Oh, Canada! Hipmunk’s Guide to The Great White North

This post was originally published on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on March 3, 2016.canadian_travel_imageBy: Hipmunk Staff

From the famed ski slopes of Whistler to the roaring majesty of Niagara Falls, some the world’s greatest travel destinations are just north of the border, in Canada.

With an overload of Canada travel options, which of these destinations are most popular among travelers? Hipmunk analyzed its travel data from 2015 to find out.

The 25 cities below make up 80 percent of all hotel accommodations in Canada. We also included their average hotel and Airbnb booking prices, as well as average airfare (if flying from the US or within Canada) to each city. Note: all prices are in US dollars.

Here’s how they ranked:



Straddling the border between New York and Canada, Niagara Falls takes the cake as the most popular Canadian city for tourists. The city’s world-famous waterfalls — which flow at a rate of six million cubic feet of water per minute — attract some 12 million visitors every year and commands 16 percent of all Canada city searches on Hipmunk. Just north of Niagara Falls, Toronto closely trails in second, garnering nearly 15 percent of total Canada hotel search volume.


At an average of $194 per night, Whistler has the most expensive hotels of any Canadian tourist destination. Following closely are Mont-Tremblant ($177) and Banff ($172). Each of these destinations is known for its ski slopes in the winter and hiking in the summer.

It’s important to note that these hotel prices can vary tremendously depending on the season. As a general rule, most cities are more affordable during winter months (when it’s very cold) than in the summer months, when weather is more amenable. Below, we’ve broken down these hotel prices by season.


Ski resorts seem to be a notable exception to this rule. In Whistler, for example, hotels are nearly $100 more more night during the winter than in the summer!
Search Whistler Hotels


Over course, if you’re planning to visit any of these locations, hotels won’t be your only cost: you’ll have to fly there as well. Typically, flights into most major airports in these regions range between $350 and $420.

In general, flights to Canada’s easternmost popular cities seem to be a bit more expensive than those on the western coast. Like hotel rates, flight prices are seasonal: in the warm summer months, flights cost slightly in the summer than they do in the winter.


Now that we have laid out hotel and flight costs, let’s compile this into one handy total expense chart. For the purpose of this calculation, let’s assume the trip is for two people (two flights) who are sharing one hotel room for three nights.


Whistler comes out on top again. With $194 per night average hotel rooms, and flights that average $372, Canada’s premier ski destination is not particularly cheap. It’s a wonderful city to visit year-round, and its prices reflect that.

Cities that experience more brutal winters (Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary) seem to be on the cheaper end (though this rule doesn’t hold 100 percent true).

When to Go

Last, just in case you’re interested in finding the best deal for any city on this list, we’ve broken down these prices by month. Let’s take a look at the median hotel price and median flight price into each of these cities throughout all of 2015. Are there any opportunities to save money by going during “almost” peak season?

Below, we’ve listed the price of the a flight plus three nights in a hotel room by month. We’ve highlighted some of the months that are almost at peak season where you can get an especially good deal.


And so travelers, now you have all the data you need to find a great deal on practicing your French skills in Montreal, hiking in Whistler, or carving fresh powder in Banff. Happy travels!

Methodology: Hipmunk analyzed its daily median booking prices for Canadian hotels, Airbnbs, and airfare (arriving to Canada from the US or within Canada) in 2015 to determine average prices.

X’pat Matt’s : Budget-Friendly Adventures in the American West

This post was originally published on XPatMatt on April 14, 2016.

Image via Trover by Micah Weber

Not every trip “out west” needs to empty your wallet and your savings account. In fact, there are plenty of adventurous destinations in the west that are affordable, uncrowded, and full of awesome outdoor activities for you and your traveling family. These five budget-friendly destinations offer everything you need to make the most of your adventure-based getaway.

Discover the Wild West in Missoula

Missoula is one of Montana’s most underrated cities. This hip town and its active residents are fueled by its surrounding scenery, littered with mountain peaks, rivers, and forests. Visitors can stay in the heart of downtown — minutes from some of the world’s best mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, rafting, hiking, horseback riding and more — for an affordable price any time of year. Opt for the budget-friendly Holiday Inn Downtown for gorgeous river views and a location that’s within walking distance of some of the city’s favorite sights.

Make Memories in Rapid City

Rapid City, S.D., is known as the home of Mt. Rushmore, but adventures extend far beyond the historic monument. Adventurers will find endless fun mountain biking, fishing, hiking, geocaching, horseback riding, and kayaking among the gorgeous scenery of the Great Plains and the Black Hills. Even better, you can stay in the center of town or inside the famed Black Hills National Forest on any budget.

