Our top 5 of the best restaurants for client lunches in Toronto

Our top 5 of the Best Restaurants for Client lunches in Toronto

Toronto, Ontario the largest city in Canada, and one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world. It’s an international centre for business and finance, as well as a hub for media, information technology, film and other bustling industries. An incredibly vibrant, inspiring city, it’s a popular destination to meet and impress clients. 

Below, you will find our top 5 of our favourite locations that ensure your next client lunch meeting is at one of the best restaurants in Toronto.

1. Terroni Queen Street

terroni_toronto

Photo credit: Terroni

Terroni’s first location is located in the heart of Queen Street West. It has quickly become a local favourite and is one of the best Italian spots in Toronto. Terroni serves a variety of salads, pastas, pizza, and paninis to be enjoyed on the great back patio in the summer months, or a cozy table indoors.

 This Italian-style restaurant has two more locations in the city at Price Street, and Adelaide. Italian food is a classic when meeting clients, so make it a memorable experience!

 

 2. Le Select Bistro

Le Select Bistro - blogTO - Toronto

Photo credit: Blogto.com

Le Select Bistro has a strong belief that “what we put in our body three times a day has an impact on how we feel”. That belief trickles down to the diner, who can expect sustainable food free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other nasty chemicals.

Le Select Bistro looks like it was plucked right out of France and strategically placed in Toronto’s Downtown. Your clients will delight in the delicious food, and Parisian ambiance.

 

3.Richmond Station

Richmond Station

Photo credit: BlogTo

Richmond Station is a must go spot in the heart of the city, a lively neighbourhood eatery.

Located on Richmond St, a few doors west of the Yonge St junction. This restaurant is a wonderful choice for business dinners or team lunches because of its focus on outstanding food and comfortable professional service. The staff is kind and helpful. Also, it carries a great selection of  wines.

 

4. Momofuku – Daisho

No photo description available.

Photo credit: Momofuku Daisho 

The Momofuku family of restaurants has been hugely successful, and it’s no wonder why. With changing menus, a mind for fresh and local ingredients, and an amazing presentation, Daisho has consistently dazzled Torontonian diners since their opening in 2012. It has quickly become one of the best restaurants in Toronto. 

Daisho is Momofuku’s interpretation of a steak-house and has a great lunch offering of lighter fare dishes or a prix fixe three-course menu. Here, your clients will enjoy great food in a bright, open setting with enormous floor-to-ceiling windows.

 

5. Union

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

The farm to table, hip spot Union, is well known in Toronto. Besides the tasteful decor, the food is really the standout here. With a few constant staples on the menu, Union has an outstanding daily menu which centres around fresh, local, seasonal ingredients.

Your clients can expect housemade pastas and breads, fresh seafoods, local meat, a great wine selection and divine desserts.

 

Bonus Point! Planta

Photo credit: Planta

Are you getting lunch with a vegan client? We got you covered! Planta was founded in 2016 by Steven Salm, Founder and CEO, and David Lee, Co-Founder and Executive Chef, with the goal of increasing the accessibility and acceptance of plant-based eating options.

In the process of creating the world’s first hospitality collective composed entirely of plant-based restaurants, PLANTA  has 4 different locations in  Toronto where they reimagine, reinvent, and revitalize the food industry with a great customer service and a quiet atmosphere to enjoy your meal and have a great conversation with your clients!.

Having a meal with your clients is such an important way to get to know them outside of an office environment. When planning your lunch meeting, make sure to take the extra care and ask about any food preferences or allergies. A few questions goes a long way to building trust with your clients and showcasing your dedication to their business.

At Worldgo, we hope that you enjoy our top 5 picks for the best restaurants in Toronto, and we invite you to reach out to us if you need help with Corporate Travel Management; it will be our pleasure to assist you, but for now, Bon appétit!

The Benefits of a Private Jet Rental

The (Surprising) Benefits of a Private Jet Rental

The thought of taking a commercial flight doesn’t always appeal to everyone. In an age where time is money, convenience is king, and personal health is top-of-mind, we’re seeing new demand for private jet rentals and the advantages they offer.

Without question, flying on a commercial airline has become more of a hassle than ever. Longer line-ups. Geo-political disruption. Volatile pricing and operational ‘efficiencies’ have lowered customer service standards and reduced the return-on-experience. 

For people who demand time efficiency, productivity, greater confidentiality, customer service, and the finer things in life, private flights are, by far and away, their best option. Eric Sakawsky, CEO of Worldgo Travel Management adds ‘Client demand for private jet rentals is no longer a once-in-a-blue-moon request, it’s easily one the fastest-growing segments within the corporate travel sector. It boils down to faster, better, safer.’ 

The following is a deep dive into some of the reasons why people should consider flying privately:

Increased Productivity

Business work on a private jet

People fly in private jets for a variety of reasons. Naturally, one of the main reasons is for business. This is why the terms ‘business aviation’ and/or ‘private aviation’ are frequently interchanged.

Working while in the air is a fantastic way to get things done and be productive. Traveling by private jet rental is swift and effective, giving an often invaluable work session without the stress of commercial flights, whether you’re attending a meeting, working on business initiatives, or simply need time away from distractions.

By increasing efficiency, business aviation has a positive impact on the bottom line. In addition, the peace and seclusion of a private jet cabin might be the ideal setting for a productive meeting, saving you time at your destination. When working on your laptop or catching up on business at 30,000 feet, you have complete privacy.

Whether you want to boost your job efficiency on board, avoid distractions from other passengers, or simply dazzle your clients, traveling by a private jet service will ensure that you stay productive from beginning to end by making your flight worry-free and pleasant.

Flying private also allows you to get to your location faster and more effectively, giving you more time for client meetings, site inspections, and other critical business matters.

Private Jet Rentals Save Time

Commercial flights can be a stressful experience. You must factor in security lines, overcrowding at airports, and long flight times and layovers. Commercial flights may save you money, but they also cost you time, which is more significant to many people than money.

With private jets, you can avoid all of the hassles and headaches. You may sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight while freeing up time for more important things. Within 15 minutes of arriving at the airport, you’ll be in the air. When compared to scheduled flight wait periods of up to two hours, this provides a significant time benefit.

Did you know that private jet rentals save its passengers a significant amount of time compared to commercial aviation, saving an average of 2 hours (127 minutes) every flight? 

Less Baggage Restrictions on a Private Jet

The next advantage worth highlighting is traveling with fewer baggage limits.

Most private aircraft have substantial baggage allowances, with far fewer restrictions on weight and size than commercial flights. Commercial airlines frequently charge additional fees for unusually sized items such as golf bags or skiing equipment, if you can even take them with you at all.

If you travel with a lot of gear or have various recreational interests that require large things, such as skis, surfboards, etc., this can be a huge benefit. Engineers, for example, may need to transport bulky and heavy equipment to their destination, and private aircraft may handle these requirements without additional fees or bother.

Another advantage of flying with a commercial airline is that your luggage is less likely to be lost. Thousands of commercial customers arrive at their destination each day without their bags owing to technological issues, airlines misplacing luggage, misconnecting flights, delays, and other factors.

When traveling privately, the chances of your luggage getting misplaced are nearly nil because you are always in close communication with the aircraft crew and may retrieve your bags as soon as you disembark the plane.

Flying by private jet also means you’ll spend less time recovering your luggage, emphasizing the significant time-saving advantage.

Far More Airports to Choose From

Another advantage of traveling by private jet is that you can go to smaller airports that would be inaccessible by commercial airline trips.

Private jet charters can land on runways that are shorter than those used by commercial airlines. Instead of landing at a congested commercial hub, you will have the option of picking which airport you wish to land at.

Passengers can fly more effectively since they can choose the best airport for their trip rather than the one that is nearest to them. This saves you time on the road and allows you to land closer to your destination.

Business jets can reach 5,000 airports in the United States alone, whereas commercial airlines only reach roughly 500. (Photo courtesy of NBAA)

The number of airports accessible to private jets is many times greater than the number of airports accessible to commercial aircraft around the world. This does not even contain all of the locations reachable by private helicopter flight!

The following are some fascinating instances of airports that are only accessible by private aircraft and not by commercial airlines:

Confidentiality

Private aircraft charters are also popular with those who place a premium on privacy.

On a commercial flight, there’s no way of knowing who will be sitting next to you. Apart from the crew, you’ll be the only people on board, as the phrase “private jet travel” implies. This level of privacy is unrivaled by any other mode of air travel. Confidential or sensitive conversations are next to impossible and can be quite intrusive if you’re attempting to do business or talk about personal topics.

Furthermore, other passengers, especially young ones, may become loud or boisterous, making it impossible to do tasks and sometimes rest. Instead of focusing on what matters most to you, you may spend the entire flight in frustration. 

For people who lead a quiet life or have a degree of personal fame, traveling privately is the only way to guarantee that their privacy and anonymity are protected.

Whether it’s a romantic retreat, a business trip, or a family vacation, everyone wishing for privacy in the air should at least consider flying private.

Fewer Unexpected Delays and Last-Minute Gauging

Commercial flights are often delayed due to upstream connecting flights, baggage issues, and security concerns. While some airlines lower ticket costs to increase the number of people they transport, most actively raise ticket prices as they meet their yield quotas. This bursts the last-minute deal myth. 

Both of these realities are far less common with private jet charters, which often charge the same amount whether the flight is in a few days or a few months away. Because private flights are available on-demand, you can book your flight whenever it is most convenient for you.

When flying private, getting to a business meeting in Miami from Toronto might take a full day, if not an overnight stay. A private jet can complete the same journey in a manner that gets you home for dinner, and back at the office bright and on time the next day.

private jet cabin interior

Convenience and Luxury on Private Jets

Flying aboard a private aircraft is a more opulent mode of transportation, with more facilities and more legroom. You may stretch out and relax in your own private area rather than crowding yourself into a tight seat. Private jet flights, on the other hand, provide customers with more than simply seclusion; they also provide comfort and luxury.

You can recline in comfort and sleep deeply for the entirety of the flight, spend quality time with your family, or get some work done with no strangers sitting next to you, near or far. You can also avoid the dreaded middle seat by flying on a private jet. You’ll get your own comfortable seat, as many as you need, and no one else will be seated next to you. This is particularly advantageous for those who travel with their families or who dislike traveling with strangers.

You are free to roam the cabin, spread out on couches, or even recline a seat to nap in between destinations.

You’ll also have access to a galley, which may include a minibar or more comprehensive culinary options, as well as the onboard entertainment system. Everything is done to make your flight as relaxing and comfortable as possible. Of course, the premium, personalized service with all of the added indulgences is included.

Convenience and adaptability are two of the most important factors to consider. In many respects, private aircraft make travel more convenient.

Culinary Delights

When flying commercially, you are forced to eat and drink the airline’s food and beverages. Customized meals (if available) are bland, require a long lead time to submit your order, and may not meet every dietary requirement.

When you fly private, though, you have complete control over your culinary experience. For a completely personalized flying experience, you can pre-order meals with short notice, choose your favourite beverages, and board with all of your favourite snacks.

