Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Vancouver or Montreal for 1500 Air Miles

If you can travel in October, Air Miles has a heck of a deal for you! This week's discounted flights (for Gold and Onyx collectors) are to Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal or Vancouver.

Imagine, a direct, return Westjet flight from Winnipeg to Vancouver for $126 and 1500 Air Miles. Fabulous eh?

You will need to book on-line through the Air Miles site, or call their 1-888 to redeem.

Act quickly for best dates.  Offer expires September 13th.

If I had time, I would take a fall season dream trip! I would fly to Montreal, stay a night or two,  then catch the Via train to Moncton or Halifax and see the maritimes (Approx $260 round trip, or $500 in a sleeper car.) Would be amazing! (To learn more about the route click here.)

I would stay at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth hotel (I've been there a few times) which is located at the train station and in the heart of Montreal. Gorgeous hotel and actually not very expensive.

Actually, I would time the trip so I could also see a hockey game at the Bell Centre, which is about 2 blocks from the train station/hotel. Oh how I would love to do this trip! And I bet I could do it at a bargain price! What fun that would be!!!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Hotwire coupon for this weekend!

If you are planning a hotel stay anytime soon, you may wish to check this out. Of course it's too late for me... I booked my deal last week. 'sigh'


Get it on the grid

Do you like seeing your options?  Let's check out the possibilities for a reggae Christmas with the help of Trip Central. It's a Canadian site with one of the very best searchable realtime databases, IMHO.

Since we all agree, we like 4 star (or better) vacations, I used that as a criteria.

The first screenshot shows all their holiday package destinations.

Then I chose Jamaica. The only city option with All Inclusive offerings was Montego Bay. This second screenshot gives you a basic overview of what it would cost to go in any month of the year. Keep in mind that it's the same hotel, the same flight, the same everything, just the cost is different based on the time of year. (Supply & demand)  

Next choice I made was for December, to plan a reggae Christmas. This screenshot shows the dates available and the lowest cost. 

This final screenshot shows you all the different hotel options and their specific prices. My recommendation would be to look at your budget and the price you are comfortable with, then go to Trip Advisor and read recent reviews for that particular hotel. You may read that it is perfect and meets your expectations, or you may read that it's not your kind of place at all.  

Vacations are very personal. Each person will have their own set of expectations, interests, and family circumstances. And, at least, I have found that at different times in my life, and depending on who I am travelling with, I want very different things. 

My golden rule, is never let price be your ONLY deciding factor.

**Note, I have actually been to Jamaica this year. So if you have detailed questions definitely ask!

Palm Springs this Fall

I LOVE fall travel. Seriously. Great bargains, no crowds and great weather.

Even with the weak (my polite way of saying really brutal, crappy, miserable) Canadian dollar, you can still afford to take a trip to the USA.  Simply mind your meals and on-site purchases.

Pre-paying the whole package at home, in Canadian funds, will net you excellent value for your money.

Here's one example, of a great little fall getaway, at a bargain price.  This is from Westjet Vacations and is bookable on-line or with your favourite travel agent.

I have personally stayed at the Riviera in 2015 and have wonderful things to say about it.

I can also say that the Palm Mountain Resort has a stellar location. It is about 25 steps from the Palm Springs Starbucks location, and their main shopping strip. Downtown Palm Springs is about the size of Downtown Brandon and is filled with shops and cafes. It's definitely a ladies' lunch destination.

So whether you're thinking 'girls getaway' or 'casual couples trip' you might want to look into Palm Springs. It's easy, breezy, beautiful. And.... if you choose the right dates, very affordable even in our current economy.

**As always, prices subject to change without notice.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Air Canada gift cards

I will admit, I'm a little disappointed.

I thought that I could buy Air Canada gift cards whenever I had a little spare money, and hoard them in a drawer. I had the idea that then, one fine day, I could treat myself to a "free trip" based on the stack of $50 and $100 gift cards in my possession. I was wrong. (Though it originally seemed like a brilliant idea!)

Now I know, at least when you book on-line, you are only permitted to use two methods of payment per transaction. Meaning..... $100 gift card, plus balance on credit card. You could use two gift cards, but ONLY if combined, they cover the total amount owing. (See redemption notes from the AC site, below)

So, as it stands I can only use one gift card, which makes them no better than a $50 coupon or discount code. But, I purchased these "coupons." See how I'm disappointed?  And originally, I thought these would be a BRILLIANT wedding shower gift, where guests could each purchase gift cards for the happy couple and help them fund a honeymoon.

I will research further and find out if you call and speak with an agent if you can "stack" your gift cards. It seems logical that there WOULD be someway around this payment challenge. But as for right now, I can't recommend buying these gift cards in small denominations.

Gift cards are available at Canada Post locations, in values of $25 and over. You can also redeem Aeroplan miles to receive Air Canada gift cards. And lastly, they are available from the Air Canada site, 24 hours a day.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Let's dream a little....

Have you noticed that I hardly every write on the weekends? It's because I own a restaurant and am completely consumed by it Thursday thru Sunday. Monday is my catch-up day and if I get an evening off it's typically a Tuesday. So since I have a little free time to pursue my travel hobby tonight, I thought we might dream a little.

I always write about bargain travel. It's "my thing."( I can go when the price low.... meaning I am very budget conscious and just want to get the best value I can for my money. If I can find 5 star travel experiences and pay 2 star price, just by being flexible with dates and/or using points then I feel like a winner.) But, just for the sake of a little amusement on my night off, let's pretend money is no object.

I've spun the calendar and landed on Sunday, December 6th. It's not a holiday or anything, so the prices should be pretty average.  Let's see what it would cost to stay a Sunday night in a variety of fancy hotels around the world.

1. Plaza Hotel (Fairmont Chain) New York City.

2. The Langham Hotel in Chicago, Illinois  
(Only USA Hotel on Trip Advisor's Top 25 Luxury Hotel List) 

3. Trump Hotel, Toronto Canada

4. Four Seasons Hotel, Paris France

5. Bellagio Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Nevada

Shown in US dollars

6. Park Hyatt, Sydney Harbour Australia

Blue Jays Trip Contest

Great contest! Open to Canadians. Just 3 days left to enter, today and Tuesdays September 1st & 8th. 

Here's the link to all the rules & how to enter.