travel

October 23

Air Canada: Seat Sale for 15% off 2 Days Only

Posted by on October 23, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Air Canada: Seat Sale for 15% off 2 Days Only

There is a pretty awesome deal happening right now at Air Canada for just two days only.  Save 15% on select flights with Air Canada, Air Canada Express or Air Canada rouge.

There are a variety of flights you can get the 15% off and this will definitely help with all of those extra fees now being issued with airlines.

This deal includes Canadian destinations, US, and international destinations and they are all 15% off without even needing a coupon code. I live in Calgary and I have family all over the US and Canada and even some family in the Caribbean so when I saw that it applies to pretty much anywhere Air Canada flies, I was excited immediately.

All of the prices listed online are one way fares. I have listed a few examples so you can get an idea of some of the great prices.

  • Calgary to Vancouver now $167
  • Toronto to Moncton now $157
  • Toronto to Quebec City now $169
  • Toronto to Boston now $163
  • Winnipeg to New York now $241
  • Toronto to Pairs now $766

As you can see, there are some pretty great deal to grab right now.

Something to keep in mind is that Air Canada is now charging a fee for all baggage.  They announced this the day after Westjet did with the fees varying on where you are headed.  Within Canada and some US destinations, the fee is $20 per bag.  Some US destinations are $25 a bag and international destinations are now up to $100 per bag depending on the country.

Most of the time, Air Canada lists blackout dates and dates of travel for when the deal is valid.  For some reason, they have not done that with this sale, which is a little disappointing since they seem to always have some kind of blackout dates. You may just have to play around to see if your travels will work with this 15% discount.

This is all of the information we know for this sale and as an avid traveller myself with a family of four, I know how awesome that 15% discount will be per ticket. This is especially true during the holidays!

Happy traveling Moosers!

(Image credit to Aero Icarus)

(Expiry: 24th October 2014)

Moose Rating (4 votes)
October 17

How to Make Money Using Airbnb

Posted by on October 17, 2014 at 8:00 PM

How to Make Money Using Airbnb

Airbnb has hit the world by storm and has quickly become one of the most common ways people use to stay in another city or country. With hotel costs becoming more and more expensive and without having access to a kitchen while you are in a hotel, living in someone else’s apartment or suite or even spare room makes much more sense.

Airbnb is in over 190 countries around the world.  While I have not used Airbnb yet I definitely plan to in the near future.  As an Airbnb host, you can choose how much to rent your place out and when.  For a great run down of what Airbnb actually is (the online rental marketplace), check out this great Investopedia post.

What are  the Costs?

The costs to the host are minimal (technically).  Airbnb charges you a 3% fee once the reservation goes through.  The traveler, on the other hand, has to pay a 6-12% fee on top of what you charge as a host for their reservation.

Some other costs include property damage.  While no one wants to think about this, it can be a reality.  You add a security deposit to each booking and Airbnb covers damages up to $1,000,000 but it is a good idea to read the fine print on Airbnb to see what is covered or not.

Also, before you list your place, it is a good idea to look at the laws and jurisdiction in your community to make sure you are allowed to rent out your place, as you may need to apply for a business license from your city in many cases.

Here are some ways in which you can pimp out your pad and market your listing to make sure people want to stay at your place:

Take Advantage of the Professionals

Airbnb offers a professional photographer to come to your place in most cities.  The process is simple but you need to be present with the photographer during daylight hours.  The process is really free.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words and it’s especially important when you are considering listing your place out on Airbnb.

Response to Requests ASAP

According to Smart Cookies, one way in which you can be profitable and successful with your Airbnb listing is to ensure that your response rate is high.  Respond to requests within 24 hours because a lot of the travelers booking on Airbnb are last minute travelers and you don’t want to miss their booking request.  Your response rate is listed and shown on your Airbnb host page.  This is something that you can easily control and manage, and there are no reasons why this should not be followed up on.

Include the Little Things

Little things turn into big things as we know.  The little touches, like towels included, coffee and tea amenities, and WIFI (actually that is a big thing because WIFI these days is seen as a necessity and not a ‘perk’) are going to give you big bang for your buck.  Even parking can be expensive and people want to know that they can park their car hassle free, especially in big cities when parking is a pain to get.

Feedback is Key

Forbes has a great article on “Seven Tips to Make Bank on Airbnb” and one of them is to make sure you get verified, which means getting feedback and reviews.  When someone is searching for a place to stay, it is hard for them to trust you when you don’t have any feedback.  People want to know they are staying at a reliable place that other travelers felt were reliable too.  That’s why some websites like Tripadvisor do so well.  Basically this is like Tripadvisor within Airbnb already embedded.  You want to make sure people like your place and want to write a good comment.

There you have it, hopefully these tips help you with your Airbnb listing or at least inspire you to think about getting on the Airbnb bandwagon.  If you need a little push, use this coupon code from Bargainmoose to get $25 Airbnb credit just for signing up!

