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

The town of Sumpango, Guatemala combines All Saints Day celebrations with a major kite festival. It is believed on this day that family can communicate with the spirits of the departed by flying kites. | Arlene & Robin Karpan photo

Celebrating All Saints Day Guatemala style

Dressed in their Sunday best, families sat down to a picnic amid the elaborate flower displays. Kids ran around flying kites, while an ice cream seller did a thriving business from his hand-wheeled cart. Music played as we followed throngs of visitors wandering around. The only unusual part of the festive atmosphere is that we […] Read more

The red leaves of mountain maple trees, centre, contrasts with the gold and green of the mixed wood forest in Cypress Hills.  |  Robin and Arlene Karpan photo

Enjoy colourful autumn with trips close to home

Fall is our favourite time to wander around the west. Forests are draped in gold, summertime crowds have cleared out of the parks and accommodation and campsites are more readily available, sometimes at off-season rates. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of free admission to national parks during 2017, fall is the perfect time, especially […] Read more


A water bus travels the Grand Canal. | Robin and Arlene Karpan photo

Venice rich with historic treasures

Europe is chock-a-block with historic towns and cities, but Venice stands in a class by itself. No matter how many photos you see of this famous water-borne city, nothing prepares you for experiencing its stunning setting in person. Built on a cluster of small marshy islands as a refuge against barbarian invasions, Venice rose over […] Read more

The view from the Hotel Sacacomie was breathtaking. | Arlene and Robin Karpan photo

Wandering through Authentic Quebec

The biggest challenge in travelling to Quebec is deciding where to go. As Canada’s largest province, the array of attractive possibilities can be overwhelming. A great place to start is a region identifying itself as Authentic Quebec, a blending of some of the best that La Belle Province has to offer, but in a manageable […] Read more


Walking on the active sand dunes at sunset, Great Sand Hills.  MIDDLE RIGHT: 70 Mile Butte is illuminated by the setting sun at Grasslands National Park.  |  Arlene & Robin Karpan photo

Sun works its magic in Saskatchewan

The Canadian Prairies have the world’s most stunning sunrises and sunsets. Match a colourful sky with dynamite scenery and the effect can be even more dazzling. If you’re wandering around southern Saskatchewan this summer, try these five fabulous and easy to reach viewpoints to watch the sun do its magic. The name comes from the […] Read more

Emerald Lake is surrounded by mountain peaks. | Arlene and Robin Karpan photo

Walk on the wild side in Yoho National Park

We could hear the roar and feel the spray as we gazed up at one of Canada’s highest waterfalls, plunging 384 metres over a sheer cliff. Fed by glacial meltwater high above, Takakkaw Falls is the most famous landmark of British Columbia’s Yoho National Park, yet getting there is an easy 10-minute stroll from the […] Read more

Masks, bags and scarves in a rainbow of colours are for sale in the Antigua market. | Arlene & Robin Karpan photo

Heading back to school in Antigua, Guatemala

Going to school doesn’t immediately spring to mind when thinking about vacations, but hitting the books turned out to be a highlight of recent travels to Antigua, Guatemala. We took Spanish language classes at Proyecto Linguistico Francisco Marroquin (PLFM), a non-profit foundation specializing in teaching Spanish and local Mayan languages. It was a return to […] Read more


The Enchanted Forest in Saskatoon features winter and nativity scenes and animated light shows, like nine ladies dancing from the Twelve Days of Christmas. An internet search can help locate displays or winter events in your area. |  Arlene & Robin Karpan photo

Christmas alive with light displays

It’s getting easier to find the top light displays almost anywhere. Simply do an internet search for Christmas lights and the name of a community and chances are that you’ll find a few pleasant surprises. A useful resource in Saskatchewan is www.sparkletour.ca, which includes maps of 15 communities and addresses and descriptions of Christmas displays […] Read more

The view of the Icefields Parkway near the Saskatchewan Glacier is breathtaking. |  Arlene & Robin Karpan photo

Take your time driving through Alberta’s Icefields Parkway

Towering snow-capped peaks, magnificent river valleys, picture-perfect waterfalls galore, wandering wildlife and walls of ice dripping from the largest glaciers in the Rockies can all be seen without getting out of the vehicle. National Geographic described the Icefields Parkway as one of the world’s most spectacular driving tours. Fortunately for those of us living in […] Read more