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Sunday, November 23rd 2014

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YUL." - Chris Myden



2013
7
February
Montreal to Havana | How To Get The Best Package Deals


Guides >> South & Warm >> Cuba >> Vacation Packages from Montreal to Havana

The Ydeals Noise-Free Guide To Getting The Best Deal On Flight & Hotel Packages From Montreal to Havana

Ydeals logo There are thousands of travel sites out there, all wanting you to believe they have unique or special prices on travel packages from Montreal to Havana. They don't.

They use marketing noise to hide the fact that there is really only one source of unique prices on vacation packages to Havana.

This guide will remove the noise and show you what that source is, so you can stop wasting so much time when searching for the best deal.

What are the unique sources of prices on flight and hotel packages from Montreal to Havana ?

Unique Source #1 - The Canadian Tour Operators

5 of the 7 Canadian Tour Operators offer vacation packages to Havana from Montreal, and they are: Air Canada Vacations, Nolitours, Signature Vacations, Sunwing, and Transat Holidays.

Where should I look to get the best Havana vacation package deal?

Well, you could just search the Canadian Tour Operator's own websites individually, but that would be time consuming.

Fortunately there are *many* Canadian-based travel sites and brands that sell travel packages for the Canadian Tour Operators and will search all of them at the same time. This is the noise.

You may already be familiar with some of the sites & brands that spend the most on travel ads, such as:

RedTag iTravel2000 Flight Network Sell Off Vacations Tripcentral
Flight Centre Signature Vacations Sears Travel Escapes Marlin Travel

This is by no means a complete list of all the Canadian-based travel sites. The only important thing you need to know as someone searching for the best deal to Havana from Montreal is that they are all retrieving their prices from the same source, and all trying to sell you the exact same air and hotel packages, from the same 5 Canadian Tour Operators, at the exact same prices.

One site or vacation brand can't offer a lower price than their competition, and they can't legally change the package prices themselves anyways.

In other words, it is a huge waste of your valuable time to check any more than one of the Canadian-based travel sites. A large number of Canadians out there have been fooled into thinking they are comparison shopping, since no travel site or brand will ever admit that their prices are identical to their competition.

What about my local travel agency or independent travel agent in Montreal?

If it's through a travel agency in Canada, or a Canadian travel agent, you can think of them as being identical to the sites I just mentioned above. They're accessing the exact same prices, and from the same sources as the sites above, and trying to sell you the exact same vacation packages. And they can't offer a price that's any different than any other site or brand.

When should I book a trip to Havana to get the best price?

This is never an easy question to answer, as package prices are not 100% predictable. The tour operators start by setting their price at a level they think will fill the maximum number of seats, based on the demand they expect to see. If they experience less demand than they expected, they may decide to lower them. If they experience more demand than they expected, they may raise them. Unfortunately, a lot of factors that influence demand can be unpredictable.

How long a person can wait it out in hopes of a better price is a personal decision. The Canadian Tour Operators are generally more apt than other sources to offer a discount on their flight and hotel package prices with under 4 weeks to go before departure. But there's never a guarantee that they will.

What about last minute vacation deals to Havana?

Last minute price cuts on flight and hotel package deals to Havana through the Canadian Tour Operators are fairly common, usually with under 2 weeks before departure.

What's a decent price on an air and hotel package from Montreal to Havana?

From Montreal, air and hotel packages to Havana from the Canadian Tour Operators tend to bottom out at around $600 per person, after taxes, for a one week package. This is just a general guideline though, based on average demand periods of the year. And of course it can vary wildly, depending on the quality of the hotel involved in the package.

Vacation package prices are highly affected by demand. So anytime you can think of a reason that there might be higher demand than usual for travel to Havana (such as dates when many people in Montreal have holiday time) you can expect prices to react accordingly.

What about vacation packages from the Canadian Tour Operators with direct flights to Havana?

Nolitours, Signature Vacations, Sunwing, and Transat Holidays all offer packages with direct flights to Havana.

Air Canada Vacations is the only one that doesn't, they usually have a layover in Toronto.

What about all inclusive holiday packages in Havana?

Havana has significantly less 'all inclusive' resorts (where all your meals and drinks are included) than other destinations in Cuba, but they do have some. Usually it is just your breakfast that is included with the regular flight and hotel packages in Havana.