It’s like traveling in a five-star restaurant when you fly private.

Even your pets are treated like CEO’s

Pets can fly with their owners in style on private aircraft, which is an option for luxury tourists. When flying by chartered plane, most charter firms and operators allow you to bring your dogs along. Fly private and treat your faithful dog, cat, or other pet as if he or she were a true VIP.

Traveling without a care in the world

Traveling by private plane is a stress-free experience. There are no crowded places, long queues, noisy kids, middle seats, or off-putting washrooms. There’s no need to be concerned about anything other than traveling from point A to point B and doing so in the most comfortable and convenient manner around.

Traditionally, flying private has been associated with wealth and status. Flying aboard a private aircraft can make the difference between success and mediocrity. Whether it’s for business or pleasure. It is for this reason that many travelers regard any extra travel costs to be worthwhile.

Destination Spotlight: Toronto

This month we shine a light on Toronto. 

In a previous blog, we shared our best neighbourhoods for business travelers, so today we’d like to share some great venues and places to go, whether you’re here for business, leisure or indeed a pleasure trip. We’ve got you covered.

Firstly let’s visit the Harbourfront. For amazing views why not try the 360 Restaurant with, yes you’ve guessed it, 360 revolving views of the harbour! It’s situated in the CN Tower and offer regional cuisine and a truly amazing selection of wines. 

The CN Tower also has several meeting rooms, a cinema and the LookOut level space which has floor to ceiling windows for your guests to fully admire the sparkling lights of the city. Making it a unique place to hold an event.

If you’re after a low key treat with a harbour view, why not try The Fix Ice Cream bar. Their menu features signature creations like Campfire, for your s’more fix and Like a Sir for you peanut lovers. This place is unique and a must-visit for Ice cream lovers.

Where to stay in Toronto

The Westin Harbour Castle Hotel is the perfect place to stay to watch the sun go down on the harbour. They have meeting & conference facilities making it an excellent choice for your next event. You’re right in the centre of all the exciting and cultural activities that take place along the harbourfront. 

The Broadview Hotel is a boutique that is brimming with originality. It has a rich history in the East End of Toronto. Their rooms offer locally sourced minibar and bathroom products, each room has its own individual twist with curated artwork and design. Some even have an enclosed terrace. For that Wow Factor, you can enjoy a cold beer on the exclusive Rooftop bar for stunning views of the Toronto Skyline and the Don River. 

For the most luxurious hotel in Toronto, that has to be the Shangri-La Hotel  . It’s located in the centre of downtown in one of Toronto’s tallest buildings. 

The decor is traditionally Asian, they have a mixture of rooms and suites. Beautiful marble bathrooms with walk-in showers and separate deep soaking bathtub, just the ticket after a busy day of meetings. If you’re traveling with loved ones, why not treat yourselves to elegant Afternoon tea with Veuve Cliquot champagne in the Lobby Lounge. 

Let’s talk food in Toronto

Finding a great restaurant is important. Whether it’s to entertain clients, relax with colleagues after a busy day at the conference centre or a quiet solo dinner, a bad choice will spoil the evening.

For a relaxed meal, you can try Stelvio  It’s an authentic Italian restaurant which is pretty famous in Toronto. Relax with pasta and a bold glass of red to wind down solo. 

If you miss the feeling of home when traveling then Richmond Station is the palace to go. It’s owned by the Top Chef Canada winner and is located in the vibrant dining community of downtown Toronto. The restaurant focuses on creating great dishes with the best ingredients for a relaxed, friendly experience. 

Perhaps you want to impress your clients with your choice. For this, I’d recommend you try the Alo Restaurant. Located at the top of a heritage building, Alo has contemporary French food on the menu along with blind, multi-course tasting menus. Nothing less than perfect is expected from the Michelin starred Chef that runs the kitchen. Also, don’t forget to check our top 5 of the best restaurants for client lunches in Toronto!

There are so many great choices for venues, hotels and restaurants in Toronto, so I hope we’ve made it a little easier for you to choose!

Apps for the Business Traveller

Apps to Help with Productivity While on the Road

Corporate travel, while necessary, can sometimes lead teams to lose some of their regular productivity. Whether it’s battling time zone differences, internet access in various cities, or lack of communication, companies are always looking for innovative ways to stay connected and remain productive. We know there is no shortage of business travel apps out there that can help, it’s just a matter of finding them.

After some research, we’ve developed a shortlist of a few favourites that will help boost productivity while on the road.

Zoom

We all know and love Zoom thanks to the pandemic. You can download it to your smartphone and have meetings on the move. You can schedule, start, and join meetings through the app and even share your screen to conduct a presentation.  

Voxer 

Voxer is a walkie-talkie style communication app. Meaning you can communicate securely, with real-time voice messaging, quickly and easily. Very cool. For me, this works well to get thoughts and messages across to colleagues/clients, especially in different time zones! Share text-style messages, documents, and photos. 

LastPass 

All your passwords are securely in one place. LastPass is especially useful when on the road and needing a password quickly. Set it up on your computer before you travel, download the app, and voila everything is there ready to go. 

Adobe Scan 

This app allows you to scan documents and turn them into pdfs. Adobe Scan works well in the office but also on the road. Best of all it’s free and simple to use. 

Otter.ai 

This handy transcription app for mobile is great for recording and transcribing meetings, dictating notes, recording creative thoughts, and adding things to your to-do list. Once recorded you can export the recording as a text file (or Word .doc on the paid version) that can be easily shared with colleagues and clients.  It’s a real time-saver!

iTranslate

Super handy when travelling internationally. This translation app is free to download and offers over 100 different languages. Simply say what you want to translate into the app and voila, it converts it to the language of your choice. You can type in your message as well. 

Worldgo App

Last, but certainly not least, is the Worldgo App. Have all your trip details in one place, book travel on the fly, and access the latest COVID travel information. With the click of a button you’ll be connected to a Worldgo agent, available 24/7 to assist you. You can even upload your location in real time should you need to. This and so much more! Downloadable in the Apple Store and GooglePlay on March 1st, 2022.

We hope these business travel apps will help you be more productive when on the road. Safe travels! 

How to Save Money on Business Travel in 2022

How to Save Money on Business Travel in 2022

JANUARY 1, 2022

We all know that travelling for business can be costly and comes with a budget. And whatever that budget is, you need to be savvy to ensure you are maximizing your spend and saving wherever possible. We know it can be tough, especially if you are a small business or in your early stages of operation, but also for large organizations.

We’ve created some tips and guidelines to help you get the most out of your money. 

Clear & Concise Travel Policy 

Having a clear Travel Policy is critical for any organization. This will not only outline processes and procedures to follow when travelling for business, but it also ensures your company is saving wherever possible. Your Travel Policy can include things like: advance purchase requirements, approval process, nightly budget for hotels, cabin to select for flights, daily per diem, preferred suppliers, what to do in the event of an emergency and so much more. 

Advanced Purchase 

Due to the nature of business travel it is not always possible to book early. However when you can, booking at least 14 days prior to departure will save money. The key thresholds for advance purchase on flights are 21 days, 14 days, 7 days and 3 days. Typically prices will increase the closer you get to departure

Use a Travel Management Company

Consolidate your travel program with a travel management company like Worldgo and let us negotiate discounts with airlines, hotels, and car rental companies. Enjoy added benefits such as airline credit tracking, round the clock support in case of an emergency, and save your company long hold times with airlines (flight changes take us just minutes instead of hours as we have direct access to the booking system). Also, benefit from the industry’s leading technology and experts who can advise on the latest travel restrictions and updates.

Eat out using the 10-15-25 rule

Unless you’re taking clients and stakeholders out to dinner, business travellers should aim to follow the ’10-15-25′ rule for eating out. The simple rule applies $10 for breakfast, $15 for lunch, and $25 for dinner, and if you can find a hotel with breakfast included, you will free up more to spend on the other 2 remaining meals or tighten up your budget. With parts of Europe being a possible exception, there are few places where this rule can’t be followed with ease. To stretch things further, look for Happy Hour discounts, or book accommodations with kitchens and trade dining-out for eating-in – which is generally a healthier option to begin with. Another great option, and increasingly interesting choice, is choosing food trucks. Cities like Portland, Seattle, and Toronto are known for the quality and quantity of their food truck vendors.

Book using an Online Booking Platform

Whether your company is big or small, setting up an online booking platform for your business could make a lot of sense. This will allow travellers to book online quickly and conveniently while following the company’s travel policy and approval process. Your discounted corporate rates for flights, hotels, and car rental are loaded into the platform and you’ll save with reduced service fees (compared to an agent assisted booking). We offer Deem and Concur, two of the best platforms for business travel. 

Use cell phone apps to save on roaming costs

There is WIFI just about everywhere now; and smartphone apps like WhatsApp, which is huge in South America, Asia, and Europe, help travellers stay connected for free. Viber, Signal and Voxer are other excellent options for voice and video calling using WIFI.

Also, ensure you chat to your mobile provider about a roaming package. Most providers offer unlimited Canada/US calling and text message plus the use of your existing data package for $10 a month. 

Expenses App

Keep track of your spending with a handy expense app. Snap a picture of your receipt on the fly. It’ll save you time on your return, plus with oversight on your spending, you’ll easily see where you can make any necessary changes. According to recent market research, the Expensify app comes up on top for Business users. For more info check out this article https://www.cnbc.com/select/best-expense-tracker-apps/.

These are some simple ways to save while travelling for business, but it all starts with awareness and the desire to save. Reach out to us today, and we’ll help you take this to the next level.

Key Benefits of a Corporate Travel Agency

Key Benefits of a Corporate Travel Agency

UPDATED NOVEMBER 21, 2021

You’re reading this because you’re weighing up the pros and cons of enlisting a corporate travel agency to assist in your business objectives. Every single company, association, or institution that we’ve worked with has been at these same crossroads. It’s a big decision to put your trust and budget in a travel services partner. Will they take advantage of you? In today’s Internet age, is it not easier just to do this on my own? Will someone truly be there when I need them? Below are some of the benefits of a corporate travel agency that you should consider before making a decision to engage.

A corporate travel agency isn’t for everyone. But it is for those companies responsible for sending numerous employees on flights, to hotels, and with time-sensitive connections. It’s for those that demand clearly crafted protocols and accountability. The more of one’s staff that travel, the more resources it’s taking you to approve, track, and reconcile these efforts. At the end of a month, or year, this could be creating an accounting challenge for you.

Efficiency

If your company doesn’t have a process in place to manage business travel, you’re missing two critical puzzle pieces: the ability to control spending, forecast expenses, and look into your time and expense. Having a staff member wait for 3 connecting flights from Los Angeles to save $150 has a material cost of its own.

Your lack of a system virtually assures you over-spend by the end of the year, and having no visibility affects your ability to improve by analyzing data. A corporate travel agency can bring order and consistency to your travel program, in ways that benefit both your bottom line and the wellness and satisfaction of your travelling employees.

As your working partner for travel, Worldgo Travel Management serves as your one-stop resource.

