Flying for the First Time? What to Expect and Advice.

Planes can be intimidating, especially when you have never flown before. But there are times when plane trips are unavoidable, so you must prepare yourself. The first step is understanding what flying is like, and step two is deciding what measures you will take to ensure the best flight possible.

Flying doesn’t feel like anything. Airplanes move at a constant velocity, which means you don’t feel anything, except for take off and landing as well as turbulence. This means that most of your flight will feel like waiting in a stationary room for hours (with a crazy view). Take off and landing is another story however. You will feel the plane’s speed as you either rise or land. I always find that this part is kind of like an amusement park ride. Flights can be cramped, and the taller you are, the less space you seem to have. If you ever feel claustrophobic, feel free to take a walk up the aisle (when you are allowed) and take some deep breaths. Now, if you have a fear of heights, you may be in a different situation. I have an irrational fear of heights myself and this fear restricts me from many activities, like climbing on playgrounds or crossing bridges. Yet, for some reason, planes never seem to bother me. I have no idea why, may be due to my early flight experiences, but I cannot be sure that this won’t effect others. I have only one insistence on a plane where I ever felt afraid due to this fear. I don’t know what triggered this response, but my best ways to avoid this is to stay distracted the entire time and not think too hard about my exact location in the sky. Flying isn’t that bad when it comes down to it.
Here is my advice to new flyers:

1) Bring distractions

Whether you have claustrophobia, fear of heights or just generally nervous, distractions can help make the trip seem easier and more manageable. Some planes have TV’s right in the seats, but many airlines are taking them out so bringing your own stuff is important. Distractions can be books, music, newspapers, crosswords, movies and TV shows (make sure they are downloaded before hand, depending on your flight you will either have no Wi-Fi, or you will have to pay). My most important distraction is gum. This simple distraction can be done everywhere, and can be calming if you need to fidget. I highly recommend it.

2) Don’t expect to sleep

Unless you are confident in your ability to fall asleep everywhere, you may struggle to sleep on the plane. This is definitely a down side to flying, especially when you have a red eye flight. You have limited space, the seats barely recline and it is flat out uncomfortable. I have gone on flights expecting to sleep through its entirety, but it always becomes a torturous restless lack of sleep. I now go on to planes with an open mind regarding sleep. If I happen to fall asleep, that great, but I won’t force myself because I know it simply won’t happen that way. This is better when I get off the plane since I am in a better mood and sleep deprived, then mad I couldn’t sleep sleep deprived. Consider what will be best for you.

3) Consider everything you may need on the flight
Now, there is a balance here as way too many passengers over pack then take up more then their share of the overhead cubbies. But if you are on a long flight, you may need snacks. Overnight? A light blanket or small pillow could help out a lot. Everything they sell on planes is over priced (which is annoying when you consider the expensive nature of the ticket to be there in the first place) so bringing your own stuff can do a lot of good. Look up what you are allowed to bring through customs when planning for bringing snacks. Food in airports tends to be very expensive. The only airport where food is reasonably priced (that I know of) is YVR, were the have rules in place. Yet best to be prepared, you will be flying for a while.

When you really get down to it, flying isn’t that bad. Who knows, maybe the plane will take off and you’ll be perfectly fine? I’ve seen it happen many times before. I hope you have a peaceful and safe flight!

Visiting Hawaii for Christmas

Winter break is always a popular travel time, and despite the crowds, sometimes you need to take advantage of the holiday season. And if you are looking to escape the cold, Hawaii may be the perfect destination for you! And from my own experience, I’ll will tell what you can expect from Hawaii at Christmas time.img_5491

  1. Deciding Where to Go

    Hawaii has many different islands, with different appeals. When choosing, keep in mind of what you want from your trip. If you want a relaxing vacation where you don’t do much but hang out at the beach compared to wanting a trip going to different attractions, will effect the island you’ll want to visit. When I went last year, my family split our trip on to two islands.  Maui is a great island to visit if you want to relax at the breach. Maui has amazing beaches that are near hotels and other accommodation. While there are many activities to do, like surfing or zip lining, the main attraction is hanging out on the beach. This is a popular spot for Canadians to travel to. It almost seems like every tourist you talk to is Canadian, and my family ran into many friends from home.  The other island I visited was the big island. This island has more tourist attractions, with includes volcanos and culture. Research the islands before you book, to make sure your visiting an island that will be perfect for your vacation.

