Re: 9 Travel Planning Tips

IMG_4681After months and months of slaving away in front of your computer or in class, a relaxing vacation may just be what you need! Now, I happen to be a pretty big planner when it comes to travelling. Let me clarify that, I’m a big planner before travelling. Getting the best deals for packages, tours or flights is a must, especially if you want to splurge on a nice getaway. Below are my top tips on travel planning:

  1. Do you have a travel bucket list? Bitten by the travel bug at a pretty young age, I’ve been lucky to check off destinations from my travel bucket list. Pinterest, however, has made it easier to add on to that list. Create a travel bucket list on Pinterest and explore destinations you may want to go to or have dreamt about going
  2. Set a budget. As much as we would all like to go on an adventure around the world, our wallets may not match that dream (not yet anyway!) Set a budget that you feel comfortable with without breaking the bank. Don’t forget to factor in the duration of your trip. It’s not a pretty feeling to go back home broke!
  3. Take your pick! Revisit your Pinterest board and pick destinations that may fit your budget.
  4. Process of elimination. You may or may not have to do this if you end up finding a package or tour that incorporates your preferred destinations. But if you don’t end up finding a package/tour, pick 1 or 2 places to visit. I know this may sound a little small but I find that travelling to multiple cities/countries in such a short time frame is not always the best. By picking 1 or 2 places, you get a chance to explore different parts of the city/country and actually experience what it may be like living there. If you plan on just laying on the beach 90% of your vacay, Sunwing has many all-inclusive packages for you to choose from
  5. How are you getting there? Airfare can cost a pretty penny especially when you’re going halfway around the world. There are a few websites online that will aggregate and compare flight deals, hotel deals and packages for you. Kayak,, FlighHub or even TripAdvisor, just to name a few
  6. Just book! After loads of research and email alerts about the latest deals, it can get a little tiresome. So, really, just book your tickets already
  7. Old school but still effective! Print out directions and contact info to your hotel/hostel just in case. Getting lost in the beauty of a city will become a lot more fun when you know that you have a place to stay for the night and how to get there
  8. Divide your cash. Most travel destinations accept credit, debit or cash now. Preferably, divide your money between a disposable credit card that you preloaded before your trip and physical cash. It’ll help you stay on track with your spending and it decreases the likelihood that all of your cash will get lost or stolen
  9. Make friends! One of the best parts about travelling to different places is meeting different people. Whether they are locals or fellow travellers, we all have stories to share so why not share it with each other. Besides, it gives you more reasons to come back for a visit!




How to get the most of your Summerlicious 2015 experience

It’s that time of the year again! No, I’m not talking about Christmas but it might as well be!  Summerlicious 2015 is happening from July 3rd-26th! I’m sure my fellow food lovers are just itching to start. Here are a few tips from my Winterlicious/Summerlicious adventures:

1. Know when you can make reservations. Summerlicious has sent posted details, including when to make early reservations, restaurant list and events/activities. They fill up fast, so make sure that you know which dates and times you can make reservations for and which event/activity you want to do.

2. Consider if you have or don’t have a budget. When my friends and I were still students, we picked restaurants according to how much we are willing to spend for the meal as well as which restaurants were giving the best deals. For instance, it’s a good opportunity to dine in some high-end restaurants during this period if you’re down on paying $45 for dinner. It’s a good price considering how much it will cost originally. However, if you don’t want to spend as much, there are other excellent options. Both of the meals I went to with my friends were under $30!

3. Do your RESEARCH! There were 200+ restaurants from the list they provided online and they were organized and presented well. You could view the different restaurants alphabetically, by cuisine or by neighborhood. I recommend using the categorization through cuisine. It gives you a good idea of what they have and allows for you to pick what you’re more comfortable with or more daring to try. Once you’ve decided on which cuisine you may want to explore, don’t be scared to GOOGLE them. There are many websites dedicated for online restaurant reviews or even apps you can download on your phone. Make use of them! However, I do understand that different people have different palates and opinions about their experiences. So I would also recommend to ask any of your friends who may or may not have eaten at the restaurant. Don’t just ask about the food too. Service is a huge aspect when dining. You can have an awesome meal but if the service is bad it does ruin a pretty big chunk of your experience, and that’s big factor that helps determine whether you want to be a repeat patron or give good recommendations.

4. FORGET about your diet and INDULGE yourself even for a little while. When you’re dining in, there’s time in between courses for your stomach to digest the food and so you may even feel full sooner. I’ve read somewhere that it takes about 15 minutes before it registers in your brain that you’re full. So use the time between courses to chat with your friends or even eating slowly so you can A. savour the flavours B. enjoy your meal and C. enjoy your friends/family/significant other’s company! Besides, being on diets is overrated. It’s a lifestyle change that needs to take place not just your eating habits.

