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Friday, July 23, 2010

Vacationing Inexpensively!

Where would I be without friends? Recently my friend Heather taught me the way of Trip Central. Thanks Heather! Trip Central is a Canadian online travel company. The thing I like about it is that the prices you see include all taxes and charges! Also, they have a list of Agents for every place you want to go, that have actually travelled to that particular resort. They are registered with TICO.

All inclusive vacationing can be a great way to go hassle free! The rule of thumb is $100/day/person is a good deal. So a 7 day vacation with air, accommodations and food, should be around $700/person.

To your left you see the home page of Trip Central.(you can click on it to enlarge it). Use the drop down menu to choose your departure city. I have chosen Calgary as it is the hub, and therefore has some of the best deals.

Once there I clicked on Mexico. Once on this second screen you need to choose how long, meal plan and star rating from the list at the top. The home screen shows you the lowest prices, usually no meals included and all star ratings. I clicked on all meals and 4 stars(probably a good idea to do 4 or more in Mexico). Once I did that you can see on this screen it shows all the places in Mexico to go, plus their prices over a whole year's time. I chose to see what travel would be like in August by clicking on AUG at the top across from the word MEXICO.

This brought me to this screen. Here you can see all the departure dates and the prices. It seems Aug 7th is the best price at $678. So, I click on Peurto Vallarta.

This final screen shows a list of the rooms available. Run of the House means anywhere in the complex. Beachfront is self explanatory. At this point it's a good idea to click on one of the dates to your left and then click on Supplier Site so you can see the complex. We also went on google earth. Ask some friends where they have gone. Google reviews about the resort. Check out Trip Advisor, and talk with the agent who has been there! When I did some research I learned that the beachfront rooms can be so busy that they get run down. When I spoke with the agent she said that the beachfront rooms had just been renovated! When I compared resort to resort, I found that some have one a la carte(restaurant with service)meal per one week stay. This one has unlimited! I also learned from the agent that upon arrival it is a good idea to book all meals( a la carte meals)right away. I also learned that for women anything goes for dress code to the a la carte, but for shirt or button upon, long pants, and closed toe sandals only! There was no mention of a shuttle from the airport and this particular resort is 28kms from the airport. Again the agent informed me that all shuttles to and from are included. Another thing to look for are the sports that are or are not included. If this is important to you choose a resort that includes them. When you click on the Supplier's sit e you see that this resort has all non motorized sports free. you might also be interested in the programs for kids, check to see what's free. When you go forward with the booking you'll be given the option to purchase different programs for kids. A safe for your valuables(passport, ID, wallet) is usually an extra charge. The agent was able to tell me that it costs $2/day. She also advised me as to how she deals with her valuables while on holiday.

Finally, as you go to book your vacation, there comes the matter of insurance. Check with your work insurance policy as it usually will cover travel medical expenses. If not call your local credit union. The insurance that is offered is RBC on the Trip Central site, it also is very expensive. Check with your credit card as lots of them offer medical insurance for free as part of your benefits. When I called our credit union I found we could get covered for $1.98/person/day. Trip cancellation insurance is pricey and doesn't usually cover cancelling except for medical reasons. I am not an expert in any of this so be sure to do your own research to be sure you get whatever coverage you feel comfortable with.

Once you enter your passport info(be sure to enter it just as it is on the passport as changing it will cost you). and your credit card your vacation booking number will appear. Write it down. Shortly you will receive a confirmation email from Trip Central. A week before you go you will get your etickets emailed to you. Happy travelling!

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