Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Canada Cross Border Shopping

For many Canadians, cross border shopping is a regular occurrence. It’s fun to take a quick drive into the US to get fuel or to buy lottery tickets that could be worth millions. Being absent for 48 hours or more comes with the additional perk of a duty-free personal exemption allowance of CAD $800 per adult. 

But if you’re one of the estimated 3 million+ Canadians with a criminal record, this seemingly normal process of crossing the US border can’t be taken so lightly. If you have a Canadian criminal record, no matter how many years ago your offense took place, it’s illegal for you to enter the US.

If US Customs and Border Protection becomes aware of your criminal record and deems you inadmissible, you could be refused entry into the US at any time, or even on a permanent basis. That planned trip to Disneyland could quickly become a vacation nightmare when you attempt to cross the border with your family.

What can you do if you have a criminal record in Canada but wish to travel to the US? Applying for a US Entry Waiver could be your solution to the hassle-free border experience many Canadians have become accustomed to.

A US Entry Waiver, issued directly by the Department of Homeland Security, is valid for a 1-, 2-, or 5-year period. US border guards must adhere to the conditions of a valid waiver, so there’s no chance of an individual guard using their discretion or authority to keep you out of the US.

Having a valid US Entry Waiver means you can travel to the US anytime you’d like - wouldn’t it be nice to have this option and put the control put back into your own hands?

While you could opt to file your own US Entry Waiver application and hope for the best, the better choice would be to seek the assistance of a professional waiver processing service. Their knowledge and experience could mean the difference between successfully securing a wavier, or between being granted a 1-year waiver over a 5-year waiver for the same application cost. 

Since all criminal records are not the same, a reputable waiver service company will work with your unique circumstances while disclosing all fees upfront, and by offering options such as equal payment plans, email and/or telephone support, as well as expedited in-house consideration.

It’s important to note the US government is no faster at doing things than our own Canadian counterpart. The average processing time for a US Entry Waiver application is between 9 and 12 months, so be sure to proactively start your US Entry Waiver application before making any travel plans.

And while using a processing service does not guarantee your US Entry Waiver will be secured, a professionally prepared application will help to obtain the best possible outcome given your individual circumstances. And just think, your dream Disneyland vacation or a quick run to Vegas, could be on the horizon after all. 


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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Most Beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites

With 981 properties currently on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List, it's hard to single out the most breathtaking destinations. But thanks to our friends over at Fodor's, we can take a look at their list of the Most Beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites! 


Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, Palau
Cinque Terre, Italy
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Borobudur Temple, East Java, Indonesia
Meteora, Greece
Galapagos Islands off Ecuador
Iguacu Falls, Brazil & Argentina



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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Private Cabana in the Caribbean


Doesn't this look amazing?! What a tranquil way to enjoy the views and beautiful waters of the Caribbean. But I bet you'll never guess where this is...

It's a private cabana on a privately owned part of an island. Well, that sounds damn pricey, doesn't it? But don't worry, you can do this - USD $250 buys you and five other guests complete access to this private over-the-water cabana at Nellie's Beach. You'll get floating beach mats, snorkelling equipment, towels, buffet lunch and service from a cabana attendant. Wow.

It's all part of the private island experience available in Labadee, Haiti, when you're sailing with Royal Caribbean! From your private cabana, you and your family can enjoy all the island has to offer including an ocean water park & flight line, wave runners, 300' waterslide and yes, even a roller coaster!

Royal Caribbean International was one of the first cruise lines to include Labadee, Haiti, as a port of call - they've been providing much needed tourist dollars to the local economy since 1986. At one time, Royal Caribbean International tendered passengers into the port but now they've built their own private pier for passenger convenience.

For more information or to make your cruise reservation, visit Royal Caribbean International


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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Colors of Cuba

Via Friendly Planet Travel: Malecon, Cuba
Only 90 miles from US shores, Cuba is the largest Caribbean island but yet it remains a mystery to most US citizens. Well, wonder no more. 

Friendly Planet Travel holds a Department of the Treasury license allowing them to conduct 'people to people' tours, more aptly called 'people to people' educational experiences. Let's take a look at what they have to offer including:

Colors of Cuba!

Highlights of the 9-day Colors of Cuba tour include:

Via Friendly Planet Tours: Plaza de la Catedral in Havana
Via Friendly Planet Travel: Kids in Havana by Adam Jones
  • Havana & Old Havana where you'll meet artists who've created the colorful murals along Callejon de Hamel
  • interact with students at a primary school 
  • visiting a private artist's studio
  • a musical performance
  • visiting a performing arts school
  • visit a generations old ceramic factory in Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • visit a local bed & breakfast
  • enjoy lunch at a 16th-century mansion on a former sugar can plantation
  • take part in a community block party
  • visit Las Terrazas, home to the majority of Cuba's tobacco farms
  • visit a small medical clinic
  • visit Fusterlandia, home & workshop of Jose Fuster - known as the Picasso of the Caribbean
  • visit Hemingway's home in Finca Vigia
  • interact at a community garden
  • visit a ballet school
Via Friendly Planet Travel
It's important to note because of the nature of this tour and in accordance with US law, all tour-goers must participate in all activities as planned. The Colors of Cuba tour is available Jluy - September 2014 with prices starting from USD $3,099 including return airfare from Miami, FL.

Friendly Planet Tours also offers a 6-day Discover Havana tour (May-September) from $2,199 and a 7-day Highlights of Havana & Varadero (July-September) from $2,499.

For more information or to make your reservation, visit Friendly Planet Tours and be sure to check out the Top 6 Attractions in Cuba: Cuba's Must-See Hot Spots.



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