By Bob Boughner, Special to Postmedia Network Friday, March 16, 2018 5:31:22 EDT PM
The coast of Florida. Travel writer Bob Boughner says there a few things returning Canadian snowbirds need to remember as they make their way home in the coming weeks. Among them is a definite deadline to return to Canada to avoid being considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes. (File photo) Attention Canadian snowbirds planning to return home this month. There are several things to attend to before you depart according to Snowbirdadvisor.ca. to ensure a smooth transition home. Remember, if you've been wintering in the United States you may be up against a definite deadline to get home to avoid being considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes or overstaying the number of days you can spend in the U.S. And you will also want to make sure you get home before your travel medical insurance expires and before you run the risk of losing your provincial health coverage. If you are flying home make sure your medications are in your carry-on luggage or in your overnight bag if you are driving. Also make sure your passport and Nexus card are easily accessible. If you are driving home plan your route ahead of time and make hotel reservations in advance. You will want to have enough U.S. cash for the journey and any unexpected emergencies such as speeding tickets that must be paid in cash. The best plan is to not bring food across the border, but if you do be sure to declare it. Likewise any alcohol and tobacco. You must also be prepared to report the value of everything you have bought and are bringing home with you, including any work done on your car. The maximum personal exemption is $800 Canadian per person. There are also restrictions on how much alcohol and tobacco you can bring back. --- --- --If you've never experienced a cruise now is the time to do it. Today's modern cruise liners are engineering marvels – floating five-star hotels that offer the tops in accommodations, cuisine and activities. Over the past few years, cruise companies have spared no expense and have invested billions of dollars in jaw-dropping super ships. But, due to the economic slowdown and significant overcapacity in the industry, ships don't always book up and savvy travellers can enjoy cruises at insanely affordable prices. How does 70 per cent off the brochure price sound? Believe it or not it is possible. Cruise companies need to fill their remaining empty cabins before they depart the dock. And by searching ads you can find a steal of a deal at amazing prices. This year it seems like everyone is cruising and for good reason. After several years of austerity, people are realizing that a cruise vacation is now one of the great values in travel. --- --- --A downtown Chatham history walk is planned for March 31 and April 1, and you and your family are invited to participate. The hour-long walk is free and will take place rain or shine. During the event there will be stories about arson, haunted buildings, 200-year-old floods on the Thames River, the Black Mecca, shipbuilding, the opera house and famous criminals and crimes. To join the walk meet under the Centennial Clock at the corner of King and Fifth Streets just before 2 p.m. on either day. Tour guide will be Clair Culliford of The Veranda Presents. The tour will include stories of buildings, streets and customs that have disappeared. Those with mobile devices will be able to see old time photos on theveranda.ca/presents website. --- --- --Great news for Sarnia-Lambton's Bluewater BorderFest Music and Entertainment Festival. It is one of 326 festivals in Ontario to receive support from Celebrate Ontario. The festival will take place in Sarnia's Centennial Park July 27 and 28. Organizers are hoping there will be sufficient community and sponsorship to add July 26 as an additional day. More than 4,000 people attended the 2017 festival making it one of the largest tourism attractions in the Sarnia-Lambton area and recognized as one of the fastest-growing music festivals in Canada. Bluewater Border Fest is a non-profit event with the goal to create as many local partnerships as possible to maximize funding and growth for the future. The festival will partner with the Tall Ships Festival in 2019. --- --- --Some Chatham-Kent residents had their March break at a popular waterpark in Sandusky, Ohio interrupted this week due to a freak accident. Parts of the water park at Kalahari Resort were closed after a piece of HVAC ductwork fell from the ceiling Monday injuring five people. Luckily none of the CK residents at the park, including Chuck Dubeau and his sons and Jeff Hopman and his family of six were not injured but their vacation plans were disrupted. Five people, including a lifeguard, were injured but none seriously. --- --- --First it was Montego Bay, Jamaica where sun seekers were recommended to avoid this winter, then parts of Cuba and now Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. The tourist warning at the popular Mexican hotspot followed a bomb explosion on a water taxi in port and the discovery of a bomb on a second boat. Gang wars are said to be the problem in the Mexican tourist community and in Jamaica. --- --- --Enter to win a $500 golf package credit from Coastal Golfaway and enjoy world-class golf in the Carolinas. Golfers can also sign up for Titleist Canada emails and enter for a chance to win a year supply of Pro VI golf balls. --- --- --If your travels take you to Thornbury and the Blue Mountains on Easter weekend check out curling at the arena, a harbour art show, pancake breakfast and Easter activities for the family. Easter in the Village (Village at Blue Mountain) is slated for March 30 --- --- --Tourism officials in Scottsdale, Arizona want to come to the aid of Canadians who are feeling the loonie pinch by offering a variety of vacation packages designed exclusively for their Canadian friends. Scottsdale offers amazing resorts and spas, championship golf, award-winning cuisine and tons of adventures and activities. --- --- --Blue Mountain Resort at Collingwood is about to benefit from a $555-million investment in improvements including the introduction of new off-hill activities that could be unveiled as early as this summer. Chris Lewis, vice-president of resort services, says that along with updates and maintenance the company is excited to move forward with some brand new activities for families with small children in particular. The $555 million budgeted improvements will be invested broadly to elevate the guest experience and introduce innovation and technology through new chairlifts and gondolas, snowmaking, food and beverage offerings, base area development and access and new summer experiences. Additional capital improvement projects will be announced in the fall. --- --- --Hopping into downtown Collingwood on March 31 will be the Easter Bunny himself. The day begins at 10 a.m. at the Collingwood Museum with an Easter egg hunt followed by a free children's Easter movie – VeggieTales Celery Night Fever – at the Gayety Theatre. There will be free face painting, a chance to take home a fun balloon creation and the Collingwood Healthy Kids Community Challenge activity station. --- --- --Readers are invited to submit their questions or suggestions on travel close to home or far away to travel writer Bob Boughner at [email protected]
Things to remember for returning snowbirds | Chatham Daily News
By Bob Boughner, Special to Postmedia Network Friday, March 16, 2018 5:31:22 EDT PM
The coast of Florida. Travel writer Bob Boughner says there a few...
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