Enjoy your culinary expedition at Summerlicious 2015 and let me know which restaurants you went to!

For more photos and restaurant reviews check out my Reviews page! 🙂



Nutrition Tips from Francis to Help You with Your Summer Bod!

As the summer season rolls around, achieving your summer body and fitness goals might be difficult with all the temptations lurking around. Not to worry, with these tips you can still stay on track to achieve your fitness and nutritional goals!

11326960_10153097235213052_1205787420_nHello! My name is Francis Tungcol, a fitness enthusiast and personal trainer who just recently graduated with a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Toronto. For as long as I could remember, I have always been passionate about living an active and healthy lifestyle. I’m an avid gym goer, dragon boat athlete, and a fitness junkie. I am also an advocate of prescribing exercise and physical activity into one’s daily life as it poses many benefits.

I’m excited to be a guest blogger here, to share my insights on fitness and nutrition. I hope that this post will help you understand the importance of being physically active at the same time give you tips on how to achieve your summer fitness goals through diet and nutrition.

As mentioned, being physically active is beneficial when incorporated into your lifestyle. I enjoy being physically active because I want to reap all the many health benefits it poses. These benefits include: improved physical and mental health, reduced risks of diseases, and increased chances of living longer. Exercise is also a great way to be social. However, exercise is just one part of the equation. Food and nutrition also plays a role.

Food is our source of energy. This energy is broken down into the macronutrients of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Each serves a function in fuelling our bodies to move. Think of food as gasoline for a car. You have to fill the car with the proper gas in order for it to move and maintain the engine. Thus, food plays an important role in living an active lifestyle. Exercise and proper nutrition goes hand in hand in being physically healthy.

As for my diet, I tend to stick with familiar and staple food items (i.e. Food that are familiar and works well for my body). However, don’t get me wrong, I also like to venture out and try a variety of food. These staple food items include complex carbs and high-quality protein. Proper nutrition and diet allows me to perform in my sports, recover from activities, and fend off illnesses.

As the weather gets better, and we get invited to eat out, barbecues, and food festivals. Here are my tips to keep you on track as you venture out with food this summer.

  • Eat Complex Carbs

Complex carbs such as vegetables, brown rice, beans, and whole-wheat products are highly nutritious, contains lots of fiber and limits insulin response.

  • Eat High-Quality Protein

High protein diet helps maintain and/or builds muscle mass. High-quality protein sources mainly come from animal sources such as eggs, chicken, fish, and beef.

  • Stay Hydrated

Drink adequate amounts of water. Limit sugary drinks such as pop, juice, and sports drinks. Tea and coffee can be consumed moderately as they pose health benefits.

  • Portions

Eat a well-balanced diet and control your portions to prevent over-consumption and excess caloric intake. Consume the amount of calories needed to support your lifestyle.

  • Variety

Variety is the spice of life! Eat a variety of food sources from all the food groups. Remember different foods provide different types and amounts of nutrients.

  • Moderation

At the end of the day, everything comes down to moderation. Eat until you are satisfied and satiated instead of over-consuming and starving yourself.

By no means am I an expert nutritionist and a dietitian. These are my tips and recommendation on how to stay on track to accomplish your fitness goals or to change your diet. I hope these tips are helpful and enjoy your summer of food!

-Francis Tungcol


11268341_10153097234563052_1148100425_nThank you Francis for your tips! I have exciting news everyone! Francis has a Youtube channel for those interested in getting more fitness and exercise tips AND he has been chosen to represent Canada in the U24 Open and Mix National Dragon Boat Team to compete at the 2015 IDBF World Nationals Championships in Welland, Ontario this August! If you can, please help out Francis get to World by following the link below. Thank you so much for your consideration! Let’s help another great athlete reach his dreams!



Watermelon Refresher!

With hot summer days approaching these watermelon refreshers will cool you down and keep you energized!

watermelon refresherIt only needs 5 key ingredients: watermelons, cucumbers, ginger, some ice and water. Chop the watermelon, cucumber into smaller chunks. This will help blend the mixture faster. I used 2/3 watermelons and 1/3 cucumber and ginger. When all the ingredients are in the blender, just blend away! You can also add a little more ice into the mixture to get a more slushie drink consistency or less ice to get a more juice like consistency.

Tip: after chopping the watermelon, you can place them in your freezer over night and blend the drink in the morning. It’ll harden like ice but taste like watermelon!

Which kinds of drink do you guys and gals like to drink on hot days? Let me know by leaving a comment below!




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