Expertise

One of the primary reasons to work with a corporate travel agent is to gain access to specific professional expertise and travel technology. Corporate travel planning and execution can be very complex. At Worldgo Travel Management, we hire experienced professionals who understand the unique needs and interests of your travellers and how that layers over your own business goals. We know which amenities are most desirable and your travellers preferences, plus innumerable other “inside” industry tips, and workaround details that will improve travel convenience, comfort, and safety.

Cost Savings as a benefit of corporate travel

Like just about anything else, it’s about economies of scale. The more you spend the more you save. As an agency that represents some very large clients, our ability to leverage better contracts and terms extends to all our clients. This is bargaining power, we have it and we’re willing to share it with you.

Time Savings

We put together a list of preferred providers based on your company’s travel policy guidelines and budget. That policy streamlines the booking process for employees and creates a black and white environment for expense items and ease for your accountant. We handle bookings on your behalf, in turn saving your people time and your company money. Handling these arrangements on your behalf assures compliance, reduces risk, and saves time, which saves money.

24/7 Business Travel Support

Unpredictability is the only predictability. At some point in time, life gets in the way and things go sideways. At Worldgo, we offer your staff 24/7 support. We’ll make changes as needed. Weather, Geopolitical issues, or urgent family matters, we’ve got you covered. You will have your own Worldgo team, with everyone up to date on your company’s unique needs and policies. We’re here all day, every day.

Duty of Care

Worldgo provides risk management expertise and proactive services that ensure communication and support for business travellers, before, during, and after their trips.

Analytics

This is where we shine. We’ll help you analyze your travel and expense patterns. By knowing what you’re spending and where the dollars are going, we help you make better forecasts for budgeting and the opportunities to save without sacrificing the comfort level and convenience for your employees.

Technology as a benefit of corporate travel 

We incorporate the latest technology into our services. The right Tech will save you time and make your life so much easier. We use apps like TripIt (for the organization of your itinerary on the go) and Concur and Deem (tw of the industry’s most comprehensive online corporate booking platforms). We’re always looking for the latest tech to make your travel experience better and you’ll feel the benefits of our forward-thinking and innovative approach. 

By choosing to work with a corporate travel management company, you will reallocate your resources, find greater efficiencies, and reduce risk on every level. They say the difference between an entrepreneur and a small business owner is that entrepreneurs work ‘on’ their business, while small business owners work ‘in’ it.

Let Worldgo Travel Management, a proud IATA member, be the team to work ‘in’ it.

The Business Traveller’s Holiday Gift List

The Business Traveller’s Holiday Gift List

Updated for 2021

It’s coming around to that time of year again and we all need a bit of inspiration for gift giving. With the holidays fast approaching, what do you get for that friend, colleague or client who’s always on the go? Well have no fear, as always, we’ve updated our annual business traveler’s holiday gift list for 2021!

Here are our picks for the best gifts for the business traveler in your life:

M5 Bag for the Business Traveler gift
Credit: Horizon Studios

First up is the carry-on. As any seasoned business traveller will tell you, a sturdy carry-on bag is essential (let’s face it, it’s going to get banged around a lot)! There’s a lot of choices out there but we’ve narrowed it down to this M5 bag from Horizn Studios. It’s sustainable, approved vegan and super durable. There’s a handy front pocket for your laptop and, most importantly, it’s lightweight. An excellent gift. 

And where would we be without headphones? Perfect for a long-haul flight, these top of the line Sony headphones have industry-leading noise cancellation and up to 30 hours of battery life!  Or, if you prefer a more discreet look, then these Bose headphones will do the trick. 

Need to catch up with the office back home? Sound like a pro during those hotel room Zoom calls with this Tula Mic . Perfect for on the go meetings, it’s also capable of recording audio, so you can capture any creative ideas on the fly!

Anker Phone Charger make great gifts
Credit: Anker

Whether you’re catching up on emails or catching a quick Netflix session between flights, you definitely don’t want to run out of charge. A classic traveller gift like a portable charger will never go out of style! This charger from Anker can charge 2 devices at once, with high-speed charging it’s built to last. 

How about giving your traveler some fun? There are so many options to choose from with Life Experiences, you could surprise them with a Segway Tour around the city, the chance to drive a sports car or taste some amazing local wine. A great way to get in some downtime on a busy work trip.

Catching up on sleep is so important, especially if you’re hopping between cities. For the ultimate in neck comfort, check out the Everlasting Neck Pillow. Not only is it ergonomically designed, but it’s also made from memory foam and comes with earplugs and an eye mask. No more waking up with a stiff neck!

Neck Pillow for traveler gifts
Credit: Everlasting Neck Pillow

Lastly, how about a Spotify Premium subscription so your travel-hearty connection can enjoy ad-free holiday music (or not) for as long as they like! 

We hope this helps you find the perfect gift for your traveller! 

Happy Holidays from all of us at Worldgo Travel Management!

First Class vs. Business Class: Evaluating Value For Money

Let’s revisit the well-worn debate of First Class vs. Business Class for a post-pandemic 2022. Those who call airport lounges their 2nd home often wrestle between whether to book first-class or business-class fares.  While the most apparent differences lie with the price (with First-Class being the more expensive of the two), there’s also the comfort of the seats and level of service to consider Since no specific standards exist within the airline industry as a whole, it’s important to understand whether you’re receiving enough value to justify spending the price of a first-class fare.

Here’s our take: 

Domestic vs. Regional Flights

There’s a big difference between domestic and regional first-class and international first.  For short-haul flights, passengers generally won’t see a massive distinction between first and business as the flight duration isn’t long enough, or the aircraft is not large enough, to allow for different options.  Many airlines use older aircraft to service domestic and regional routes.  This means first and business class having very similar seating, privacy, TV sizes and menus which means far less value for money on first-class fares. 

International Business Class

The next step up in airline luxury. There are some excellent choices for business class, (some nearly as good as first class) with added features such as bigger, comfier seats, some of which extend into beds, perfect for the tiring red-eye journey home.

Aboard the B777-300ER that ANA charter, are fully reclining seats, sliding doors for privacy, a 24” monitor and a larger table which makes it easier to use your laptop if you need to work during the flight.

Food takes a big step up from economy class travel, with an on-demand or a la carté menu on a par with high-end restaurants. And who doesn’t love designer amenities and priority boarding? All perks of flying business class.

Qatar Airways have even won awards for their Business Class offering in 2021.

International First Class

There are wonderful features in today’s First Class. With comfy beds and ample options for privacy, you feel as though you’re cocooned in a luxury hotel room.

All First-class airlines boast fine dining, the latest entertainment and the wonderful amenities we just love to collect; Emirates gives you a collection from Bvlgari and Air France offers Carita Beauty products and even a bathrobe, slippers and socks for ultimate comfort.

The First Class experience often begins when you arrive at the airport, with perks like the concierge taking care of your baggage and access to the First Class lounge to whet your appetite before you board. Air France and Emirates also offer chauffeurs to the airport and take care of your luggage upon arrival. 

The Last Word on First Class vs. Business Class

First-class does have that touch of something special but Business class is still a luxurious option – there are offerings just as thought out and personalized.

Our market experts suggest that it most likely depends on the airline you’re traveling on. Airlines that have in-demand First-class tickets like Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Emirates offer enough of a difference between their business and first class to warrant the higher price. They offer the higher levels of personalized service and the additional luxury customers want. 

How to Incorporate a Holiday into your Next Business Trip

We can often get caught up in work trips, they’re so busy and intense that we sometimes forget what a unique position we’re in, visiting exciting cities and countries that others only dream of! So you don’t miss out on your next trip, we’ve put together some ways to get the most out of your business excursions.

Bring a Travel Partner

Travelling for business can get lonely, so bringing your partner away with you can make a world of difference. While you’re working, your significant other can explore the sights and local entertainment, discovering new and exciting things you can do together in the evening! If you’re busy entertaining clients in the evenings, perhaps you can spend the days at the spa or relaxing by the hotel pool. It can be a fun way to reconnect, especially if you spend a lot of time away from home.

Extend your Stay

Whether you’re heading to a destination for the first time or on your way to somewhere you’ve been to many times before, you can always discover something fresh! Why not add on an extra day or two to your next trip? You could arrive early, giving yourself some time to relax before a busy few days with clients. There’s always some new hot bar or the latest restaurant offering delicious food to explore. You won’t be stuck for choices.  

Add a Holiday

Even if you don’t find the city you’re in as an appealing holiday destination, you can still take the opportunity to explore exciting places nearby.

Why not hire a car, catch a train or hop on a domestic flight to somewhere nearby? The beauty of combining work and holiday is that you’ve already travelled a large part of the way, removing a huge chunk of the time and expense that often stands in your way. Use your next business trip as an opportunity to springboard to your next vacation.  

Let Worldgo Travel Management assist with your next flight booking. By leveraging our expertise and guidance we will help you maximise all your airfare purchases.

 

The Best of Seattle – Our Top Threes

Visiting a new city for work can be difficult when you’re on a time crunch. You want to get out and explore, go to the best cafes and restaurants, and see some sights, all in between your meetings and other work obligations. But how do you choose? Worry no more. I thought a “top threes of cities” would be useful, so to kick it off… let’s start with the Emerald City, Seattle!

 

Top 3 Eateries in Seattle:

If you have the morning off, I highly recommend getting your brunch fix in, and there’s nowhere better to go than to the Portage Bay Café. The Seattle Benedict is a crowd favourite, but make sure you don’t miss the breakfast bar with their heavenly French toast options. As a heads up, the service can be slow but it’s worth the wait, I promise. No matter where you’re staying in Seattle, the Portage Bay Café has got you covered with 4 locations… just make sure to make a reservation.

Salty’s on Alki Beach is the place to go for incredibly fresh seafood, and sweeping views of Puget Sound. To get there, just take a water taxi to West Seattle (Seacrest Ferry Dock) and it’s a short walk along a path with ocean views. I highly recommend you order yourself the Best Friends (seared scallops and cured pork belly!), with a side of their grilled Fremont sourdough with garlic whipped butter. If you’re looking for a feast, then look no further than the Surf, Surf and Turf which brings together lobster tail, prawn and steak skewers, garlic potatoes and crispy garlic green beans. Yum! To walk off all of the calories, take a stroll down to Jack Block Park – there’s a cute beach, and a 45ft observation deck to get really lovely views of downtown Seattle.

For a relaxed dinner, there’s few spots better than the Tapas Lab. This order-at-the-counter tapas bar is perfect for an easy dinner, either on your own or with some work friends. A Spanish/Japanese tapas fusion, with menu items such as bulgogi pincho, ricotta meatballs, quinoa stuffed mushrooms, deviled eggs, and the truffle gnocci, this hidden gem is sure to delight even the pickiest of eaters.

 

Top 3 Experiences in Seattle:

Can an art gallery be an experience? This one, absolutely. One of the most beautiful art galleries in the world would have to be the Chihuly Garden and Glass. The artist, Dale Chihuly, takes you through eight interior galleries and a lush outdoor garden with captivating and inspiring glass sculptures throughout to amaze and delight. Honestly, it’s worth going to Seattle just to see this gallery. I never thought I’d be raving about glass sculptures until I came across Dale Chihuly’s work. If you have the time, trust me on this one, just do it – tickets are around $30 and worth every cent.

