Monday, September 1, 2014

Hmmmm... Grenada for a grand?

This looks like a bit of awesomeness.  Air Canada Vacations. All inclusive. Choose to leave the 15th, 21st or 29th of September at this price.

If you have aeroplan miles, you can use them towards the purchase price.

Grenada is the "spice island." It's a favourite cruise port of many. You can start your Grenada research here!




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cool Bargain! $105 to Yellowknife

Got Air miles?

Then you've got a chance to fly to Yellowknife, NWT at a real bargain price! For gold collectors, you will need 1820 air miles and $105 for a round trip on Westjet this fall.

For Onyx collectors, you only need 1560 air miles, and the $105.

Now why would you go to Yellowknife? Just to see it and say you did! Did you see the episode on the Amazing Race Canada featuring Yellowknife and the dog sleds? Very cool.

Or, if you are just working on a personal goal to see all the provinces and territories, like I am, you can not possibly beat this price without winning a trip. You'll have to act quickly, as always, seats are limited and booking for this weekly deal ends August 23. This is just a flight for $105, not a vacation. You will have to book a hotel/cabin/resort separately.

See the price on Air Canada... 5558 Air Miles? No bargain there! Heck, you could take 2 additional friends on Westjet for that same price. It's like a 3 for 1 flight deal.

See the charts at the bottom of this page for other destinations and available dates on this sale.






Monday, August 18, 2014

Sandals St. Lucia - Dreamy!

You've seen the ads on TV. The romantic Sandals Resorts.... couples having fun, big discounts - up to 65%. Doesn't it look amazing?

Regardless of the "deals" Sandals Resorts (which are throughout the Caribbean) typically charge around $3000 per person. Prices will fluctuate based on time of year, destination, resort amenities etc.

These are all-inclusive vacations in some incredible destinations. St. Lucia is a very popular honeymoon location. Very trendy in 2014.

Westjet currently has their package price at under $5000 taxes included per couple. This is an excellent price. If you want to treat your sweetheart to a pre-Christmas getaway, you may wish to jump on this deal. It's December 11th - 18th, flying out of Winnipeg. (YWG)

A bargain doesn't have to be cheap. A bargain is a great vacation, with greater VALUE than expense. But a bargain is never a destination you hate or accommodations where you don't feel comfortable and safe. Vacations are as personal as shoes. You NEED to find the right fit!






St. Petersburg, Fl - January, $1034

I know we're still enjoying August heat, but you know the winter will come. You know January will leave you asking "why? Why do we live on the prairies?"

You may wish to book now, save yourself some money and ensure you have something to look forward to this winter. If you're just starting to explore the globe, or looking for a safe, sunny, domestic destination, Florida is an excellent choice.

I spied this bargain on redtag.ca but you can book through Sunwing Vacations, www.selloffvacations.com or ANY local travel agent.  St. Petersburg is on the gulf side of Florida. It has a laid back feel and has shops and beaches and boardwalks to explore.

Start your reading on St. Petersburg Florida, here.

This particular Sunwing Vacation includes a direct, charter flight, and 7 nights accommodations at a 4.5 star hotel. It's not an all-inclusive package, but that's never stopped me. Why pay for mass-produced buffet food and alcohol of questionable quality?

Any package that includes air, taxes and deluxe accommodation for 7 nights, about $1000 is a good deal. While I personally prefer to fly Westjet, Delta, or Air Canada (in that order) thousands of satisfied Canadians get on & off Sunwing planes each day.

The Grand Plaza Hotel is directly on the beach. A short stroll from many activities and restaurants. Be sure to read the latest Trip Advisor reviews before you book. Always see what real travellers are saying.

Yes, there are always going to be bargains in Florida. It's a tourist mecca. It is MORE common to find deals in the child-friendly Orlando area. Less common to see Tampa/St. Pete bargains or destinations on the Gulf side.

Another Florida destination, now served by Westjet Airlines is the Fort Myers area. It's an gorgeous and highly recommended area which I hope to visit myself soon.


Trip Advisor comments from August 2014


Sunday, August 17, 2014

1 Easy Tip to Balancing the Back to School Budget

Really, it's an obvious one, but easily overlooked. So simple, and painless, you will think.... damn, I knew that.

Ready?

