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(<137>Anna BizoÅ?<137><137><252><137>/Thinkstock)
(<137>Anna BizoÅ?<137><137><252><137>/Thinkstock)

You only get so much vacation: 15 expert travel tips to make every moment count Add to ...


The urge can be overwhelming to Instagram, Facebook, Vine, tweet and Tumblr your way through every moment of your vacation. Sure, these are cool ways to document your trip and make everyone back home jealous. But all too often we’re so preoccupied with instantly sharing our adventures that we forget to unselfconsciously savour them. Try parking the posts until you’re back home and can thoughtfully curate your travel experiences. Your friends and family will thank you. So will your thumbs. Mark Sissons


A good rule that we used to impress upon friends visiting us in Paris – but it applies to many similar world capitals – is the five-block rule. If you find yourself hungry at the site of a major tourist landmark, such as the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower, you must always walk a minimum of five blocks – including one turn – before stumbling into a random café or restaurant. This helps you to avoid the cafés that get by on serving mediocre fare to lazy tourists … and are typically staffed by cranky waiters who hate your guts on principle, to boot. Andrew Braithwaite


As a serious sleep enthusiast, at least at home, I get easily riled up when out of my element: What time is it in Toronto? Should I be sleeping now? Will I be too exhausted to function in the morning? This is the opposite of relaxing, so I try to veto any usual “sleep schedule” – even in the same time zone. I remind myself I’ll sleep when tired, or when I get home, and the excitement of vacation always overrides tiredness anyhow. So stop worrying. And – guaranteed – that will be the exact moment you’ll fall asleep. Rosemary Counter


My globetrotting bucket list is filled with places I’ve only visited in prose. Great novels have the power to inspire travel, build anticipation for an upcoming trip and enrich the journey itself. I booked an impromptu flight to Bangkok midway through Alex Garland’s The Beach – you know, before the plot turns sour – while John Fowles’s The Magus made island-hopping in the Aegean Sea all the more mysterious and intriguing. These tomes can even help with vacation planning: Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence was practically my guidebook for the south of France. Adam Bisby


Nothing says holiday like late bedtimes, dessert before dinner and jumping on the hotel beds. Try very hard to be Zen about the mistakes that will surely happen – maybe you’ll see something cool now that you’ve taken the wrong highway exit? Today’s argument and frustration is tomorrow’s oft-told, funny story. On that note: Pack flashlights – always, one for everyone – and paper maps for your road trip. Kids love to play with ’em and they’re much needed when you’re still on the road, late at night, reading the map to figure out why the GPS sent you to the wrong exit. Catherine Dawson March


Why rush a road trip? Even Canada’s dullest drives – Toronto-Montreal or Calgary-Winnipeg – can be spiced up by veering off the highway. Eastern Ontario’s Loyalist and Thousand Islands Parkway offer lakeside relief from slogs along the 401, with small-town eateries replacing generic rest stops and leafy parks providing prime spots to stretch road-weary limbs. Prairie drivers, meanwhile, can trade the Trans-Canada Highway for the Red Coat Trail, which traces the 1874 march of the North-West Mounted Police into the lawless Canadian West. The latter is a holiday in itself, with fascinating spots along the 1,300-kilometre route. Adam Bisby


I’m not afraid of flying, but I am terrified of getting stuck in a middle seat on a long-haul flight. That’s why I keep seatguru.com in my bookmark page and consult it every time I book. The site provides detailed seat maps for hundreds of aircraft, so I know, for example, that 40B on Fiji Airways’ 738 doesn’t recline and in 11B on the Emirates A340 “noise from the more crowded economy cabin may be disruptive.” If it could only tell me where the crying babies are sitting it would be the perfect travel website. Chris Johns

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