Summer vacay tips from the experts

It’s August and if you’re like us, you’re in hyper planning mode to make the most of the remaining days of summer. It’s got us thinking about taking a much-needed vacation and small things we can do to make the most of it.

We stopped by Bonny Satchels ‘n’ Duffles and De Catarina Leather – they’ve now merged and relocated to a new location on the main level next to Indigo Books — to unpack the secrets of ensuring a vacation goes off without a hitch.


6 smart travel tips to help ensure a relaxing holiday:

Plan for the weather. Sunscreen and rain gear. Make sure you have both so you don’t have to waste precious holiday time buying them. Bonny Satchels ‘n’ Duffles has high-quality compact umbrellas in a variety of cool colours, patterns and sizes that should fit any travel style. While you’re at it, you can also stop by Pharma Plus Drugmart on the concourse level right by the south elevators for travel-sized toiletries, bug spray and anything else you might need.

Protect your stuff. Over 24 million items of luggage are lost or misplaced every year. If you don’t already have luggage that locks, you should consider investing in some. Stop by Bonny and De Catarina’s to take the TSA grade locks on the Rimowa Salsa Air rolling luggage for a spin. While you’re there, check out the small luggage locks and labels you can add to your bag. So, in the event your bag is lost, people will know where to return it. And you can save up to 70% for a limited time while the renovations are going on.

Protect yourself. If you’re leaving Canada, health insurance is definitely something to think about. BMO Bank of Montreal offers last-minute travel insurance for customers. And if you’re not a customer or you don’t need it, you can still exchange Canadian dollars for any other currency before you leave. Stop by the main level of the Manulife Centre for a quick quote or exchange rate.

Escape into a great read. Mystery. Romance. Underdog biography. Now’s the time because you hopefully have a bit of time. Stop by Indigo Books and pick something up. And, if big books aren’t your thing, there’s everything from the latest issue of The New Yorker to colouring books for keeping little hands busy.

Organize yourself: Keep your suitcase from spilling all over your room with Pack-it Cubes (also available at Bonny). They’ll save you a ton of clean-up time and space, keep dresses and shirts virtually wrinkle-free and make travelling with kids infinitely easier.

Chill. Don’t sweat it if you forget something on this list. You’re on holiday. Relax and enjoy it.

Last-Minute March Break Getaways

We’ve noticed Bonny Satchels ’n’ Duffels is getting busier these days with folks stocking up on new luggage for March Break. We got to talking to a few of them and, as you’d expect, Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico were by far the most common destinations — and most of the trips were booked months ago.

That got us thinking about families without March Break plans who suddenly decide they want to get away. (more…)

Bloor & Better ways to travel

Summer means travel. Travel means packing. And you know what packing means.

So does Winston Ho, owner of Bonny Satchels ’N’ Duffles on the concourse level of Manulife Centre. He talked to us about some of the more common packing problems and what he has in the store to solve them.


The Backpack Mess
The day you leave for Europe, everything’s neatly folded and perfectly organized. A week later, it’s a disaster: like, underwear-in-shirtsleeves kind of disaster.

Winston’s solution: The cube set
This is a simple three-pouch system for anything you want to keep together. It’s sized for socks, underwear and tees; and it’s fabric so it takes up almost no extra space.

Photograph of an orange backpack


The Extra Fees
There you are on the floor of the airport, frantically moving stuff from one suitcase to another trying to get them both underweight. Kind of reminds us of this scene from “Die Hard 3”.

Winston’s solution: Rimowa suitcases
Even with a handle system and four wheels, these are the lightest suitcases in the world, giving you more than enough leeway for another pair of shoes. It’s also an easier suitcase to pull in and out of storage.


The Storage Dilemma
Traditional suitcases are easily stackable but bulky. Duffle bags take up no space, but they’re messy. Either way, if you live in a small apartment with very little closet space, both are awkward.

Winston’s solution: The Rolling Duffel Bag
It combines the ease of a suitcase with the malleability of a duffle bag, and when you’re not using it, the whole thing folds up into a little bag you can place neatly (or toss) in the back of the closet.

Photograph of a rolling duffle bag in its case