Finding and booking the best vacation package can be overwhelming.
And you’re looking for a beach holiday to unwind and relax, right? Booking a vacation should be a fun process, not something that stresses you out. With so many choices, finding the right trip can be overwhelming and time consuming. Last year, Justin asked for my help in finding a resort to visit with some friends in the Dominican Republic. It was difficult to choose the right hotel and find a holiday package at a great price.
Thankfully, tripcentral.ca makes booking vacation packages easy. I was asked by tripcentral.ca to check out two different ways on their website to book vacation packages, like all-inclusive beach holidays. Searching for vacations is simple and fun to do. There are two ways to book that show vacation packages according to your choice of date, destination, or interest. Use either the classic vacation grid or trip matchmaker tools on the website.
Classic Vacation Grid
When you search for a vacation package on the Classic Vacation Grid, you’ll see many destinations, suggested dates, and other options like length of vacation, meal plan, and star rating. The numbers across the board show the lowest price for a destination during a specific date. Make sure you have the right departure city selected. I am departing from Toronto. I also want my holiday to be 7-8 days, 4 stars or more, and include all meals.
Before we start the grid, let’s select a destination from vacation packages. I decided to pick Cuba as my destination of choice.
With only holidays to Cuba selected, I am able to view all of the cities with vacation packages. My vacation needs to take place in March, so I clicked the red button indicating March.
You’ll notice that one city disappeared from the search as nothing is available there in March. You’ll also see that the dates are now listed by week in the bar across the top. I know that I want to leave Toronto from March 23 – March 30, so I clicked that red button.
Each departure date shows a separate column, with the lowest prices listed for each city. It’s time to get even more specific in my search. Noticing that prices in Varadero are the cheapest, I clicked on Varadero.
There is a huge list of properties available in Varadero at a range of prices. Each resort lists the star rating beside it. I am looking for the best resort at the lowest price. Halfway down the list, the Melia Marina Varadero catches my eye. For a five star property, the prices are very reasonable.
The grid shows all of the dates and room types, arranged by price. Of course, if you had to leave on one particular date, you could adjust your search to reflect that. The March 30th standard room at $1235 looked great, so I clicked that option.
After choosing the vacation package that I liked the best, the booking page appeared next. This shows the room details, the flight details, and lots of other information. I actually enjoy this page the most. There’s a map of where the property is located to the left of the page. There are some contact numbers and direct extensions of employees who are available right now, in case I had any questions and wanted to talk to a human (or book the trip by phone). Scrolling down the page, I liked these tabs the best: package inclusions, Tripadvisor, and verified customer reviews.
Package inclusions shows photos of the resort and its surroundings. There are many more details about the resort and what’s included.
And this is most likely my favourite part: there’s a tab that takes you directly to the Tripadvisor page for the resort. You can read reviews, see tons of photos, and discover how it’s rated against other area hotels.
Back on the screen that listed the hotels, I may have taken a few choices and typed them into Tripadvisor myself to compare. But, I love how I can see this information on the tripcentral.ca website itself. There are also verified customer reviews one tab over to show reviews written by tripcentral.ca customers. This is valuable because these people booked exactly the same package that you’re about to book.
The Classic Vacation Grid is a great option for those who have an idea of the country they would like to visit. Booking with this search engine allows you to make informed decisions based on price. It will ultimately get you the most bang for your buck.
But, what if you don’t know where you want to go? That’s where the trip matchmaker is helpful.
The trip matchmaker is ideal for those who don’t really know where they want to go, but know their main interests. Just as with the Classic Grid, make sure you choose the correct city of departure. Then, select up to three of your interests, in order of importance. I picked: beach, scuba, and sightseeing. Then, just as in the Classic Grid, choose the amount of time you want to be away, the meal package, and if any children are traveling with you. I want to travel during the month of March, and I want the trip to be around $1200 per person.
On the right, the trip matchmaker immediately shows how many holidays match my choices, and the average price range. Now, click View Matches.
A huge list of hotels will appear, along with their details: the location of the resort, the star rating, and the lowest listed price. You’ll notice a coloured circle beside each resort name. If it’s green, it is a positive match to your three matchmaker choices (beach, scuba, and sightseeing, in my case). If it’s yellow, it’s positive overall, with one preference negative. If it’s red, it is not desirable for the preferences selected.
In the red bar at the top of the page, there are helpful tips to narrow down your choices. The first tip recommends that I choose a specific week or dates that I want to travel. You’ll see the month and the dates across the top highlighted in yellow. I wanted to see the second tip, so I clicked on “Next Tip“:
The second tip recommended that I remove destinations you don’t like for better results. You’ll notice “select a destination” is highlighted in yellow on the left. I clicked that and a screen popped up:
I checked only the countries that I really wanted to visit. For this search, I included Bahamas, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and St. Maarten.
The matches narrowed down a bit, but there are still too many choices. Next, I selected a specific date, as highlighted in yellow. I decided to choose March 26th as my departure date.
With March 26th selected, my choices were cut down by over half. Remember that the green dots beside the resort names mean that they are a perfect match to your interests. The Royal Decameron Complex, with a green dot, in Puerto Vallarta Mexico looked like a good choice. It’s a 4 star hotel, and the price is under my limit of $1200.
Now I’ve reached the page for the resort. Similar to the Classic Vacation Grid, I’m able to see my flight summary, a map, photos of the resort, details about the package, Tripadvisor reviews, verified customer reviews, and more. If I don’t like this resort, I can go back and look at the other ones.
tripcentral.ca offers two search options that will please many customers. On one hand, if you know exactly what country you want to visit, the Classic Vacation Grid might be the best way to seek your vacation package. On the other hand, if you only know that you want to go somewhere warm, you might want to try the trip matchmaker. You know exactly the kind of vacation you’re looking for, whether it’s primarily a beach holiday, or if you’re more of the adventurous type. The trip matchmaker matches the perfect trip to your individual tastes. Either way, tripcentral.ca takes the chore out of trip planning. You’ll be able to quickly and easily find a destination and resort that suits you!
Well, all of this talk about tropical destinations makes me want to travel to one! If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me on the beach with one of those drinks with the little umbrella in it.
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