One of the top things to check out in Seattle is of course the Pike Place Market, and there’s no better way to experience it than taking the Signature Tour of Pike Place Market with Savor Seattle Food Tours. This 2 hour tour includes over 14 tastings and gets you acquainted with the layout so you will know exactly where to go next time!

Helicopter tours from a city are often beautiful, but can be pretty dull if there’s no variety. Well, that’s certainly not the case in Seattle. With Seattle Helitours you will start downtown, flying over the iconic Space Needle, experience the majestic Snoqualmie Falls (honestly, it’s so beautiful it barely seems real), and to top it all off you will be able to fly over a live volcano,  none other that Mt. Rainier! Did you know that you can actually see Mt. Rainier from Vancouver, BC, on a clear day?

Did I say top 3? I meant top 4. In Seattle you can also go skydiving indoors, with iFLY Seattle! I couldn’t leave this one out as it’s just so cool. No matter your experience or fitness level, iFLY caters to all abilities. Starting at only $50 for two flights, it’s worth trying once. As it pops up in more and more cities worldwide, perhaps this won’t be the last time to get your thrill on… unleash your inner daredevil!

 

Top 3 Spots for Work Drinks in Seattle:

Did someone say coffee? Not just an average café, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room is basically a really chill craft distillery… but with coffee. This Starbucks looks like none you’ve ever seen – watch beans being freshly roasted while chatting with the staff about their wide array of international coffee options, enjoy the “experience bar” and have your coffee made with a siphon, or have a flight of coffee shots. Alongside their comprehensive list of coffees and standard Starbucks treats, they also have a full menu of delicious sandwiches, salads and pastries. For something with a bit more kick (read: booze), they have a special menu for Signature Coffee Cocktails after a long work day. The Starbucks Reserve Espresso Martini features Kalak Single Malt Vodka, vanilla bean syrup and dark chocolate… uh, yes please!

Thinking about hitting up some random bar for after work drinks? Well, you can do just that, at Some Random Bar. Yes that’s actually the name of this quirky venue. Local new American eats in an authentic brick-walled gastropub, this bar is located downtown but a little off the beaten path, and you’ll find it filled with locals chowing down on the crab nachos and washing it down with a craft beer. I love this bar because it seems homely and modest, the food is mouthwatering and very generous in sizing, and the drinks selection has something for everyone. The perfect spot for after works drinks where no one will feel underdressed or out of place.

Roquette is an elegant and sophisticated bar with all of your new favourites that you never knew existed. There’s a strong French influence, the menu contains simple and delicious snacks to pair with your drinks, are they are handcrafted by bartender and owner, Erik Hakkinen (formerly of Pike Place’s Zig Zag Café). For something that will ignite all of your senses, I recommend the unique creation called “Blow the Whistle”. As there’s only 5 tables inside, a reservation is necessary.

 

Top 3 Free Things to do in Seattle:

Have you ever been sailing? If you are in Seattle on as Sunday, you can now try it out for free. Located at the Center for Wooden Boats they offer free sailing every Sunday, and it’s a tradition that has continued for over 25 years. Sign ups begin at 10am on Sundays, but make sure to arrive early as spaces are limited. Head out onto the water with volunteer skippers and crew on spirit boats, electric boats, steamboats, schooners, and occasionally yachts – all at no cost, and it lasts for about an hour.

One of the coolest places to check out in Seattle is the Olympic Sculpture Park. It’s located a mile from the Seattle Art Museum’s headquarters, on a nine-acre former industrial site, and has over 20 magnificent sculptures featured. One of the most popular pieces is Alexander Calder’s monumental Eagle, which lines up perfectly with the Seattle Space Needle when viewed from the south-west. It’s also a beautiful park to sit in and admire the views over Puget Sound.

For the best views of Puget Sound, downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier, Kerry Park just cannot be beat. Kerry Park is a very small public park on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill, just a 10 minute Uber from downtown or 25 minutes on transit. Bring along a blanket, a baguette, a selection of cheeses, a couple of cold drinks and have yourself a picnic to take in the breathtaking views. From here you’ll be able to catch views of Mt. Rainier and Elliott Bay, and it is known as one of the best spots for magical sunset viewing. As a bonus, if you’re a Grey’s Anatomy fan, it’s just a 5 minute walk to the intern’s house!

 

Top 3 Business Travel Hotels in Seattle:

Quirky, cute, comfortable and surprising, the Hotel Five Staypineapple Seattle is the perfect spot for a more modest budget, without having to compromise. Lovely vibrant rooms, luxury bedding, free refreshments, dog friendly, and high-speed internet – what more could you need? Located just a couple of blocks from the Pike Place Market and Space Needle, this is a sure winner. 116 guest rooms and boardrooms able to accommodate up to 60 people.

One of our most popular business hotels, the W Seattle is a contemporary hotel with luxury amenities, located right in the heart of downtown Seattle. Spacious rooms, a private recording studio, dog friendly, a vibrant bar scene and live music, an incredible atmosphere… this hotel has something for everyone. If you’re feeling like you need to get moving after a long day of sitting in meetings, the W Seattle again has you covered with their fitness centre. Over 10,450sq ft of business event space, and 16 event rooms, perfect for even the largest of conferences, meetings, and events.

The only downtown Seattle hotel located directly inside the Pike Place Market, Inn at the Market is a surprisingly tranquil home away from home. Located by the Seattle waterfront and just steps from the vibrant Pike Place Market, this boutique hotel is in a prime spot for any out-of-town visitor. Featuring a quiet rooftop deck and bar, you can sit up here and enjoy the views for hours. Perfect for smaller business meetings with a seating capacity of up to 20 people in their Courtyard Meeting Room, or up to 14 people in the Beecher’s Loft meeting space.

 

Is that it…?

Absolutely not! There’s so much to see and do in Seattle that you’re going to be absolutely spoilt for choice during your stay. It was hard narrowing these down, but it had to be done. If you’re visiting Seattle for business or leisure, you are now a little bit more of a local and know some of the hottest spots to check out.

 

Are you looking to set up your business with a travel management company? Reach out to a Worldgo Specialist at 1-888-236-1566 or by email at travelrequests@worldgo.ca

 

Written By: Holly Atkins
January 20, 2021

Holly Atkins has been working in tourism for many years as a travel manager, tour guide and on the front desk in a couple of hotels. An Australian Canadian citizen that now permanently resides in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Holly can’t think of a better place to call home with the vast mountains and her oceanfront dwelling. Touring on motorcycles for the past 14 years has allowed her to see places that few discover, and get off the beaten path to experience all that the open roads have to offer. Visiting a vast amount of the Oceania region, trekking around Europe, discovering BC and most recently travelling to Jordan and Egypt, she’s always looking forward to the next adventure!

The Best of Chicago – Our 3 Top Threes

The Best of Chicago – 3 x three-pointers

Visiting a new city for work can be difficult when you’re on a time crunch. You want to get out and explore, go to the best cafes and restaurants, and see some sights, all in between your meetings and other work obligations. But how do you choose? Worry no more. Our “top threes of cities” continues, with this one delving into the beautiful city known for its stunning architecture and deep-dish pizza. None other than vibrant Chicago, Illinois.

Top 3 Eateries in Chicago:

A relaxed, friendly, well-priced, and open café usually ticks all of the boxes for a quick breakfast before you’re stuck in meetings all day. Wishbone Chicago serves delicious home-style southern dishes with a Cajun spin that will leave you satisfied until you can escape the work meetings for a late lunch. For a healthy start to the day, grab a bowl of oatmeal with almond milk and pecans. If something more indulgent is your thing, you absolutely can’t go wrong with the chicken & waffles – a sugar waffle and fried chicken with maple honey butter and a side of fruit. For something hearty, order the chicken andouille hash with a side of the cheese grits.

There’s this incredible lunch spot in Chicago that makes me salivate just at the thought of it. Lobster roll with truffle parmesan tater tots, curry fish cakes, fresh fish and chips, sriracha-sesame soy glazed grilled shrimp… YUM! Okay, it’s a seafood lovers paradise, but they also have keto, vegetarian and paleo options, and seafood isn’t the only thing they do well here. Brown Bag Seafood Co has a fresh take on what a restaurant should be. No table cloths or black-tie waiters in sight, they have a down-to-earth and happy atmosphere with DIY menu cards and use environmentally friendly and biodegradable packaging. If it’s good weather, why not get it to-go? Located just a short walk away is Lake View Park which has lovely views of Lake Michigan.

So this just wouldn’t be a Chicago list without some Chicago deep-dish pizza options. This place sells out quickly as they are crafted in very small quantities, but oh man, they are so incredibly worth it. Milly’s Pizza in the Pan is owned by Robert, who handcrafts each pie himself from his grandmother’s recipes. They open at 5 pm (take away only), so try and get there as early as possible to pick up your pie. The magic here is in the crust, with a halo of caramelized mozzarella that is wrapped around each pie, giving a satisfying crunch to each slice.

Top 3 Experiences in Chicago:

The Museum of Contemporary Art is wondrous, inspiring, and encompasses a refreshing new look at art that is not to be missed. Ever-changing exhibits that are playful, thought-provoking and enticing draw you in, but their permanent collection is every bit as incredible as those that stop by. With over 2500 artworks from the 1920s to present, they switch it all out over time, to ensure every piece gets its time to shine and doesn’t sit locked in a lonely basement for all of eternity without appreciation. Admission is suggested as $15 per person, but something that really made my heart happy is their “pay what you can” policy. They won’t turn anyone away, as they believe art should be accessible to everyone. I love this so much.

Helicopter Over Chicago | Throughout my photography career, … | FlickrI think there are few things more thrilling in life (that you can do while sitting down) than going for a helicopter ride. Heart racing, adrenaline-pumping adventure, with views that will firmly rest in your memories for a lifetime. Chicago Aerial Tours offers a stunning 30-minute helicopter tour and allows you the opportunity to see the spectacular Chicago skyline from a unique vantage point. You’ll be able to see the iconic Navy Pier, Lake Michigan, Soldier Field and so much more.

Hit up a comedy club for a truly memorable Chicago experience. The comedy greats started their careers here, like Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, John Candy, Steve Carrell, Mike Myers, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler… and the list goes on! This really is THE comedy club to visit, and it is none other than Second City.

Top 3 Spots for Work Drinks in Chicago:

A rooftop bar, a food market that will have even the fussiest of eaters salivating, views for days of this breathtaking city, and a cozy all-season location to find it all. Tony’s Rooftop Bar was named after the Time Out Founder, Tony Elliott, and is located at the top of the Time Out Market Chicago. Fairy lights, exposed wooden beams, and a plethora of delicious drinks on the menu, this spot is great for after works drinks to start the night off right.

