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Booking Thru Travel Agency or Flights/ Hotels separately

Calgary, Canada
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217 posts
4 reviews
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Booking Thru Travel Agency or Flights/ Hotels separately

From your experience what is the better deal? Should I book flights first or hotels first ?

Shawnigan Lake...
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5,545 posts
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1. Re: Booking Thru Travel Agency or Flights/ Hotels separately

I guess it all depends if you get a really good price for a flight then book it first then arrange your hotel around those dates, depending on if it is high season or not. If it were Xmas or Easter I would be booking hotels first.

We have done it both ways.

San Francisco
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174 posts
9 reviews
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2. Re: Booking Thru Travel Agency or Flights/ Hotels separately

Depends on how picky you are about your accomodations. If I'm planning a few months out, I usually choose my lodging first then watch the airfare prices. You can set Trip Advisor to alert you when prices drop from their current level.

wisconsin
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2,177 posts
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3. Re: Booking Thru Travel Agency or Flights/ Hotels separately

We always book our flight first. Many times you can save hundreds of dollars by moving you flight a few days either way. Hard to do if you are tied into hotel reservations. Just saying what works for us. Enjoy your trip.

Edwardsville...
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4. Re: Booking Thru Travel Agency or Flights/ Hotels separately

I would not book a hotel without being sure I have a flight. We really had a tough time finding a reasonably priced flight for our upcoming trip, and had to keep looking at different dates. The flights, especially weekend flights, either had long layovers or only higher priced seats left. We ended up booking Thursday flights. I think the airlines right now are cutting back on the number of flights to make sure they are full.

I have never had such a tough time getting a flight schedule to work out as I did this year. Either there are fewer flights, or PV is going to be packed in February.

I've never used a travel agent. I book everything online, and usually have multiple windows open on my desktop, some with hotel info and some with airline info. Oddly, I get an adreneline rush from booking vacations.

San Francisco
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174 posts
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5. Re: Booking Thru Travel Agency or Flights/ Hotels separately

WeTravel, you made me laugh. My wife can't understand how I can spend hours and hours in front of the computer booking and planning a trip and then more hours researching right up until we leave. I guess I'm addicted.

Calgary, Canada
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217 posts
4 reviews
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6. Re: Booking Thru Travel Agency or Flights/ Hotels separately

Im addicted with good deals. We want to stay for 9 nights. I am always looking on various sites for flight deals or hotel deals. Basically what it comes down to is this...

I can find a hotel deal for 2 adults and one child for about 1600 - 1900 dollars AI and then flights are around the same...and if you crunch the numbers compared to a package deal its approx the same give or take a few hundred. So im torn... I dont want to fly on sunwing again lol...west jet all the way!

Were planning for April. So I can assume its going to calm down a bit. Last time we went was late July.

Calgary, Canada
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27,402 posts
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7. Re: Booking Thru Travel Agency or Flights/ Hotels separately

Your previous post indicated you're traveling starting immediately after the Easter weekend. The week after Easter can often still be busy in PV, so I'd book the hotel first to make sure I got exactly what I wanted.

Seat sales on flights for April are a ways off yet.

In terms of using a travel agent, that's a personal call. I stopped using one years ago when the only one I trusted retired, and I discovered his replacements didn't have a bloody clue about the PV area. So if you do plan to use one, make sure they're actually versed and familiar with the area you want to travel to before you commit to anything. Can't tell you how many times I've heard people complain that they thought their agent booked them on a trip to Puerto Vallarta, and they've wound up in some mega-resort in Nuevo.

Once I discovered the internet, search engines, travel websites - I've never turned back. I haven't used an agent to book a trip in at least 8 years. The trick is you need to be committed to doing the research if you want the best deal, and you need to be okay with sometimes thinking outside the box in terms of bookings...don't be set in your ways.

For example, my last 3 trips to PV I have booked one-way tickets on seat sales rather than a round trip fare. In all instances I saved considerable amounts - up to $300 on one trip. Just remember that you need to always read things carefully, as sometimes the really good fare deals involve some pretty funky routes. You have to weigh out convenience vs. cost, and how much time you're prepared to commit to getting to your destination.

Kayak.com is also an excellent resource for research, plus you can also set alerts through them for airfares and hotel prices...when something falls into that fare category, you will receive an email alert. As you're from Calgary you should also be signing up for the WestJet e-mail service, JetMail. This way you get first notification on seat sales. If you use Twitter, also follow them there (@westjet) as every Thursday afternoon they do a "Blue Tag" sale. It lasts only a couple of hours but it's super deep discounted fares on certain routes for that time.

Calgary, Canada
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217 posts
4 reviews
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8. Re: Booking Thru Travel Agency or Flights/ Hotels separately

Yes! Thank you for the info. I am on Kayak pretty much everyday awaiting a deal :) hmm so its pretty busy after Easter? I had planned to come in March but I found out that they are doing some sort of DJ thing for the entire month for spring vacation...and that really disappointed me because its our anniversary and well...I dont want to be surrounded by 18 yr olds drunk and loud.

Calgary, Canada
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27,402 posts
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9. Re: Booking Thru Travel Agency or Flights/ Hotels separately

PV isn't really a key spring break destination. Bust Loose is only offering one hotel for 2012 (Vamar Vallarta), and those that do come for SB from other places generally stick to a handful of places that they can afford. So another thing to be aware of - avoid more of the budget offerings during SB and you'll often not even know it is SB in the city. If you can up-budget that time of year you'll do better in avoiding things like that.

Semana Santa and Semana Pascua are the weeks leading up to and following Easter - and they are busier in PV than almost any other time of year other than Christmas/New Years. Majority will be Mexican nationals, but you will definitely experience higher crowd volumes. March/April are also still considered high season, so costs will be proportional to that time of year. If you can consider late April or early May you will see pricing drop somewhat (May is shoulder season).

The other consideration you could make since you're traveling with a child, is think about renting a private condo. I have several friends with children and this is what they do - they've done AI resorts many times, but now far and away prefer having their own condo. It means they can keep kids on a closer schedule to home for meals, naps, etc. Also means you have access to a full facility kitchen for meals and snacks. And most importantly, you are able to consider places with 2 bedrooms in order to have the child sleep and you are not stuck in a cramped hotel room during this time, trying to be quiet and not wake them. The kid gets the rest they need, and you get a comfortable place to relax and watch the bay or city, with a drink or bottle of wine after they go to bed.

Food for thought.

Naperville, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Bucerias, Riviera Nayarit
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10,165 posts
40 reviews
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10. Re: Booking Thru Travel Agency or Flights/ Hotels separately

I can't justify paying a fee to a travel agent anymore when I can make my own plane reservations on-line so easily. 7-8 years ago it would cost me $20.00 per pland ticket. (I have a condo in Bucerias.)

I travel back and forth from Chicago to PV every few months and have had great luck using the www.matrixitasoftware.com site.