Bargainmoosers, have you tried using Airbnb or tried renting out your space with Airbnb?  What have been your experiences?

Photo credit: Matthew Trentacoste

Moose Rating (1 votes)
September 9

Disney World: Free Dining Plans With Magic Your Way Package

Posted by on September 9, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Disney World: Free Dining Plans With Magic Your Way PackageThis deal couldn’t come at a better time for me as I’m on the search for an affordable family vacation over the winter to give as a Christmas gift. You do have to travel by December 23rd, but I know that is doable for us, so this is perfect. Bascially you’ll book your hotel and theme park tickets (Magic Your Way package) and you’ll get a free dining plan based on your level of accommodations.

Basically, you need to book a 6 day/7 night package at regular price and you’ll get your dining plan free. If you choose a value resort, you’ll get the quick service dining plan. If you choose a moderate resort hotel, deluxe resort hotel or deluxe villa resort hotel you’ll get the regular dining plan free. There are a few differences between the plans.

The regular plan gives you one quick service meal, one snack and one table service meal per day. It sounds like its up to you to decide when you want to sit down and have a meal and when you want to do something quick. I know with my kids, middle of the day is a much better time to sit down and eat as once they get tired, keeping them wrangled up does not work.

If you are a family who doesn’t enjoy any sit-down meals with your kids, or you want to save some money, the quick service option could be for you. Getting a value resort with the quick service dining option would definitely be your most cost-effective way of seeing Disney. It includes two quick service meals and one snack per day. It sounds like you get the same amount of food with both plans.

I love travelling a the beginning of December as the weather isn’t too horrible yet and I find it isn’t a time when a lot of people go away because they are too worried about getting ready for the holidays.

Not having to worry about paying for your food while you are riding rides, watching shows and generally just having a blast with your family is seriously priceless. I had considered renting a house while visiting Disney but do I really want to clean up after everyone and make them all dinner and breakfast each day on my holidays? Doesn’t sound fun.

(expiry: 12th September 2014)

Photo credit: Tom Bricker

Moose Rating (1 votes)
July 27

WestJet Canada: Seat Sale, Today Only

Posted by on July 27, 2014 at 2:00 PM

WestJet Canada: Seat Sale, Today Only

If you are like me and have family living in different provinces, you may be on the hunt for a good seat sale.  Right now at WestJet Canada, they have a seat sale happening with flight deals within Canada.

To get these deals, you must book by the end of the day today and travel between September 2nd 2014 until February 10th 2015. Naturally, there are some black out dates with this sale, as follows: October 9th to 14th, 2014 and December 16th, 2014 to January 5th, 2015.  Basically, they are during the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Here is a look at some of the seat sale prices you will see:

  • Victoria to Calgary $161.83
  • Toronto to Moncton $157.21
  • Vancouver to Prince George $146.08
  • Regina to Calgary $161.83
  • Calgary to Kelowna $134.53
  • Toronto to Quebec City $152.69

There are no coupons to get any of these deals, and there will be extra taxes and fees charged on top just like any ticket would have. All of the fares posted above are based on a one way ticket. I also love the fact that all of the major airports and cities are included with this deal. A lot of the time, deals like this will just be for select flights from the huge airports such as Toronto. Having such a better selection is a big bonus for traveling.

I love sales like this because normally, the seat sales are for outside of Canada.  I have never figured out why we get charged more to fly inside of Canada than outside.

This is the perfect opportunity to grab a ticket for a low price to make a visit to see friends and family.  I actually have family in two different provinces, so the only way my family of four can travel by plane is with a seat sale like this one. If you figure you are saving even $100 per ticket, that is $400 each way for a family of four being saved.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

(Image credit to Doug)

(Expiry: 27th July 2104)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
July 25

Atlantis Summer Sale: Rates From $99 + Airfare & Meal Credits

Posted by on July 25, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Atlantis Summer Sale: Rates From $99 + Airfare & Meal Credits

Atlantis is having a summer sale that ends today, with really hot deals that will have you wanting to travel there now.

Atlantis is on my travel bucket list as a place I want to take my kids. If I had the money in the bank today, I would be booking a trip there for us for the fall. I’ve been to Paradise Island in the Bahamas and walked some of the grounds at Atlantis, and it is absolutely amazing. While it isn’t a traditional all-inclusive (and honestly, the food is quite expensive especially since you are paying for every meal) I’m going to say it is worth it.

There are two deals; one is for traveling this summer and one is for travel in the fall. The summer sale includes rates for the last week of August at $99 a night and for the rest of July and August at $179 a night. The fall sale has rates from September to December at only $99 a night! There are some blackout dates, but not many. This is for staying in the Beach Tower, and for double occupancy, so I’m going to assume if you add kids, the charges will be a little more.

