Category: Travel

How To Get That Costco Dream Trip For Less

Travel How To Get That Costco Dream Trip For LessIn my post last year about saving money on travel, I compared Costco to Expedia and BookingBuddy. I was comparing apples to apples (so the exact same hotel, airline, tickets, etc…) and Costco won two of the thee “challenges.” Costco, with their buying power, was able to negotiate certain deals with certain carries that others could not match.

However, Expedia and BookingBuddy are both able to negotiate their own deals with carriers, just maybe or maybe not the same carriers as Costco.




So, if ware are willing to compare apple species to apple species (i.e the same star category of service, the same level of air carrier, same room type, etc…) then it would be interesting to find out who comes out with the best price – and YOU still get the best vacation!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Travel How To Get Costo Dream Trip

BookingBudy is a TripAdvisor Company.

Again, I am going to pick the same trips:

  • A Trip to Walt Disney World, including airfare, park tickets, and a non Disney hotel property for 8 days, 7 nights traveling from Seattle, WA. For a family of 4.

 

  • A Trip to Hawaii, including airfare, hotel, and car on the big island for 7 days, 6 nights traveling from Seattle, WA. For a Family of 4.

 

  • A Trip to Cabo San Lucas, including airfare, airport to hotel transfer, and all-inclusive hotel (includes food and drinks) for 5 days, and 4 nights) traveling from Seattle, WA. For two adults.

 

 

Trip 1: Walt Disney World Trip: Departing September 14th and returning September 21st from Seattle, WA, for a family of 4 – 4 star hotel and national airline.

  • Costco Travel Vacation Package – Orlando World Center Marriott, American Airlines (1 stop), 5 day park hopper to WDW: $4,206.
  • Expedia Vacation Package – Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort, United Airline (1 stop), 5 day park hopper ticket to WDW: $3,911.
  • BookingBuddy Vacation Package – Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort, American Airlines (1 stop), 5 day: $3,907

For each travel provider, I looked for the lowest price, name brand 4 star hotel. With being able to play with the hotel choice and using BookingBuddy’s deal on Walt Disney World ticket price, we were able to save over $300 on this vacation.

Trip 2: Hawaii: Departing September 14th and returning September 20th  from Seattle, WA, for a family of 4.

  • Costco Travel – Halii Kai Waikoloa – Garden View Room, Alaska Airlines (no overnight flight), full size car rental: $3,871
  • Expedia – Sheraton Kona Resort – Mountain View Room, Hawaiian Airlines (no overnight flight), full size car rental: $3,506
  • BookingBuddy Vacation Package – Castle Halii Kai – Garden View Room, United Airlines (no overnight flight), full size car rental – $3,142

For each travel provider, I looked for the lowest price, name brand 4 star hotel. I also looked for economy class flights that were not overnight, and lastly, we added on a full size car rental. Finding the best deal on each site, Booking Budy was able to save over $700 from best price Costco trip and over $350 from the best price Expedia trip. WOW!

Trip 3: Cabo San Lucas: Departing September 14th and returning September 18th from Seattle, WA, for two adults.

  • Costco Travel – Villa del Arco deluxe suite (note: if I ever get to go to Cabo for an anniversary someday, this is my first choice hotel), Alaska Airlines, airport transfer: $1741
  • Expedia – Hacienda Encantada luxury suite, United Airlines, airport transfer: $1557
  • BookingBuddy – Playa Grande Resort, deluxe junior suite, Alaska Airlines, does NOT include airport transfer: $1481. Hotel transfer could be booked separately for (est) $80. Total would be: $1561.

For each travel provider, I looked for the lowest price, name brand 4 star hotel and selected non-overnight economy class flights. Expedia just edges out BookingBuddy here by a couple of dollars. Costco is more expensive by $200, but to be honest, in this case, I would still select the Costco deal.

As we can see, it simply pays to shop around. Sometimes one site will have the best deal and sometimes, another site wins.

Let me know your best deal you have ever found and who it was through.


