Monday, November 22, 2010

How to reduce the cost of the vacation - Part 1

Who does not like cheap vacations?Especially a winter getaway.  

This post explains ways to book cheap vacations. I will do a second part about airline points, hotels points and travel rewards in another post.

Check online for deals:
I have used and SellOffVacations. will always beat the price of any other online providers and they provided great service as well. Only concern I have is that they are based in Alberta and not registered with TICO. If I am booking a last minute all-inclusive vacation I will book with them.
I have also price matched online deals with Flight Centre as well. They will provide a $10 discount for all-inclusive package and $5 discount for flights.

Here is a list of some of the online travel sites


Freebies or discounts:
Ask about any freebies. Once our travel agent gave us a free parking for a week at the airport. If you are booking more than eight tickets then some travel agents will give you a group rate or discount.

Use frequent flyer or hotel points to book flights and hotels (points collected through prior travels, credit card use, conversion of other points, sign up bonus etc).

I have booked airplane tickets using Aeroplan points and you can use your points to book tickets to your family members as well. You need to pay taxes and some misc charges. I have stayed in hotels without paying a single cent. I have stayed in Sheraton and Westin Hotels in Toronto, Whistler and India for absolutely free by using my SPG (starwood preferred guest) points. Some of these hotels are 5 star great hotels and offered free breakfast or other perks as well.

Review travel review sites:
Check Tripadvisor,ca Debbies Caribbean Resort Reviews, Fodor’s Travel Guides etc before the travel. During our recent trip to Mexico, we were able to save 50% excursions fare by booking it in the near by town rather than in the hotel we stayed. Thanks to the tips provided by previous tripadvisor posters.

Check the forums to see anyone else traveling at the same time, you may be able to get better group discount rates for excursions. You will find on site experts who can give lot of good tips. Some times you will even find a hotel contact and they can suggest and book the room with great view and other facilities before you arrive at the hotel.

Another great travel forum is flyertalk. There are experts who would advise how to get best use of hotel points and airline points.

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