Whether it's recommending a restaurant to dine at or store to purchase hand-made souvenirs, travel consultant Lana Taylor loves making her client's holidays all they can be. To say Lana is well-travelled is an understatement. Having visited over 30 countries, she now finds great joy in spreading the magic of travel, especially to her home country, Canada.
A chance meeting with her future husband in Copenhagen saw Lana swap the bright lights of Vancouver for his home town in the Darling Downs and she now manages the Flight Centre Toowoomba store. We sat down with Lana to talk 'aboot' her love for Canada, why Aussies can't get enough and other popular 'bucket list' holidays booked in store.
First of all, as a resident Canadian, what is it about the country that makes it so appealing for Aussie travellers?
The best part about Canada is the people – they are some of the friendliest folk around. The country is the second largest in the world and has so much natural beauty. The 'small' mountains surrounding Vancouver will have you mesmerised even before landing. But, just wait until you see the Rockies!
I have sent so many customers to Canada and not a single one of them have ever said a bad thing about the trip. Visiting Canada is one of those holidays that you look back at and will always remember.
What would you say to a customer who may be apprehensive about travelling there?
Canada and North America both have similarities to Australia which makes it an easy place to holiday if you're not well-travelled. There is something to offer all age groups - families can enjoy theme parks, couples can take road trips through national parks, retired couples can sit back and relax on a guided holiday of the Rockies and youngsters can go over on a working holiday to the ski fields.
What are some 'bucket list' experiences to tick off in Canada?
- Ride on the Peak 2 Peak Glass Bottom Gondola in Whistler and (hopefully) see a bear below
- Cycle around the Sea Wall in Stanley Park
- Kayak on Lake Louise's beautiful blue lake
- Go moose spotting in Jasper National Park
- See snow falling on Christmas Day in Old Town Quebec City
- Be showered with water at Niagara Falls on the Maid of the Mist boat
What other dream destinations have you done or are planning to do?
I have travelled quite extensively, and some of my most memorable experiences include paragliding in the Swiss Alps, exploring the quirky streets of Tokyo, flying in a helicopter over Hawaii's Big Island and cycling from Belgium to the Netherlands.
On my next trip, I'm going to travel from San Diego to Vancouver on Highway 101 in August/September.
Let's talk closer to home. What are the most popular Australian holidays booked in your store?
Melbourne seems to be quite 'in' at the moment, along with Tropical North Queensland to escape the cold Toowoomba weather!
The Great Australian Train Journeys, The Ghan and Indian Pacific, are also very popular. As a bonus, you can connect your journey onboard the Indian Pacific to a Princess Cruise around Australia very easily, so you get the best of both worlds.
Do you book many of these Australian journeys for your customers? Are they generally for an older market or are you finding people aren't waiting til later in life to experience these 'one day' places?
You can get some great Australian train journeys with pensioner discounts on the Ghan and Indian Pacific, but I have seen a few customers travelling with their parents on these trips to experience the journey together.
Are there any 'dream trips' you highly recommend?
The two continents that are must dos are Europe and North America. With Europe, you can see it all on a guided tour, river cruise, rail journey or driving holiday. You can even enjoy a meal in a different country all in one day if you want!
When it comes to North America, the United States and Canada have so much to offer. Natural wonders, amazing cities, culture, food and wonderful people – what more could you ask for?
What do you think will get customers excited about the upcoming Discover the Americas Travel Expo?
This expo always has so many amazing offers. I normally always purchase my flights home to Canada during this time as airlines release some fantastic fares. Ensure you make an appointment with your travel consultant so you get access to the best deals.
Discover The Americas Travel Expo dates
26 July 2015: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
26 July 2015: Adelaide Convention Centre
2 August 2015: Sydney Showground
9 August 2015: Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
9 August 2015: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre