Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mega Bus, Here I Come!

With gas prices rising, I saw an announcement on travelzoo.com about return bus fares between Montreal and Toronto for $20.00 on Mega Bus (www.megabus.com) . I found this hard to believe since I pay about $140.00 return between Toronto and Sudbury on Greyhound.

The price was accurate and you can even get WIFI and electrical on this bus!
The double decker Mega Bus offers cheap fares for popular routes in Canada, US and the UK. If you are looking to travel from Toronto to a US city, you need to click into the US section on the Mega Bus website.

I discovered that I could get Mega Bus fares from Toronto to NYC for as little as $12.00 one way. Other examples of well priced fares are $1.00 between Boston and NYC, and $5.00 between Toronto and Washington, DC.

Personal experience has shown me that you should book early to get some of the best deals. I found Toronto to Washington return for $24.00, but when I went to book it a week later, the price had gone up. I ended up paying $40.00 return which is still a really good deal. As of today, the price for the same trip has increased to $48.00.

Do you find that it sounds too good to be true? Well, seeing is believing so I’m Washington bound on the Mega Bus this summer. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. In the meantime, please let me know about your experiences on Mega Bus.

If Mega Bus delivers on everything they promise, I think I’ll be bussing it a whole lot more.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Home Exchange: My Experience so Far

It’s time to explore the concept of home exchanges again.

I’d been a member of www.homeexchange.com for two years a few years ago. I put out a number of requests over that time, mostly to places in France and Italy. Unfortunately no one was interested in coming to Toronto, Canada at the same time that we were interested in travelling. I did receive a number of requests from people in Florida wanting to exchange in July or August, but that wasn’t where I wanted to be.

Home Exchange.com is one of the largest sites with over 40,000 listings in 144 countries and costs $119.50 for an annual membership or $47.85 for a three month membership. They guarantee that if you do not get an exchange in the first year, your second year is free. Although I didn’t find anything the first time around, I may try this site again.

Other Home exchange sites include www.homeforexchange.com (annual fee $57.00), www.homeforswap.com (annual fee $75.00), www.homelink.org (annual fee $150, established in 1953), www.ihen.com (annual fee $39.95).

I registered on www.exchangeaway.com . It is free to list your house, however there is a cost of 20.34 GBP to be able to contact other exchangers. I posted my house on this site and received a response from Australia. Unfortunately, I need to pay the fee in order to read the request and reply back.

I also registered on www.exchangezones.com . Registration is free and includes not only home exchanges but also rentals, B&B, Homestays, Hostels and real estate for sale.

Through Exchange Zones, I contacted seven different owners in New York City and three owners around Charleston, South Carolina. Within hours I received two replies from NYC; one friendly refusal and another one saying that the dates didn’t work for his family but to keep in touch because something may work out in the future. No other responses came in from the eight other properties.

I haven’t given up on home exchanges, however for this summer I may need to look at alternative accommodation options.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Exciting Concept for Bed and Breakfast

I’m really excited because I just discovered Airbnb.com. This is a great way to find alternative accommodations for all budgets.

The site allows hosts worldwide to rent out rooms, apartments or whole houses. Travellers can stay anywhere from a night to a month. Sometimes hosts even rent out their places when they go away for a weekend.
I seem to have better luck if I’m looking for accommodations in large cities but I’m sure this will change as the site grows.
I love this site. You can fund your vacation by renting out your space when you are away or find a great place to hang your hat on vacation. The best part, listings are free. Check it out!