  2. Booking ahead of time

    Hawaii is a super popular place, and is especially busy during winter break when family have time off. To sucre plane tickets and accommodation you may have to book months in advance, especially if you want to go and stay at a nice place.

  3. The experience

    Hawaii is a warm and welcoming place. I arrived on boxing day, so I didn’t get the Hawaii christmas experience like a few friends do every year, but from the aftermath I saw, there wasn’t much. Don’t expect a christmas setting when you arrive, because you will be disappointed. My personal view is that Hawaii doesn’t need the decoration, but if it is important to you can make your stay more christmassy but doing your own activities. decorate your hotel room. Wear christmas shirts.Bring a few gifts to exchange on christmas day. whatever you want. Hawaii is always a fun time, especially if you are with the right people. I went with my family and brought along relatives to join us and we had a great time. Our time in Maui was laid back, spending all our time at the beach with several shaved ice breaks. When we went to the big island, we stayed in Kona. Everyday we would drive somewhere new. To new beaches or to the volcanos we had a great time.

There is a reason Hawaii is so popular. The weather is warm as well as the water. The island is beautiful and stepping on to the island for the first time is like stepping into travel magazine. It is even relaxing in its busy seasons. Hawaii is a great destination to travel to.IMG_2355

Travel to Understand History

My go to tourist location is always a historical spot or a museum. Maybe its a habit I’ve gotten from my parents who have dragged me to everything educational, from  old battle fields to Winston Churchill museums. Or maybe my love of history in general has made me fond of these experiences.

Travel can be eyeopening, it is my favourite way of learning about the world. And from my experiences of learning over the years, my knowledge of history has expanded greatly. I have eaten lunch in Place of Versailles, pretended to throw tea into the Boston harbour, and have walked along Juno beach (one of the five D-Day beaches). When you visit some where, you have a chance to discover the current culture and appearance, you can also learn about some of the reasons on why its like that today.

I have so many memories from visiting museums and historical sites. Depending on where you go, you will experience shock, awe or pure interest. Walking around old gold mine towns like Barkerville, Canada or Ballarat, Australia. Visiting the monument on Vimy ridge. There is so much to experience, and every little thing counts. I’ve seen one of Napoleons hats in person, and Laura Seacord’s house, which I consider to be two special experiences.

History provides a sense of reason when looking at todays world, and explaining why its like this today. It can expand your world view. In class, I always have more historical events to reference because of all the traveling I’ve done. Knowledge is always a good thing.

Historical sites are also a great activity, even if you aren’t interested in the learning aspect. Old buildings can be beautiful and the tours make you feel like you are truly visiting your destination. My suggestion is to always make room for these experiences when you are away.

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house of seven gables 

Halloween Themed Travel in Canada

The time has come again, October and its high light of Halloween. And If you reside in Canada or happen to be in the area, this can be a great time to take advantage of what the session has to offer.

Organized halloween events.

Depending where you are staying, there could be different events going on. Look up whats going on through out through out the month, or the time you are staying. There can be great oppertuntites available for children and everyone else. In Vancouver, last year the police museum held a movie night in their morgue. be creative in where you search.

Ghost walks

Nearly every city has some sort of night time ghost walk. I have attended one when I was in ottawa and it was a fun night time activity that was informative as well as creepy. We also saw sites we other wise wouldn’t have visited, like an old prison.

Haunted Towns

Visit a haunted place! Canada has many so you can look up places closest to you! Barkerville BC is one of these haunted places. It’s story was featured in one of the Haunted Canada books with multiple ghosts to possible see. I swear I had my own ghostly experience, but you don’t have to believe me. You can go see if you can experience on for yourself!