On top of those great rates, you’ll also get $200 instant airfare credit when your stay is four nights or more. When I went to the Bahamas, I paid for my flight separate and it was only $300 each. This means if you can find flight deals like this, for two people you’ll be paying $400 for flights and $400 for four nights accommodation. For $800 you’ll get there and stay, which is pretty amazing.

It doesn’t stop there. There is also a free wine and dine pass with $150 in free food at the various restaurants at Atlantis. I really want to try Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill! You’ll also get free unlimited water park access, which is about $139 per person per day and quite the savings. You could literally just go for the $800, spend all your time in the waterpark, get your free food, and spend another few hundred on more food and make this a vacation costing less than $1500 for two people.

(Expiry: 25th July 2014)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
July 16

Lonely Planet Promo Code: 50% Off Everything

Posted by on July 16, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Lonely Planet Promo Code: 50% Off Everything

Do you have travel plans in the near future, or are you constantly planning that dream vacation in your head?  I’ve found a juicy promo code to help you with your plans, real or imaginary, with 50% off everything at Lonely Planet.  They are calling this code a secret, but we’re letting the cat out of the bag.

Click here to shop @ LonelyPlanet.com now

  • Coupon Code: LPSECRET
  • Discount: 50% off
  • Expiry: 18th July 2014

I am currently planning a few trips, both real and imaginary.  We are going to go back to New York City in the fall.  The last time we visited (the first trip there for both of us), we had a whirlwind 36 or so hours in the city.  We saw some of the bigger sites like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre, and Times Square.  We did find ourselves a little overwhelmed and slightly lost from time to time.  I found this great deal on the City Box Set Limited Edition (USD$30.00 with coupon offer, reg. $59.99) which includes city guides for Paris, London and New York City.  Paris and London are high on my travel wish list, so this deal will help me out in the present and future.

Another cool resource I found is the Cycling in France Guide.  You can choose from the book (USD$12.50, reg. $24.99), eBook (USD$8.74, reg. $24.99) or you can purchase PDF copies of individual chapters (USD$2.48, reg. $4.95).  A little secret of my own is that I’m hoping my boyfriend will pop the question one of these days, and I’m hoping for a glorious honeymoon in Europe, with a strong focus in France.  I am a lover of all things wine, and my boyfriend is an avid cyclist.  I figure we can both be really, really happy with a honeymoon spent cycling the French countryside with some stops at Chateaux to sample wine along the way.

We recently blogged about another sale at Lonely Planet, you can check that out here to see what Eva had to say about Lonely Planet’s print and digital guidebooks.

Lonely Planet offers free shipping on orders over US$40.  I found that my order was still free as long as the original price was over $40, even if the coupon brought it under that.

Check back to Bargainmoose forums for more Lonely Planet coupons anytime!

Moose Rating (1 votes)
July 9

Expedia Canada: 3-Night Getaways For $249 Or Less

Posted by on July 9, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Expedia Canada: 3 Night Getaways For $249 Or Less

Do you have big travel plans this summer?  Need some help figuring out where to go and/or where to lay your weary travelling head?  Look no further than Expedia.ca for 3-night getaways for $249 or less.

Choose from a long list of destinations, both within Canada and abroad for anywhere from this week to five weeks from now.  Some of the more popular destinations available within this promotion are Las Vegas, Orlando, Niagara Falls and Paris, so there is a deal to please every kind of traveller.

Has a summer girl’s trip been on your mind?  Check out this deal:  Save 45% from August 8th to August 11th at the Silver Sevens Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  The 3-night hotel deal is only $93!  This hotel is reviewed at 3.7 out of 5 or 87%.  Stay about a mile off the strip at this hotel with a 2-level casino, a bingo parlour, outdoor pool and 2 on-site restaurants.

Thinking of taking the family to Niagara Falls, but want to do it on the cheap?    You can save 10% at Niagara Lodge & Suites  with a 3-night deal for $240.  Now I’ll be honest, this isn’t the prettiest hotel I’ve seen, but I know when I go to Niagara Falls, we are very busy seeing all the sights both in the falls area as well as Niagara-on-the-Lake, so we are just in the hotel for sleep.  I prefer to keep my accommodation costs low in Niagara Falls so that I can spend a little more enjoying all the attractions, so this deal helps with that.

If you have some frequent flyer miles burning a hole in your pocket, maybe you would like to check out the 3-night deals in New York or Paris!  There are some good deals to California as well.  I don’t know when these 3-night deals from Expedia.ca will end, so I suggest booking asap.

(Expiry: Unknown)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
June 7

How To Save Money On Your Summer Road Trip

Posted by on June 7, 2014 at 8:00 PM

How To Save Money On Your Summer Road Trip

Summer is the time for cruising. If you can, you put the top down or open the sunroof and the windows, blare the music and hit the open road. Destination: Who knows? Well, that type of attitude could be costly and in the end, wasteful. If you love taking fun summer road trips as I do, have a read of this article on how you can do it without ending up at the side of the road with your thumb in the air.

