Save Money - Book your vacation online
Each year I am amazed on the amount of people who are unaware of the savings that can be found by researching your vacation online and booking online through a reputable provider such as i travel 2000, redtag, expedia, or sell off vacations.
As a Canadian I like to escape our cold winter at least once a year. I have traveled throughout the United States, Mexico, Central America, and multiple Caribbean Islands. For every one of my trips, as a single person and now a family, I have booked everything online and not only found a great deal but also had a great time. This article will provide information on the online travel booking sites I have used and also provide links to travel review sites.
I decided to share this information as my friends and colleagues ask me for assistance every year on helping them not only find a good deal but a good location.
If anyone else has any further recommendations on deal sites or vacation review site please add them in the comments.
Where do I start?
First, I always recommend narrowing down where you think you would like to go before looking. For my family we ask ourselves the following questions:
- What type of trip are we looking for?
- Are we looking to have a worry free week?
- What is our budget? or What price would I be happy paying?
The answer to these questions help us determine if we are looking for a relaxing trip on a beach somewhere hot, the resort star rating we prefer, and one of the more important factors being budget.
Travel Websites I use
Once I have my answers to the above questions I then begin my search approx. 8 weeks before my trip.
For example, I am currently planning a family trip to Mexico departing January 2012. I have been reviewing the following sites for deals and typically end up booking approx. 3-4 weeks prior to departure date.
Overall, I have been impressed with itravel2000.com and have booked vacations with them on 4 occasions. I find the website is well setup allowing you to really narrow down where you would like to travel to, star rating, budget, and additional info such as all inclusive and beach front. The checkout process is smooth and everything is emailed promptly.
Price Protection Offer
They tend to offer a 'Price Protection' with majority of their vacations, meaning if the price lowers they will give you some money back. This is a bonus if you book more than 4 weeks in advance and have time to keep checking to see if your vacation package is now less expensive. I always recommend you read the fine print to really understand what is being offered and the conditions.
This would be the second site I refer to and really use them for price matching purposes. In my exprience I found a better price on their site on 3 occasions and booked with them once and had no issues. The reason why I did not book with them the other 2 occasions is because another travel site was willing to match it and had additional offers such as free future travel vouchers, free petro canada gas points, or even a free camera.
Once again the site is organzied and provides many features that allow you to focus in on exactly what your looking for.
They are another reputable Canadian online travel site that basically offers the same pricing as the 2 above but will include some type of electronic, future travel voucher. Right now they are offering a free Flip Video Camera with bookings.
I have booked with them once and had no issues. They even provided me with a $50 per person future travel voucher that for some reason I never had they opportunity to use.
I have to admit that I do not use expedia a whole lot for pre-packaged vacations. I personally find them great for booking rental cars or hotels. That being said it is yet another resource that you can conduct a price match to ensure you are getting the lowest rate.
Here is a listing of sites I use to review destinations and resorts I'm interested in.
Debbies Caribbean Resort Reviews
Debbies Caribbean Resort Reviews - Mexico Hotels