Explore the Red Rock Landscapes of Moab

Moab is a place that adventure lovers dream about. Staying seconds from what are known as the greatest mountain biking trails in the world doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg despite Moab’s standing as an outdoorsy “resort town.” Stay close to the downtown museums, restaurants, and outdoors stores or walking distance to the area’s best parks and trails; you can always find an affordable place to rest your head at the end of a day filled with adventure.

Venture Into the Mountains in Vail

Escape the hustle and bustle of Denver to discover the White River National Forest and all of the adventures available at the Vail Ski Resort. You don’t have to pay outrageous resort prices to enjoy all of the mountain biking, hiking, golfing, and whitewater rafting adventures Vail offers in spring and summer. Instead, opt for one of many more affordable options, like the Evergreen Lodge, to stay minutes from the mountain town’s best features for an unbelievably affordable price.

Adventure Inland in Roseville

Roseville is just 30 minutes from Sacramento, but it’s one of the best places to escape the stresses of city life in California. The area is known for its pristine golf courses, artsy downtown area, abundance of museums, and parks and trails that make for pleasant bike rides, runs, and hikes. Your budget-friendly hotel in the heart of Roseville will also place you minutes from the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, where you can boat, swim, kayak, and fish on hot, dry summer days in California. Opt for a stay at the Extended Stay America or Residence Inn by Marriott Roseville for easy access to downtown and the outdoors.

C – Cast of Characters in Anxious Love


I thought I would allow my cast of characters to introduce themselves by answer this question with one sentence.

Why did you choose your profession? 

Leah (best-selling romance writer) – Writing saved my life and reconnected me with the outside world.

Ryan (Defensive Lineman) – I was an angry kid and football allowed me to hit people without getting arrested.

Sophie (Singer & Songwriter – When I sing, I can be my true self.

Kory (Personal Trainer) – When I train people, I get to see them at their worst and help them find a way to be their best.


Why did you choose your profession? I’ll pick a comment at random to win an advance copy of Anxious Love. 


1,000,000 Words

Like every New Years Eve, I spent last night writing down my goals for the new year. My cousin, BFF, bucket list buddy (yes, they are all the same person) and I share them and help keep each other stay accountable.

As I was working through my list, I realized my goals were all something, God willing, somewhat achievable, but my mind keeps seeing a number and I thought, what the hell. I want to write 1,000,000 words in 2016.

Untitled-1Now, I know that seems crazy, but when I broke it down, it seemed a bit more attainable.

83,333.33 words per month

20,833.33 words per week

2,732.24 words per day.

I average 1,000 words an hour when I’m working on my WIP. Even if I’m writing slow, let’s say it takes me 3 hours a day to reach that goal. With 24 hours in a day, that’s not too much.

But, what will I write?

There the 11 projects I have slated to write this year.

7 full lengths at 70,000 words each

3 novellas at 25,000 words each

1 short novella at 10,000 words each

If my math is correct, that 575,000 words. I’m over half way there.

Freelance projects of 3,000 words per month are on the schedule.

That’s another 36,000 words.

I want to dedicate one blog post a week for two different blogs. Each post 300 words. That adds up to another 31,200 words.

If I add in emails, outlines, project plans, and yes, even grocery lists, or anywhere I can average 300 words per day, that would get me to 109,800 words (The leap year helps.)

I’m at 752,000 words. 

I just need to find another 248,000 words. 

It may be more of an aspiration, than a goal, but the point is to keep writing in 2016, so if I am working towards that, any number I hit by the end of the year, I’ll be happy with.

AND, I am already off to a good start, 350 words down, only 999,648 more words to go.

What are some of your GOALS for 2016?

Exes and O’s by Lakeshia Poole – Book Blitz

I love a New Adult novels with a unique twist. Exes and O’s has that and more. -Sydney Aaliyah MichelleExesOs
Publication date: November 24th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance
For some the game of love and college seems rigged. After a few tough losses they resort to doing things they thought they would never do to turn their challenges into championships…
Ciara and Xander each came to Aurbor Grove University with the perfect game plan. She would score another chance at finally living up to her college dreams and the high academic expectations set by her mother. He would become the star quarterback and hometown hero he was groomed to be. Yet they find themselves entangled in drama—from the exes who refuse to live without them to the financial struggles that make it seem like college is meant only for the elite to win.
Their friendship has a rocky start, but as the semester passes along they find that their most peaceful moments are spent with each other. Will the pains of the past and pressure on the fields of love and learning squash all hope for their future?
Exes and O’s is Lakeshia Poole’s drama-filled, romantic sequel to Don’t Let Me Fall.
Blitz Giveaway:
Click on the gift card to enter. 
Author Bio:
Lakeshia Poole is an award-winning public relations professional and author. Whether it’s landing a feature in The New York Times, developing a YouTube short or creating a series of blog posts, she believes in telling positive and compelling stories. Poole graduated from the University of Georgia with dual degrees in public relations and sociology. When she’s not writing, she spends her time with family and her dog JoJo Dancer.