What to do with the tumbling dollar

By Linda Coneybeare Travel Plus

We are asked a lot: what can we do and where can we go with the terrible exchange rate of our Canadian dollar?

Well rest easy – the popular all-inclusive vacations to the Caribbean are all priced in Canadian dollars and include your airfare transfers accommodation all meals drinks tips and taxes.

So other than paying for a tour or shopping you don’t have to worry about the exchange rate.

Luckily the major tour operators that we regularly book – Transat Holidays Nolitours Westjet Vacations and Air Canada Vacations – have not announced any currency surcharges.

There are still great deals to be had for a winter vacation in the sun but some dates are sold out already for the most popular destinations such as Cuba and the Dominican Republic

Machenzie and I are certainly seeing a trend – sales to Cuba have increased dramatically.

There are a couple of reasons for that. First of all Cuba does not accept U.S. currency so you take Canadian dollars and exchange them for local Cuban tourist pesos locally. As well with the easing of sanctions against Cuba by the U.S. it is inevitable that changes will come to Cuba – right now there are no McDonalds or KFCs no American hotel chains and not a lot of American tourists. Cuba is still the top Caribbean destination for Canadians and Europeans but will only get busier as travel restrictions are lifted between the U.S.A. and Cuba and scheduled flights are introduced.

Besides booking a winter vacations down south we are also busy booking cruises and tours in Europe for the summer season. The popular and spectacular Alaska cruises are one of the top summer destinations. The cruise lines are offering great early booking incentives.

One destination that is popular every spring summer and fall is our own majestic Rocky Mountains!

Rocky Mountaineer is a wonderful company that offer luxury train travel between Calgary or Edmonton and Vancouver. There are many routes and combinations to add including the Banff-Lake Louise-Jasper coach tour staying every night at one of the classic Fairmont hotels. Add gourmet dining and upgrading to the Gold Leaf dome car for a perfect vacation in our own country!

And where do travel agents go on their vacations? Well Machenzie is looking forward to a week in the sun on the beautiful beaches of Cuba later this winter. Then I am off to the south of Spain for a week to visit my sister and her husband-who are there for three months! Now that’s how you deal with winter!

Machenzie will tell you more about Cuba in an upcoming column. In the meantime keep your snow shovel handy and your valid passport. You just never know when you might get the urge to get away from winter in the Highlands – even if only for a week or so!