Most of November/December a great time for travel bargains N. America, Europe
Had a coffee today with Hotwire vice president Pierre-Etienne Chartier, and boy does this guy have an idea where to find travel bargains.
"Toronto prices are a bit high in November because of the Grey Cup," Chartier said, "but I've seen deals in the last couple days for five-star hotels in Vancouver (see photo) for less than $100 and four-star hotels for $89. Most of the next couple months are pretty open in Vancouver and Victoria, too, and most days you'll find great deals."
Montreal is a bit higher but Chartier said you can find four-star places on Hotwire for $105.
He's also seen great prices in Boston and Chicago, with Boston four-star properties listed at less than $100 and some in Chicago from $110 to $120.
In Orlando, you can find three-star places for $70 and four-star for $80, while Miami also is seeing some pretty good deals.
One of the secrets to bagging travel bargains is to book right after American Thanksgiving but before Christmas. Business travel drops considerably in that period, so properties will discount rooms by large amounts to get bums in the beds.
It helps not only in Canada and the U.S. but also in Mexico, where the lack of American travellers means more room for Canadians and often better deals.
Best news yet, if you can afford the air fare, is Europe.
The Canadian dollar is down a bit against the Euro but you still can get a Euro for about $1.27 Canadian, which is quite a lot below the $1.70 or more we were seeing a few years ago.
Chartier said room prices in several European cities are down more than 20 per cent from a year ago. Istanbul prices, he said, have fallen a remarkable 42 per cent in the last year. Prague prices have dropped 25 per cent and Dublin prices 23 per cent. Rome isn't down as much but a 16 per cent price drop still is pretty attractive.
"I saw the other day that you could book a four-star hotel in Brussels for $60, and it's a beautiful city," he said. "I've seen five-star Paris places for $172. I saw a four-star place in Madrid for $53."
Fifty three dollars? I pay more than that for a cab from Yonge and Lawrence to Pearson.
There are no dramatic trends in Canadian travel right now, but Chartier said folks in this country have stated a stronger intention to travel now than they were a few months ago. On the other hand, they don't have more money to spend so they're looking for bargains more than ever.
While hotel prices have fallen in some spots for this time of year, those prices likely will jump after New Years', especially in warm weather cities and destinations. Chartier also mentioned that air fares haven't increased so much lately, which is good news.
Hotwire research shows airfares in Canada actually are down about three per cent right now compared to this time last year, he said.
MORE TROUBLE FOR NEW YORK AREA
The latest storm to hit the New York City area has forced cancellations of some flights to the area. Air Canada has had a couple cancelled, while Porter had to cancel a few to Newark and one to Boston. WestJet also had to cancel a few flights today and one tomorrow from Toronto to New York LaGuardia.
As always, be sure to check your airline's website or check www.torontopearson.com for information on your flights.