Travel bargain tip

Are you on Twitter?  Accounts to follow for hot tips on travel bargains.

@nextdepartureCa
Next departure – a Canadian site offering tips on flight deals

@wow_air
A low cost Icelandic airline connecting Toronto and Montreal to European cities. Flights as low as $69 one way if you catch their flash sales

@travelzooCanada
You might know Travel Zoo from their weekly emails and bargain alerts. Get updates faster by following them on Twitter

@shetalkstravel
Follow me, of course, for retweets on the great bargains I find

To Columbus Ohio!

The Columbus Blue Jackets are on quite a roll these days! A legendary season for certain. If you’re a big hockey fan and would like to see them play in person you have a few options, even on a small budget.

  1. Use Air Miles for the flight. 2500 Air Miles and $146 cash (taxes) will get you a return flight from Winnipeg (YWG to CMH)
Dates & availability will vary

2. Use Air Miles for your hotel instead.  Or, use your Marriott/SPG points. The Courtyard Marriott is the closest hotel to Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

3. See them on the road. The least expensive Canadian city to see an NHL game is Ottawa. And if you’re a Brandon Wheat King’s fan, you’ll know that Mark Stone plays in Ottawa. So, you can see two former WK captains with one game. (March 4, 2017) Air Miles flights to Ottawa are 2000 points or less. You just pay the taxes, about $130

March 3-5, 2017 from Winnipeg to Ottawa (YWG to YOW)

(You can even go this month for 1600 Air Miles, if you have some time off right away.) Columbus plays in Ottawa on Sunday January 22nd. Their winning streak could still be alive.

January 21-23rd, Winnipeg to Ottawa (YWG to YOW). Availability subject to change without notice

Tickets to the games can be purchased through Ticketmaster or Stubhub.com for as low as $30 each.

If you are a hockey fan and love the big game, you’ll see why this could be an epic road trip.

No Air Miles? No problem at all! Air Canada and Delta both have flights on sale right now, for about $400 (Canadian funds and taxes included.) Hint…. or buy your Spring Break flights now (to most any NHL city) and catch your favourite team just before playoffs.  

If you’re a Winnipeg Jets fan, and believe this is their playoff year, you’ll want to plan ahead for April 6th in Columbus. It could be an intense game in their quest for a playoff spot.  Air Canada, April 4-7th flight is just $400.91 at today’s price.

January 4th screenshot

Or finally, you can bundle the April 4th to 7th, with hotel, through Expedia.ca with the above noted Air Canada flight for $685 with a downtown (near arena) Holiday Inn. Tickets for that Jets’ game are currently $28 & up (US funds on Stubhub.com).

It pays to plan ahead! Especially for your Spring Break hockey trip.

Ultimate budget bargain

You know that feeling when you’re desperate to leave the cold weather behind, but your budget screams Raman noodles? But you STILL want to go, so groceries be damned.

Can you compromise a bit?  5 night vacation instead of 7?  Can you book and go at the last minute? Eat granola bars, and buy your own bottle of rum, but still live on the beach? Then, tropical vacation might just be do-able after all. Check this one out. It leaves Winnipeg on Saturday. (Yes, this Saturday).  How’s $555 tax & flight included?

screenshot Jan 3, 2017
From selloffvacaktions.com

Everyone’s version of “worth it, is different.”  I think there’s a vacation for everyone and everyone’s budget. But it’s about compromise. Of course, we all want luxury 5 star vacations for $500 but that isn’t reality.  Value is probably the best word for me to describe what I find a worthwhile vacation. I like to feel like I’m “getting what I pay for” and maximizing my dollar. You know, 5 star vacation, at 3 star price. And it’s very possible, simply by compromising on the dates. Go when others are not. Don’t go at Christmas, but instead go two weeks before.

As always, check the recent TripAdvisor reviews for honest, current, relevant feedback. And only YOU can determine what is good value for your hard earned money.

Current Trip Advisor reviews for the Melia hotel as shown above.

Add insurance, whether on your credit card or not. A bargain can turn into a financial disaster when you go without a safety net. And less stress. Manitoba winters can throw a wrench in things. So can a flu or sudden illness.

Think Honolulu on Wednesdays, Brandon!

Before you say, “that’s not the best bargain I’ve ever seen,” stop and look at the flights!

You casually drive up to YBR, Brandon’s convenient little airport about 11AM and hop aboard your Westjet flight just after lunch. One stop in Calgary for a plane change and then you’re directly off to Honolulu. You’re there that evening. Extremely convenient.

Now look at the way back. No over night in Calgary.  Like it now? I feel like you can see the savings adding up. No gas to Winnipeg, no parking fees and no overnight in Calgary.

There are hotel packages less expensive, but I like the location of this one. We were there two years ago and stayed at the Sheraton Waikiki which is just about a mile further on this same stretch of beach.

This package from Westjet Vacations. Many other hotels available, some as low as $1700pp from Brandon
Sunset over the iconic Diamond head
View of the hotels along the Waikiki beach on a November afternoon

Abbotsford, from Winnipeg $207

Want a Canadian reprieve from the harsh Manitoba winter? Westjet.com offers bargain flights to Abbotsford BC. Taxes included, as low as $207.

Current temperature in Abbotsford is merely -4C.

You’re close to Vancouver, Chiliwack and Harrison Hot Springs too. Start your research here at HelloBC.com.

Prices vary by dates and flights.

Westjet Roundtrip $192

Where to for this bargain?

Winnipeg to Hamilton! Lots of dates available. This sample is February 2nd to 5th. Paired with a hotel, through Expedia.ca you could have flight and hotel under $400 per person (2).

Screenshot at Westjet.com, January 2nd.

Or what about Edmonton at Spring Break?  Fly out March 26th and back on the 30th. You can’t even drive there that cheap. $177 tax in, and with Westjet, from Winnipeg.

What about renting a car or grabbing the train and making this a ski vacation in Jasper? Remember, Canada’s National Parks are FREE to see in 2017.

Screenshot, Westjet.com January 2nd. Prices subject to change without notice. For holidays and popular dates, it pays to book early!