Plan Your Trip

As I always say, planning saves you money. Plan where you are going, what the fastest route is and the one with the least amount of traffic. Sitting in traffic costs you needless dollars and isn’t really part of your free-wheeling plan, I’m sure. If you want to stop at various places along the way, ensure you plan your trip to drive the least distance. Find out when the attractions you want to see are open, so you don’t pass them and have to come back to them later. Make a detailed scheduled of all stops along the way. Planning Fun Road Trips has a super handy calculator to find out all of the costs of your trip.

Save on Gas

With any road trip, gasoline costs are probably one of the biggest expenses. Gas is just insanely expensive right now so every dollar you can save makes a difference. This article from CNBC tells you how to save money on gas costs, and these include using a gas app to find the cheapest gas, filling your tank mid-week and parking in the shade.

Pack your Food

Drive-thru’s along the way are costly, and most of the time, regrettable. Every time I’ve gone through a drive-thru at McDonalds or some other fast food along the way on a road trip, I always feel crappy afterwards and eat too much of something I wouldn’t have normally eaten if it wasn’t so convenient. Pack some snacks and even meals and put them in a cooler in your back seat, even within reach of the driver. If you want to stop and have something, find a rest area or picnic area along the way, preferably with a washroom so you can do that too. Also, don’t feel like you have to buy something at a restaurant just because you stopped there to pee. That is just needless spending. How Stuff Works has a great list of 10 best snacks for a road trip.

Where to Stay

If your road trip is going to comprise a night or a few nights, you will need somewhere to sleep. The most economical way of doing a drive overnight is having a second driver so you don’t have to pay to sleep anywhere. Other than this, camping is your best bet. But, camping is only the best option if you already have the equipment. Buying everything you need for a camping trip, plus your campsite costs can add up to more than the cost of a hotel. Staying in a hotel can be an economical option if you plan ahead and book online, find coupon codes or budget motels along the way.

Need ideas on where to go? Check out Trail Canada for ideas on frugal road trips within Canada.

Bargainmoosers, what are your money-saving tips for road trips?

(Photo Credit: James Wheeler)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
June 2

Saving Money at Disney World

Posted by on June 2, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Saving Money at Disney World

The Robinson family is planning our first ever trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.   We are taking our kids at some point over the next 10 months.  We know for sure we’re going to fly there vs. drive and we want to take in a few days at the Disney parks.   Beyond that we’re not sure about any other details:  what to see, how to organize our days to get the best bang for our buck at Disney, when to go, etc.  There is a lot to think about, and considering the amount of money we will be spending, we want to ensure that it is an excellent trip.   We have had a lot of luck travelling lately, and I think it’s because of the time we have put in, up front, with planning every detail of our trips.  For some reason all of my friends who have been to Disney have VERY strong opinions on everything: where to eat, where to stay, what to do, when to go.   Honestly, I am very overwhelmed with the enormity of information available, and the varied opinions that people have.   Clare Yeh, another writer extraordinaire at Bargainmoose, wrote an article recently about  4 ways to save money at Disneyland, and her tips are excellent.  Given that our trip will be to Disney World, there are some differences to consider.

Stay on a Disney resort or off-site

The first thing we need to decide is whether we are going to say on a Disney World resort or rent accommodations elsewhere.   90% of my friends who have done Disney stay at a Disney resort, so that is clearly a popular route to take.  We are taking Clare’s advice and are going during the low season: likely November.  For us, the potential savings we can realize by travelling in the off-season far outweigh the allure of travelling to a hot location when it’s icey cold in Canada.  We have never stayed in a hotel overnight with our kids, so this is something that is nerve-racking for us, hence the reason we haven’t travelled with them thus far.  Staying at a rental house (ideally with a pool!) is an attractive option since we can all have our own space, privacy, and we’ll be able to cook our own meals if we wish.  Given that my husband is the best cook ever (and he loves it), we definitely plan to cook a lot of our own meals.  We are food snobs, and we don’t enjoy most food at restaurants.   Conversely, I have heard absolutely wonderful things about the Disney resort experience, from the customer service to the pools.

Price comparison between Disney resorts or staying off-site

Given that we are going on the low season, how do the prices match up?  For comparison’s sake, let’s look at the week of November 16.  According to About.com, Disney is offering a free dining plan for that week.  On DisneyWorld.com, the cost for a 6 night, 7 day package which includes park passes for 7 days, a Disney dining plan, hotel room and transportation to the parks, the total cost for the 4 of us is $2841.82.