1. Slash your grocery budget and eat what is ALREADY in your freezer.

If you're lucky enough to have a garden, your August grocery bill can drop down to about $40 for a family. (Milk, bread, eggs) Even if you have to buy veggies and fruit because you don't have a garden, you can still slash this month's bill by up to 70%.

By doing this, you also save money by actually reducing waste and spoilage. It's unfortunate when we waste food by leaving things too long in the freezer. We all do it.

Use this extra money to buy your school supplies. Your budget still balances. And you don't have to borrow from your travel fund or your savings.


Go Now.... Turks & Caicos... A/C $688 plus tax

Gahhhh!  Sometimes I really hate seeing these deals when I can't go.  $688 plus tax to the Turks & Caicos on a top rated airline? BARGAIN! September 6-13.

Yes, this one hurts. I would LOVE to just have a week to soak up the sun on a relaxed beach and enjoy a hammock and a cocktail.  There is NO BETTER place that I've ever been, for this, than the Turks and Caicos.

As you probably know, these islands have long lobbied to become part of Canada, and though we (not me. Heck no, I would have screamed YES) have denied them, they have gone ahead and welcomed our businesses and banks etc. It is a very familiar, almost Canadian-looking island if that makes sense. They have Scotiabank, Royal Bank, Home Hardware, IGA etc. If it weren't for the palm trees, and brightly coloured buildings, and driving on the opposite side of the road, you might think you were at home.

So, my point is... this is a safe and gorgeous destination. You will walk to shops, stroll on the beach and enjoy a hassle-free week eating great, but pricy food ( remember they IMPORT most everything and don't have an agricultural industry like we do) and enjoy a blissful vacation.

If you want to see pics and read about my 2012 visit, you can click here.

But, I really think you should see it for yourself. Or google "Grace Bay Beach" and see photos and read why the world thinks it's Top 5.

Lastly, why is this package so cheap?

1. Technically, Hurricane Season. But read the data and check the forecasts, the odds of it impacting your vacations are ridiculously low.
2. It's back to school time. Crowds and available travellers are few.
3. It's last minute.

So, the final price, after tax is $956. That's amazing. It's about 50% less than you would pay at other times of the year for the same great resort. As always, I encourage you to go to www.tripadvisor.com and read recent reviews so that you may get a full picture of what you are likely to experience.

And the thing about ALL the resorts at Grace Bay, is that regardless of whether you are paying $3000 for a week, or $956 your toes are on the same perfect sand, enjoying the same perfect views of the ocean. It is a deceptively small area of beach (about like walking 1st street in Brandon) if you are looking at brochures. In reality, you can walk past 10 resorts in about 10 minutes.

So..... grab your Aeroplan card and your Visa and head to www.aircanadavacations.com
or your favourite travel office, or online retailer, like www.selloffvacations.com and book yourself some bliss....discount bliss. And, send me a postcard. I'm jealous already.




3 Travel APPs that save you money

There are hundreds of travel sites available to you to search for flights, hotels and package vacations. You can get data overload and stress out, before you ever get the information you need. I have found a couple APPs that I REALLY like. I use them weekly. It's how I spy the best deals.

On The Fly APP results grid
1. "On the Fly"  It's an APP that sells you nothing. Nothing at all. But what it does do is compare nearby airports, all airlines and possible routes to instantly give you a grid with the best prices. It shows flight duration, connections and prices taxes/fees included.

2. "Kayak"  This, for me, is a "set-it-and-forget-it" application. I type in the routes I want to watch, MOT to SNA (Minot, ND to John Wayne Airport in California) and it will send me an automatic alert every time the price moves. Today it chimed "MOT to SNA $304".  That's a great price. So, if I was actually in the market to go there right now, I would start clicking and follow up.  You can set maximum prices, several routes and then just leave the APP to do its thing. For me, if it ever chimes "Bahamas at $350 or less" again, I'm totally going.

3. "SPG"  This is the Starwood/Sheraton/Westin Hotels group. It actually is a very well designed APP, is very easy to use, and holds relevant information for each hotel you might consider. It also has all the current specials loaded and offers the prices readily without having to "dig" or search for applicable offers etc. Two thumbs up for that! I managed to get $125 at The Westin Ottawa, as it was on a weekly deal. NO other site, Trivago, Expedia etc ever showed that price.  The other thing I like about this APP, is the vast number of hotels. The Starwood group has an above average hotel in every major (and many smaller) markets.

Each of these APPs have proven valuable to me in saving time, effort and money.