March 21, 2022

Airline lets travellers gamble over the cost of airfare

Consumers find the most prominent consequence of higher fuel prices at the gas pump, but it’s not the only place we get stung.

1230974_piper_clipper Surely, as the cost of gas continues to skyrocket across North America, so too has airfare. Airlines, terrified at what unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa has meant for the price of oil, have passed the burden onto us: according to the Air Transport Association of America, airfare jumped 13 per cent last month compared to what it cost in February, 2010.

At least one airline, though, wants to play a game. A small Las Vegas airline is asking consumers to buy a ticket that’s price may go up or down depending on the future cost of fuel.

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March 01, 2022

Where's the best place in the country to live?

If you've ever wondered about picking up and moving, you've probably thought long and hard about what makes a community a good place to live.

MoneySense's most recent ranking of Canada's Best Places to Live attempts to tally every important aspect of numerous communities in Canada, taking into account weather, jobs and home prices – as well as public safety and access to health care.

At the top of the list you’ll find Ottawa, Kingston and Burlington. Bringing up the rear, cities to avoid include La tuque, New Glasgow and Williams Lake.

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February 22, 2022

Travel alert: Avoid these common booking mistakes

University students across the land are on a reading break this week. But, for many families, the kids in big school don’t need a lot of care and feeding, travel-wise.

Travel In a few weeks though, the little kids get out – and then all hell breaks loose if you're looking to get away for a few days and not go bankrupt. 

The proliferation of hidden fees in recent years has made doing your pre-booking legwork more important than ever. Whether it's extra charges for checked baggage, overweight baggage, in-flight food, flying with a pet, or even carry-on bags, fees today can greatly inflate the cost of your ticket, often adding hundreds of dollars to a family trip. 

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February 07, 2022

Tuesday, Wednesday cheapest days to fly: report

When searching for cheap airfare, Canadian consumers don’t know what to think anymore.

Istockphoto_10749447-airplane-on-a-sunny-day Not unlike Christina Aguilera being told to, sure, take your own spin on the national anthem, we’ve been bogged down by what perhaps we shouldn’t believe. There are so many supposedly-etched-in-stone commandments out there that there’s only one way to ensure we’re not paying through the nose for travel: shop around.

Of course, no one wants to actually do that, so we clamour for the best advice we can find. Add this latest report to the lexicon of strategies and tactics to find travelers the lowest cost on airfare.

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January 26, 2022

Mexico's low costs make 'dental tourism' a growth industry

Most tourists won't even drink the tap water in Mexico for fear of water-borne illnesses, but it seems that doesn’t stop hordes of them from heading to Los Algodones, across the border from Yuma, Ariz., looking for inexpensive Mexican dentists to fix their teeth.

Dentist They make the trek from Alberta and other parts of Canada largely because their insurance, assuming they have any to begin with, requires them to pay a significant share of the costs of procedures beyond standard preventive care.

Needless to say, Canadians dentists suggest caution when travelling abroad for treatments because standards for training, licensing and care can vary widely.

But is it worth the trip? With more than 300 dentists in Los Algodones alone, how do you find a good one? And what happens when something goes wrong?

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January 19, 2022

Alleged 'gang-rape' may stain Mexico for Canadian tourists

If you’ve traveled to Mexico over the years, chances are, you had a wonderful time.

1322570_tulum_ The beaches are beautiful. The resorts, for the most part, are clean. The food … well, the beaches are beautiful.

Yet every year there seems to be a rash of anti-Mexico stories making news, many of them involving Canadians. The latest, perhaps, is a black eye the nation might not so easily recover from.

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January 04, 2022

Taxi searchers can use all the help they can get

Rather than be taken for a ride when traveling abroad, wouldn't it be nice to have some idea of the fare for moving around the city or heading off to the airport should really be.

Taxi Then have a look at World Taximeter.

Combining directions from Google Maps with local cab fares, it'll let you know how much the ride should cost using local rates by distance and time of day. 

Depending on what country you're in, it'll also alert you to any additional charges, such as the cost of booking over the phone, or traveling on a weekend.

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December 30, 2021

The weirdest travel tales of 2010

Catching up on last year's Christmas presents, I finally got a chance to look at Thomas Kohnstamm's Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? last week.

Travel It's a tell-all memoir that tracks his dubious research practices and mildly self-destructive habits as a Lonely Planet guidebook writer.

I didn't finish it, largely because I don't much like travel books -- or, in this case, books about travel writing. But I am willing to lend a sympathetic ear to tales of just what can go wrong when you get off the couch.

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November 30, 2021

Canadians fly out of U.S. border airports in record numbers

Earlier this year, we reported on the staggering number of Canadian who are turning their backs on domestic airports and crossing the border to take advantage of the gap between Canadian and U.S. airfares.

US_Airport_Security With three-quarters of this country's population living within roughly 160 kilometres of the Canada-U.S. border, Canadians regularly nip across to save money and avoid hassles with airport security since they’re flying domestically inside the U.S. instead of coming from abroad.

But the extent of the current exodus is unprecedented. The number of one-way trips made by Canadians at 14 key U.S. airports hit a record 4.6 million in 2009, according to a recent study by the Globe and Mail.

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November 01, 2021

Is it worth it to travel during off-peak seasons?

To get a good deal, we’re all willing to sacrifice a little.

1305769_tropic_beach_2 We know $1.39 Wendy’s bacon cheeseburgers aren’t great for us, but come on, they’re $1.39. You’d be a sucker not  to buy three. Same goes for items at, say, Costco. In 2010, no one needs 72 AA batteries. But at that price, if you don’t snag ‘em, someone else will.

Ludicrous logic? Sure, maybe. Yet it’s this kind of saving-above-all-else reason that consumers exhibit perhaps most prominently in travel. Though, despite the deals, is it worth it to travel during off-peak seasons?

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...