Travel

Staycation Ideas banner
Feb05

COVID-19 has changed how we think about travel. Vacationers are sticking close to home and putting a pin in international travel for now. That’s why a “staycation” is such a great idea—it lets you enjoy some time to yourself without the hassle of crossing farther distances.  

But what exactly does a 2021 staycation look like and how can you make the best of it this year? First, let’s cover some basics.  

What is the difference between vacation and staycation?  

Vacation means you are traveling abroad, maybe taking a cruise or staying at a resort. A staycation means you are closer to home, maybe exploring attractions in your own city or taking a quick road trip to a neighbouring community for a long weekend.  

Why is #Staycation popular this year? 

Thanks to the Coronavirus, people are wary about unnecessary travel this year. That’s why staycations are becoming more popular. Not to mention they are often cheaper, less of a time commitment, and much easier to plan.  

How can I spend my staycation in B.C.? 

Considering a staycation this month? Here are some fun staycation ideas that you can try.  

Staycation at Home 

You don’t even need to leave your house for some of the best staycations. Here are a few things you can try:  

  1. Do a spa night with a face mask, long bath, nail treatment, and anything else you can think of 
  2. Enjoy some summer-themed cocktails with a partner and order takeout  
  3. Buy a cheap projector and watch films set in your dream destinations around the world  
  4. Treat yourself to a home-visit masseuse, if there are any ones in your area  
  5. Give yourself a whole “day off” to just lounge at home with no responsibilities  

Staycation in Town 

A staycation can also mean exploring your own backyard in ways you hadn’t thought to do before. Here are some ways you can do so: 

  1. Go out for a fancy dinner somewhere you have never tried before 
  2. Take a day trip to an outdoor market and sample new, local foods  
  3. Check out a tourist “hotspot” in your city that you’ve never visited before  
  4. Go for a walk in a park or hiking trail that you’ve never been to before 
  5. Stay overnight in an Airbnb just to get away from home life for a night  

Staycation Quick Trip  

Sometimes a staycation means taking “stay” lightly. Traveling to a neighbouring town or city can be a safe faux-vacation idea this year: 

  1. Book a cabin or yurt somewhere a few hours away from home for some new scenery  
  2. Visit a friend or family member in another city within the province 
  3. Go skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing for a long weekend  
  4. Stay overnight in an Airbnb the next town over to get away from it all  
  5. Plan a road trip somewhere scenic, stay the night somewhere fun, and then try a new route back home 

Thinking about booking something this spring or summer? See what we have to offer in the Okanagan area at La Casa Cottage Resort. And if you’re already a local, might we suggest a #staycation?  

road trip checklist graphic
Jan15

Does your vehicle pass the road trip checklist? Keep reading to find out.

Road trips are a great alternative to traditional plane, train, or bus-based travel right now. If you want to avoid packed airports, and the germ-spreading potential of recycled plane air, driving yourself to your vacation destination is the way to go. It also ensures that you are only traveling with your “close-knit” crew, be it friends or family, and not exposing yourself outside of your social bubble.   

Before you through a weekend bag in your trunk and pick a travel playlist, we recommend doing a once-over inspection of your vehicle of choice. Here are 7 things you should always check on your car before setting out on the wide, open highway.  

1. Fluid Check & Oil Change   

If it’s been a while since your last oil change, you should get one done (or do it yourself) before any long trip. You should change your oil approximately every six months (depending on M/KM usage). While you are at it, check the status of your transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and coolant, as well.  

2. Battery Voltage   

If you have your own test equipment, you can do this at home. Otherwise, take your vehicle to a trusted service provider and ask them to test the battery voltage. If the reading is too low, or it’s been over three years, you might consider a battery replacement. If your battery needs a charge, it can take anywhere from 4 to 24 hours to do so. So, leave enough time in your schedule to handle this before you go. Battery problems are one of the top reasons AAA listed for emergency intervention on the road, so make sure you are ready.  

3. Brake Check  

Typically, the brake warning light on the car console will come on if there is an issue; however, it’s always good to do a quick self-lead check. If you already did the fluid check (above) then you’re ahead of the game. When testing your brakes: listen for any abnormal noises (squealing, scarping), note if the vehicle is erroneously pulling to one side or the other, and make note of the pedal feel as you press it. If anything seems out of whack, take it to a shop to get checked.   

