3 Tips to a lower price on the vacation you want.

You’ve found the vacation you want, but it’s just a little out of budget. Now what? Here’s a few tips that could potentially save you 10% or more.

  1. Change your dates. Even if it’s one day earlier, or later, it could save you hundreds of dollars. Pro tip: Choose “flexible dates” in your search whenever that’s an option.
  2. Take the long way. Rather than the direct flight, take a look at a flight with a connection. Think of this as talking the bus to work rather than driving yourself. The bus is less expensive, will take longer, and is less glamorous, but you’ll still get there. BUT if it eats up another half day of your vacation, is the lower price worth it?
  3. Look for re-sellers like “Sunquest Vacations.” They don’t operate their own flights, but rather purchase packages from other providers (like Air Canada) and re-sell them. Think of them as the Winners (discount clothes/housewares retailer) of travel packages. They are more likely to cut prices than to sit on inventory they’ve already paid for. They will not have the same wide selection of packages, but what if they actually have the one you want? Same as shopping at Winners…. always worth a look. And lastly, just like at Winners, if you see a deal, GRAB IT. Don’t hesitate. If you go back tomorrow, it’s very likely to be gone… sold to someone else.

Use a travel agent. While there is a service fee attached to using a travel agent, he/she has has access to superior search engines, travel consolidators and the inside scoop on promotions. Using an expert (and paying $40+ service fee)  could genuinely save you hundreds of dollars over booking a standard vacation package yourself.  Think of a travel agent as a coupon…if you have one, you should use it and save yourself some money.

Park MGM Experience

I have been to Vegas twice this year. Twice I have stayed at the Park MGM.  And twice I have been very happy with the experience .

I went to Vegas in May for the U2 concert. The concert was taking place at the T-Mobile Arena which happens to be right next-door to Park MGM. Literally, a two minute walk from the hotel lobby to the line up to enter the arena.

So, do take note if you’re heading to a hockey game or concert at the T-Mobile arena, the Park MGM is ideal.

From TMobile Arena balcony lounge, looking towards the ParK MGM Hotel & the Park Theatre. (Where Aerosmith, Cher, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars have residency.)

But what is the hotel like?  I really like it. It is modest by my measure of Vegas hotels. It is the old Monte Carlo, but completely redone and rebranded as Park MGM. The rooms are fairly basic (no mini fridge)  but they are modern, the bathroom showers are perfect and they’re nicely decorated.

Think of it as a little sister to Bellagio. It is part of the same hotel chain and even connected by a free tram.  By my estimate it’s 1/5 of the size of Bellagio.  It’s pretty hard to get lost at Park MGM. That’s a good thing.

While the hotel doesn’t have a vast selection of restaurants, the courtyard of the arena does. So all you have to do is walk outside the hotel and you have plenty of choices. Also across the courtyard is the NYNY Hotel & Casino which offers a little more action.

The second best asset of Park MGM is the pool area. There are 3 separate pools, lots of great loungers, the poolside food is excellent and there’s plenty of sun.

The 3rd best feature of the Park MGM is the price. It typically falls in the bottom 1/3 of Vegas Strip hotels, depending on events and time of year. Regardless, of whether it costs $50 or $129 per night,  it will be comparatively less then other hotels of equal quality. Based on this I find it is excellent VALUE.

**not a paid endorsement. I’m in no way affiliated with the hotel or MGM chain. I’m just a frequent Vegas visitor with high regard for this renovated hotel. I hope you find benefit in my review.

 

 

Copenhagen on a Dreamliner

BARGAIN ALERT!

If just reading “Copenhagen” and “Dreamliner” isn’t enough to make your eyes bubble with joy and anticipation, maybe you don’t deserve this bargain!  Just kidding. Read on.

I can’t explain it, other than to say, these prices have been hanging around a couple weeks already. There’s so much turbulence in the US market right now that it’s left some routes open for fierce competition, in my opinion. And now that there are low-cost carriers (like WOW and Norwegian) flying in/out of some select US coastal cities (Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, New York) there are price wars.

But the prices are crazy. Cray-cray. $316 Canadian dollars to fly tax in, and return (in economy class) on a Dreamliner. I repeat…. 787 Dreamliner.

Sure, this particular bargain is out of Boston, Mass but surely you can get there. Enjoy a few days on the harbor eating lobster rolls and watching the Bruins or Red Sox. Surely, you can see how to make this a winning combination.

Skyscanner.ca is the quickest way to track down these bargains and see what’s out there. And right now, there are so many it’s a little overwhelming for this rabid traveller. I want to see Europe. This is THE year. But where to start?

 

From Montreal to Stockholm Sweden, with WOW Air

Montreal to Boston $148 tax in, return

I’m not even sure why this bargain is on my radar, other than I need something to look forward to and this outrageous bargain fits my Kraft Dinner budget right now.

The hot prices on this route are for October and November 2017. Travel on Tuesdays for the best price.

Boston is high on my list of cities I’d like to visit. I’d love to see it in the fall when the leaves are turning colours. I’d love to sit on a dock and eat a lobster roll and visit some of the diners featured on Diner’s Drive Ins and Dives.

You could also catch a game in Boston. Epic sports franchises in this city.

Typical price for this route is around $300. You can even fly from Winnipeg, quite often, at that $320 price point. But my thought is that you could build an epic fall trip around it. Whether you take the train and see Canada’s east coast, or just cash in some Air Miles for a weekend in Montreal before heading to Boston, you could definitely incorporate the bargain into something bigger.

To start your planning and see why Boston should be on your list too…click over to www.masstourism.com

Screenshot Feb 18th, 2017

 

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.