THIS ITEM ORIGINALLY APPEARED JAN. 11 on POSTMEDIA AND SUN MEDIA SITES IN CANADA. The loonie remains in the doldrums. But winter’s getting you down and you’re dying to hit your favourite U.S. getaway spot. Lucky for us, there are still some great American destinations that aren’t too expensive. There also are ways to save on visits to cities and places you might think of as outside your budget. Here are some suggestions. ST. PETERSBURG/CLEARWATER This is a favourite area for Blue Jays fans, as the Jays play their spring training games in nearby Dunedin. Dunedin is a great spot ... continue reading →


We like to think we’re helping folks when we travel the world. Often we are, especially in some developing countries or places that rely on tourism, or when there have been recent incidents that scared people off and have hurt the local economy. Other times, though, we travel types are a bloody menance; trampling over flower beds and stomping along in church squares with a million other Instagrammers and bucket listers and ruining what should be a great experience. Such has been the case for quite some years with Venice. I think Moses once wrote that he was disgusted by ... continue reading →


Hotels are going the boutique route. Cruise ships are going the opposite direction. Each year, cruise ship operators seem to be upping their “mine is bigger and fancier than yours game.” And nobody does it better than Royal Caribbean. The cruise line made a big splash, as it were, with its remake of the Oasis of the Seas about five years ago. Then came its ever-so-slightly bigger sister ship, Allure of the Seas. Both ships feature seven distinct “neighbourhoods,” along with a carousel and designer shops, such as Kate Spade, and carry roughly 5,400 passengers. The Quantum of the Seas, ... continue reading →


The other day I talked about my favourite Canadian destinations and travel bits for 2014. Here are some thoughts (okay, a LOT of thoughts) about the U.S. and a couple Caribbean and European spots I visited during the year. Most surprising U.S. destination: Apalachicola, Florida. A super-relaxed, fun town in a quiet section of the Florida panhandle with just the right mix of old-time charm and trendy, new shops. A very good brewpub, too. Most wonderful host: The delightful Anthony Hunte of Hunte’s Gardens in Barbados. A lovely man, great conversationalist and incredible gardener. His garden is always the highlight ... continue reading →


I started going to Dunedin back in 1993 when I covered the Blue Jays for the Toronto Star. And I’ve been in love with the place ever since. The town itself is a delight, with an adorable and tiny main street surrounded by lush landscaping, plus great restaurants and unusual shops and fun places to stay. The cycling is outstanding on the Pinellas Trail, and there are now two breweries in town to go along with the fine restaurants and shops. Honeymoon Island State Park features quiet, lovely beaches, and you also can take a ferry to nearby Caladesi Island, ... continue reading →

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