Author Archive

Priceline bidding tip…

Retail Price

Tanya and I are taking a trip to Las Vegas at the beginning of March, 2011. We are flying out of Great Falls, Montana on Allegiant Air.

Our flight leaves at 11am, so we decided to stay in Great Falls the night before. I started trying to bid on hotel rooms using Priceline.com and was unable to get a price accepted much below retail, so I gave up and reserved a room for $87 per night and forgot about it until today.

I logged into priceline and searched rooms in Great Falls. The usual results showed up with most of the rooms being around $95 per night. I put a bid in for a room at $51 for a 2 1/2 star hotel. To my surprise my bid was accepted for a 3 start hotel (Holiday Inn). This just shows how prices change from day to day. Three days ago, none of my bids were successful and today my much lower bid was accepted. I am sure I could have gotten an even lower price, but at the time I wasn’t expecting $51 to be accepted.

Holiday Inn Great Falls

When booking a hotel room it is a good idea to reserve a room at retail price, making sure it can be cancelled if need be. Since you now have a backup plan you can be patient and bid on Priceline to get the rate you want without worrying about beings stuck sleeping in your car. Many times you get the best deals the week before you need the room as hotels will sometimes lower their prices to fill the rooms at the last minute.

Cheap car rentals…

Family travel can get expensive with hotel, meals and car rentals, so it makes sense to save money where ever you can.  Here is a money saving tip anyone can take advantage of to save a few dollars when renting a car.

I tend to use Priceline for most of my travel bookings, but I have found that often you can get a better deal on car rentals using Hotwire.com.  I usually check the price listed on Hotwire and then go to Priceline and bid a few dollars lower and see what happens.  If my bid is rejected on Priceline I will book the car using Hotwire.

Click the link below for a quick video demonstrating how it’s done.

Video too small? Click Here

No escaping winter this trip…

All my hopes of the weather man being wrong about the weather in Tulsa have been dashed.  The big news in Oklahoma today is the Blizzard of 2011.  From my point of view, it reminds me of home.  The snow is coming down pretty good and it is blowing hard.  I wasn’t sure if they had snow plows this far south, but indeed they do.   The forecast is for 12 inches of snow today.  The good news is that there was a free continental breakfast at the hotel because the cooks didn’t show up. 

Here is a view from our hotel room.  We are staying at the Holiday Inn and Suites in South Tulsa.

Richard

Flying to Tulsa, OK…

I am in Tulsa on a training course with my brother, Gerald.  I have been looking forward to this trip for some time.  I was especially looking forward to escaping winter, if only for a week.  Late last week Tanya asked me if I had checked the weather in Tulsa.  To my horror the forecast was calling for snow.  Not impressed.  The weather man is always wrong right?  I’m sure the forecast will change…. 

Well Sunday rolled around and we were off to Tulsa.  We flew Continental Airlines from Calgary, AB to Houston, TX for our connection and had 15 minutes to get to our next flight.  We ran the 1/4 mile in record time I’m sure.  We made it onto our plane and they closed the door behind us.  As we landed in Tulsa I thought to myself “How could our luggage possibly make it onto our plane?  I mean we barely made it.”  Sure enough, our luggage did not make it, however the gentleman at the Continental Airlines counter was extremely helpful and found our luggage was on the next flight in.  He assured us they would send a taxi to our hotel with it.  Currently it is 11:30pm here.  I just spoke to the front desk at our hotel and found out our luggage is on its way over.  As a customer I understand that things go wrong, but it is how they deal with those challenges that will make me a return customer and the service we received from Continental Airlines was excellent on this flight.

As far as the snow fall goes.  Our next stop after the baggage claim was the car rental desk and they gave us the bad news.  Apparently Tulsa is expecting ice storms and up to 15 inches of snow this week.  Good thing I brought my winter jacket.

Richard

Venice Beach Review…

For the most part, Venice Beach is a beautiful section of the California coast just south of Santa Monica.  Generally it is a nice sandy beach and a great place to spend the day.  The ocean front is lined with expensive houses and condos with an amazing ocean view.  As you walk north on the boardwalk you can see the Santa Monica Pier and the carnival rides in the distance and it is very much the California beach that I imagined. 

As you approach Muscle Beach, which really isn’t as great as I thought it would be, the atmosphere changes and you would swear you were walking down a row of shops in Jamacia.  The very first street corner had a Medical Marijuana sign out front and a young lady on the corner pulling people in to get their Medical Marijuana License.   From then on the smell of weed filled the air and we were approached every half a block or so either by a “Kush Doctor” salesperson or a “down and out” musician trying to sell us a CD he had burned on his computer. 

I am not sure what this area used to be like, but from some of the stories I have heard it used to be an interesting unique place to visit, but it seems like the area has become dominated by drug shops, drug users and people down on their luck.  In all it was an interesting experience, but it is unlikely we will be back, especially with our children.

Here is a quick video review including a couple video clips of the boardwalk:

Why we love to travel…

Alberta in December

This picture was taken about 10 minutes from my house in Alberta, Canada.  Looks cold doesn’t it?  I think so too.  Some people criticize us for travelling so much and I always have a difficult time explaining why we get away as often as we can.  Well this picture about sums it all up.  Canada is a great country, but the climate sucks!

Christmas Skating in Medicine Hat, AB

Just a quick slide show from a couple of years ago during Christmas.  It blows my mind how fast the kids grow up.  Where does the time go?

Royal Holiday Travel Club – Beware

Last February we were in the Bahamas and got suckered into attending a time share presentation for Royal Holiday.  I guess we got a free lunch and free Para-sailing, so it wasn’t a total loss and we have been thinking about buying a timeshare for quite some time anyway.

The presentation wasn’t the worst one we have been to.  The pressure wasn’t too bad to buy.  We just kept saying no and they kept adding stuff to the deal.  What ended up selling us on the deal was:

  1. A free 2 week trip back to the Bahamas valid for 2 years.
  2. 2 weeks per year free at one of their Resorts in Mexcio every year for 5 years.

Up until those 2 things were added we were not interested.  We ended up buying the package and looked forward to our first trip to Mexico as a family.  We have enough travel points to fly us there and the hotel was free, or so we were lead to believe.

more »