2016 Disney Contest and Sweepstakes Roundup

2016 Win A Trip To Disneyland Or DisneyworldAs my children are starting to grow up (I now have a 9 year old, a 7 year old, a 5 year old, and a 7 month old), I have a little longing to take them to Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I was able to visit both as a child and Disneyland a couple of times as an adult before I had my children.

Since taking 6 people to either park is not a cheap endeavor, nor is any travel with a large family, I am looking for different options to help me get there. One option is to enter the plethora of Disneyland contests and sweepstakes that are available each there. Who would not want to win a trip to Walt Disney World or win a trip to Disneyland?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

So here is my roundup this year – 2016 Disney Contests and Sweepstakes (updated quarterly) – expiration date – name and link to contest – any additional info.



Updated 2/17/2106

02/18/ 2016 – Star Wars Awakens – 4 nights in WDW or 3 nights in Disney Land

02/20/2016 – Wheel Of Fortune Disney Sea and Shore – Watch the show and enter to win 6 nights at Disney’s Aulani

02/23/2016 – Smuckers Unstoppable Disney Squad – submit a photo for a 4 night trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World

02/28/2016 – AccuWeather Every Moment Matters – entry is on a FB page, 4 night trip

02/28/2016 – Disney Channel Epic Adventure – 5 night trip with 1 night in Cinderella’s Castle

02/29/2016 – Pop Secret Popcorn In the Parks – 4 nights at Walt Disney World

02/29/2016 – Rayovac Unforgettable Vacation – 3 nights at Walt Disney World

02/29/2016 – Mommies With Cents – $500 Disney Gift Card

02/29/2016 – Visit Orlando – 4 nights in Walt Disney World

03/04/2016 – Service Experts Unfrozen Contest – take a photo of a snowman and win a 7 day Disney Cruise

AD: Save up to 25% on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights April 14-June 11, 2016

03/19/2016 – Parents Magazine Magical Moments – 4 nights at Walt Disney World

03/25/2016 – FLASH Stormstruck – 3 nights at Walt Disney World

03/27/2016 – Long John Silver’s – Win a 3 night Disney Caribbean Cruise

03/27/2016 – Escape the Cold in Kissimmee – Win 4 nights in Orlando, including Disney World Tickets

03/27/2016 – America’s Top Fishing and Boating Spots – Win 3 nights in Orlando and a fishing trip

03/28/2016 – National Geographic – Enter a photo to win 4 nights at Walt Disney World

03/31/2016 – Redbook Unforgettable Adventure – 3 nights in Walt Disney World

04/22/2016 – Walt Disney Signature Collection – Win 2 nights in Disneyland and a tour of the original Disney Studio lot

05/03/2016 – Latina Magazine Unforgettable Sweeps – A 4 night Walt Disney World vacation for 8 people.

05/31/2016 – Twinings Disney Land And Sea – 3 nights at Disney World and 4 nights on a Disney Cruise

09/19/2016 – Disneyland Diamond Days – 2 night stay, one of which is in the Disneyland Dream Suite

12/31/2016 – Go Bowling – 4 night Disney cruise

Unknown – Downtown Disney Hotels – Win 2 nights at a WDW hotel, monthly winner


Travel: Does Disney Penalize Large Families?

Does Disney Penalize

I was recently doing some travel research on hotels at Disney World and I noticed something. Almost all the reasonable priced Disney properties only accommodated 4 people.

To be more specific, I was searching for a family of 4 and seeing what the top hotels were in the area and what the prices were. I was excited to see that the Animal Kingdom Lodge was a low as $203 per night. Wow. This is one place I would want to stay if I ever get to go with my family (maybe in a few years). But then I saw that, even though rooms had two queen beds, it only accommodated 4 people. If I want to accommodate 6 people, I have to spend $400 per night.

Yet, if I stay at a property outside Disney (like Hampton Suites, Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn, etc…), I can get a room with two queen beds that will allow us to put 6 in the room – not that we would want to unless they had a roll-away bed or a pull out sofa bed (which some do), but still, they allow me to accommodate my whole family, in one room, for around $100 per night.

