When I went to L.A. to represent Erica/YMC for the opening of the Residence Inn at L.A. Live, the trip was such a treat. My husband just started his Masters in Leadership, which means that he's up until midnight every night reading and working on assignments and papers. The trip occurred a few days before he started and it was a great time for me to recharge before taking on the task of solo parenting.
At dinner on the second night in L.A., I mentioned that the kids and I would be heading to Vancouver to visit Dad while he was on campus, and to see other family members. Nina said that she could talk to the Vancouver Residence Inn and see if they could put us up for a couple of nights. The Vancouver Aquarium had offered us day passes for the Friday, and staying downtown would be such a treat. She did talk to them, and they did host us, and it was so perfect.
I entered our room, and noticed immediately that they had tied three balloons (for my three kids!) and left a small bottle of champagne (and some chocolate), as well as a lovely note. My kids, reading more into the note than I did, discovered that three individual tubs of Haagen Daas had been left in the freezer for them. They were impressed.
The suite reminded me of the one in L.A., in that it was spacious, modern, and came with a complete kitchen. It also had an AMAZING breakfast buffet, which is such a blessing when traveling. Everyone got to pick what they wanted, and we even made waffles! We love waffles.
For those of you who travel, be it with kids or for a longer stay for business, the Vancouver Residence Inn is exactly what you need. Beds you don't want to leave, suites equipped for you to cook if you want to (you can even have them get your groceries for you!), a fabulous breakfast to start the day, and a swimming pool/fitness centre/laundry room at your disposal.
The view had my kids fascinated.
This hotel also had computers in the lobby for you to use if you wanted to.
The Residence Inn is located a few blocks from the Aquabus that shuttles you over to Granville Island. My daughter and I did a Vancouver girls' trip two years ago while her brothers were at camp, and it included a trip to Granville Market. The boys had never been, though, and I was excited to show it to them. One hundred years ago, when I lived in Vancouver pre-marriage and pre-kids, I lived a ten-minute walk from the market. I love it so.
Now they love it too, and want to go there every time we visit family in the Lower Mainland.
Thanks so much, Suzanne and the team at the Vancouver Residence Inn! And to Nina, for connecting us. We feel very spoiled.
I spent many hours and days with my kids, and there are things I've learned over the years to make road trips less painful, and less expensive:
1. Pack a lot of water bottles. We do this daily, because it's summer, and it's hot. The A/C can also make you thirsty. I have no desire to spend $5 on a bottle of water at the gas station when I can load up the water bottles we own before we leave home.
2. Stock up on snacks. I'll include extra snack items in my big grocery shop before we leave. Snacks are necessary, and I don't like to pay more than I need to.
3. Pack a lunch. On this past trip, we left mid-morning. I knew that we'd be eating out a bit while in Vancouver, so we packed our regular lunch for the drive instead of hitting a fast food joint along the way.
4. Go to the library before you leave. Or pack a new movie, if your kids are younger. When I had preschoolers/early elementary kids, I would buy the newest cartoon that was released and they'd watch it on repeat for the drive. Now that they're older, the DVD player doesn't come along, and they'll read or colour. We do bring hand-held devices, but they lose interest in them after a short while.
5. Take your time. Stop for bathroom breaks, drop in at a friend's place along the way, eat your lunch outside. When the days are full of driving, the breaks make it bearable. If you aren't in a hurry, those stops relieve stress, instead of increasing it due to an unreasonable timeline.
Do you have any tips you'd like to share with the group?
I shared my love of using PC Points a few weeks ago in order to knock chunks of money off of my grocery bill. A friend commented on Facebook about two apps she uses to save money on groceries, and I immediately downloaded them. I'm here to tell you that I love them, and I'm sure that you will too.
1. First of all, you need to download the PC Points app if you haven't already. All of your offers, right at your finger tips.
2. Snap Saves. Each week, they update the app to tell you what products are being featured. If you buy any of those products, you take a picture of the receipt and upload it to the app. When you reach $20, they mail you a cheque. I've been pleasantly surprised by how fast the money is adding up.
3. Checkout 51. This is the other app my friend recommended and it works just like Snap Saves. Buy a featured product, upload a photo of your receipt, and watch your savings accumulate. Once your account hits $20, they write you a cheque.
4. Snip Snap. Once I saw how easy the above three apps made it to save money, I went looking for more coupon apps. Snip Snap is a coupon clipping app. It's geared more toward major retailers, but there are stores included that I shop at occasionally, and I'll be using it for sure.
5. Shop To It. This app lets you know about sales, based on your location. Shop To It also aggregates major location-based deals from organizations such as Groupon and others.
I know that there are more apps out there, but I haven't tried them yet. What coupon/savings apps do you use?
A few links of interest: