Make Your Next Business Trip to Calgary a Bleisure Trip

How many times have you been to Calgary and not stepped foot out of the hotel to explore the city? It can be so easy to fall into the trap of not leaving your hotel. Meetings are often on hotel premises, and most have good onsite bars and restaurants too. I’m here to show you how to switch that up and give you some new ideas and insider tips for your next visit to try and turn your business trip into an enjoyable bleisure trip. (Bleisure travel is a portmanteau of “business” and “leisure”, and, it refers to “the activity of combining business travel with leisure time”).

 

Okay, so a few of these you might turn your nose up at because you’re not one of “those” tourists. I get it! I often try to avoid the popular tourist stops on my travels as I don’t like large crowds of people. My idea of travelling is to just wander lesser known areas and stumble across hidden gems. In saying that, I’m a glutton for collecting kitsch souvenirs, eating delectable foods, and enjoying a good view… and most of the popular tourist destinations check those boxes! I promise you that these experiences will make you view Calgary in a new light. Keep reading and you’ll have all of the insider info to have the best bleisure trip possible.

 

Treat yourself to brunch

Okay, so Vancouver just got its first location of OEB Breakfast Co. which has been life changing, but OEB was actually established in Calgary in 2009. I have never before made the noises I made when I first ate at OEB. Their breakfast poutine will absolutely rock your world. If you’re in Calgary with a free morning, do yourself a favour and get over to one of their locations ASAP. I highly recommend the “Meat-less to Say” breakfast poutine (but make sure to get it with added bacon if you’re a meat eater like me!). Really though, you can’t go wrong with anything on their extensive menu. See my photo below for further proof of the worthiness of their brunch.

 

Stretch your legs

After sitting in meetings, you’re probably longing for a good stroll to stretch your legs. From downtown Calgary, the raging Bow River is a short walk away, flowing through the city with a mighty force from the glacial melts.  The southern bank of the Bow River heading east has a 2 kilometre (1.2 miles) pedestrian and cycle path from Centre Street Bridge all the way to East Village. This walk does not go unrewarded, as you arrive at the East Village you’ll find the Simmons Building. A former mattress factory, it is now home to an incredible bakery (Sidewalk Citizen), a craft coffee shop (Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters) and a phenomenal Argentinian restaurant (Charbar). Grab yourself a coffee from the experts and head to the bakery for their delectable almond cherry brown butter tart.

 

2kms not enough, or coffee not your thing? You could also head west along the Bow River (on the northern bank) and you’ll find yourself with the best views of the city at the top of McHugh Bluff. You will also be able to treat yourself extra for dinner after your calorie-burning adventures!

 

It’s 5 O’Clock somewhere

What better way to explore a city than to drink your way through it? If you’ve got a free afternoon or evening, make the most of it with a brewery tour by the beer geek experts. You can choose to visit 3 or 4 breweries and you’ll get a flight of beers at each stop. Calgary Craft Collection are the guys who will look after you. Don’t want to join a group? You can easily Uber to each brewery for your solo beer crawl.

 

Heart racing adventures with windswept hair

Ever been on a motorcycle? What about in the sidecar of a motorcycle? If you’ve answered no, now’s your chance. Tours departing daily from Calgary, and you can opt for a shorter city tour if you’re on a time crunch or do a full day tour into the Canadian Rockies. Check out Rocky Mountain Sidecar Adventures. I’ve been riding motorcycles for 14 years now, and I still absolutely loved it. Trust me, being in a motorcycle sidecar is an unforgettable experience.

 

Motorcycles not your thing? There’s mountain biking tours with Alberta 66 Mountain Biking, hot air ballooning with Sundance Balloons, white water rafting tours with Wild Water Adventures and Calgary even has Segway tours with River Valley Adventure Co!

 

Delight your appetite in Calgary

Had a long day of meetings, but all you’ve been thinking about for hours now is what you’d like for dinner? Say no more, we have you covered. Few things are as satisfying after a long day as tacos and a cold beer. Moose and Poncho is a small restaurant with communal style seating (we love their no frills approach!), and they will satisfy this craving for you and have you thinking of it for months to come. If you’re still hungry, they do some of the best churros outside of Mexico.

 

Want a meal without the meat? Tamarind Vietnamese Grill & Noodle House is a small vegetarian and vegan joint that uses old authentic family recipes that are also gluten and MSG-free. How about something a little “extra”? Get dressed up and enjoy a nice evening out with a little mystery added – Betty Lous Library is a speakeasy that requires a phone reservation to get the password for entry! Cocktail dress encouraged, but not mandatory. However, baseball caps and jerseys will need to be checked, so don’t dress too casual.

 

Views for days

The amount of people I’ve talked to who have been to Calgary and not visited the Calgary Tower is too high! The Calgary Tower is a must-see in my opinion, whether you’re a tourist, local or a frequent visitor to the area. If you can get up there on a clear day, the views out to the Canadian Rockies are out-of-this-world stunning. Seeing the Rockies from such a height while the rest of the land lays flat and quiet really is something else. At 190 meters (623 feet) it’s less than half the size of the CN Tower in Toronto, but out here such a height isn’t necessary because of the flat landscape beneath you.

