The Hippo


Apr 24, 2019








Affordable destinations

Flying from Manchester. From $188 (Southwest)
Flying from Boston. From $206 (Southwest)
Three-star hotels starting from $50 a night. Four-star hotels from $100
San Diego
Flying from Manchester. From $272 (American)
Flying from Boston. From $257 (Alaska)
Three-star hotels starting from $75 a night. Four-star hotels from $100. Some deals for 5-star hotels at $150 a night.
Puerto Rico
Flying from Manchester. From $322 (American)
Flying from Boston. From $309 (Jetblue).  
Three-star hotels starting from $115 a night. Four-star hotels from $140.
Flying from Manchester. From $406 (United)
Flying from Boston. From $279 (American)
Three-star hotels starting from $18 a night (check the area) and four-star hotels from $164. There are four-star all-inclusive resorts starting from $193. 
Source: Clem Bason, goSeek

In the sunshine
How to escape to sunnier skies on the cheap

By Ryan Lessard

 If the gray skies and low light are starting to give you the blues, it may be time to pack your sunblock and shorts and abscond to the southern latitudes for some vitamin D and margaritas. Here are a few tricks on how to pull off a brief vacation without breaking the bank.

Cost concerns
According to the 2016 Travel Trends report by TripAdvisor, 94 percent of survey respondents said cost was the most important factor when booking a trip.
Clem Bason is the CEO of goSeek, a search engine for travel and hotel deals. 
“We start with what you’ll find on Kayak or TripAdvisor or this new one, Trivago, and we layer in discounts that would be really hard for people to find otherwise,” Bason said.
He says trips taken in January and February are already going to be priced low because it’s the slow part of the season, and he recommends avoiding March or April because spring break can cause airfare rates to double. 
Generally speaking, Bason says Southwest Airlines and Jetblue have the best prices for Manchester and Boston airports. And Jetblue routes to the Caribbean from Boston are generally about $350 round trip in January. Bason says Jetblue also keeps its ticket prices low, as long as the plane’s not full, even up until the days before departure.
Regardless of the airline, Bason says one trick to getting the best plane ticket prices is making sure you pick the right day of the week to fly.
“The slowest days of travel during the week for flights are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So, if your schedule allows and let's say you can do a weeklong vacation where you leave Tuesday and come back Tuesday … or Wednesday, that will give you by far the lowest prices,” Bason said.
While most of the deals are in Florida, Mexico or the Caribbean, there is an option over on the west coast folks may not have considered.
“What people might not think about right now is San Diego. In January, there are flights from $272 round trip from Manchester to San Diego, which, for a coast-to-coast flight, that’s pretty good,” Bason said. “San Diego is a great place that many people don’t think of in the winter. It’s gonna be 60, 65 degrees or warmer every day, you usually have sunshine and what I love about San Diego is there’s a ton of stuff to do.”
Plus, Bason said, it’s the “dead season” for hotels over there, so the rates will be cheap.
If you want a deal on flights, hotels and rental cars, Bason says bundles are the way to go.
“If you need a flight plus a hotel, plus a rental car, I always tell people to check bundles or packages ... on Expedia,” Bason said. “A lot of times travel providers want to discount but they don’t want to tell everyone that they’re discounting. The way they do it is through bundles.”
Families vs. couples
Bason says families can get discounts for avoiding major hotel chains and patronizing an independently owned hotel by getting a coupon code for 15 percent off from Orbitz. Another option is avoiding hotels altogether.
“I always tell families to search AirBnB or HomeAway,” Bason said. “Accommodations, whether it’s a condo or whatever, are just so much more affordable via those sources than a hotel would be. And you also get a full kitchen and things that just make it easier for children.”
Couples, on the other hand, may be better off staying at a hotel.
“If you’re a couple, you may want an adult-only resort. One thing that I think about this time of year is the all-inclusive adult-focused resorts down in Cancun,” Bason said.
Either way, Bason says, a good rule of thumb for finding a place to stay would be to pick out five hotels on TripAdvisor based on reviews and search them on goSeek to find better prices and narrow down your selection.
“The thing about hotels is there’s always a discount. Always. You just have to find it,” Bason said. “You should expect to save 15 percent on your hotel, no matter what, and don’t be satisfied until you save that.”
And it’s relatively easy to get upgrades. All you have to do is ask when you get to the front desk. Worst-case scenario, they say no, flat out. Otherwise, they can offer an upgrade for a small fee or, at best, for free. 

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