As the winter rolls in, I start to feel my itch for travelling again. I love taking mini trips to quaint destinations, whether it is warm or cold outside. In the last two years I’ve enjoyed short trips to Port Colbourne, Niagara-On-The-Lake, St. Jacobs, Collingwood, Montreal and Wasaga Beach to name a few!
I obviously find a lot of pleasure in planning anything… and trips are at the top of the list! I’m starting a new mini series for how to plan an awesome trip, walking through the steps I would take to plan on my own trips. Note that when I travel, I consider myself more of a budget/local/experiential traveller than someone who seeks luxury experiences, so know that this will taint the kind of tips I will give.
Getting a good deal on accommodations
Anyone can book a simple hotel room at regular rates, but did you know there are other options? These are some of my favourites when I am looking to travel to a nearby destination:
Bed and Breakfasts:
Emerald Falls B&B in Niagara Falls. My friends and I booked the whole place for a bachelorette and it was like having our own private house! Best part was the great breakfast we woke up to.
B&B’s usually involve booking a room within the building/house and having a host who serves you a scrumptious homemade breakfast. A unique part of this is that if there are other travellers staying at the same place, you will likely eat together. It is a much more personal experience, allowing you to interact with others in a home setting. Sometimes if you are travelling in a group you may find a B&B that has enough rooms to accommodate everyone in the group, so you all stay in the same house (like the photo above).
My favourite place to check out B&B listings is http://www.bedandbreakfast.com as I like to take advantage of their “hot deals” and discounts throughout the year.
Rented this entire apartment in Montreal from Airbnb for $70 a night!
Newer to the accommodations scene is a site called http://www.airbnb.com. It is a site that helps you find vacation rentals, private rooms and sublets in the city you are travelling to. You can even find a couch to sleep on if you wanted something real cheap. You don’t have to be an established bed and breakfast or hotel to rent your space out, so you can find some really interest and unique spaces.
This year, they implemented a number of great safety and security features for both hosts and guests, showing their commitment to what they do. For example, money is transferred through the airbnb site, and the host receives payment only after a successful stay.
On my second trip to Montreal last winter, I stayed at a private apartment suite (kitchen, living room, 2BR!) for just $70 a night! It was like I had my own place, it was really awesome. This is a very economical option if you are travelling with a few people and looking for a place where everyone can live together. Also it is a great way to find a home-away-from-home, allowing you to cook your own meals if you wanted to and go in and out as you please.
One of my successful bids from “Name Your Own Price” on Priceline on another trip to Montreal. It was likely $50-60 a night, which is pretty sweet!
If you opt for a hotel, consider using http://www.priceline.com to find a hotel at a discounted rate. With the “Name Your Own Price” feature, you get a chance to bid on hotel rooms usually with 40-60% off the regular price. Similar to Hotwire, hotels stay anonymous until you successfully bid and buy it, so there is a bit of risk in that you don’t know exactly what you will get.
However you choose the general area it is located in, the star rating and how much you are willing to pay. Also http://www.betterbidding.com will give you a glimpse of successful bids in the same city/area from other users, so you can get an idea of what hotels are available for the bidding and what they paid for successful bids. If you aren’t too picky about the hotel specifics, this is a great way to get a deal on a room.
Rebecca Chan is a Toronto wedding planner and day of wedding coordinator providing sophisticated planning for the style-savvy couple. Whether you need planning assistance or wedding day coordination, Rebecca can help you create your dream wedding day. Contact her today, she'd love to hear from you.