According to TripAdvisor, there are thousands of house rental options for that week.  You can do a search based on your exact preferences.  For us, we want a house that has a private pool, grill, enough bedrooms for us all, and close to Disney World.  We narrowed down our options to 4 houses, and they are all around $1000 per week.  In addition, we will have to rent a car for the week, which would cost us around $300.  We are getting our Disney park tickets for $265 for all four of us, (see below for more information on how we scored such an amazing deal on our tickets).  Food costs for the week for the four of us for food we will probably be around $500 in groceries and meals out.  In total, our costs to stay off-site will be around $2065.  Note that if we had to buy our tickets we would need to add on an additional $1300 or so, for a total of around $3365.  Also note that our price to stay off-site is for 7 nights and 8 days versus the 6 night 7 day Disney package.  We will have to pay for our flights regardless of whether we stay at a Disney resort or at a rented house, so I didn’t include that cost in my calculation.  The daily rate for our family to stay at a Disney moderate-priced resort is approximately $473.64.  The daily rate for our family to stay off-site is approximately $295.  If you factor in the Disney ticket costs, the price is actually about the same.  I’m really surprised by this.  Note that there are varied types of Disney hotels, value, moderate and deluxe, and their prices reflect their different offerings.

Save money on Disney tickets

I discovered about a year ago that you can redeem Air Miles for Disney park tickets.  I have been saving my miles ever since, and I now have enough for 2 children’s 5 day passes, and 1 adult 5 day pass which will cost me about 7200 Air Miles.   My kids’ preschool has an annual Fun Fair and silent auction and the past 2 years they have had 4 single admission park tickets which were donated by Disney.  Tickets regularly cost around $100 per ticket, so our goal this year was to bid up to $400, since the money was going to the school anyway.  We were very fortunate and bought the tickets for $265, which is a total steal.  Generally you cannot get deals on park tickets other than through a website called UndercoverTourist, which offers a small discount on Disney prices.  If you plan your trip in advance, it’s worth purchasing your tickets through them.  They also have some really informative links on their site about the park, busy times et cetera.

In addition to the above measures, we are going to ensure that we plan all our Disney days in advance so we can optimize our time at the parks. This Babycenter article is a great place to start the planning process, with some good half day agendas.  I have to admit that I was more than a little apprehensive about this trip before I started doing research, but now that we have a good plan shaping up, I’m actually starting to get excited about it.  The thought of my girls meeting Cinderella in person is pretty exciting.

Bargainmoosers, what are your best tips to save money at Disney World?

Photo credit: Emilio Dellepiane

Moose Rating (3 votes)
May 29

Travel Zoo Canada: $29 Off Per Adult For A Niagara Falls Helicopter Tour

Posted by on May 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Travel Zoo Canada: $29 Off Per Adult For A Niagara Falls Helicopter Tour

If you are heading to Niagara Falls anytime soon and looking for something fun and unique to do, consider taking a helicopter site seeing tour. Imagine seeing the falls from above, where most people don’t get to see them! If you thought the price was too steep for your budget, how about saving $29 off each person with Travel Zoo’s printable coupon? Instead of spending $137 per adult, you’ll pay only $108 for this once in a lifetime experience.

I think this deal would be amazing for a number of reasons. I’ve lived in Ontario my whole life and seen the falls probably 30 times, but I’ve never seen it from a helicopter and have always wanted to. My husband and I often go there for a quick getaway together, and this would be something so fun to surprise him with. Just my husband and I would save $58. If you have out-of-town visitors, what better way to impress them than a ride in a helicopter over Niagara Falls? A proposal inside of the Niagara helicopter would also be truly unforgettable. What if you had a bunch of your friends standing beside the falls holding Will You Marry Me signs?

Looking at the Niagara Helicopters site, I see that the flight is only 12 minutes long but takes you over the whirlpools, over all of the Falls and even dips down a bit to see the falls from the front, where you really can’t see them except from an aviation vehicle. It then flies over the city and lands, giving you ample opportunity to snap lots of amazing photos.

Check for more Travel Zoo coupons in our forum, we might be able to save you a ton of money on your next trip!

(Expiry: 31st March 2015)

Moose Rating (1 votes)
May 29

Air Canada Promo Code: 20% Off Flights To Honolulu

Posted by on May 29, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Air Canada Promo Code: 20% Off Flights To Honolulu

Want to head to Hawaii this winter? Air Canada is giving you another reason to go, which is this fantastic promo code for 20% off your flight from anywhere in Canada to Honolulu.

Click here to book your dream trip @ Aircanada.com now

  • Coupon Code: ALOHAROUGE
  • Discount: 20% off
  • Expiry: 10th June 2014

If there is somewhere I’d love to visit, it is Hawaii. If it is good enough for Oprah, it is good enough for me. Typically though, flights are mega-expensive because it is so far away, especially since I’m on the eastern side of Canada. Imagine my shock when I did a test flight and it was less than $400 from Toronto to Honolulu! And this is even including all taxes and surcharges, which usually kills the cheap price of the flight. With this new information, I might skip the heading to Florida that I was planning this Winter and hit up Hawaii instead. There is a layover in Vancouver, but I’ve never been there before either and it would be cool to try and get a long layover along the way.