Then I discovered something really startling – When I changed my search from a family of 4 (what I was doing the research for) to my family of 6 (soon), the prices of most of the Disney Properties went up. Before, I was seeing prices around $300 to $500 per night, now they were $500 to $700 per night. Wow! $200 – $300 per night increase, just because I have two more children. And there are NO discounts that I am aware of on tickets, food, etc… if you have lots of children.

If I go to do some local activities, I see people giving large families a break. Our local water park, Roaring Springs, offers an annual family pass and it is a flat rate for up to a certain amount of people in the family. Our local YMCA and Rec Center have the same thing, family passes that do not matter if there is 4, 6 or 8 in the family. I have seen places that are kind enough to discount 10% or 20% off of activities / attractions after paying full price for the first couple of children.

It seems most business have found ways to be affordable to large families and still make a profit. So, why doesn’t Disney embrace this concept? Leave me you thoughts!

Travel: 10 Favorite Disney Travel Videos

10 Disney Travel Videos
Could you use a little Disney Travel divergence today?


I don’t know if you know what it is like to be laid up and wanting edifying things to do with your time, but I have been on partial bed rest and light activity for over 4 months now. It really is challenging to make good use of that time!

I ended up with a little divergence this week – I decided to watch some videos about travel to Disney – Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Lines, Disney’s Aulani, etc… and now I am sharing the favorite ones I found. Whether you just want a little virtual vacation or you are planning for the real thing, this should be helpful and fun. I also took the time to update my Disney Contest and Sweepstakes post.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Disney Aulani – Best Vacations TV Show – this is a complete 30 minute TV show visiting the Disney Aulani resort. I so want to go there someday!

Save big this summer on your trip to Hawaii with BookingBuddy!

Disney Cruise Line Fall 2016 Itinerary – just a quick 2 minute overview. For one cruise itinerary, lucky those who live in the NY area. They get to cruise from NY, go to Walt Disney World, then to Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.

Get Cheap Cruises and Compare Cruise Deals at BookingBuddy!

Tour Of Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship – Activities, Food, Accommodations, Entertainment – OK, this is technically more than one video, but it is about the same ship, so I just consider it episodes of one, longer video. There is something for everyone to enjoy on this ship and its ports, and gave me my first real look into a Disney Cruise.

Disney World Fantasy Land Overview – I actually tried to find longer videos to see more of the attractions, but it seemed like they just covered the same things, so this ended up being the best.

Save BIG on Walt Disney World Tickets!

Disney World – New Be Our Guest Restaurant in Fantasy Land – I really felt like I was getting to experience the restaurant during the video and it is a must visit when we go there in a few years.

Disney World Base Ticket: Buy 4 Days & get 5th Day Free!

Disney World Dining Plans – A fun overview of the 3 main dining plans for those staying at Walt Disney World resorts and what they do and don’t include.

Walt Disney World (plus Islands of Adventure) in 25 minutes – Well done amateur video covering some of the major attractions in each park.

Cheap Orlando Vacations with BookingBuddy.

Disneyland Overview – A fun overview from a non-Disney production.

Disney California Adventure Overview – A quick, but inviting overview of California Adventure (a little old, not updated with the new Cars attraction).

Shop for the Best Prices on Vacation Packages at BookingBuddy!

25 Disney Park Secrets Every Fan Should Know – Did you know Epcot was originally designed to be a model society with 20,000 people living in it? and 24 other interesting facts.


Saving Money On Travel: Costco vs. Expedia vs. BookingBuddy

Want to learn a tip that can save you $100s on your travel?
Want to learn a tip that can save you $100s on your travel?

