Key Travel websites whether for a house swap or a lake front cottage

Saturday, April 29th, 2006

Whether you want a lakeside cottage or a house swap, you’ll get help online

Andy Riga

Whether you’re still short-listing destinations or you’re ready to hammer down arrangements, now’s the time to jump online and get started on summer vacation planning.

Here’s a list of key sites to help you in your summer planning:

A lake, a deck and a case of beer. If a week at a cottage sounds appealing, visit one of the many sites offering rental listings, complete with photos and detailed descriptions. Try,,, or

House swapping — you use a family’s house at your destination while they use yours — is a popular route for those with big travel dreams but tight budgets. Research and booking is usually done online. Swappers describe their homes and outline where they would like to visit and when. Other members contact them for information and to arrange swaps. Start browsing:,,,

Visit the Canadian Tourism Commission at, a government-industry site with data and links for the entire country. Browse by places to go or by things to do.

Help is on the way. Stumped for a family-friendly trip idea? Here are some Internet tools that offer inspiration and tips on travelling with kids:,, (click on Being a Mom, then Family Travel),,

Camps for kids. For those seeking a summer camp for a child or teenager, several sites can help, including It lists information on 17,000 camps, categorized by location (around the world), activity (from art to religion to sports) and price. It also has tips and suggestions for parents. Other good starting points are, and

World travel. Canadian youth aged 18 to 30 who would like to see the world but can’t afford to bankroll their backpacking trip might be interested in checking out International Youth Programs at This Foreign Affairs department site offers information about work-travel programs in about 20 countries, from Australia to the United States. Search by country or region, or read up on all the available working holidays, young workers’ exchanges and cooperative education programs.

Travel medicine. is a good site for travel-related health information brought to you by the Public Health Agency of Canada. On the opening page, click on Information for Travellers. The site offers travel-health advisories, disease-related travel recommendations and immunization suggestions, plus general advice for travellers. Scroll to the bottom for a link to a long list of other travel- and health-related sites.

The Consular Affairs department ( is a crucial federal resource for Canadians travelling abroad. Among the practical bits is Bon Voyage, But . . . , a new version of Foreign Affairs’ informative, 29-page pamphlet. It includes things to think about before you go (types of documents required, items not allowed on planes); while on the road (precautions to take, avoiding legal problems); and upon your return (what you can and can’t bring home). The site also features a travellers checklist, country profiles (information on what to expect in terms of crime, health-care services, etc.), travel warnings, and data about current issues (avian influenza, natural disasters, security).

© The Vancouver Sun 2006


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