Did you know that Chicago has the oldest Jazz club in the USA? Known for its eclectic jazz performances, poetry readings, and a great night out, The Green Mill jazz club has been welcoming tourists since 1907. They serve up a mean cocktail, they don’t serve food, and they take cash only. This place is a gem and has some quirks, but you won’t find a spot in Chicago that will serve up better live jazz music than these guys.

Barrel Run Bus | Chicago, Illinois | Travis Wise | FlickrA unique experience and drinks all rolled into one. Chicago’s Barrel Bus is a gigantic beer barrel on wheels (okay so it’s a bus that looks like a beer barrel) that is one of the coolest ways to experience a couple of drinks after work. You can take one of their brewery tours, and while you can’t drink on the actual bus, it will take you between some of the best Chicago breweries the city has to offer. I love kitsch, I love beer, and I love exploring new cities, so this tour is a gigantic win in my books!

Top 3 Free Things to do in Chicago:

You have probably seen this spot in your favourite movies and shows multiple times, but maybe you (like me!) didn’t know it was actually located in Chicago. The iconic Navy Pier that juts out from downtown with incredible water views is the go-to spot in Chicago for live music, free public programs, dining, shopping, cultural events, and more. The Navy Pier is a great spot to just wander around for free, but you can also get some delicious bites from a concession stand, ride the Centennial Wheel, catch a movie at the IMAX, enjoy a Shakespearean show at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, or take a cruise on the river. Whatever you do – be it wandering and taking in the sights, or having a full day of concession stands, rides and theatre – you’re going to love it here.

Catch an illuminating water and lights show at Buckingham Fountain, located in Grant Park. Once the sun sets, head to the fountain for its mesmerizing nightly light show. Up to 14,000 gallons of water is shot up into the air per minute, and it is all beautifully lit up after dusk. Water shows occur every hour on the hour and last for roughly 20 minutes.

Millennium Park is one of the most extraordinary public spaces in the world. The architecturally stunning centre-piece of the park is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion which hosts a range of free culturalarchitecture art chicago chicago bean public domain image - FreeIMG performances like concerts, movies, and dance shows, but is worth a visit even if nothing is on for its sheer beauty. Millennium Park also is home to “the bean”, you know the one… the gigantic mirrored bean that is one of the world’s largest outdoor sculptures by British artist Anish Kapoor. Its official name is Cloud Gate and is more incredible in person due to its overwhelming size. Be sure to visit Lurie Garden, which includes sculptures and lighting across their five-acre urban oasis.

Top 3 Business Travel Hotels in Chicago:

This lovely four-star boutique hotel is well priced, comfortable, sophisticated, and welcoming. This award-winning hotel, the Thompson Chicago, is located downtown and a short walk from Lake Michigan. Excellent dining options just steps away, friendly and helpful front desk staff, and trendy, clean, and cozy rooms that will have you wishing to extend your stay for another night… or 7.

Virgin Hotel Chicago is a fantastic business hotel, with economically priced rooms and is located in the heart of downtown. It’s a chic hotel with a cool rooftop bar, which has some of the best skyline views to offer while sipping your handcrafted beverages. They have a huge amount of meeting room space, a phenomenal coffee bar, a couple of great restaurants and as mentioned, their rooftop bar – they really have everything you could need so you wouldn’t even need to step outside of the hotel if you didn’t want to! But do step outside the hotel, Chicago is incredible and you don’t want to miss this vibrant city. What I’m saying is, the Virgin Hotel Chicago is an excellent choice for your business or leisure stay in this city.

It would be remiss of me to not include The Langham on here. Five-star luxury, with no expense spared, this mid-century-inspired hotel will have architecture enthusiasts enthralled. They also have one of the best hotel lounges in town! Sure, so it might be a bit high-end for business travel, but if you’ve got the budget for it, or want to stay an extra night in luxury, then this is the place to enjoy yourself (and in their award-winning spa!).

With your Chicago travels schedule looked after, it’s time to pack!

Packing can be one of the hardest things to do before a business trip. You’ve got home from work, you’re exhausted and all you can think about is taking a quick beer out of the fridge to relax… but you’ve got to be up early tomorrow to fly to another part of the world. We’re here to help. Read our article on the best business travel packing hacks here.

We hope you enjoyed our list and it helps you enjoy the best of Chicago!

Are you looking to set up your business with a travel management company? Reach out to a Worldgo Specialist at 1-888-236-1566 or by email at travelrequests@worldgo.ca

 

Written By: Holly Atkins

February 26, 2021

Holly Atkins has been working in tourism for many years as a travel manager, tour guide and on the front desk in a couple of hotels. An Australian Canadian citizen that now permanently resides in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Holly can’t think of a better place to call home with the vast mountains and her oceanfront dwelling. Touring on motorcycles for the past 14 years has allowed her to see places that few discover, and get off the beaten path to experience all that the open roads have to offer. Visiting a vast amount of the Oceania region, trekking around Europe, discovering BC and most recently travelling to Jordan and Egypt, she’s always looking forward to the next adventure!

What to look for in a Travel Management Company

When you’re thinking about choosing a travel management company for your small business it’s hard to find one that looks after your needs and will provide the personalized service you require. You have likely asked the question of what makes for a good or bad small business travel management company and we’re here answer that.

What makes for a good small business travel management company (TMC)?

There’s so many parts of what makes for a really great small business TMC and a lot to consider when choosing the right one. Creating or updating your company’s travel policy is the first step and one of the most important. A good TMC will sit down with you and discuss your travel policy to find out what loyalty programs are best, will figure out airline and hotel preferences and budgets, and will make sure the time is taken to go through each moving piece to guarantee that your travel policy looks after your company and staff. Travel policies shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all, and a good travel management company can help you put it together or discuss what points to address when you’re updating your current one.

Another quality to look for in a great TMC is their available technology and what that tech can do to keep your company secure and save you money. Are they using the best tools possible for online bookings and overall system management? Everything these days is digital and you need a company that looks to the future and embraces change, keeping ahead of the game.

A great TMC is prepared for all situations…

Should anything go wrong while one of your staff is travelling, an experienced travel management company will quickly resolve it with their extensive travel knowledge, quick & creative thinking, and leading technology to get things done in a timely manner. A reliable and local after-hours emergency assistance line is comforting and usually well-versed in your company’s account and policies.

Did you know that most TMCs outsource their after-hours emergency assistance? What this means is that if one of your staff requires immediate travel help, they might not be speaking with someone local who knows your company preferences and policies. These call centres are often lacking in compassion and customer service, staff are commonly overworked as they rush through calls, and attention to detail is not a high priority so things can easily be missed. Make sure to choose a TMC that will efficiently look after your staff in an emergency situation.

Think about invoicing and areas to save money –

Choosing the best small business TMC will mean you’re going to be receiving one consolidated monthly invoice to save your accounting team headaches, and you’re not going to be waiting weeks for answers about your account, or updates to it. It’s really nice to have that personal touch and to speak with people you know. It also means things get done quickly rather than having to go through multiple departments to get a simple answer. TMCs will save your company long hold times with airlines, can make changes near-instantly and effortlessly, and will fight for you to get refunds and travel credits when possible.

The right TMC will be saving your business time, money, and further stress. They will source the best hotel chains with the best rewards programs (within budget) to get your staff great future travel perks and discounts on their stay where possible. Experienced TMCs will continually be on the lookout for other small business travel deals.

When not to choose a travel management company for your smaller business?

You might be thinking that your company is not big enough yet to justify the extra spend on a travel management company… and some of you might be right. If your employees are only travelling a handful of times a year and you’ve got the staff who can manage it for now, why would you need a TMC? Early investment in the right TMC is a huge asset to any growing business. It means you have the travel systems in place, ready for when your company grows. This will save you the future headaches of trying to look for a TMC when you should be focused on hiring more staff and all of the work that goes with it. A great travel management company doesn’t have monthly fees, so having one ready to go makes sense for when your company starts frequent travel in the future. You won’t be paying for a TMC unnecessarily as they will only charge per booking.

Of course, small business TMCs are not going to be the right fit for every company out there. For international businesses with offices located around the world, and staff travelling frequently outside of your TMCs opening hours, getting things booked and approved can take longer and might not make sense for your company when time is of the essence. In saying that, a good TMC will work with you to have policies in place so approval is instant for your VIP or frequent travellers, and this could alleviate any potential issues.

Make sure your TMC understands your business –

It’s crucial to understand if your TMC is fully equipped to handle your travel spend, and this will be discussed during your first conversation with them to see if they will be a fit for you. A bad travel management company won’t discuss your concerns fully and could dodge questions, so this is something to keep in mind. You need to fit together and that only comes with honesty from both parties and getting your questions answered. A transparent TMC is essential for small businesses to save time and money, and will allow a great relationship to form. One red flag for a possibly bad TMC would be if they accept your business without any discovery questions – make sure they know your company and your travel needs.

Emergency assistance is one of the most important things to consider!

As mentioned earlier, not all TMCs have local emergency assistance, and some don’t have after-hours assistance at all. We believe that it’s incredibly important to have localized after-hours assistance for the peace of mind it brings, and extensive knowledge of the clients travel policies. Should anything go wrong, you want your staff to be completely looked after. It is paramount. especially during a stressful situation, that your staff can trust that the TMC is working in their best interest.

How we’re structured to be the best small business travel agency in Canada –

Our Vancouver-based Worldgo Travel Management team provides 24/7 local emergency assistance and will look after your staff in line with your policies, quickly and efficiently. We’re completely transparent, have no hidden fees and we don’t charge for after-hours or emergency assistance, changes or cancellations. Worldgo strives to reduce the cost, time, and complexity of travel management with personal service and our innovative technology.

We don’t make any of our clients’ sign contracts. Yes, you read that right. Worldgo Travel Management aims to earn your business with every booking we make for you. With meticulous attention to detail, exceptional customer service, and always on the lookout for customer rewards programs for small businesses, we do everything we can to earn your trust and put your company first.

With business travel back on the rise, now is the time to look at securing a trusted and experienced travel management company for 2021.

What is the importance of business travel management for the Canadian small business sector?

So why are TMCs so important in this age of digital technology, where everything is just a few button clicks away? It is estimated that global business travel spend will reach $1.6 trillion within the next 5 years. Travel for meetings, conferences, team-building events and on-site inspections have almost doubled in the past 10 years. This increase in travel means more time spent by employees researching their travel needs, putting together their expense reports, and following up for approvals. Then the accounting department has to reconcile all of the transactions, reimbursements and forecast budgets. Not to mention the issues that arise should changes need to be made or alternative emergency travel be sorted, this quickly becomes a giant amount of work for all involved.

With employees trying to look after their own travel, it quickly becomes overwhelming for everyone and wastes valuable company time. As a small Canadian business, it makes sense to get help with the operations of your business travel program and hire a dedicated travel management company. Great TMCs services will provide transparent expenses, follow your agreed-upon travel policies and simplify the process for all involved.

Business travel can actually help with employee retention!

As a perk, your business travel policy can actually help with employee retention and appeal to new hires. For many people, business travel is not just an obligation, but it’s actually an added work bonus. It’s good to consider not just the initial cost savings, but also how the policy can benefit your employees.

