Don't miss our Travel Guru's Regular Features:

Question and Answer
Read what travelers want to know  - and our Guru's detailed answer - HERE.

Monthly Editorial
Read our Travel Guru's editorial topic of the month - HERE


 

Welcome to the Travel Guru Page!
 
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Administrator's Introduction

We are very privileged to have one of the most experienced travelers in our team: meet Ivona, our travel guru. Ivona has posted hundreds of answers to a myriad of travel questions in numerous travel forums and published too many hotel reviews to count!

And now Ivona brings her encyclopedic knowledge and her research skills to our website to answer YOUR questions - to make our Website extra special…

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We invite you to ask your very own travel-related questions, to be answered one-on-one. Why? Because often the travel agents have not been to a particular destination, or they simply don’t know!  Sometimes there is no simple answer.Please send us your particular question in the handy form provided under Contact Us, and we will answer within 48 hours.  We will then publish your question and the answer on this site - either with your name or anonymously - it’s YOUR CHOICE!


 

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Meet Ivona (AKA The Travel Guru)
 

Ivona has been struck by the travel bug from a tender young age when her parents dragged her to a Baltic resort at the age of four to frolic on the sandy beach on the (not so warm) Black Sea.  She has been travelling regularly ever since.

Our Guru has travelled to most of the states in the USA (and yes that includes tourist magnets such as Las Vegas, NYC, L.A.. and Orlando!) and many of the popular European countries such as Germany, Poland, Czech Rep., Switzerland, Spain and France just to name a few.

In the last decade or so, our Guru’s travel preferences have been geared more towards warmer climates.  So far she has travelled to: Jamaica, Cuba, D.R., Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Antigua, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mexico (both Pacific and Caribbean coasts), Panama, San Andres, Margarita, Nicaragua, Hawaii and Costa Rica.


 

 

 

Ivona's Special Destinations List
 
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Here is your start point to browse specially featured destinations to get general information and see some pictures. This list is sure to grow as we put more information on our website.

Feel free to ask Ivona questions about a destination!

Ivona's "Special Destinations" list:

 


 


Question of the Month
 
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We would like to get married in the Caribbean or in Mexico somewhere  in an "eloping" type of ceremony, i.e. without relatives or friends or a big wedding celebration!  We are both divorced. 

Question:  What is the best way to get information about what papers are required? Should we contact the embassy? Or the hotel? And where would you get your witnesses if you don't bring anyone with you? Can the resort provide them if you go for a "wedding package"? Do you have to reregister the marriage here in Ontario or does the resort do that for you?  Answer:

An excellent question, AND a great idea!  Having done this myself, I can assure you this is THE way to go with regards to stress-free wedding planning!

Nowadays you have so many choices!  Not only can you choose various countries (ie: Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii) you also have lots and lots of options based on your budget, timeframe, and how lavish or simple you want the affair to be; everything from a luxe wedding on a cruiseship or privately chartered sailboat, to a romantic ceremony on the beach.

You can plan this all on your own by simply finding a resort that caters to weddings and they will assign you a wedding planner, and all you have to do is make your choices and show up!  You also have the option of hiring a third party wedding planner. There are numerous companies now who specialize in destination weddings.  These companies take care of every last detail, from booking the resort to booking your hair stylist!  A quick Google search will provide you with a lengthy list of such companies.  Some resorts provide 'free' weddings based on minimum room bookings, or they charge a fixed rate based on what type of wedding you want.

Legal requirements will be quite different depending on what country you choose. You can definitely contact the country's embassy, but if you have access to a computer and the internet, you will find all the info online.  Even our Canadian government provides information on other countries via the Department of External affairs.  Sometimes a simple Google search with the words (as an example) "Mexico marriage requirements" will give you the information you need. And certainly once you have made your choice of country and resort, you will have the resort contact as a further resource.  When we were getting married in St.Vincent, even though we knew the requirements, we were still very grateful to our planner who took us to the many government offices to obtain and sign various legal and government papers.  Don't have anyone that can act as your witness? No problem! Our witnesses were head of housekeeping and the head bartender!

There is no need to 'register' your marriage in Ontario. Your marriage license from the country where you got married is legal in Canada and should be all you need to make any necessary legal changes (ie: surname).

