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Making independent travel easier

Toronto streets cars, Riding the busesEditorial: I was having lunch with a friend the other day and she was telling me about her so-called travel “bucket list” and it struck me that the list hadn’t changed since I first heard about it a couple of years ago, that nothing had been “ticked off” and nothing new added. She definitely knew where she wanted to go and had the resources and time to do it but something was stopping her from moving on it.

I’m the sort of traveller who doesn’t worry too much about the details but I know that others do and often for good reason. Our article on travelling with young kids in Costa Rica has long been popular and the question visitors usually want answered is if they should bring a car seat with them.  The advice is straight forward—“We made a commitment to stick to Canadian safety standards in Costs Rica”—but it is obviously a concern for many young families  and hearing what others do is helpful to their decision-making.

This month we aim to make independent travel a little easier. We have chosen two destinations, one exotic and the other big city. For ‘exotic’, we chose southern Costa Rica and asked the “Queen of Planning” who is in the throes of booking a trip for 14 to that country to tell us how she’s approaching it. If Costa Rica is on your bucket list or if you want to take your extended family to any international destination, this article should be of help.

For ‘big city’, we chose Toronto, a place I know quite well but one that can be confusing to visitors. Toronto is all about neighbourboods but there are more than 170 of them so which ones should you see? The city boasts the 3rd largest transportation system in North America but that can be a little overwhelming, particularly if you spend most of the time travelling underground. Our recommendation is to see the city by streetcar. Why? Because streetcars run primarily downtown, which provides a focus; it’s one of the few streetcar systems still in service on the continent; it’s very affordable–$10.75 for a day pass and on the weekend a family of six can all travel for the one price. And you can bring your dog! Streetcars can make travel in this large metropolis doable.

Two destinations made easier. Have fun.

Sylvia Fanjoy

© Riding the buses 2013

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