10 April 2010

Wanderlust for Less!

The countdown is on until we leave for the Florida Keys!  I travelled a lot in my twenties and I still have a raging case of wanderlust.  But then I got into a relationship.  We bought a house.  We bought a dog.  We have bills.

But travelling is important to me so we planned ahead and researched to death and scrimped and saved to have a kick-butt yet affordable vacation.  7 glorious days tripping around the Florida Keys.  Here's a few tips for your future kicke-butt yet affordable vacation.

1.  Widen your flight search - Because we would be renting a car, I was able to search out of Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami to find the cheapest option.  I checked both the major discount sites (Expedia and Travelocity) but I also checked the individual airline sites for seat sales.  I grabbed the last couple of seats for a Winnipeg-Fort Lauderdale on WestJet for just $550 each, all taxes in.  Because we booked the flights back in January, we paid them off first.

2.  Think outside the hotel - I searched high and low for a decent, well priced hotel in the Keys.  I read all the 'user reviews' and checked all the specials.  It still seemed too expensive plus we would most likely have to pay parking fees on our rental car.  Ouch!  So I decided to go a different route.  On http://www.vacationrentals.com/, potential renters are linked up with private vacation homeowners looking to rent their secondary properties.  The site is huge and offers everthing from house to condo to cottage rentals from New York City to Dubai and everywhere in between.  You can search by location, price, # of rooms and much more.  We secured a condo mid-keys with a balcony overlooking the ocean.  It has a full kitchen, queen sized bed, and pool and tennis courts right in the complex.  Plus free parking for our rental car.  We were able to negotiate directly with the owner and scored a full week for just $775US including all taxes and cleaning fees.  What a deal plus we get to cut costs by making our own breakfasts and having a BBQ in the condo her and there.  My co-worker Florence even rented a studio in San Francisco for her anniversary trip in September!

3.  Open a US account - In order to send personalized cheques for our condo rental, I opened a US chequing account with my regular bank TD Canada Trust.  The fees were minimal and allowed me to send trackable, protected amounts of money to the condo owner.  We deposited savings into it every couple of weeks and watched the dollar move all the way up to par!  We saved the money order and Paypal fees while building up our vacation mad money.  We have over $800 saved so far!

Yes, that dream vacation is possible.  So do some research and start planning your getaway!

Written with love,


  1. Hey Lenore.

    Wow. This is like a little mini CBC special-interest piece. But I'm about as good with money as George Bush was with critical decision making, so I -- ahem -- have a question / thinly-veiled rationalization rebuttal.

    How much time did you take doing all that research? And, concurrently, what's your time worth on an hourly rate? If you multiply the hours by the time value, are you still way ahead of the game?

    Bon Voyage!!


    PS: Who knew it was hard to wave with your tongue in your cheek?

  2. Since I used my 'tv time' to do the research, I think I'm actually ahead of the game! But thanks for the poke!

  3. Here is one more website you can book flights to canada http://www.flightnetwork.com/


Thanks so much for stopping by, I love reading all your comments! If you have a specific question, please email me at lhume1@mts.net. XO Lenore