To summarize, the best TMC for smaller Canadian businesses has a focus on customer service, employs innovative and leading travel technology solutions, and provides 24/7 local support. With a great travel management company, you will never feel like just a number.

Is a small business travel management company sounding good for your business, or something you’d like to hear more about? Send us an email or give us a call to set up a free consultation.

 

Reach out to a Worldgo Specialist at 1-888-236-1566 or by email at travelrequests@worldgo.ca. You can read our testimonials here.

Written By: Holly Atkins
January 20, 2021

Holly Atkins has been working in tourism for many years as a travel manager, tour guide and on the front desk in a couple of hotels. An Australian Canadian citizen that now permanently resides in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Holly can’t think of a better place to call home with the vast mountains and her oceanfront dwelling. Touring on motorcycles for the past 14 years has allowed her to see places that few discover, and get off the beaten path to experience all that the open roads have to offer. Visiting a vast amount of the Oceania region, trekking around Europe, discovering BC and most recently travelling to Jordan and Egypt, she’s always looking forward to the next adventure!

BEST NEIGHBOURHOODS IN LONDON TO STAY FOR BUSINESS

The best neighbourhoods to stay in London  – for Business Travel

London is a beautiful exciting place to be, and as a business person who travels from place to place homelike comfort or convenient amenities are what is needed to ease the stress of a busy day and keep you sharp. When it comes to London, there are various places where a business traveler can find peace, convenience, and excitement during a business stay in London. 

SHOREDITCH:

Shoreditch is a district located in central and East London. It’s notable for its stately mansions and beautifully wooden avenues. Shoreditch is a formerly blue-collar area with industrial buildings and vast warehouses. These buildings have since been renovated to become transformative accommodations and easily accessible restaurants. Various budget-friendly hotels are found here, including The Dictionary Hotel; which is a popular hotel offering private rooms in the heart of London.

Also, there is the CitizenM Shoreditch; a hip hotel with comfortable rooms in the middle of Shoreditch itself, the breakfast is very good and the lobby is a place to always remember. In the same vein, we have the Ace Hotel Shoreditch; which is the most stylish hotel to live in the neighborhood. It has urban luxury and it is located on Shoreditch High Street, this is the best choice for luxury travelers. If the traveler is hygienic and of natural taste, he shouldn’t go Shoreditch without visiting Old Spitalfields Market; once there one will find a number of restaurants, nice shops among other nice things.

SOUTHWARK:

For those that want to stay within walking distance of the city of London but away from the noisy crowd, Southwark is the place for you. This is a district of central London and is northwest of London Borough of Southwark. It is centered east of Charing Cross, it is in front of River Thames, and the city of London. There are many restaurants in this part of London and they have the famous Tate Modern and the most famous indoor Borough Market. There are many hotels and places of residence that one can lodge in for the time the person is to stay in London. They have The Mad Hatter; which is a great 19th-century building that is situated between Southwark and Waterloo. This building used to be a hat factory. Here they serve good food here and the traveler will get to enjoy the real English feeling. They also have at Southwark Bermondsey Square; that a very good coffee shop in front of it. The rooms there are comfortable and the food is very good and it is a working distance of London Bridge and Tower Bridge. Also, they have The Lalit London; they have a beautiful structure and the food there is good. The beds are awesome, and the breakfasts are superb.

GREENWICH:

This is an area in the southeast of England which is situated east-southeast of Charing Cross, and it is within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. For those that might enjoy cozy, restaurants, and pubs with fewer crowds. If someone enjoys serenity after a busy day, Greenwich is the place for the person, it can be quiet, but it is not the creepy quiet, it is the cozy and lovely quiet. There are very good places to reside that are pocket friendly and expensive ones depending on the person’s choice, some of them include, St. Christopher Greenwich; a place that is just a small distance from the metro stop, they have private rooms and dorms, and they have good breakfasts with little cost. They also the Hotel Ibis London which is pocket friendly. Also, for those that want luxury, the DoubleTree by Hilton Greenwich.

Even though there are innumerable places to stay for a business traveler in London, some of the mentioned neighborhoods will make the traveler enjoy his stay in London, make him comfortable, and like the saying comfort brings efficacy, he’ll be efficient in what he is in London to do.

The Ultimate List of Things to do in Vancouver

Similar to my blog on Calgary, I’m asking you to keep an open mind as there will be some obvious tourist places. Just remember, they are popular for good reason! It’s okay to be a tourist, even if it is in your own backyard. I believe this extensive list encompasses the best activities, tours, and things to do to help you explore this beautiful city that I call home.

This list is written for all seasons, so there are some activities on here that are only available at certain times of the year. Don’t let that be a worry, there’s plenty of suggestions on here that are wonderful and enjoyable in all months. I just had to write this comprehensive post out with all of my favourite Vancouver activities, walks, museums, tours, markets, parks, and other adventurous pursuits to share my love of this incredible city.

Before I go any further, if you’re in Vancouver during the colder months, then you just can’t leave without seeing a live Canucks game at the Rogers Arena. The atmosphere is electric, the crowd is loud, vibrant, and passionate, the food options are *chefs kiss*, and the beers are gigantic at 24oz (albeit expensive). Being an unashamedly massive Canucks fan means that every friend of mine who visits Vancouver is going to be tagging along with me when there’s a game on. If the game is sold out, or tickets are over your budget, we still have you covered. Head to The Sportsbar LIVE! at Rogers Arena. They have huge TVs playing the game live, and the bar is filled with boisterous and jolly fans. Go Canucks go!

Find a bargain at one of our Vancouver markets

The Vancouver Flea Market is one of the quirkiest markets in Vancouver that has everything one could ever need or want, including many things that fit into neither bracket… but we buy them anyway because it’s such a good deal! Situated in the historic Ellis Building (built in 1907), it is 10,000sq ft. and filled with the most unique array of vintage, antique or new goods you’ll come across. With 50 or so vendors, you’ll find goodies such as handmade leather and pottery delights, houseplants, cute cacti and succulent displays, fantastic food, jewelry, breathtaking artwork, vintage records, upcycled one-offs, henna tattoos, fresh fruit from the Okanagan, gorgeous handbags, retro comics and games, and so much more! This market is irresistible to even the less enthusiastic shopper.

One of the most beautiful ways to spend a free day is to take the SeaBus from Waterfront Station across to Lonsdale Quay and explore North Vancouver. Stepping off the SeaBus, you’re steps away from the Lonsdale Quay Market which boasts over 60 fresh food vendors, quirky retail shops, artisans, restaurants and more. It’s a great way to spend an hour or two just strolling through with a few tasty treats you’ve purchased. Just next to the Lonsdale Quay Market is the fascinating Polygon Gallery, a vibrant art institution with a focus on photography and media based art, that is sure to inspire and captivate. After strolling the markets and art gallery, you’re surrounded by restaurants with waterfront patios to enjoy a drink and city views before returning back downtown.

Granville Island is the 2nd most visited destination in Canada, and for good reason. The Granville Island Public Market is the epicenter of Vancouver’s culinary passion. You’ll find organic breads, fresh Coho salmon, live Dungeness crabs, artisanal meats and cheeses, freshly baked goods, fruit and vegetables from local farms and more. This really is a foodie’s paradise. On the rest of the island, there’s boat tours, souvenir shops, art galleries, buskers,  and great bars. If you’re visiting from downtown, taking the AquaBus across is recommended. It’s a super cute little boat that operates on False Creek that makes for great pics, and a bonus is that it skips the traffic crossing the bridge.

(views from Granville Island, featuring my motorbike)

Exhilarating Vancouver adventures

There’s not really anything more Canadian than a lumberjack, and what better way to embrace your inner lumberjack than throwing axes? You can try your hand at axe throwing (and sword fighting!) with Axewood Crew in downtown Vancouver. Excellent for a date night, going with friends or for a corporate event, the Axewood Crew will make sure you’re having a blast. For something pretty special, a seaplane flight over Vancouver has to be at the top of the list. One of the best things I’ve done in Vancouver is take a seaplane flight and tour with Harbour Air. I can’t recommend their Taste of the West Coast tour more highly, which includes a 2 hour Zodiac boat tour through the fjords, an amazing lunch on Bowen island and a seaplane flight back to Vancouver.

Another uniquely Canadian experience is FlyOver Canada. You will hang suspended, feet dangling, while the film whisks you away on an exhilarating journey across Canada, from east to west. The film and the special effects really do make you feel like you’re flying. After your film that will inspire more love for Canada than ever before, a short and incredibly scenic seawall walk is in order, and by keeping the mountains in view, it will take you across to Stanley Park. Large hidden lakes, a Pitch n Putt course, remarkable beaches with mountain views, tennis courts, and larger than New York’s Central Park, our prized Stanley Park is sure to impress as it really has something for everyone. Make sure to visit Lost Lagoon, a 41 acre body of water where you can find beavers, turtles, raccoons, and dozens of bird species hidden amongst the tall reeds. Continuing along the seawall is a must, and you can follow the signs to the Vancouver Aquarium, which is filled with over 58,000 animals in total from land and sea. Visit the sea lions who bark and belch loudly when hungry, the playful and inquisitive otters, our local harbour seals and the smart and curious octopus. With a focus on marine research, marine animal conservation and rehabilitation, this is one aquarium you can feel good visiting.

If you know me, then you know that I’m more than a little bit motorcycle obsessed. And if you’ve been thinking about what it would be like to ride a motorcycle, or wanting to come on a ride with me, then you’re in luck! You can ride a fully automatic 49cc scooter with Cycle BC around Vancouver. They have a variety of Vancouver routes for you to explore, ranging from 1 hour to 8 hours, and all you need is a driver’s license. Cycle BC will get you equipped with all the necessary gear and give you a run-through of the controls and you’ll be on your way. Grab a baguette and some cheese and pretend you’re scooting around some Parisian streets!

Did you know that Vancouver is one of the few cities in the world where you can see Orcas? A whale watching tour is the best way to get out and have a chance of seeing these majestic animals, and we recommend Vancouver Whale Watch. Located down in Steveston (a really quaint historic town worth checking out, and our favourite spot for fresh fish and chips), it is worth the trek by car or transit. Using smaller zodiac style vessels, they are able to travel more quickly on their small tours, which means you have a higher chance of seeing killer whales, porpoises, humpbacks, seals and eagles. Whale watching season is April 1 to October 31st. Book in advance as tours do sell out.

Have you been blessed with a glorious sunny day in Vancouver? Head over to Granville Island and try out HydroBiking with Vancouver Boat Rentals! HydroBiking (or water biking) is kayaking and bicycle riding combined into one, and it’s one of the best ways to explore False Creek, as you’re higher off the water for better views of your surrounds. If you’re wanting to get out of the city, then kayaking in Deep Cove might be perfect for you. Deep Cove Kayak Centre is located in one of the most beautiful parts of Metro Vancouver, nestled in between mountains and with calm water perfect for a paddle, there’s few places more idyllic than this. If you’ve still got energy left and fancy a hike, the Quarry Rock Hike trail is a 5 minute walk from the kayaking centre. A 45 minute hike to the top will present you with captivating views of Deep Cove and the surrounding forests. After your adventures, head to Honey’s Doughnuts & Goodies for some comfort food and some of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had!

