Review: Bocas del Toro

Island Plantation is a hidden gem that sits on the outskirts of the otherwise tourist-saturated island of Bocas del Toro. Island Plantation isn’t just a hotel, but more of a sanctuary where everything is focused on the experience.

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Working Holidays: Finding Work in Australia

Working Holidays: Finding Work in Australia

Finding Work in Aus

Finding Work in Australia for a Working Holiday can be difficult.

 

Imagine quitting your job, packing up your belongings and moving halfway across the world to work and travel for a year. Now imagine yourself embarking on said life-changing journey, without an inkling of how to find work or a place to live – that pretty much sums up what most working holidays are like! Read more

My Working Holiday in Australia: If I Knew then What I Know Now

My Working Holiday in Australia: If I Knew then What I Know Now

 

Three years ago, I returned from my working holiday in Australia, and although I’ve told many tales of my other adventures abroad since then, I’ve never actually opened up about my time in Australia until now.

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