Why is this a bargain?

Prices and availability subject to change without notice. This screenshot was valid for booking Aug 4, 2019. The further past this publishing date the less likely the bargain is still available.

This Air Canada vacations package came up in a recent search. It is priced for two adults and two children under age 12.

To have the total cost under $4000, (or 1000 per person) is remarkable when considering your package includes flights, bus transfer, checked luggage, plus a week in five-star accommodations, including meals and beverages. Wow!

Why is it so cheap? These are quiet travel dates, halfway between US Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Dreams Resorts are part of the AMResorts chain and are known for their family focussed entertainment, accommodations, and unlimited luxury.  Unlimited luxury refers to 24 hour room service, snacks, no limits on a la  carte restaurant reservations, free kids’ club programming and much more!

To go to this resort with your family over Christmas, expect to pay about $2400 a person.

I’d love to book this, or any other Dreams Resort, for your family.  If you live in western Manitoba, please do track me down at SellOffVacations in Brandon.

Where do you buy a bathing suit?

You’ve been busy planning and preparing for your trip, and then you realize you don’t have a bathing suit.

Sure, you’ve been to the pool, but that was to take the kids to swimming lessons.  You didn’t go in the water.

Sure, you’ve been to the cabin recently, but you’re too busy preparing meals and looking after guests to go in the lake yourself.

And suddenly, you’re stressing about a bathing suit for your Vegas pool, or anniversary cruise.  Bathing suits can be a hassle. The ones that are pretty, aren’t too practical, and the ones that ARE practical, aren’t too pretty!

So where do you buy a nice bathing suit?   If you’ve got two weeks, for shipping, try CUPSHE.COM Their bathing suits are well made, well priced and there’s a style for everyone. The only challenge I’ve had is sizing. I feel like I’m between a small and medium, but each time I’ve ordered a medium, they’ve been a little bit too big. I should confidently err on the smaller size in the future.

Secondly, La Vie en Rose has surprised me with good quality, style and affordability. They have a new store open in Brandon’s Shopper’s Mall, so you can even go in there and try on bathing suits.

Thirdly, if you’re in a pinch and want something plain and $40 or less, go to Superstore. Their Joe Fresh clothing line is affordably priced, well made and it would certainly do the trip for any hotel pool or waterslide.

How to buy a plane ticket without a credit card

So how DO YOU buy a plane ticket without a credit card?

Easy.  Visit a travel agent at a bricks and mortar store in your city/town.   You will be able to pay at the travel agency with cash or debit card. (No cheques)

The plane ticket, in your name, will be issued to you within minutes.   You will get an email copy, and a print copy if you request it,  of your ticket.

Most airlines also offer an app for your phone. Your last name and the ticket locator code can be entered into the app and you will see the ticket there on your phone.  You can even complete check in and receive a boarding pass on your phone.

In addition to the plane ticket you will need a drivers license or passport to board the plane with the matching name and identical spelling to the name on your ticket.  For example if your driver’s license says “Robert” your plane ticket must also say “Robert.” Even if the rest of the world knows you as “Bobby.”

Is there a fee for this service at a travel agent? Typically yes, a $25 ticketing fee will be charged to print & issue the ticket. However, some tickets might already have that fee included.  When in doubt, just ask.

 

 

Milwaukee Bound?

If you happen to be headed for Milwaukee to watch the Raptors & Bucks square off in the NBA Playoffs, I’ll suggest you book a room at the Hilton Downtown. Its location is ideal! Just a few blocks to the basketball arena. (Fiserv Arena).

Less than 1 mile from Fiserv Arena and a 10 minute shuttle to Miller Park baseball stadium

The Hilton also has a lively pub with great food. All ages are welcome.

Bacon topped Wisconsin cheddar soup

The Hilton Downtown Milwaukee also is home to a Starbucks outlet. Just in case you need your Starbucks each morning.

If the Hilton Milwaukee Downtown is sold out, you can book on the next block at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel. It’s just one block away, has modest rooms and amenities but is clean and has excellent service. While there isn’t a pool at the Doubletree, it does have a gorgeous outdoor patio on the 2nd floor where you can go to enjoy a beer in the sunshine.

Skip the rental car in Milwaukee.  There are numerous pubs and brewery tours in this city, and if you want to indulge, you won’t be driving.  And in addition to free shuttles and Uber, you can easily walk from hotel to event, to restaurant. You can even plan a visit to the Harley Davidson museum. I’ll note that in my next post. Cheers!

Milwaukee is a great place to visit. I was last there in April 2019.

Budget Road Trip

Are you looking for an affordable road trip?  How about somewhere pretty-as-a-picture? I think this is a guaranteed memory-maker and yet respectful of your need to stretch your Canadian Dollar as far as possible.

Banff. Yes, Banff. Or you could make the trip to Banff AND Canmore. Or Banff, Canmore AND Calgary. You pick. Just fill up the gas tank and hit the Trans-Canada highway west from Manitoba.

If you make it just as far as Medicine Hat in the first day, you will find hotels like DH3 and Holiday Inn, at about $100 a night. That includes breakfast (DH3) or waterslides (Holiday Inn).

Next stop, (about 5 hours away) is Banff National Park.   The park pass itself will cost you about $20 per day, per vehicle with up to 5 occupants.

Since this is “shoulder season” or that magical time (April to June) between busy ski season, and busy summer season, you’ll find hotels inside the park itself for under $200.  Some really great hotels (like boutique Elk + Avenue) or Buffalo Mountain Lodge right around $130 (taxes included). Gosh, you could even splurge and get the Fairmont Banff Springs at this quiet time of year for about $300 a night. (Splurge! Do it!)

Canmore, is about 20 minutes away, and outside of the National Park. You could choose to stay at a lodge there or even the Holiday Inn for UNDER $100 a night.

What is there to do/see in “shoulder season?”  Mountains! The majestic mountains are there 24/7, all year round. If that’s not breathtaking enough, there’s wildlife!  Go hiking, biking, photo gathering or visit the famous hot springs. Just be outdoors in the fresh air and take in the view.

If you’ve got an extra day, and are looking for an indoor opportunity, do visit the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity  . You’ll be inspired.

The bottom line is, there are great opportunities to enjoy a spring road trip, to the mountains, for much less  than that very same trip in the summer.  With gas, and 5 nights in a hotel, cost shared by 3 people,  $250-$300 per person PLUS your food/entertainment/souvenirs.

 

Feature photo courtesy of Barbara Osiowy. 

Air Miles & Vacation Packages

Starting January 8th, 2019 Air Miles collectors will now be able to easily purchase their vacation packages online. Air Miles has entered into partnership with online Canadian travel agency RedTag.ca and has assigned a dollar value to miles.

Almost as straightforward as using a gift card  users should be able to pay for the vacation of their choosing with Air Miles. As I understand it, purchases can be made in whole or in part with Air Miles and the balance paid by credit card.

Air Miles will be valued at 909 Air Miles = $100  towards a vacation package. Therefore a $3000 vacation would cost 27,270 Dream Miles. Or a modest, and well timed vacation to Las Vegas, for 2 adults could cost as little as 9090 Air Miles.

Air Miles used to pay for vacation packages must be redeemed through RedTag.ca and can not be redeemed over the phone or at a local travel agency.

Air Miles can be collected through numerous retailers. Those Air Miles can be collected in two categories: Dream Miles (for travel, merchandise etc) and Cash Miles (for money off groceries, gas etc at point of sale.)

Visit Airmiles.ca to learn more.