Resources to find the best deals on Hotels, Flights and Vacation Packages
Links, tips and unbiased advice to help you find the best deal on your next vacation
The truth is, you'll find many alternatives for finding and purchasing accommodations, flights and vacation packages. The marketplace is constantly changing and, in the last few years, many smaller travel agencies have been bought by larger companies which, you may agree, could be a threat to competition and choice. Our goal is, and always will be, to help you find the best deal and save your precious cash for the fun stuff. With some of the companies listed below, we receive a commission if you make a purchase or booking or a small fee if we send them traffic. This in no way affects any of the advice we offer, or the price you pay and helps us maintain and expand this site.
When it comes to booking hotels it's getting harder to find good deals. Hotel rates have significantly outpaced the average rate of inflation over the last several years and there's not as much rate competition as one might think because many online travel agencies are now owned by one of the "Big Two" — Priceline Group and Expedia. That's why so many companies are offering the exact same rates on hotel rooms. Sometimes the hotel will have the best deal on their own website, but not always.
So just how can you be sure you're getting the best deal? We suggest you use our Hotelfinder to search with. It is convenient, independent of the big brands and searches 100s of sites to find you the best prices available for the dates of your stay.
Another alternative, rapidly growing in popularity, is short term vacation rentals. These range from a guest room in someone's house to a full apartment, townhouse or single family home. This type of accommodation is often more economical than staying in hotels. You'll get a $20 discount if you find and book one through Roomorama.
The following websites will help you research and find a great deal on accommodations anywhere in the world.
- Booking.com: The largest site in the Priceline Group, which also owns Agoda and Kayak.com. Booking.com offers the widest array of accommodations in a single site including apartments, resorts, villas, B&Bs and guest houses — over 800,000 properties. They offer good customer service and don't charge any additional fees for booking or cancellation. Some hotels may offer an extra good deal if you waive cancellation privileges, but this is disclosed before you book.
- Expedia: The world's largest OTA, Expedia also owns Hotels.com, HotelClub, Hotwire.com, Orbitz, Travelocity, Venere, LastMinute.com, ebookers, Trivago.
- Book It: This privately owned Booking Site based out of the US offers some great deals on vacation packages at many popular resorts and locations.
When searching for flights, the fact is, it's sometimes best to check some of the direct websites for airlines serving your route. You will also need to keep surcharges for various things like baggage, seat selection, cancellation fees in mind when comparing prices. For a fast search, try Google Flights. We also recommend FlightNetwork due to their Price Drop Protection and they are also good at finding the best available fares — sometimes better than Google. Both are listed below.
- Google Flights: Since purchasing ITA Software, Google Flights offer a fast flight search. It's particularly good for flights in North America, but the Flight Network sometimes finds a better deal.
- FlightNetwork: In our opinion, Canada's largest Online Travel Agency, FlightNetwork has the best flight search we have tested. Their Price Drop Protection lets you claim a credit towards future travel should your completed booking drop in price before check-in or departure. They also offer hotel bookings and vacation packages with Price Drop Protection. Some conditions apply.
Rail Travel is huge in Europe and there's no better source for information to plan and book your travel that Rail Europe, well known for their Eurail Passes.
- Rail Europe: If you are travelling in Europe by train, you'll find and book anything you need on Eurail at competitive rates. They always offer a variety of promotions and discounts on their website.
City Attraction Passes
If you visit enough paid attractions, a city pass will save you time and money. They offer access to a wide range of attractions for a single price. Most city attraction passes charge according to how long you want the pass valid for. Longer term passes are the better deal. With a shorter term (1 or 2 days) pass you may have a difficult time seeing enough attractions to offset the cost of the pass without feeling rushed.
What's the biggest advantages of a city pass? Well, there's nothing much worse than spending half your vacation standing in lineups, but with a city attraction pass you won't have to wait in a ticket lineup before entering most attractions. Some include a visitor guide, and many include coupons for discounts at shops and restaurants.
- Small Town Explorer: Do you like visiting small towns? Check out our other site — Small Town Explorer - a guide to small towns throughout Canada and the USA.