Travel has to occur from November 21st, 2014 to April 30th, 2015, which is exactly when you’d probably want to get out of Canada. There is a maximum of nine people per booking, which works for me!

Just for fun, I checked on the Toronto price for the week of Christmas and flights were as low as $600, so if you really want to get your family something awesome for Christmas, check out this deal.

As always, Air Canada coupon codes are located in our forum, so if this deal doesn’t spark your fancy, see what else might do it.

Photo credit: Justin Ornellas

Moose Rating (2 votes)
May 28

Air Canada Coupon Code: 15% Off select flights within Canada

Posted by on May 28, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Air Canada Coupon Code: 15% Off select flights within Canada

Air Canada is offering 15% off select flights across Canada when you book today or tomorrow.

Click here to book your next flight @ Aircanada.com now

  • Coupon Code: TOGETHER
  • Discount: 15% off
  • Expiry: 29th May 2014

This coupon is for routes within Canada excluding the following routes:

  • Toronto city’s airport – Montreal
  • Toronto Pearson – Montreal
  • Toronto Pearson – Ottawa
  • Toronto Pearson – Thunder Bay, ON
  • Toronto Pearson – Timmins, ON
  • Calgary – Cranbrook, B.C.

This coupon is valid for tango fares booked on Air Canada, Air Canada Express, and Sky Regional Inc. flights. With this coupon, you can actually travel between the 2nd of June 2014 all the way to the 10th of February 2015. However, there these blackout dates apply: October 10 to October 13, 2014 and December 18, 2014 to January 13, 2015.

Sometime within the next ten months, we are planning on visiting my husband’s brothers in Hamilton. Usually it is better timing flight-wise (and often cheaper) to fly into Toronto Pearson rather than try to get a flight directly to Hamilton. Nanaimo weather can also be unpredictable and planes do not leave if the fog is too thick. So I think we would ferry across to Vancouver and depart from Vancouver. I checked out what a flight from Vancouver to Toronto is running these days, and I could pick up a round trip ticket for $587. If I was flexible with my dates, I am sure iI could do better.

As always, Air Canada coupon codes are located on our forum.

Moose Rating (1 votes)
May 23

How To Budget Your Summer Vacation

Posted by on May 23, 2014 at 8:00 PM

How To Budget Your Summer Vacation

With summer on its way, you may be stressing about what you’ll do for those two short (or long, depending on how you look at it) months while the kids are off. Many people take off somewhere fun – to another country or to cottage country – but many just stay home. Staying home can be the most frugal way to spend the summer, but knowing how kids are, they get bored within the first week. My first summer with the kids off school I spent a ton of money chauffeuring them around to expensive places in hopes of not losing my mind with “I’m bored” reverberating through my ears. That wasn’t a smart move and planning ahead can save everyone a ton of money. If you are getting away, there are ways to save too, with proper planning.

Getting the Money

Many people save a certain amount each month for their summer vacation. While this is a great strategy for next year, it won’t help you now. Figure out where you can cut costs this month and maybe the next few to get you money for your summer vacation. This could be not shopping any clothing sales, not putting away your retirement savings for a few months (not advised) or even eating budget meals for a few weeks. Consider where you can make extra money at work or selling stuff on Kijiji.

Make a Plan

It sounds so very simple but summer goes by so fast and before you know it, you’ve done nothing or you’ve spent too much. Decide as a family what you want to do the most. Let the kids choose one or two places they’d like to visit (i.e., the zoo, amusement park) and narrow down the money dwindling places to what is in your budget. This is of course, after you’ve decided on a spending budget for the summer. See what extra money you have available and when it is coming in so you can plan appropriately. After you’ve done this, prioritize items in what order you want to do them. You can number each activity from one to ten for example, knowing that the number one activity will be done for sure.

Write it on the Calendar

Once you know what activities you are going to do, schedule a date for each one, spacing them out so that you aren’t doing everything in one month and nothing in the other month. Have a rain date in mind as well. This also gives everyone something to look forward to and you know you’ll have the money allotted for this activity ahead of time.

Don’t Forget Hidden Costs

When you are planning your activities, factor in everything it will cost you. For example, heading to an amusement park isn’t just the admission cost. Don’t forget the parking, the food, the drinks and the souvenirs you might buy after listening to an hour of whining. Also, for any trip that might be out of your city, don’t forget to factor in the fuel costs. While you might think camping is cheap, there is a ton of equipment you might need, which could cancel out any potential savings. If you are travelling, don’t forget to budget airport packing, bag check fees, meals during travel and more.