There are many ways to save money on travel. One way I have discovered can make the different of $100s is to compare the same trip or components of a trip between different travel providers. One may have negotiated a better deal here, but another has a better deal there.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

If you haven’t done much in the way of travel comparison, consider this a hands on lesson in how to compare travel across a couple of different providers. The providers I choose today are:

The three trips we are going to compare are:

  • Walt Disney World, including airfare, park tickets, and a non Disney hotel property for 8 days, 7 nights traveling from Seattle, WA.
  • Hawaii, including airfare, hotel, and car on the big island for 6 days, 5 nights traveling from Seattle, WA.
  • Cabo San Lucas, including airfare, airport to hotel transfer, and all-inclusive hotel (and food and drinks) for 5 days, and 4 nights) traveling from Seattle, WA.

We will make sure we are comparing apples to apples. That means it will be the same airline and the same hotel across each travel provider, so we get a clear picture of savings. Next blog post, I will compare apples to oranges, meaning I will look for the best hotel (same star rating / same basic services) in the same class and best flight in the same class from each provider and see who comes out on top.

Trip 1: Walt Disney World: Departing September 9th and returning September 16th from Seattle, WA, for a family of 4. Hotel: Buena Vista Palace Hotel, Air Carrier: Alaska Air, Tickets: WDW 5 day park hopper tickets.

  • Costco Travel Vacation Package (note: includes daily breakfast): $4418
  • Expedia Vacation Package (note: does not include daily breakfast, the resort fee is not included): $4309
  • BookingBuddy Vacation Package (note: no breakfast, resort fee not included): $4720

The Costco deal is the best.

Trip 2: Hawaii:  Departing September 9th and returning September 15th from Seattle, WA, for a family of 4. Hotel: Royal Kona Resort  Air: Alaska Car: Alamo

Expedia won this round.

Trip 3: Cabo San Lucas: Departing September 9th and returning September 13th from Seattle, WA for 2 adults. Hotel: Royal Solaris Air: Alaska

Costco wins again, but BookingBuddy beat Expedia this time.

As we can see, there is a $300 difference just between travel providers. It will be interesting to see next time the $$$ difference when we compare best of class for each provider.


Win A Trip To Disneyland or Disney World : Contest Roundup

Win A Trip To Disneyland or Walt Disney World - Contest Roundup By A Simple LIfe
Win A Trip To Disneyland or Walt Disney World – Contest Roundup By ASimpleLifeToo.com

Note:  A new Post has been created for contests for 2016. Click here

How would you like to win a trip to Disneyland? Or would you like to win a trip to Walt Disney World? Yes, it would be better for our character to earn and save for such a vacation. However, if there is a chance to win (someone does), then maybe the money you have already worked for and saved could be used for “extras” on the trip or for something else you have been needing or wanting. Not only is it worth a try, but you might learn about some great products, travel sites, tips or more by entering the contests.

I have scoured the web to find at many current contests that are giving away Disney Vacations and have linked them here, along with the contest end date. I will be updating this post throughout the year, so bookmark or pin it to keep updated.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Contests: 

Jane Disney Giveaway – expires June 6, 2015

Hanes Follow That Sock Interactive Contest – expires June 8, 2015

AD: Find Cheap Airfare and Orlando Vacations with BookingBuddy

AARP Happy Together Disney Sweepstakes – expires June 15, 2015

Disney Nevergirls Ambassador Search for children under 16 – expires June 15, 2015

AD: Save on Disney World Magic Your Way Tickets

Visit Orlando Disney World and More Giveaway – expires June 30, 2015

Get Utz Disney Sweepstakes – expires July 5, 2015

EpiPen Disney Sweepstakes – expires July 9th, 2015

AD: Shop for the Best Prices on Vacation Packages at BookingBuddy!

Pirate And Princess Vacations – expires July 10th, 2015

Frozen Put Me In The Story Sweepstakes – expires July 17th, 2015

Disney Catch the Magic Sweepstakes – expires July 19th, 2015

AD: Purchase a Kids Eat Free card for only $15.00 and get access to FREE meals at over 100 select Orlando restaurants!

Inside Out and Pretzel Crisps Disney Aulani Contest – expires July 19th, 2015

Disney Diamond Days Sweeps – expires September 11, 2015

AD: Save on Disney World Magic Your Way Tickets

AD: Best Orlando Hotels! Rates From $50!