Cost-savings is a big advantage, but not entirely knowing what you’re getting into can be a major disadvantage when renting an Airbnb.  |  Getty Images

Exploring the pros and cons of staying at an Airbnb

A lot has changed in the world of travel recently, but one of the most significant phenomenon in the past decade has been the emergence of Airbnb. Starting with an idea in 2007, it has become bigger than the five largest hotel chains combined. The odd name originated with two young cash-strapped roommates in San […] Read more

A boat trip through the Sumidero Canyon was the highlight of the authors’ recent visit to Chiapas.  |  Robin and Arlene Karpan photo

Southern Mexico reveals history and natural beauty

We gazed up at vertical cliff faces almost a kilometre high as our boat zigzagged through narrow passages between canyon walls. We stopped to see caves and strange rock formations, or to get closer looks at birds or spider monkeys playing in the trees. Most impressive was the Christmas Tree Waterfall. Wispy streams of water […] Read more

Crowds of visitors fill the main entrance to Angkor Wat. |  Arlene and Robin Karpan photo

Angkor Wat lives up to its reputation

For the last two years, Angkor Wat was chosen as the World’s Top Landmark in Trip Advisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards. This ancient city in northwestern Cambodia has risen from near obscurity during the bad old days of wars and political turmoil in the late 20th century to become one of the most popular tourist destinations […] Read more


Colin Weir gives Arlene Karpan a close-up view of a golden eagle at the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale, Alta.  |  Robin and Arlene Karpan photo

Get close and personal with Alberta’s birds of prey

Lincoln the bald eagle perches on Allison’s outstretched arm and waits for a signal. Suddenly he takes to the air and in a matter of seconds reaches the arm of a second handler in the distance. His reward, a tasty bit of fresh meat. Then, swoosh; and he’s back on Allison’s arm as she describes […] Read more

Mountains overlook the Kathleen River in Yukon’s Kluane National Park.    |    Arlene and Robin Karpan photo

Kluane National Park is bold, big and easy to visit

Everything about Kluane National Park is big. It sprawls across southwestern Yukon, is home to the world’s largest ice fields outside the polar regions and has glaciers, wild rivers and wildlife galore. It encompasses 17 of Canada’s 20 tallest mountains, including the imposing Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak at 5,959 metres. The natural features are […] Read more


Nothing says Victoria like the city’s iconic Inner Harbour and Empress Hotel.  |  Arlene and Robin Karpan photo

The many faces of Victoria can keep visitors hopping

Victoria excels as a destination. What impresses us most is that it appeals to a wide array of visitors, from history and culture buffs to nature lovers, adrenaline junkies, foodies, golfers, or those who simply like to wander around the stunning setting. Two of the city’s most iconic buildings face the central Inner Harbour. Appropriately, […] Read more

Negotiating the murky world of travel review sites

When planning a trip, most people rely on travel review websites such as Trip Advisor to see how tour companies, hotels or restaurants stack up. Years ago, reviews were the domain of those who did this for a living or were involved in the travel industry, but today regular folks write most online reviews. The […] Read more

The setting sun illuminates the cliffs of Lake Diefenbaker. | Arlene & Robin Karpan photo

Lake Diefenbaker offers a tremendous variety of scenery, activities

Massive Lake Diefenbaker dominates summer recreation in southern Saskatchewan. Its 800 kilometres of shoreline boasts three provincial parks, three regional parks, plus various recreation sites. Most visitors have favourite spots that they keep returning to, but we wanted to look at the big picture by circling the entire lake. What impressed us most about the […] Read more


The moon over Hoi An was full during the city’s lantern festival.  |  Arlene and Robin Karpan photos

Enjoying rural Vietnam was trip’s highlight

We passed field after field of rice, corn, taro root, and practically every other imaginable vegetable and herb. Most striking was the intensity of agriculture, and how immaculately everything is kept, especially considering that so much work is done by hand. Riding bicycles through the countryside isn’t the reason we came to Hoi An, but […] Read more

A willingness to plan is part of the decision on whether to travel on your own or go with an escorted group.  |  REUTERS/Mariana Bazo photo

Taking a vacation: independent or escorted group travel?

Which is best, travelling on your own or taking a group tour? The answer is: it depends — on a lot of things. An important factor is whether you enjoy planning an independent trip, and are willing to invest the time and effort. The good news is that in recent years, the proliferation of online […] Read more