(breathtaking views of Deep Cove)

Get lost in our green spaces

It would be an incomplete list without mentioning the best parks for the Christmas Lights in Vancouver. There’s two that you have to visit and both for completely different reasons. VanDusen Botanical Garden is the first, for its impressive one million lights spread out over 15 acres of their gardens. Running for over 35 years now puts the VanDusen festival lights as the longest running winter holiday attraction. A visit with Santa is on the lineup, and there’s food vendors through the garden selling treats and warm drinks. Outside of the Christmas lights festival, the VanDusen Botanical Garden covers over 55 acres, which includes an Elizabethan hedge maze and over 7500 plant species from all over the world.

The second must-see for the Christmas Lights in Vancouver is a visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. With over half a million lights, it’s not quite as extravagant as VanDusen, however, they have so much going on! The suspension bridge is 140 metres long and 70 metres above the Capilano River, surrounded by views of the breathtaking rainforest and the rushing waters below. Get yourself a hot chocolate and walk through these enchanting gardens that will spark wonder and joy from even the grumpiest Grinch. Interactive light displays from sound and movement, large lit up creatures flying overhead, and ponds that glisten from the overhead lights are just a few of the wonders of this place. There’s live music playing from an enthusiastic band and the atmosphere is electric. Just down the road you can visit the Capilano Fish Hatchery (daytime only) where you’ll be able to see up close the giant salmon jumping up the stream to lay their eggs, and get to learn about their incredible life cycle.

If you’re after views of the city, a drive up to the Cypress Mountain lookout will get you just that, being able to see out to Mount Baker and Vancouver Island on a clear day. The bewitching views really are out of this world and won’t disappoint… unless there’s a lot of fog around, in which case, maybe heading to a local pub is a better idea! On a clear evening, there’s not many things nicer than some quiet stargazing, and this experience can be found at the top of Seymour Mountain. Make sure to take lots of warm gear and maybe a hot beverage, as the temperature up there is often 10 degrees less than at the base of the mountain. Both of these mountains are fantastic in the summer or winter – they offer sledding and snow shoeing, stunning and secluded walking trails, downhill mountain biking and more.

Grouse Mountain is another obvious must-see attraction. At 1,200 metres tall, they offer even better views of Metro Vancouver, though there is an admission cost. You can either do the grueling Grouse Grind hike to the top and catch the gondola down to save some money, or for those not interested in the extra exercise, you can take the gondola both directions. Grouse Mountain is probably one of the most amazing places in Vancouver you could visit – with sleigh rides, snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating in the winter, and lumberjack shows, zip lining, a grizzly bear refuge and more in the summer, there’s something to enjoy for everyone.

Queen Elizabeth Park marks the highest point in Vancouver City from the top of Little Mountain, and it gives you sweeping views of the city center, False Creek and the towering mountains. You can enjoy pitch-and-putt golf, tennis, disc golf, and more while exploring the extensive 130-acre gardens. The Bloedel Conservatory can’t be missed during your visit, an indoor tropical garden environment consisting of over 100 birds and 500 plant species. If you’re hungry or thirsty after your wander, you should visit the Seasons in the Park restaurant, serving mouthwatering Pacific Northwest dishes, with panoramic views of the city.

If you’re wanting to get away from the main crowds, and explore a gigantic forest with great walking paths, then Lynn Canyon is the spot for you. Like the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, they also have a suspension bridge (50 metres high and 48 metres long), and you’ve got over 615 acres to explore. Plus, there’s no admission fee! Below is a photo of my friend’s dog, Bernie, exploring the wonders of Lynn Canyon on a hidden swing off one of the many trails. You can follow him on Instagram.

(hidden swing in Lynn Valley)

Take a Vancouver walking tour with the professionals

Did you know most cities around the world now have free walking tours you can enjoy? Well, Vancouver now has them too! You can go on your free walking tour with Tour Guys. Their 2 hour Gastown Historical Tour is informative and fun, giving you detailed information on the transformation of this historic part of Vancouver. Tipping your guide at the end of the tour is welcomed and encouraged. After your free walking tour, the Vancouver Lookout is a short stroll away and will give you brilliant 360° of the surrounds.

We mentioned Granville Island earlier, and it’s absolutely worth getting to, but we know it can be overwhelming if you’re going for the first time. To get the most out of your time on this quirky island we cannot more highly recommend a food walking tour of Granville Island with Vancouver Foodie Tours. The tour is 2 hours and you’ll try over 20 signature Canadian mouthwatering delights, plus you’ll get to know the island and layout more quickly so you’ll feel more like a local with your now in-depth knowledge.

A photography walking tour with Nature Photo Hikes will enable you to improve your photo skills while getting to experience some of the most beautiful parts of BC. They have an awesome 6 hour tour to Bowen Island tour with ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay (see photo below!), all while learning how to take the best landscape pics. Whether you’ve got a top of the range DSLR camera, or just your phone, your guide will help you take the best photos. If 6 hours is just too long, they have tours starting from 2 hours depending on your photography interests and schedule.

(the calm waters of Horseshoe Bay)

Cultural strolls

Tuesday nights in Vancouver are a treat, for just a donation you can get admission to the Vancouver Art Gallery (normally $24). One of North America’s most respected and innovative visual arts institutions, the Vancouver Art Gallery (which occupies a 15,300 square-metre building and was founded in 1931), is regularly the home to seasonal ground-breaking exhibitions, and is the permanent home to approximately 12,000 works by artists from Canada and around the world. Located in the heart of downtown, there’s plenty of cool bars and restaurants for after your visit to satiate your appetite. If science is a passion of yours, then a stop to Science World is an absolute must. Fun interactive exhibits, with no expense spared on their giant exhibits, this museum is ever-changing and always invoking wonder with those who visit. Located on the waterfront, this geodesic dome building stands out as one of our most beautiful pieces of architecture, originally built as the Expo Centre for the Expo 86 world’s fair. Both inside and out will amaze and it’s easy to spend your whole day at this fascinating science centre.

Located in Kits Point are 3 museums that are unique, extraordinary, and sure to quench your thirst for cultural experiences in Vancouver – the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, the Museum of Vancouver, and the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Space and space history, Canadian history from the 1900s to now, indigenous culture, maritime history and ever-changing exhibitions, these three galleries will fill an entire day and evening until your heart is content. I won’t go into detail on these incredible cultural experiences as I feel they speak for themselves. Visit them and I know you won’t be disappointed.

If you’re still craving more history and culture, located in the University of British Columbia is the Museum of Anthropology, where you can learn about the First Nations peoples and other cultural communities of BC, Canada. Totem poles, carved figures, house posts and more from the mid-19th century are permanently on display in the Great Hall, with other exhibits including the works of Bill Reid, over 600 European ceramics and stone wear dating back to the 16th century, and an outdoor area featuring Haida artworks. This museum is one of the most awe-inspiring cultural museums in Canada. For more Indigenous artwork, the Bill Reid Art Gallery (located in downtown Vancouver) is Canada’s only public gallery dedicated to contemporary Indigenous Art of the Northwest Coast.

If you’re still reading, then you’ve earnt this one. One of the best hidden gems of Vancouver is the Rennie Museum, a contemporary art museum that features rotating exhibitions every couple of months. Previous featured artists include Yoko Ono, Damian Moppett and Richard Jackson. The Rennie Museum offers guided tours (for free!) held on most Saturdays and select weekday evenings. You’ll need about an hour for the tour, which includes access to a breathtaking rooftop sculpture garden. They don’t have a phone number to call, but their website lists their current exhibits and you can reach them through their contact form if needed.

(the iconic crab statue and spaceship of the Museum of Vancouver)

No matter what you choose from this list, I’m sure it will reignite your love for Vancouver in a whole new way. If this is your first time visiting Vancouver, I hope you will see the magic and wonder that I see in this vibrant city every day. Vancouver might not be the city that never sleeps, but it’s surely the city that never ceases to amaze.

If you’re looking for some Vancouver food and drinks suggestions, make sure to read my earlier article here.

*Note – Due to COVID-19, many attractions and activities are currently temporarily closed, so make sure to check their websites before you visit. This list was written as an homage to my love of Vancouver and to promote the best our city has to offer, to help others explore this unique and fantastic city.

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Reach out to a Worldgo Specialist at 1-888-236-1566 or by email at travelrequests@worldgo.ca

Written By: Holly Atkins
October 15th, 2020

Holly Atkins has been working in tourism for many years as a travel manager, tour guide and on the front desk in a couple of hotels. An Australian Canadian citizen that now permanently resides in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Holly can’t think of a better place to call home with the vast mountains and her oceanfront dwelling. Touring on motorcycles for the past 14 years has allowed her to see places that few discover, and get off the beaten path to experience all that the open roads have to offer. Visiting a vast amount of the Oceania region, trekking around Europe, discovering BC and most recently travelling to Jordan and Egypt, she’s always looking forward to the next adventure!

Toronto for a ‘Bleisure’ Trip?

I know a lot of travellers get to Toronto several times a year for work and aside from the abundance of great restaurants, shopping and of course your clients – turning Toronto into a ‘bleisure’ trip is one thing that often travellers don’t think of. If you don’t know what ‘bleisure travel’ is, then you are in luck. Bleisure is a new portmanteau, and it refers to “the activity of combining business travel with leisure time”.

More and more business travellers are jumping on the idea of bleisure trips, so why shouldn’t you? I have compiled some easy ideas, that might not be commonly thought of, for your next bleisure trip to Toronto.

For the hockey fan:

Why not finally listen to your inner child? First stop – the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s situated right downtown on Yonge Street and perfect for even casual fans. From Tim Horton (yes he really was a famous hockey player) to Wayne Gretzky and everyone in between, this really is the perfect spot to spend a few hours for all hockey fans –  you might even get to touch the cup! Did I mention that Scotiabank Arena is only a 5 min walk away, just in case you want to see the Leafs in action? Be prepared, a Leafs game is a very sought after ticket and after Montreal and New York, they are the most expensive in the NHL starting at $187 a ticket. If that’s too rich for your blood, first start at the Hall of Fame and pop down to Wayne Gretzky’s bar which is only 15 minutes away and you might just get to see ‘The Great One’ if he happens to pop in for a drink.

For the Nature Lover:

Cottages in lake country are the best way to escape Toronto which has famously been coined the ‘Center of the Universe’ by locals and Canadians alike. Why not get out of the hustle and bustle and get out to the lakes?  Be prepared there are lots of them! They are only ever an hour or two away from downtown. Best months for this of course are June-September or you can do what I did and pop by for the winter if you want to try your hand at ice fishing/skidooing.

For the Thrill Seeker:

The CN Tower looms large over the city of Toronto. You can see the tower from 160 kms (100 miles) away on a clear day. For 32 years the CN Tower was the largest free standing structure in the world and still today is something every person that comes to Toronto should do (if they want to get a different type of high). While taking in the views, why not do exactly what your mom told you not to do, and try the CN Tower Edgewalk. Torontonians have called it “the most thrilling attraction in the history of the city”.I just called it ‘crazy’ when I did it. Jumpsuit, safety ropes, you and a harness and pop outside for an hour long walk through the clouds. If you aren’t great with heights, you might just want to stick to the observation level.