You mentioned you are both divorcees.  You will need to provide a copy of your final divorce decree in order to obtain a marriage license.  Depending on where you will be married, you may be obligated to have this notarized and/or translated.

Have fun with the planning!


Past Questions and Answers
 

Here you can read questions that have been asked in the past - and the great answers provided by Ivona. We have preserved these so our new users can benefit from this travel knowledge.

Read all past questions and answers HERE.

We have questions about:

  • San Andres
  • Panama
  • Costa Rica
  • Mexico

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Did you like the Editorial? Click HERE for past editorials!


 

 

Editorial of the Month
 
Iv_Suitcase_enMay 2010   For me, the worst part of any vacation is returning home. It’s not that I hate my home, my family or my job; it’s just that I prefer being on vacation! I enjoy discovering new places, I enjoy not having to cook, clean house or make my bed, I enjoy meeting new people and most of all I just enjoy being somewhere different! Unfortunately, for most of us, vacations eventually come to an end and back home we go. For some travellers easing back into their daily routines comes easily; for others like myself, not so much. It wouldn’t matter if I was away for a weekend, a week or a month, the return to ‘reality’ would always hit me like a ton of bricks. And of course, the longer I was away the longer the malaise, the blues, or ‘the fog’ as I like to call it, would last. For the longest time I paid no attention to this phenomenon, always thinking it was a personal quirk of mine. A few years ago, chatting with a few travel friends I realized I was not alone with these feelings.  Further research revealed that not only are there others who experience what I have, but this ‘condition’ actually has a name; Post Vacation Depression or Post Travel Depression (PTD).  Thus armed with such a legitimate condition, I forged ahead looking for  information on this topic as well as some tips on how best to deal with it. The following is a list of tips I have found to help those of us who suffer a little or a lot from PTD! 1.) Ease into your regular routine slowly. Jumping right back into your fast paced schedule may be too much to handle at first. Try to book an extra day or so off work before your return. If you cannot do this, try to book your vacation return on a weekend. This allows for a more gradual ‘re-integration’.

2.) Share your vacation stories and photos. You probably have lots of funny or colourful stories and/or photos from your vacation. Keeping these to yourself may cause frustration and feelings that no one understands what you’ve just experienced. Share your adventures.  Invite your family and friends over for a slide show, contact your local newspaper, or share your stories or pictures on-line. Many folks would love to hear of your adventure and sharing it allows you to relive the experience.   

3.) Take care of your body. After days or weeks of travel you may have acquired Giardia, Food poisoning, Poison Oak, severe sun damage or a weird un-explained itchy rash. See your doctor for a full head-to-toe examination. Let the doctor know if you’re feeling depressed. 

4.) Eat and drink sensiblyIf your adventure involved rigorous exercise, you are no longer burning 5,000 calories a day taking daily jogs along the beach, surfing, skiing or hiking mountain summits. Adjust your caloric intake to reflect your ‘back to reality’ lifestyle. Drinking rum punches out of half gallon ‘Bubbas’ may not work so well at home!

5.) Stay in shape. Perhaps you hiked along the Appalachian Trail, surfed the Pacific coast or you walked various cities during your vacation. Chances are you returned from vacation in excellent shape. Use this momentum and keep it up by getting to the gym on a regular basis, or with daily brisk walks. 

6.) Turn your vacation thoughts into action.  All that thinking time may have allowed you to solve some of your personal dilemmas, or perhaps you thought of a new business idea, or a new path you’d like your life to take. It may feel defeating to let those thoughts drift away.  Make a list of all the profound thoughts and ideas you had on vacation and select the ones you can implement. 

7.) Have a vacation escape. When the hustle and bustle of every day life becomes overwhelming, make a slide show out of your vacation photos and take a few moments to look at them. Or, take a brief stroll in your favourite park or part of town. Let your mind drift off to that peaceful place on the trail, beach, café, or mountain vista.

8.) Plan your next adventure. My favourite way of dealing with a just finished vacation is to begin planning the next one! Even if you will not be taking a major vacation for a while, you can always plan a smaller, shorter getaway. Give yourself something to look forward to!   Happy Travels!