You may want to read the guide, Montreal to Havana | How To Get The Best All Inclusive Deals for more info.

What about booking flight & hotel separately? Is that cheaper or more expensive than a package?

Holiday travellers often want to know if booking a flight and hotel package to Havana is better or worse than booking flight and hotel separately.

To beat the package prices generated by the Canadian Tour Operators, you would need to find a hotel price that is better than the source of hotel prices used by the tour operators when generating their package prices.

Is this possible? Yes. But is it likely? Probably not. Hotel prices for the most part have been squeezed down to the point where all the travel brands and search engines out there have fairly identical hotel prices.

But if you do want to give it a shot, I'd suggest starting with finding the cheapest flight to Havana that you can. You may want to read the guide: Montreal to Havana | How To Get The Best Flight Deals.

Remember that for a fair comparison of a pre-packaged deal vs. building your own, you should always keep as many variables the same as possible, including the flight quality (number of stopovers, layover time), the number of nights for your trip, and either the exact same hotel, or one of similar quality. A few quick searches on TripAdvisor can tell you if the accommodations are comparable.

I would also suggest that when searching for accommodations in Havana to build your own package, you don't use the same site that contains the packages you're comparing against. The total cost has a very good chance of ending up being extremely similar.

An important thing to remember is that there are hotels and places to stay that aren't 'linked up' with the major travel search engines, especially in Cuba. As a result, a search for vacation packages using well known travel sites will not return packages that contain these accommodations.

TripAdvisor is a great place to look for places to stay that you won't find bundled with packages through the search engines. You need to look for them manually. Do a Google search for tripadvisor Cuba hotels. Click on the first result.

On the TripAdvisor page for Cuba hotels, using the menu at the top, I like to look under 'B&B and Inns' and 'Specialty Lodging'. These two categories are where you are most likely to find amazing places to stay for a great price that are sometimes not found as a bundled package through travel search engines.

Once you've found a few places that you really like, take the accommodation names and start copying/pasting them into Google. This will lead you to their personal website, where you can contact the owner (usually via e-mail or an inquiry form) to make your booking or ask about availability and rates. I usually just copy/paste the same e-mail to the various places I'm interested in.

Tip: If you click on 'See which rooms travelers prefer' on the TripAdvisor listing for the hotel (it's right under the rating bar graphs) you can often find out which rooms are the best, and inquire about their availability when contacting the owner.

Why are there a lot of sites that don't seem to offer packages to Havana?

There are many U.S. based sites out there that usually combine flights from the major airlines with the latest hotel rates to generate packages from Canadian cities. You've probably heard of at least some of the ones that spend the most on advertising, including...

Expedia Travelocity Book It Orbitz Hotwire


However, due to the United States trade embargo against Cuba, there are no U.S. based major airlines that offer flights to Cuba, so these sites are unable to offer packages to Havana. This is why the Canadian Tour Operators are really the only source of packages to Havana. Some of the U.S. based travel sites are able to search packages from the Canadian Tour Operators (and the prices will be exactly the same).


What about cheap holiday packages to Havana from U.S. airports within driving distance of Montreal?

Due to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, there are no flights available on any airlines between the U.S. and Havana. Therefore, there are no packages available out of the U.S. either.


I think I've found a great deal on a vacation package to Havana!

Excellent! Please share it with your fellow travel lovers, they will appreciate it and thank you for it! You can post it in the YUL Deals Facebook group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive), where thousands of travel deal enthusiasts from Montreal are crowd-sourcing the best deals, and sharing great travel advice.

Or if you prefer, you can always give me a shout through the YUL Deals contact form or on Twitter @YULdeals or through Google Plus. Great deal finds are always appreciated.


Why should I trust this Montreal guide to Cuban travel?

Chris Myden Ydeals The info in this guide is based on my observations of the travel industry over the years, including all the thousands of websites out there, and where all the different players get their prices from and how they interact with each other.

The goal is to remove the noise of travel marketing, so vacationers can stop wasting so much valuable time searching the same prices over and over.

But, as social proof of it's accuracy, feel free to join the YUL Deals Facebook Group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive) and publicly disagree with any of it, or make a comment below. Critiques are always welcome!


I think I have some info that could help improve the Cuban vacation package guide!

Great! Please post your info in the Facebook group above, or contact me directly. Suggestions for improvement are always appreciated. Let me know if you see something that seems inaccurate or outdated.

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