(On top of the world..well the CN Tower doing the Edgewalk)

For those that like to see Natural Wonders of the World:

Niagara Falls, once called the Honeymoon capital of the world, still doesn’t disappoint today (even if honeymooners typically pick warmer locales to visit). The Canadian side is more picturesque with plenty of viewing options and makes for an easy day trip from Toronto. A journey on the famous ‘Maid of the Mist’ is a must and it’s a great place for a night out at one of the two casinos (with fall views of course) or just to relax for the day, solo or with friends.

For those that like to shop, shop, shop.

Outlets are starting to come to the rest of Canada but have been a steady part of the shopping world in Ontario for years. For big brands like Nike, Ralph Lauren, Coach, Levi’s and Banana Republic, the first question is why pay retail? With over 10 outlet malls all within an hour’s drive of the big city, why not spend a little extra time (and money) and do some retail therapy on your next trip out here. Toronto Premium Outlet Mall, Dixie Mall and Heartland Town Centre are three great options to literally shop till you drop (or get on the plane) as those 3 are all within 20 mins of the airport.

For the Sports Lover:

If you are a big sports lover like me, then Toronto is the perfect city for you. If you’re into basketball like I am, then seeing a Raptors game is a must. Obviously for hockey you’ve got the Leafs. If CFL/NFL is your thing then the Argonauts are the local team or in under 2 hours you can be in Buffalo, supporting the (partially) home town Buffalo Bills. Toronto FC is the famous draw for all the soccer fans and then of course if baseball is your thing, Rogers Centre (previously the Skydome) is the place to see the ‘old game’ be played. With so many options for the casual sports fan, this really is a great sports city. If you can’t decide, pop on down to Real Sports Bar and see all of the games on over 200 TVs and the largest plasma screen in North America, it’s a sight in itself!

Whether or not you agree with the ‘Center of the Universe’ tag, it’s hard to deny the importance of Toronto as both a business and tourism destination.  There is so much more to the city than the things I’ve touched on here.  If you can, add an extra day or two and make your next trip to Toronto a bleisure trip!

 

To book your next ‘bleisure’ trip contact a Worldgo Vacation Specialist at 1-888-236-1566 or by email at travelrequests@worldgo.ca

 

Written by: Miles Walker
Date: July 7th, 2020

Miles Walker lives for travel, which is quite fitting given his name! He has done BDM/Sales Manager work for On The Go Tours, Topdeck Travel and Blueroads Touring. He has called Melbourne, Tonga, London, Toronto and Ethiopia home at various points throughout his life and after recently travelling to Azerbaijan and Georgia his country count is somewhere in the low 80’s.

Top Eats and Drinks in Vancouver

With our primary office situated in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, and most of our staff true locals, we decided it was time to compile a list of our favourite eats and drinks for you to check out while exploring our hometown. We hope this list gets you excited to explore this incredible city of ours, and you find something unexpectedly delicious!

Rise and brunch

After a much needed sleep in and a beautiful lazy morning, all of a sudden you’re starving and it’s almost noon… the perfect combination for a brunch! My personal favourite local brunch spot is at Aphrodite’s Café. I usually order their Special Bacon Benny along with their Bailey’s Latte Bowl to hit the sweet spot. They have an incredible pie shop opposite their café, so you can pick up the perfect dessert pie for later! If you’re after a view and something quite special, then Lift Bar & Grill in Coal Harbour can’t be beat with their selection of eggs benedicts and other brunch delights.

It would also be remiss of me to not mention my favourite café, Aperture Coffee Bar (Main & King Edward location). They serve the best espresso I’ve had in Vancouver, serve great pastries and their shop is filled with retro motorcycles and motorcycle décor.

Anita deJong, our Groups and Events Manager, is on the money with her two brunch recommendations, Yolks and Jam Café! These are two of the busiest and best brunch spots anywhere in Vancouver. Neither take reservations so it’s likely you’ll be in line for a little bit, so hopefully you’ve got a friend to keep you company. From Yolks we recommend the Croque Madame, or for something without the meat, their Grilled Asparagus & Double Cream Brie Benny will hit the spot. Jam Café does the best Fried Chicken Benny we’ve ever had, and their Banana Walnut Pancakes will blow you away.

Are you after something a little lighter? Miles Walker, our Business Development Manager, says that the homemade bagels from Siegel’s Bagels is the first stop you should take. The Rosemary Rock Salt Bagel will keep you coming back for more every time, and their Montreal Smoked Meat Bagel is a sure thing for lunch.

Top lunch spots in Vancouver

Here at Worldgo Travel, we are extremely passionate fans of the Canucks, and we’re also suckers for a great burger. Inside one of the most Canucks friendly bars, The American, is located DownLow Burgers which ticks all of our boxes. The Not in Kansas Burger is always a winner, and if you’ve got a large appetite then definitely get it with a side of onion rings.

Wanting to try something really unique to Vancouver? Japadog fuses the North American staple of hot dogs and fries with Japanese cuisine. The Japanese owners moved to Canada in 2005 and promptly opened their first location. They have since built it into a thriving business, attracting people from all of the world to their store and food trucks. A trip to Vancouver would be incomplete without a stop here.

One of my favourite things to do on a nice day is to get my takeout from Thai Basil Restaurant in Kitsilano and then walk across to the beach for dinner with a view that money just can’t buy. Taking your shoes off and wiggling your toes in the sand whilst eating some of the best Thai food in Vancouver just can’t be beat. If you find that sand is coarse, rough, irritating and it gets everywhere (which rules out dinner on the beach!), then a great alternative is to head to a patio with water views. Take the adorable False Creek Aquabus ferry from downtown over to Mahony & Sons at Stamps Landing for one of the best Vancouver patios. They offer excellent pub food, a great drinks menu and some good Irish craic.

Best dinner locations in Vancouver

With so many incredible restaurants in Vancouver from all corners of the world, this was one of the hardest lists to narrow down. After much heated debate between all of us of about which spots to include, these are our top locations for dinner. My favourite place in Vancouver, Little Bird Dim Sum & Craft Beer, opened up less than a year ago and has everything you need to know in the name. They have just over 20 small plates on the menu and 10 local BC craft beers to accompany them. Every single dish is quite simply, perfect. What’s best is that everything on their menu is under $10. Another restaurant that I can’t stay away from is the Dinesty Dumpling House for their Shanghai Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao). Get there early (5pm or just after) and put your name on the list. Just trust me on this one, everything on their menu is phenomenal. They have a few locations, so it’s convenient no matter where you are.

Ask For Luigi is without a doubt the best Italian food I’ve had in my life, outside of Italy. I have nothing more to say, except “buon appetito”!

Eric Sakawsky, our Co-Founder, has recently got us hooked on Mangia e Cucina, an amazing Italian restaurant inside a quaint heritage house in Mount Pleasant. Their authentic and mouthwatering Sicilian food will see you returning time and time again. Another staff and client favourite, Hy’s Steakhouse, is the place to go for a special occasion (though it will hurt the wallet a little). Their New York Strip is heavenly, and get the Maple Pecan Carrots on the side to really treat yourself.

It wouldn’t be a Vancouver food list without sushi. Mark Salmon, one of our Corporate Travel Managers, recommends the non-pretentious and highly underrated Toshi at Main & 16th. There’s always a wait but just sign your name on the wait sheet located inside the door and head over to El Camino’s for a Mezcal based cocktail while you wait. On the topic of seafood, Mark also recommends a visit to Rodney’s Oyster House for hands down the best oysters in Vancouver. Their Slap Jack Chowder will have you cleaning the bowl.

The best bars & breweries in Vancouver

This list would be incomplete without our favourite East Vancouver breweries. East Vancouver has been nicknamed  ‘Yeast Van’ by locals as it contains some of the best breweries in BC (and perhaps even in Canada). Parallel 49 Brewing Company, Container Brewing Ltd, Andina Brewing Company, Callister Brewing Co and Strange Fellows Brewing have all made our list for the top Vancouver breweries. Another location we love is 33 Acres Brewing Company (located in Mount Pleasant) due to their ever-changing list of great beers and their incredible brunch menu.

If you’re after a down-to-earth sports bar with a large drinks menu that’s constantly changing, then Bells & Whistles might be the spot for you. With large screens to watch the game on, and a large selection of great beers to choose from, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better location that this. They also have a couple of arcade games to enjoy. Their Crispy Chicken Sandwich with a side of Garlic Fries can’t be beat, but everything on their menu will leave you satisfied and eager to return.

For something different, the Keefer Bar has just opened their Keefer Yard where you can play mini golf and cornhole while having some of the city’s best cocktails. Make sure you have a reservation as they’re booking up fast. I was here just this week and had a blast. You can order Juke Fried Chicken and Hey, Dumplings right to your table. We ordered from both restaurants (for our group of four) and everything we ate was amazing! Pourhouse has quickly risen to be one of our most loved bars with unique cocktails and mouthwatering meals. Also, you have got to try their award-winning burger, a 40 day dry-aged chuck steak with aged cheddar and pork belly!

Ben Livingston, one of our Senior Corporate Travel Managers, says a visit to Craft Beer Market shouldn’t be missed. It will allow you to discover your new favourite BC beer as they have over 100 beers on tap to choose from! Some of our other favourite Vancouver bars for something a bit more intimate include The Narrow and Alibi Room.

Satisfy that middle of the night craving

We have something for everyone with these two late night eats. Lucy’s Eastside Diner is open 24/7 and is an authentic North American diner with all of the burger, fries and shake classics, and an amazing retro interior. If you’re looking for vegetarian or vegan options, then The Naam is also open 24/7 and is the stop for you. They are Vancouver’s oldest vegetarian and vegan restaurant, and we’re always craving their burritos and smoothies.

We’re excited for you to get out and try our beloved list of the best Vancouver eateries and breweries. Hopefully you’ll find lots of new favourites and experience some wonderful surprises. Happy eating!

If you’re looking for some suggestions on things to do in Vancouver, make sure to read my earlier article here.

 

Reach out to a Worldgo Specialist at 1-888-236-1566 or by email at travelrequests@worldgo.ca

Note: We are not being sponsored for any of these mentions. This article has only been written with incredible love for these delicious Vancouver joints.

 

Written By: Holly Atkins
September 8th, 2020

Holly Atkins has been working in tourism for many years as a travel manager, tour guide and on the front desk in a couple of hotels. An Australian Canadian citizen that now permanently resides in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Holly can’t think of a better place to call home with the vast mountains and her oceanfront dwelling. Touring on motorcycles for the past 14 years has allowed her to see places that few discover, and get off the beaten path to experience all that the open roads have to offer. Visiting a vast amount of the Oceania region, trekking around Europe, discovering BC and most recently travelling to Jordan and Egypt, she’s always looking forward to the next adventure!