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How to ensure a successful summer: Helpful tips from our recreation expert

We could probably all use a vacation this summer! It’s been a difficult few months and some rest and relaxation is on everyone’s agenda. What that vacation might look like could be different from what you’re used to, but with a bit of planning you can ensure you and your family make the most of the summer break.
 
First things first: Have a plan
 
“My whole motto is always the failure to plan is a plan to fail,” says Stacey Robichaud, Acting Deputy PSP Manager in Halifax, N.S. “Even if you’re home for a staycation, it’s good to have a plan mapped out so you’re getting the most out of the day [and] so that you don’t end your week saying all we did was sleep in every day and never really got out of the house.”
Vaccination against COVID-19 is going well, allowing the provincial authorities to relax and even lift their restrictive social distancing measures. Just like last year, the success of your vacation will be assured if you inform yourself before leaving home. As the health situation can change at any time, it is even more important to have a backup plan so that you can continue to enjoy your vacation.
 
Robichaud recommends checking cancellation policies and looking for flexible booking options to ensure you aren’t disappointed or out of pocket should things change at the last minute.
 
“People are uncertain about whether they should book things right now and businesses are trying to encourage people to book,” she said. “Looking for those kinds of options where there is that flexibility might help.”
 
It’s also beneficial to look into ticket availability as many activities are running at a reduced capacity and schedule so planning ahead will be crucial.
 
“I’ve made a point of joining, through social media, a bunch of local businesses that promote different events and activities that are going on in the city. I find that’s a really great way to be aware of things that are able to happen, even with the restrictions.”
 
Be on the lookout for bargains and discounts
 
Robichaud considers herself a bargain hunter and encourages members to always check if a CFOne discount might be available for whatever excursion or activity they might be planning. She recommends checking with the CF Appreciation program or your base for discount tickets for water parks or amusement parks or any other activities within the area. Over the years, she has also benefitted from deals through her CAA and Costco memberships and says doing online searches for discount and promotional codes can often prove helpful.
 
Another one of her helpful tips is to look into what your base or a base close to where you’re headed offers as far as rental equipment, as it’s a great way to try out different activities without making a significant investment.
 
“A lot of the bases offer items through their fitness, sports and recreation programs,” she says. “For a really small fee a family could try out different things. In Halifax, our base has paddle boards and kayaks that are available through our sports stores program for rent and that includes life jackets. It varies from base to base, and I know some have camping gear or bicycles. It’s worth checking out the local CAFconnection.ca under facilities to see what’s available. It will save you from having to haul your own gear if you know you could rent it when you arrive somewhere.”
 
As a mother of two teenagers, Robichaud understands the challenge of meeting the interests of everyone in the family. From the time her children were young, Robichaud did her best to get their input on what they might want to do or visit on vacation.
 
“There are some great summer bucket lists online and with younger kids I find they have some great ideas. I also encourage people to play tourist in their hometown, especially with the way things are right now.”
 
Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services’ PSP develops and delivers leading edge occupational fitness, sports, recreation and wellness programs and services. PSP offers a wide variety of virtual recreation services so that you can stay safe and find fun ways to get out, get active, learn something new, stay connected and live better.  As restrictions start to lighten, PSP will begin to offer in person programs and services once again. Be sure to adhere to your province’s COVID-19 guidelines and stay safe!