 

Get your culture on

Studio Bell is set inside one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture and spans across five floors. The exhibitions are hands on and you can play some amazing instruments (with video tutorials), try out some karaoke, and have a museum experience like no other. Studio Bell is fun, creative and won’t make you yawn or want to tap out early.

 

If music isn’t your thing, how about a sports museum? Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is located at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park and has been around for 65 years. They’ve got 12 galleries to stroll through with lots of interactive exhibits and you’ll find your inner kid coming out to play.

 

Extend your stay a little while

For boutique hotels, I absolutely adore Hotel Arts. It’s modestly priced and it’s a really funky little spot with well furnished rooms, excellent dining options and centrally located. Got a larger budget to play with? The Hotel Arts Kensington is the place for you with only 19 large sized rooms and impeccable service. Their onsite restaurant is a must-visit too. Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire is a popular choice for our business travellers, along with Le Germain Hotel. Both offer great service, comfortable rooms and bit more luxury. For something no-frills the Best Western Plus Suites Downtown is a great option with stunning Calgary skyline views and an included hot breakfast.

 

We hope that next time you head to Calgary for business travel, you will be able to fit some of these great stops and eats in to upgrade it to a bleisure trip worth remembering!

 

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

We would love to plan your next Calgary trip for you.

Written By: Holly Atkins
July 29th, 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!

Why You Need a Travel Management Company (NOW!)

Travel restrictions are starting to lift and your staff have important meetings they need to travel for. How do you ensure your staff are safe while travelling, and where are you getting the up-to-date information required? You don’t want to miss a mandatory quarantine requirement and be turned around at the airport if your travel dates don’t add up. This wastes a lot of time, money and resources.

That’s where Travel Management Companies (TMC’s) come in. Not only do TMC’s have access to and knowledge of the most recent travel restrictions, we work hard to look for cost saving measures to improve our clients ability to survive over the short and long term.

The Boston Globe writes that “Travel advisors will be more important than ever.” in a recent article. Why? Because we’re on your side to get you home and re-book your travel, or fight for refunds and future credits when necessary. We’re up to date on travel restrictions, and do everything in our power to ensure you’ve got the information you need so your staff can travel safely.

TMC’s have fought hard for refunds and travel credits since the start of COVID-19. We work tirelessly to save our clients money because we know how important this is to them. TMC’s fight for you and endure the long hold times with the airlines as we know this matters to you.

Every day there are new changes to airline procedures and policies, and it’s a TMC’s job to incorporate these up-to-the-minute developments into the travel quoting and booking process. We strive to protect your employees as they commence travel, so there’s less stress and worry for all involved. Safety is key in these times and we aim to stay informed to reduce risk and increase your time to focus on more important things.

So what are the biggest benefits of using a Travel Management Company?

  • Round the clock, 24/7 support for all travellers in case of an emergency or last minute travel.
  • Saves your company long hold times with Airlines. We fight for you to get refunds and travel credits.
  • Flight changes take us just minutes instead of hours as we have direct access to the booking system.
  • Educate and inform your clients on the latest travel restrictions and updates.

Here at Worldgo Travel Management, we have over 90 years of collective experience, and we offer complete transparency with personal service. On top of this, we have industry leading technology to provide a faster and more efficient booking process. Our innovative technology gives us the ability to save your company money and help out quickly in a crisis. We know each business has different travel needs, and we will sit down with you to hash out the details to implement the best travel plan for your company and staff. Give us a call to see how we can help your company survive long term.

We’re here for you.

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

 

Written By: Holly Atkins
July 19th, 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!

 

Travelling in Canada during COVID-19

Today I caught up with an old friend and colleague  Justin Elton, the President of  the 10 STAR AGENCY group based in Vancouver (with offices in Toronto) https://10star.ca/

I was eager to hear about his recent trip to Toronto and see how his first business trip was since COVID-19 started.  With travel starting to come back, and having known Justin for years, I thought it would be great to hear his honest answers about what travel is like in the ‘new normal.’

 

Worldgo: Justin! Hope all is well. I see you are back travelling now, which is a great sign that things are starting to open up! Where were you off to this week?

Justin Elton: I had my first flight back to Toronto since the pandemic started, I had to head out there for work on a project we were working on out there.

 

Worldgo: Did you book an aisle or window? I’m an aisle guy myself as I like to get up and walk around.

Justin Elton: I actually ended up in business, I booked premium economy but the upgrade to business was only $250 on check-in so I took it. Got the window, it was awesome.

 

Worldgo: What was the experience like upon entering the airport?

Justin Elton: Fine, lots of signage, everyone was respecting the new rules and all the airport staff were very well organized. There was no sense of unrest or anything like that. YVR was actually busier than I expected.

