Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My family's summer travel plans for 2010!

Last summer we were blessed with the arrival of a new baby in our family on June 1st. We were thrilled to have her here, and I was so excited to not be pregnant during the summer. But having a newborn in our house pretty much meant that our travel plans didn't extend much past walking to the grocery store.

So we are SO looking forward to this summer! Finally, the chance to get out of our routine and go somewhere! My parents will be arriving soon and with them and my brother and sister-in-law, we're going to be traveling to a nearby island and renting a small lodge there for the week.  Most of my family is excited about the opportunities to walk in the forest and look at the water and observe wildlife. I'm looking forward to the chance to shop in some cute little stores in the small towns on the island and nearby.  Oh, and having free babysitting at hand for a week!

After that trip we're taking several trips to Canada- one for my husband's cousin's wedding in Vancouver, and another to Winnipeg for the wedding of my friend. One of the tools that I used a lot when planning the Winnipeg trip was the Bing Price Predictor Tool. I LOVED this tool and thought it was totally different and way superior to other trip planners I've used in the past. I was able to put in my departure and arrival cities, pick my travel time ranges, choose airports that I was willing/not willing to connect through, select airlines that I wanted to consider, flight quality (red eye, early, late) and flight duration.  This made it so easy to find exactly the flight I was looking for. And since budget is a huge issue for my family right now, I also really appreciated the Price Predictor. This is an easy-to-read graphic at the top of my search page with an arrow showing the predicted direction of fare change and information on whether to buy now or wait. There's also a fare history, so you can get an idea of what fares have been like for your trip for the past 40 days.

Using the Bing travel tools I was able to get exactly the right flight at the right time and pay a good price.  Judging from the fare history graph, I did in fact buy at the right time (I bought when the price predictor said "buy now"). Here's some information on how the price predictor works, if you're interested in all the behind-the-scenes info. And for all your summer travel plans, here's a Summer Travel Forecast from Bing. This is a short, but helpful article that you need to read before making summer travel plans. Not only does it discuss the price predictor tool and fare alerts, but they have some hints on when to travel and where to travel and good news about hotel rates for this year. Very useful information!

And while you're thinking about travel, check out Trekaroo's $1000 Summer of Travel contest. It's easy to participate and get a chance to win. I've been writing reviews at Trekaroo for a while now and participating in the discussion forums and have had such fun. It's a great online community and a fabulous resource for travel and keeping your kids entertained, wherever you are!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the Bing Travel and Trekaroo summer vacation spotlight for a chance to win a $500 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.