Do It All At Once

While I said above you should space your activities out accordingly, there may be instances where this isn’t the best option. For example, if you live outside of the major city where the majority of the attractions you’ll be visiting is, you might be better to get a hotel and stay over and do them all in one week, rather than spending the fuel costs over and over. This is something you’ll have to balance out yourself. If Toronto is one of the cities you’ll be visiting, a CityPass is the best way to go to get the best value for your dollar on seeing all of the attractions. If you are getting out of the city to a cottage or somewhere farther away, booking two weeks instead of one could potentially save you a ton of money. If you are flying somewhere, an extra week added to your vacation is not that much more since the flight is paid no matter the duration of your vacation. If you are booking a cottage or hotel, often there are deals for an extra week or night that won’t cost you as much as the original booking.

See If Anyone Wants to Join

Sharing a summer rental with someone is a great way to get deluxe accommodations and not pay deluxe prices. Not only do you get friends to come along on your vacation, you can save money by having more people there. Many resorts will offer a group rate if there are a number of rooms booked and hotels will also offer a block of rooms at a discounted rate. Similarly, a cottage that houses 12 people isn’t much more expensive than one that houses six people, but the price isn’t usually double.

The best way to save money on any vacation is to plan ahead. Don’t just hope for the best and not expect to spend money! Bargainmoosers, how do you budget for your summer vacation?

(Photo credit: Faungg)

Moose Rating (1 votes)
May 13

7 Cheap Ways to Experience Vancouver Like a Local

Posted by on May 13, 2014 at 8:00 PM

7 Cheap Ways to Experience Vancouver Like a Local

In just a few days my husband and I will be flying back to Vancouver after a year away. Besides looking forward to visiting family and friends, I’m also really excited to experience Vancouver with a completely new perspective. Living there for 26 years, I left the city thinking I knew it like the back of my hand. Still, in those 26 years I never really played tourist in my own town. There were a number of amazing things about Vancouver that I took for granted, so this trip I’m going to make sure I soak up as much West Coast as I can for as little as I can.

1. Catch some rays at the beach

Having lived in Toronto for the past year, I’ve definitely missed being so close to the ocean and the amazing beaches Vancouver has to offer. That being said, I think the last two years that I lived in Vancouver I only visited the beach twice! This trip I’m going to make sure to soak up some rays at English Bay, Kitsilano, Jericho, or Spanish Banks Beach for absolutely free.

2. Get cultured at the Vancouver Art Gallery

Since Vancouver is known for its gloomy weather, I’ve got to be prepared in case my beach plans get rained out. Luckily there’s the Vancouver Art Gallery that never disappoints located in the heart of downtown. The best part is on Tuesdays they offer donate-what-you-can admission between 5pm – 9pm.

3. Tour around Granville Island

One of my favourite spots in Vancouver is Granville Island. Besides being a hub for playhouses and restaurants, it also has a number of great galleries and viewpoints you can check out for free. There are also some ferryboats that take off from the island, giving you an up close cruise around False Creek, which I’ve always wanted to go on but never got around to doing. Since I’ll be a playing a tourist on my trip, I don’t think I’ll mind paying $15 ($10 for seniors and children) for one of the best scenic tours around the city.

4. Taste test some local craft beer

Vancouver is known for its amazing craft beer, and yet when I lived there I never once went on a brewery tour. This time I’m gathering a group of friends to check out the Granville Island Brewery for only $9.75, and we might visit the Parallel 49 Brewing Company’s tasting room for a few free samples too.

5. Grab a cup of coffee

Besides craft beer, Vancouver also knows its coffee. Sure, you can find a Tim Horton’s or Starbucks on every corner, but the good stuff is hidden in places like JJ Bean, Caffe Artigiano, Elysian Coffee, and 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters. For just a couple of bucks, you can experience pure heaven in roasted bean form.

7. Dig into some delicious dishes

When it comes to food, you name it…Vancouver has it. I can’t wait to order some authentic Pad Thai from Bob Likes Thai Food or taste the mouth-watering crispy cauliflower at the Lebanese restaurant Nuba again. Of course, there are also a number of other great restaurants I’ve always wanted to try out too like the geek-themed hot spot Storm Crow Tavern, or Guilt & Co., the pub where you can nibble on a meat and cheese plate, play a game of Jenga, and enjoy a live jazz concert in the same night.

8. Go for a walk in the park

Stanley Park is by far Vancouver’s most popular park, and as beautiful as it is, there’s still one park above any other that I need to make a point of walking in on my upcoming visit. It used to be named Guelph Park but it now officially goes by the name Dude Chilling Park. If I do nothing else on my trip besides get a photo of myself with that park’s sign, it’ll all have been a very worthwhile trip.

Bargainmoosers, what are you best travel tips for visiting Vancouver on a budget? 