 

Worldgo: What was it like going through security, any info on that?

Justin Elton: Quick and easy, no real difference, just had to maintain the distance in line, also the VIP Nexus line was gone due to the US situation but other than that no real change.

 

Worldgo: After security, were shops/lounges open in Vancouver?

Justin Elton: Not all of them but some of them, Starbucks, Tim’s, the fast food places and the convenience stores were open, most of the other retail gift shops were still closed.

 

Worldgo: What was it like boarding the plane?

Justin Elton: Same as always, AC handed out little cleaning kits, masks and gloves which was a nice touch.

 

Worldgo: In-flight what was your experience like? Were food and drink still the same?

Justin Elton: No food service or drink service, we got a chicken wrap and as much water as we wanted. The staff stayed tucked away in their compartment for most of the trip. They would only come out to remind people to keep their masks on or to clear items.

 

Worldgo: Upon arrival into Toronto Pearson how would you compare it to Vancouver?

Justin Elton: Pearson was pretty quiet, only a handful of shops open.

 

Worldgo: What safety measures did you take before travel?

Justin Elton: None really, just packed my own mask and hand sanitizer.

 

Worldgo: How was your experience travelling?

Justin Elton: It was pleasant, way less crowded and hectic for sure. It was actually a really nice experience.

 

Worldgo: Will you and your staff be travelling again soon for work?

Justin Elton: Yes we will, after that trip I have zero concern with future domestic air travel. I would argue its safer than your regular day to day activities. Everyone is super vigilant about it, both the staff and patrons were cleaning everything. You saw people even wipe down their own seats and arm rests even though they had already been decontaminated. I don’t think you could actually find a cleaner place to be right now.

 

Worldgo: Any travel hacks or tips for our readers/clients to bring with them that might make their experience smoother?

Justin Elton: This one is kind of funny. So you’re supposed to wear your mask the whole trip unless you have to eat or drink. So on the way back I bought a bag of pistachios, they are very tedious and take a long time to eat so when I had those on my lap, slowly eating them I could keep my mask off while doing so. They don’t provide pillows or blankets anymore so be sure to pack your own if you want to get comfy.

 

Justin Elton – President of 10 STAR AGENCY

With a head office in Vancouver and another office in Toronto, Justin runs a national brand activation agency that specializes in nightlife and entertainment marketing. They bring brands to life across Canada within Canada’s entertainment channel and have been in the business of entertainment marketing for over 10 years. They are a full service activation agency, from concept, to development, production and on site execution as well as being one of the only full service agencies in Canada, making them a one stop shop for their clients.  https://10star.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.

Travelling During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives completely, and not just for the short-term. There are many things that likely will have changed for good. This includes how we travel and the locations that we are travelling to. We thought we should discuss the most important need-to-know items for domestic and international travel, post COVID-19, so you can travel safely and with more peace of mind.

Airlines are providing specific COVID-19 instructions for travellers, so please check with your airline prior to travelling. We recommend you arrive at the airport early (give yourself an extra hour than normal), as COVID-19 has drastically affected the time needed for going through security screening and getting your bags checked. This will ensure you can get to your departure gate on time for boarding.

You will not be permitted to board if you show any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19. This also applies to travellers arriving from outside Canada.

The Essentials for Business Travel with the Coronavirus:

  • If you are sick, even just mildly, do not travel. Please stay at home and self-isolate.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds or more before and after going through security, and again after disembarking the plane. Use hand sanitizer once you’re seated on the plane. For an added safety measure, we recommend you wipe down your immediate area with travel-sized Lysol wipes.
  • Wear a face mask in the airport and on the airplane. Most airlines are stating that this is mandatory for all flights, both domestic and international.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Practice good cough and sneeze etiquette by coughing or sneezing into your sleeve.
  • On return from your travel, you will need to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Updated TSA Security Procedures and the Coronavirus:

  • TSA is no longer handling travellers boarding passes. Instead of handing these to the TSA officer, travellers will need to place their boarding pass (paper or electronic) on the boarding pass reader themselves. Once scanned, hold your pass toward the TSA officer so they can visually inspect it.
  • Food should be in a clear plastic bag and placed in a separate bin. As food often triggers an alarm during screening, this lessens the changes of the TSA needing to open the bag for inspection.
  • Keep 2 metres apart while in queue for physical distancing. There will be signs up to remind you of this.
  • TSA is now allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags.

For more information on TSA security procedures, please click here.

International Business Travel and the Coronavirus:

  • Please review and observe the current entry requirements (including quarantine restrictions) for your destination, as well as the regulations at the departure and destination airports.
  • If passing through other countries or airports to your destination, you will need to check their respective regulations to ensure your smooth travel.

Cruise Ships and the Coronavirus:

We hope this clears things up. If you have any other questions, we’re happy to help.

 

To book your business or leisure travel contact a Worldgo Travel Specialist at 1-888-236-1566.

 

Written By: Holly Atkins
June 16th, 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!