The Ultimate Travel Guide for First Time Travelers to Vancouver

Vancouver is a beautiful seaport city in Western Canada. In addition to being the third-largest city in Canada, Vancouver is also North America’s third-largest film production center. The city is unique in that it is an urban center surrounded by sea and mountains; hence it offers the best of both worlds.

When to visit 

The city of Vancouver has a reputation for having unceasing rain, hence, a good month to plan a visit is in August. This guarantees you long warm sunny days, and in addition, this is the month that records the least rainfall.

Where to Stay

You have a choice of several neighborhoods, each with unique attributes:

Downtown Vancouver

This is the center of the action and an excellent location for first-time visitors. The top sights and activities are within reach, in addition to which there is an efficient public transport system.


Known as the trendy area of downtown Vancouver, it is recommended for upscale accommodation. This is a waterfront neighborhood, with marinas, the seawall, and a high concentration of excellent eateries. There are several green spaces in the vicinity including David Lam Park, one of the biggest parks in Vancouver.

Coal Harbour 

An area situated downtown right on the water, this is a laid back area with neighborhood cafes, lots of pubs serving a great selection of local craft brews, and a vibrant night-life.

The West End

If you want to get a taste of how the locals live, the West End is the place to stay. The main attractions here are its parks and beaches. The West End is surrounded by water on three sides, hence you can spend enjoyable hours visiting the beaches. Alternatively, you can choose to explore Stanley Park which is nearby.

Where to Go

Stanley Park

This popular park borders the downtown area of Vancouver. Situated on a peninsular, it is a leading tourist attraction with beautiful beaches and blooming gardens. In addition, it is estimated that there are 500,000 firs, hemlock, and cedar trees here. There is no shortage of things to do here. In addition to great walking trails, there is also the option of walking or biking the seawall. Alternatively, you can visit the aquarium or the Brockton Point totem poles.

Granville Island

This island water park is a great favorite, packed with history and art. Visitors particularly enjoy a visit to the vibrant market. Stall owners display their handmade crafts here, and farmers and butchers sell their produce.

While on the island, you can watch a live show, or have a meal at one of the numerous excellent restaurants that are found here. The culturally inclined can browse the art exhibits to their heart’s content.

Pay a visit to Gastown

Famous for its beautiful Victorian-style architecture, Gastown is Vancouver’s most historic neighborhood. It has charming cobbled streets and landmarks such as the steam-powered clock at the junction of Cambie and Water street. Gastown is also home to the best restaurants in the city.

If you fancy a spot of shopping, you will find numerous boutiques that feature local designers, furniture and interior design stores as well as men’s fashion outlets.

The above are but a drop in the ocean of the available activities you can indulge in when you visit Vancouver. You will no doubt make it a goal to pay another visit to this beautiful part of Canada.

The Essentials that You Need to Pack for a Cruise Holiday

cruise deckTaking a cruise is like booking a stay at an all-inclusive resort.  The difference is that a cruise takes you to fabulous destinations around the world. Cruise ships offer a wide range of on-board activities, in addition to which excursions are possible at the ports of call.

Depending on the cruise you have reserved, your vessel may have full-scale entertainment lined up, cinemas, spas, bowling, and other activities. Therefore there is a need for appropriate clothing and gear to suit the activities. Please find below the essentials that you need to pack for a cruise holiday.


It is essential to carry along your passport; however, you need to verify that the validity extends 6 months beyond your intended date of return. Valid visas and inoculation certificates may also be necessary, therefore check entry requirements for the countries that you will visit. Not to be forgotten are the policy documents for your Travel Insurance, Itinerary, maps, and flight tickets.

What to Pack for the Arrival and Departure Flights

For the flights you will take at the start and end of your cruise holidays, you are going to need reading material for the time you will spend waiting at the terminal and onboard the aircraft. You will are need earphones, pen and paper, a travel pillow, and a cellphone charger. A toiletries bag equipped with toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving tools, and moisturizer will be useful. It is advisable to have a carry-on bag with a change of clothing in case there is a delay in getting onboard your vessel.

What to Pack for Your Cabin

A good rule of thumb is to be prepared for everything. In case it is stifling in your cabin, a mini fan will come in useful. Bring along a sanitizer and an adapter for your appliances. Some cruise liners do not object to passengers coming on board with a bottle of wine or champagne.

Most importantly carry a first aid kit. The shops onboard may stock over-the-counter medication, but you will likely find it overpriced. The must-have items for the first aid kit include motion-sickness patches to combat sea-sickness, band aids for small wounds, painkillers, gauze, cough drops antacid and anti-diarrhea medicine.

What to Pack for Deck Activities

Most cruise ships boast an impressive range of activities on the deck, such as waterslides, rock climbing walls, go-karting, among others. Top on the list of the items to pack is sunscreen, leisure shoes, sneakers, swimsuits, cover-ups, t-shirts, shorts, hats, casual shirts, beach bags and glasses.

When the sun goes down, aim for smart casual and above. For men, this will mean slacks with sport shirts. Women can opt for skirts, cocktail dresses, slacks, and tops.

A cruise holiday is a perfect chance to relax and unwind whilst visiting multiple destinations at the same time. Best of all, there are no airports involved, and you only have to unpack your bag once, namely when you board your vessel.

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee Travel Guide

With beautiful scenery, plentiful attractions, and abundant shopping, it’s not surprising that Pigeon Forge is one of America’s top tourist destinations. No matter the season, Pigeon Forge has something going on. Fall celebrations, baseball tournaments, Christmas festivals, car shows, as well as music conventions occupy the calendar with unlimited action. Pigeon Forge is the perfect destination for entertainment seekers and nature lovers. Here are the top things to do and see in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Cades Cove

Cades Cove is located in the Great Smoky Mountains Park and is one of the park’s most visited sites. The cove sits in the middle of a valley floor and is a place where wildlife comes to play and graze. So expect to see black bears in the trees, as well as elk, deer, and other wild animals in the fields. A wide range of original museums, as well as barns, churches and a grist mill dating back to the 16th century, are all located along Cades Cove drive-through. For generations, this area served as a Cherokee hunting ground before being settled by mountaineers.


Dollywood is a grand theme park in Pigeon Forge and one of the most visited in the nation – created and imagined by legendaries the Herschend family and Dolly Parton. This park has more than 40 attractions and rides, all of which have given Dollywood global recognition. It also has live entertainment featuring demonstrations from craftsmen, dancers, and music. The rides in Dollywood include Mystery Mine and Wild Eagle.

Ripley’s Aquarium

Ripley’s Aquarium houses up to 10,000 sea creatures spanning more than 350 species. Among the attractions in this aquarium are the stingray bay, ocean realm, touch-a-ray bay, coral reef, penguin playhouse, gallery of the seas, shark lagoon, tropical rainforest, the discovery center, and systems control. There are also underwater tunnels that give visitors a feeling of being with fascinating creatures in the water. The feeding and dive shows are also very interactive.

Smoky Mountain Opry

The Smoky Mountain Opry is a popular musical variety show featuring the talents of musicians, singers, dancers, and comedians. There are laser lights, pyrotechnics, awesome special effects, high-flying musicians, all in a package of a musical feast.

Helicopter Tours

It is quite impossible to fully experience Pigeon Forge’s majesty on foot. There are helicopter tours that give visitors breathtaking views of this area. The helicopter can accommodate up to 4 passengers and a weight limit of 300 lbs per seat. They are also handicap-friendly.