(Image credit: Ruth Hartnup)

Moose Rating (3 votes)
May 10

Driving The California Coast On a Budget

Posted by on May 10, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Driving The California Coast On a Budget

My dream travel trip was always to drive the California coast, and I finally did it last month. It is a trip I highly recommend to anyone as it is an unforgettable experience. If you read my San Francisco on a Budget article, you’ll know this is the ideal place to start your trip.

Drive the Central Coast

There are different areas all along the coast to drive, from north of San Francisco, the central coast and the south coast. I’ve only been to the central coast and the southern coast and while both have their features, the central coast was my favourite. I also think it is cheaper to stay along the central coast than it is in the south. The weather is warmer in the south, but if that is not important to you and money is, I’d suggest staying on the central coast. That said, not everywhere is cheaper.

Stay in Less Popular Areas

For example, while researching my trip, my original plan was to drive right from San Francisco to Los Angeles. However, when I was looking for a hotel in Santa Barbara, Santa Monica and those areas, they were quite a bit more expensive than the ones further up the coast. If you want to stay in Big Sur, expect to pay a big premium. I really wanted to stay at the Treebones Resort, which is basically glamping (luxurious camping) in yurts, but they were over $200 a night. Consider that this is cheap for Big Sur, as a stay in the Post Ranch Inn is well over $600 a night.

What we did was stay north of Monterey in Marina, which was cheaper than Monterey and Carmel, but close enough to enjoy it, and then stay in Pismo Beach, which is just on the other end of the coastal drive before you get into the more expensive areas. Both gave us access to go back up or down the coast as we wished without paying the premium prices for staying in the mountainous parts of the coast. Both hotels also had oceanfront access.

Drive Back to San Francisco

I priced out many options for driving all the way to L.A. and flying out from there, but they were all more expensive than driving back up. While car rental companies allowed you to drive just in one direction, there was a surcharge for this, which for us totaled a few hundred dollars more. Also, flying from a different airport home also seemed to be more expensive than flying from the one you landed at. San Francisco also seemed to be the cheaper airport to fly to.

Keep Your Parking Pass

When you visit the state parks and beaches along the coast, you have to pay a fee for parking, which was $10. Many people would park along the road and walk in, but I thought this was a dangerous option. The fee is also honourable, checked later by park ranger after you pay it. The great thing is that your parking pass will get you in to all the other parks and reserves for free for that day, which we weren’t aware of. So, your best plan to get the most of your money is to visit all the parks and reserves along the coast you can in one day.

Free Activities

You don’t really need to spend a ton of money to do things here. The scenery is so beautiful, all I wanted to do was see it. Spend your time exploring many of the trails you see along the way, savour the view at the many pull-outs along your drive, and definitely pull up a seat at the beach for one of the most gorgeous sunsets you’ll ever see. One attraction that I loved, which was absolutely free, was seeing all of the elephant seals relaxing on the beach, shedding their skins. There are docents who walk around and give you information about the elephant seals, which is very informative and as ours explained to us, the elephants seals were here to “relax and live off their blubber”. Nice life I say.

Eating

Eating is always one of my main concerns and definitely was during this trip. Since you’ll be driving a lot and there really aren’t any drive-thrus along the coast, you want to be prepared with snacks and even meals in your car. Stop at a local bakery and pick up some food for your drive as many of the restaurants (and there aren’t many) can be very expensive. We ate at Nepenthe, which was amazing, but spent over $100 on dinner, as lunch had just ended. If you do really want to eat there, their famous ambrosia burger is only $15.25 at lunch or dinner, so this is a great choice.

Souvenirs

Since I didn’t take my kids with me, I wanted to get them something at every stop. What I noticed with some of the souvenirs is that these items were available back home as well, so don’t be fooled into buying something so you could say it was from a shop along the Big Sur coast, when you can pay $20 less for it back home. Also, some of the souvenir stores will haggle a little, as we did for hoodies for the kids in Pismo Beach. I also bought my kids $1 pencils from a gift shop under the Nepenthe restaurant, while my first inclination was to spend much more. They appreciated the pencils as much as they would have anything I would have spent more on.

Gas and Car Rental

Since you’ll be driving this coast, gas and car rental charges are probably a big part of the budget. We tricked ourselves into believing we need a gorgeous car for the gorgeous drive, but in the end, we sat inside the car, so it didn’t really matter. I suggest getting a fuel-efficient vehicle that is on the smaller side. Our car had a large front end, so large, I was not comfortable driving it along those cliffs and my husband drove the whole trip. I also suggest getting your gas at the beginning and ending points of your trip as gas is said to be much more expensive along the coast. Gas in California is more expensive than the rest of the country, so be prepared for this.

Bargainmoosers, have you ever driven the California Coast and what was your favourite part? Any tips on a frugal trip?

Moose Rating (1 votes)