Halloween

Halloween is very popular in Canada, and it is open to everyone. If you are from a country that does not celebrate halloween, I recommend you try. Its a fun night, although the concept may seem odd. If you are new, I suggest you go with someone who knows what they are doing, as you will get the best experience possible. But if you need a run down on how it works, 1. Dress up in a costume 2.bring a basket or a pillow case to carry your candy 3.halloween does not have an official start time. people usually start going when it starts getting dark, and small children go earlier. 4.knock on a door and say “trick or treat”, accept the candy offered and remember to say thank you!

The Underrated Town of Salem

On my trip to  Boston I got to spent one of my mornings and afternoons at Salem. Salem is famous for its rich American history and the witch trials. Salem’s most popular tourist season is Halloween, but this wonderful town is still nice to visit any other time of the year.

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Grave Yard in Salem

I visited in mid March, not expecting much, and I ended up having a blast! Salem has an aesthetic that is uniquely their own and it makes this city exciting to see. With old architecture, Salem is a charming town with many stories to tell. The large willow trees and the beautiful ocean side to admire. If you are taking a tour, like I was, there is a rule where you must have a salem tour guide show you around. This is a good thing as this tour guide is likely more informed then the one who took you there. The woman we had take us around the city had lived there her entire life and was passionate about the history and the buildings that make Salem great. She made the tour more personal when she mentioned that she was a descendant of one of the victims of the trials. Although she did have some confusion when engaging Canadians (she asked if we were obsessed with “Tom Hortons”), she was entertaining and engaging.

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Charming buildings

The entire town is charming. You don’t have to go on a tour to enjoy salem. There are many attractions to visit just on your own. The House of Seven Gables was interesting and worth doing, even if you are not informed of its story.

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House of Seven Gables

The is graveyards and memorials you can visit. The are also museums and cute shops to check out. My friends and I ate lunch at Red’s cafe. The people there were wonderful and nice, which was refreshing as they treated us like people and not the rotten teenager treatment we had been getting. And The food was amazing, my friends even ordered take out so they could eat it again later!  img_6748

We left way to soon to fully enjoy the town, which I regret. I would return in a heart beat and spend a day or two there. This town is an underrated get away that you’ll definitely enjoy if halloween is your favourite celebration or you like history and charming towns!

Traveling with School Groups (the how to)

Schools can offer great opportunities to travel. I was given opportunities in elementary and high school and took advantage of them. It was a nice chance to travel with people who wasn’t family, and also gave me experience with traveling with people I don’t know very well. If you get a chance to travel with school, there are some travel tips you should keep in mind to have the best experience possible.

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Tour at Harvard 
  • Rooming with friends and/or classmates

    Accommodation is a must with every trip and no matter what form of shelter your trip offers you will have to share with your friends or classmates. This can be quite fun as you get the chance to share a room or a tent with people you usually don’t travel with, creating an unique experience or a great memory. However, there are a few downsides. All your friends may not fit in one room or tent, forcing you to split up. You may not have enough friends to fill a room, meaning you have to share with someone your are not close to. Do not fear if this happens. If you have too many friends you can have a civil conversation where you all decide how to split up. If you have to share with some classmates the best way to handle the situation is to just accept it. This can be a good way to make a friend or just to know someone better.

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    New York

    Now if you do have to share a room with an unknown classmate one of the best ways to co exist is to communicate. Talk about preferences, for an example say if you want a system to keep your living spaced organized or if you want to set up an alarm to wake the room in the morning. Try to be courteous. simply gestures like keeping all your stuff together instead of all over the place can help the atmosphere be a little less crazy. If you and your temporary roommates have reached a point where you don’t get along remember that this arrangement isn’t for long. You just have to survive until the end of the trip and you will never have to share a room with that person again. Keep in mind these are only sleeping arrangements. Most of the time you barely get anytime to sleep much less to socialize.

