I was on a look out for cheap flights to the Dominican Republic and was hoping to score a reasonably priced deal, similar to that I scored in January. Unfortunately, planning to travel in August is not the same as going in January. It reminded me of December – it’s near impossible to score a cheap plane ticket in December because many people travel during pre Christmas season and for New Year making it one of the worst month for travel deal hunters, but come January, prices drop instantly and significantly. Take Dominican Republic for instance – I wanted to go on a trip during Christmas/New Year season of 2008 but was discouraged by outrageously priced flights so I wasted 8 consecutive days off sitting at home watching TV. But then when January came and I saw the same ticket that sold out planes for $850 + taxes in December now priced at $48 + taxes, I did not hesitate and went right for it. After all, there’s little difference in weather between the end of December and beginning of January and getting the ticket for less than 1/10th of the price it cost two weeks ago was a no brainer.
It was similar with August, though. I started looking for cheap flights to the Dominican Republic in July for the departure at the end of August. But having previously gone to the country for $48 + taxes, I was finding it hard to pay $600 + taxes for the same ticket. I have quickly realized that many people travel in Summer so prices are jacked up so carriers can milk as much as possible out of Summer eager people. This was making my plans to depart at the end of August difficult. I could not bring myself to pay twelve times more than I had paid seven months ago. It just messes with your brain when you realize that.
Having had vast experience scoring the best priced flight tickets from my previous travels, I knew that booking engines of most travel agents use the same backend. Being a computer developer myself, I could see that 80% of all travel agents in Canada use SoftVoyage as their booking engine so no matter which website of which provider you go to, you will get the same results which are priced in the same, or very similar way. That’s a great thing to know as it will save you heaps of time you would otherwise waste browsing through countless websites, yet getting the same results. The websites that use SoftVoyage travel booking engine include:
One travel agency that doesn’t use SoftVoyage is Geo.ca which is worth checking out because results will be different, though from what I have noticed, it’s mostly more expensive. Other than the travel agencies, I also kept a close eye on flight carriers themselves. The following were a must:
- United.ca – great, but not for flights to the Caribbean
- SunWing.com – amazing for Caribbean destinations, often very cheap, but only works well if you live in Toronto or Montreal. Edmonton didn’t have very good departures and prices
No matter where I went, the prices were nowhere close to anything I would consider decent. August simply proved to be a tough time of year to travel on the cheap. Then there was also an issue of timing – I wanted to depart at the end of the month to use up the money I have already spent on rent and to not have to spend more by overstaying for any part of September. That was also complicating things a bit because flights to the Dominican republic departing in the middle of August or middle of September were cheaper than flights departing at the end of August, beginning of September. My initial research did not encourage me at all. Maybe had I not gone to the Dominican Republic for $48 + taxes before, I would probably find $600 + taxes normal, but after flying cheap, I found it really hard accepting the price that was so much more expensive but would give me exactly the same thing. It was discouraging, but I kept working on it.