4. Turn Signal Lights & Headlights   

For this, you’ll need a partner. Have someone stand outside your vehicle as you flash each turn signal (have them check back and front lights), brake lights, headlights, and fog lights. Remember that a burned-out bulb can get you a very easy-to-avoid ticket! Be sure to change any light bulbs that are performing poorly.   

5. Tire Air Pressure (Including Spare)  

Tire trouble is not only very common on long trips, but it is so, so easily avoidable. Check the tire pressure before you leave and keep a portable tire pressure gauge in your vehicle for on-the-go inspections. Fill your tires with air according to the levels recommended in the vehicle’s manual. If you have a spare tire: fill that one up, too! After all, it won’t do you any good to lug around a spare tire if it’s flat.   

6. Insurance Paperwork, Registration, and License   

Sometimes the most obvious things get forgotten about. Do a quick check to ensure that the insurance paperwork is kept somewhere obvious and accessible. Check the expiration date on your license. And make sure your plates aren’t due to expire any time soon.   

7. First Aid Kit & Emergency Items   

This is one of the most important parts of any road trip checklist. Be sure to have a roadside assistance emergency kit in your vehicle at all times, particularly when you are about to embark on a long road trip. You can also cobble one together yourself. You’ll want to include bandages, alcohol pads, a flashlight, candles, matches, jumper cables, reflective devices, and maybe even an emergency blanket.

Planning a road trip this year? Check out La Casa Cottage Resort’s vacation rentals in the Kelowna and Vernon areas. Booking now for summer 2021. 

Plan a Group Trip banner
Jan08

A group trip with friends seems like the ideal way to spend a long weekend or week away. Who doesn’t love seeing new sites with a close-knit pack of friends and family? Together, you can book group activities, split costs, and—most importantly—share memories.   

However, group trips can be daunting if not done right. Try these 5 tips to plan the perfect, hassle-free group trip.   

1. Pick a Leader and an “Accountant”   

You’ll want one person sending out all the group emails, making spreadsheets, researching activities, and planning carpools. Another person (or the same person) should be responsible for dividing costs and collecting payments from everyone in the group. Collecting money can be a bit of a drag—that’s why we suggest taking it off your Leader’s plate and having a dedicated team “accountant.”  

Bonus Tip: For payment splitting, try apps like Splitwise or Venmo.   

2. Use a Survey for Big Questions   

Getting everyone on the same page is tough. Where do you want to go? When do you want to leave? How much do you want to spend? What do you want to do while there? Planning a group trip relies on “majority rules”, otherwise we would never get anywhere. Try free survey apps like Google FormsSurveyMonkey, or Zoho Survey to gather feedback and share results as you go.   

Bonus Tip: Make sure you have an ongoing group chat to keep everyone up to date. Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts are free!   

3. Pick a Budget (and Keep to It)  

Choosing a budget for a group trip is often one of the most difficult things to do. You’ll want to tailor the budget to those with both small and large amounts of disposable income. One way to do this is to travel off-season or keep an eye out for flight deals using apps like Hopper. You can also have “optional” activity days where those who want to buy tickets to this or that can while others enjoy a cheap/free day at a pool, beach, or park.   

4. Book By-Owner Rentals Instead of Hotels   

Hotels are high cost and low personability. Not only that but they tend to be less environmentally friendly than their rental-by-owner counterparts (think AirBNB or La Casa Cottage Resort vacation rentals). By-owner rentals have the same sense of professionalism and luxury but are more ingrained within the community in which they are established. They are also more likely to pair with local businesses for promotions and events like our Sip Happens X La Casa Cottage team-up!   

5. Pre-Plan an Activity or Two Per Day   

Group trips are the perfect opportunity to try new things abroad. You can book adventure activities like bungee jumping or scuba diving; you can focus on cheap activities like hiking or seeing local landmarks; or you can pick out some of the best food and drinks hangout spots to try. Daily activities are the key to getting the most out of your trip and your time together. However, for everyone’s sanity, make sure to leave room for free time, too!   

Conclusion   

Planning a group trip doesn’t have to be a burden. If done correctly, it can be a ton of fun for yourself and everyone else involved. If you need somewhere to stay in Kelowna, B.C, check out our rental options at La Casa Cottage Resort. For groups of 20+, try the La Casa Mirador Guest House 

 

Jan01

COVID-19 put a damper on travel and recreational plans around the globe. Our wanderlust has to be put on hold while the word began to heal. Near the end of 2020 summer, we saw travel restrictions begin to ease. As the pandemic ebbs and flows, we must play the role of a knowledgeable and conscious global citizen. Now, it’s a new year. What will the 2021 travel landscape look like?   