  • Keeping up with group

    When traveling with a large group there will be a lot of attendance checks in order not to lose anyone. First tip is if your teacher decides to do count offs, write your number on your hand. This way you won’t become “that person” who always forgets their number. Also always have a watch on hand, even if it is just a phone. On most school trips will give you free time to explore, and give you a time and a place to meet up after. Always arrive on time or earlier, this will help the group avoid delays. In my experience there have been many times where everyone is waiting for a small group of students who arrive late, making us all late to the next event and it is frustrating. Always keep up with the group.

  • Talk to the teachers/ tour guides

    Your school group is a team on this adventure and everyone should have a say on how to make the experience more enjoyable. On my school trips I have talked to the teachers with preferences about the schedule and have changed the plan on the fly. This is great when the whole group is involved, too. When I was on a school trip in New York we were supposed to have lunch in a train station, which was crowded with rushing people and seemed to be a perfect place for pick pockets. We all convinced the tour guide to take us directly to the hotel as we were all tired and grumpy from the travel and we were happy just to eat lunch at the fast food places down the street of the hotel. Communication is good!

  • Experience everything

    One of my favourite expressions for traveling is “You can sleep when your dead”. I live by this with every trip. When an extra opportunity arises, say an optional outing, I agree to it no matter what I’m feeling, whether I’m tired or sore. Travel is time limited and you are there to experience. The smallest weirdest outings can sometimes be the most memorable, and regardless you will regret missing it later.

  •  remember to have fun!

    It’s your trip too. Save up and prepare since a trip like this, good or bad, is a trip you will be talking about years from now.IMG_6922

Traveller’s Weaknesses

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Every person’s their own boundaries and weaknesses when travelling. This could be a fear, comfort zones or being a picky eater. These weaknesses are important to recognize to ensure you have the best trip possible. Through many trips I have discovered my own weaknesses and strategies to help get over them. Some common weaknesses are:

  1. Fears and Phobias 

    Fears and phobia’s may be the most troubling to deal with on a trip. They interfere with activities and sometimes travelling itself. If you have any fears you might want to research how they will effect you on your trip. If you have a phobia, it is best to prepare strategies in case you end up facing your fear. My own personal phobia is heights (I don’t know why I named my blog new heights travel, it’s ironic). This phobia prevents me from enjoying tall attractions. When faced with a situation like this, there are two options to choose from. You can face your fear, or you can not. I usually choose to face my fear with the knowledge that I will freak out and have to leave as soon as possible. I have done this many times, I spent a full minute on the top of the Empire State building before I had to call it quits. If you choose not to face your fear, don’t feel bad. You just saved yourself from paying an admission fee, and I believe the view from the bottom is just as good as the view from the top.

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    Inside the lobby of the Empire State building
  2.    Temperature

    Travelling to a different climate can be difficult to adjust to. If you don’t live in a place that has extreme heat or cold, you may be in for a shock. Heat stroke or frostbite can definitely ruin a good trip. The best solution is to prepare ahead. I live in a cool climate so when I am visiting a hot place, I struggle. I dehydrate easily. If you dehydrate easily all I can say is carry lots of water on you at all times. You will save yourself from a headache and heat stroke. Also bring sun hats and sunscreen. I also suggest to take breaks from the heat by finding shade or an air-conditioned room. If you are from a warm climate, a cold climate is definitely something you should take seriously. Bring Jackets, hoodies and many layers. Depending on how cold the place is you may need snow gear.Snow gear includes snow boots, snow pants, snow jacket. You can buy these secondhand for our trip to save money. I suggest mittens over gloves as they keep your fingers warmer. A good toque is a must. You can also buy hand and foot warmers that go into your mittens or boots and they help provide heat. If you are not used to the cold, or become cold easily, these will quickly become your best friend. It also might be worth your time to learn how to identify frostbite. On a school skiing trip, a classmate got a frost bitten nose. Don’t underestimate the weather.

  3.  Comfort Zone

    This is different for everyone. It is important to feel comfortable on your trip, even though it is good to step out of your zone once in a while. For an example, if you don’t like crowds it is hard to avoid them at popular destinations. Face one or two, within your reason then take a breather.

When you travel, take notice about your preferences when abroad. You can make your life easier in the future and make every trip more enjoyable.