Happy New Year from Vagamos!
We spent most of the week planning and booking the second phase of the trip! Kevin’s brother and wife will be joining us for part of the trip – Los Angeles to New York and we needed to get that bit sorted pretty quickly and managed to do a fair bit on our week’s holiday on the coast.
So we’ve managed to stick to our budget of $100 (accommodation) per night per couple in most places. In the end we found that booking accommodation through sites like KAYAK or Expedia offered better deals than the hotels themselves (although we checked with the hotels also and recommend that you do too).
Some of the more interesting observations were:
- When booking our all Inclusive resort we checked with a number of websites/travel agencies. Flight Centre in Canada (Juliet to be precise) ended up having the best deal $1212 CAD per couple. Random? But with the Aussie dollar doing so well it pays to surf the US and Canadian websites for some great deals.
- Booking Las Vegas was fun…so much variety but massive price spike due to spring break. We tried the Venetian and MGM Grand (just because we’d heard some fascinating stories about their buffets) but weren’t that lucky to score deals! Maybe next time…. We ended up booking at a place called the Golden Nugget which to our surprise is the hotel with the massive waterside that goes through the shark tank! Pretty cool!
- We found a great deal at an Orlando hotel called the “Royale Parc Suites – A Quality Suites Hotel“. It’s a simple hotel with a pool but the perks they have will save us both time and money. They have a shuttle bus that takes you to all the theme parks including Disney World and Universal studios, both hot and cold breakfasts are included and there is free “Cocktail” hour (wine, beer and soft drinks) from 6pm – 7pm every night. Not too bad for $77 a night.
- Booking Rental cars was extremely interesting. We need a couple of cars for traveling LA > Las Vegas, New Orleans > Orlando and then Orlando > Miami. We found that the cost of renting these cars varied heavily on the times the car was picked up/dropped off and also on the number of locations we drove through. So, hiring a car from New Orleans > Miami ended up costing approximately $400 more than hiring 2 separate cars for pick up and drop off in the same location. Mainly due to the “one way fare” charged for dropping off in a different location to picking up. We managed to save this fare by dropping the car off in the same location. Bonus!
The times for picking up/dropping off were also a major factor in the price of car rentals. 2 hours before midday and after 5pm dropped the price considerably. Another factor to consider.
All in all, not a bad for a week worth of holidays! We still have New York to organise as part of Phase 2. Not to mention the pleasure of asking work for 5 months of unpaid leave…fingers crossed they come good.