I’ll be brief. It’s a very busy time of year for all of us.
If you are looking to capitalize on a travel bargain….whether it’s for Christmas or sometime in February, black Friday sales are a great time to buy. (Notice that I didn’t say “shop.”) It’s imperative to do your research in advance. Know what you want and be ready to buy. Bargains go quickly!! You’re definitely not the only one looking for a travel deal. It’s literally the busiest booking day of the year!
Here are 3 tips to help you nab a bargain, and avoid total disappointment.
1) Know exactly where you want to go. Narrow it down to 3 resorts, maximum.
2) Be ready to book on the spot. If you wait to think about it, or call to chat with your mom you just might miss the last 4 seats on the plane.
3) Passports & payment. Exact legal names & full payment are required to book.
I have to tell you, the moment I saw this photo on my friend’s Facebook feed I was absolutely awestruck.
Naturally, I complimented her on this remarkable photo of what I easily recognized as Waikiki Beach at Oahu, Hawaii.
My friend told me that her 10 year old daughter, Livia, took the photo on an iPad. Pretty incredible eh?!!
I made Livia an offer and paid her for the use of her photo on my blog. I told her that I’d love to show her talent to the world. Aren’t you glad I did?
I asked Livia if she had a review of the hotel or anything to tell our readers about Waikiki Beach or Honolulu. She reported that her family really liked their hotel, the Outrigger Reef. It had a fantastic location, view of the ocean, crafts, activities and even a Starbucks! One more unique offering of the Outrigger Reef is that twice a week, at sunrise, they do a complimentary vow renewal ceremony for couples. (Wow!! That’s something I had never heard about before. Livia’s going to make a brilliant travel writer AND professional photographer someday!)
Special sincere thanks to Livia & her family for sharing this brilliant photo & glimpse into their family holiday.
It’s hard to explore all the time. Maybe you can relate?
I can’t be the only one who is so exhausted that I just want to have an ultra-easy vacation with comforts that I know I can count on.
A big fluffy bed in a clean room, with a big shower and maybe even a tub. A hotel room where there is room to spread out so the kids aren’t tripping over each other and no one is fighting for space. Somewhere where no one has to sleep with their brother or compromise with a cot.
I want room service. And I want a balcony. I’m not even fussy about the view. It could overlook a garden, the pool or even give only a glimpse of the ocean…. it doesn’t matter. As long as it doesn’t overlook my unwashed car, my neighbour’s dog house, or the lawn I need to mow and the bike I need to repair.
I don’t want to walk 4 km to get to the pool or the beach or get up at 6 AM to reserve a chaise by the ocean. I don’t want to stand in line to make a reservation and I don’t want to have to walk up to the bar each time to get a drink. Is it so wrong that I just want a drink delivered to the pool deck so I don’t have to put my book down?
And I don’t want to negotiate either an appetizer or a dessert with the kids. I would love for them to eat as much as they want, so they are no longer hungry, without me having to calculate the cost and take away from my meal accordingly. (Teenagers eat a car payment each month at home!)
And lastly what I want from my vacation is something to do in the evening after dinner. It does not have to be a Cirque du Soleil show or anything. It could be a movie theatre with old movies, or it could be a games room with a ping pong table. Just something where we can laugh and share an experience as a family.
Sounds like exhausted-me wants an all inclusive resort. A small property, by the beach, family friendly and “unlimited luxury included.”
Now, if I can just find the right space on the calendar!
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.
I’m actually so excited to share this tip, I can hardly type fast enough. Travelling with your kids gets more expensive as they get older. But it doesn’t have to be prohibitive, you just have to pick the right resort.
The vast majority of all inclusive resorts in hot destinations offer a reduced price for children 12 and under, but charge full adult fare for teenagers.
I recently learned that Hard Rock Resorts and Moon Palace resorts both offer dramatically reduced fares for teens 13 to 17. These are the gems that can save you literally $1000 or more over other resort chains.
For example, I will say the average adult package fare at Hard Rock is about $2500 per person. That’s a pretty standard price for a luxury resort for a week in Mexico. So at a resort where 13 year olds pay adult fare, you will pay $10,000 for a family vacation of 2 adults and 2 teenagers.
On the other hand, Hard Rock Resorts will charge you about $7000 for the same people during the same week. So not only will you save enough money to pay your hockey fees for next season, your teens will be thrilled with the luxury amenities and non-stop activities offered by the iconic Hard Rock chain.
Hard Rock has resorts in (Mexico) Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos, in addition to a resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Moon Palace has resorts in Cancun, Mexico as well as Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Sunwing, Transat, Westjet and Air Canada each offer these resorts in their vacation packages.
Prices will vary by the dates you travel, and the type of room you select. However, for travel with teens age 13 to 17 you absolutely can’t beat this savings and the top quality vacation experience. You’ll definitely be the Rock Star Mom when you book this one.
If you love this tip as much as I do, and this will save you money, please consider booking your next vacation package to a Hard Rock (or Moon Palace) resort with me.
Both Air Canada and Westjet are offering 15% off flights to this Caribbean hot spot, when you book before January 30th. The Air Canada code is Stmaarten2019. Westjet’s code is A56MD56 as shown below
Choose mid-week departures for the best value on flights.
When paired with a highly rated Airbnb apartment ($919 CDN) for a week two people could travel for under $1500 per person sharing accommodations and meals.
This French/Dutch island suffered a devastating blow from hurricane Irma in September 2017. However, by August 2018 the cruise port was fully functioning and most tourist sites had been restored. Some hotels continue to build and renovate, though the island is actively seeking tourist visits.