How to see China — on the cheap

Distant, exotic, unreachable — that’s the popular conception of China. And for years, I admit, I’ve had the same impression of the People’s Republic. But a little surfing of online travel sites recently has opened my eyes. The truth is, travel to China is not only reachable, these days it’s cheap! That’s why this September I’ll be teaming up with my friend Brian for a one-week trip to Beijing, China’s huge, bustling capital. We’ll be staying in a nice hotel, booking single rooms, and the total Continue Reading ››

Three ways to get pickpocketed — and three ways not to

Travel is 90 percent fun, but there’s always that other 10 percent — the part they call the travel bummer. And one of the most common travel bummers is getting pickpocketed. Light-fingered thieves are always out there, and they flock to places where tourists tend to gather. I’ve been pretty lucky in my travels. In more than 20 years of traipsing around the globe, I’ve only been pickpocketed twice, and had it happen to a friend another time. But even Continue Reading ››

A pocket tour of old Vienna

Vienna is one of Europe’s most amazing cities, full of history, culture and music. And like many of the great cities of Europe, a lot of its most spectacular sights are in its historic centre. That’s good news, because the old city isn’t that big, so it’s possible to see a lot of its attractions in a couple of days (though you’d be rewarded for staying a week and seeing more). Old Vienna was once surrounded by a defensive wall, Continue Reading ››

Five weird things I learned at the Danish National Museum

There’s a lot to see in Copenhagen, from Tivoli Gardens to Rosenborg Castle to the Little Mermaid, but one of the truly unique experiences is visiting the Danish National Museum. Right, we’ve all been in museums, and they’re interesting — but you’ll learn some strange and wonderful things at the Danish National Museum that you won’t come across anywhere else. The museum itself is impressive enough. Set in an 18th-century mansion in the middle of the historic city, it has fascinating collections of Continue Reading ››

The coffee shops of Toronto: a video

As I wrote here, there’s one thing that binds us all together, the world over — we all love coffee. And while Toronto isn’t exactly a coffee mecca like Seattle, we really love our coffee here. What’s more, we love our coffee shops in Toronto, and we have some great ones. That’s why Maarten Heilbron, of Maarten blog, and I decided to make a video about the coffee shops of our town. It’s called Coffee Culture Toronto. After all, we have such a variety Continue Reading ››

Getting ready to take great travel photos: 10 tips

It’s summer, and around the world, millions of people are heading off for a holiday trip. Almost all of them will take a camera along — but some will come back disappointed with the pictures they brought home. The reason is simple: while most people own a camera, not all use it regularly. And when you set off for parts unknown with a camera in hand, things can go wrong: equipment failure, and yes, sometimes human failure. If you’re not a trained Continue Reading ››

Hot summer in Toronto: the 10 best things to do

North America has some great summer cities: New York, Chicago, L.A. But for a city that really shines in the summer sun, look north, across the U.S. border, to the city I call home: Toronto. In winter, Toronto can be a dreary place, cold and cloudy and sometimes buried in snow and ice. That’s when I travel. But in summer it’s a wonderful place, green and lovely and bustling with people enjoying the long-awaited warmth that arrives in June and Continue Reading ››

Eight questions to ask before you book that cruise

If you’re a fan of cruising, the world is your oyster: a never-ending stream of cruise offers appears in your inbox, enticing you to travel the world in a glitzy new ship, or even a bargain-priced old one. They`re all tempting, but choosing a cruise isn`t quite as simple as it sounds. A lot of factors can affect your enjoyment of the cruise, and the amount you end up paying for it. Here are a few questions to ask before Continue Reading ››

Scandinavian cruise journal: last port, Stockholm!

This post is the ninth installment in a journal of my cruise through Scandinavia and the Baltic states in 2012 on Norwegian Cruise Line – for an overview of the entire cruise and a map of the itinerary, go here. Throughout the cruise, I’m highlighting each port, with photos and tips on what to see and how. Today, the sixth port: Stockholm, Sweden. Day 8: The cruise was almost over, but not without one more great port: Stockholm. There’s probably no city more emblematic of Scandinavia Continue Reading ››

Scandinavian cruise journal: Helsinki, Finland!

This post is the eighth installment in a journal of my cruise through Scandinavia and the Baltic states in 2012 on Norwegian Cruise Line — for an overview of the entire cruise and a map of the itinerary, go here. Throughout the cruise, I’m highlighting each port, with photos and tips on what to see and how. Today, the fifth port: Helsinki. For years, my image of Helsinki has been a gleaming, progressive northern city, shining in the midnight sun. And cruising into Finland’s capital, Continue Reading ››