We want all you travelers to stay safe and stay healthy, so we’ve compiled some things you need to know.   

Solitary Travel is IN—Consider Touring a National Park, Camping, Hiking, or Bird Watching.  

If you are still feeling iffy about being in groups, never fear. There are ways to explore the world while allotting yourself some much needed (2-meter!) space. Camping or touring remote wilderness areas in small groups are just some of the ways that people are keeping travel plans safe. Research what National Parks are close to you to get some ideas. You might also want to try searching for the best hikes in your state or province and seeking them out!   

Keep Abreast of Travel Restrictions and Requirements—Go Above and Beyond in Following Them.   

Before you make any plans, be sure to know the ins and outs of any COVID restrictions in the area. Even if the restrictions are weaker where you’re from, it’s important to respect the community you are visiting and go above and beyond to adhere to their guidelines. Practice good travel hygiene by wearing a mask, carrying hand sanitizer, washing your hands frequently, and keeping a safe distance between your group and others. Better safe than sorry—especially when you are just a visitor in someone else’s home!   

Consider a Vacation Close to Home—Travel Within Your Country, State, or Province.   

If you don’t want to risk international travel right now, try something closer to home. Consider a weekend trip somewhere nearby, maybe a city or camping spot that you have always been meaning to try. There are plenty of places within your own “backyard” that you most likely have yet to visit. Try searching some must-see spots in your province or state and make a plan to check them out this year.   

Remember That Big Hotels May Not Be as Safe as COVID-Safe as Private Rentals.  

When filled to capacity, hotels can be quite a virus hotspot. Not to mention those big corporations tend to cut corners when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting shared spaces. That’s why we recommend private vacation rentals for any 2021 travel plans you may have. La Casa Cottages adheres to the strictest cleanliness standards—and we are available to chat at the venue anytime if you have issues. Find us on Airbnb or on the La Casa Cottage Resort website for a list of available vacation rentals.  

Conclusion   

We won’t know for sure what 2021 travel will look like. We might see travel restrictions ease and tighten as things change. Plan to be a respectful and conscious traveler this year. It’s going to take all of us working together to keep our towns and cities happy and healthy.

Picture spots kelowna
Nov20

Freshly fallen snow makes for a perfect photo backdrop to any Instagram or photo album contender. Kelowna boasts stunning parks and nature sites that stand out even when covered in frost. Here are some picture-perfect Kelowna photo spots for you to snap the perfect shot.

  1. Knox Mountain

This is Kelowna’s largest natural area park, meaning that you can hike around and find the absolute best scenery to get the perfect shot. Search the hashtag #KnoxMountainKelowna on Instagram to get some ideas!

  1. Mission Hill Winery

Open year-round, Mission Hill Winery offers a ton of great spaces for photo opportunities even in the wintertime. Check out the courtyard, terrace, barrel cellars, or their grand entryway of curved arches held together by a single Keystone.

  1. Waterfront Park

There are plenty of places along Waterfront to stop and take a picture with the choppy winter waves of the lake in the background. You won’t want to swim when it gets this chilly out but that doesn’t mean the sand and surf won’t work for a photo op.

  1. Chichester Wetland Park in Rutland

This gem is a local treasure that not many tourists catch on to. In the summer, it’s a flourishing wetland packed with important wildlife. In the winter, you’ll find icicle-decorated trees and frosted ponds galore.

  1. City Marina

Pose in front of rows of boats moored for the winter with zigzagging docks laced with frost. Not only is it a photogenic spot, but it really captures the beach bum vibe of the city. Walk around the area and you’ll find plenty of statues and landmarks that also make great Kelowna photo ops (yes—including the iconic Ogopogo statue!).

  1. La Casa Mirador Guest House

Our vacation properties boast cozy kitchens, dreamy reading nooks, and lakefront views. If you stay with us, you will have many photo-ready opportunities to capture the magic of your vacation in the Okanagan. The La Casa Mirador guest house has room for the whole family, so ask us about planning group trips or events.

Need help picking where you want to stay when you visit the Okanagan? Reach out to us and we can set up your whole party in our luxury guest house.