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Friday, October 28th 2016

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

Montreal to Varadero | Getting The Best All Inclusive Deals

Guides >> South & Warm >> Cuba >> All Inclusive Vacations from Montreal to Varadero

The Ydeals Noise-Free Guide To Getting The Best Deal On All Inclusive Vacations From Montreal to Varadero

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

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

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 exactly is an 'all inclusive vacation' anyways ?

An all inclusive package is exactly the same as a regular flight and hotel package, only with the addition of all your meals and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and usually the transfers to and from the destination airport, included in the price.

From Montreal, the most popular all inclusive destinations are typically Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and to a certain extent, Jamaica. There are certainly other destinations with true all inclusive resorts, but the destinations I just listed are where you'll usually get the most for your money. Other destinations with a lower number of all inclusive resorts can be a lot more expensive.

There are not really any true all inclusive resorts in North America (yes, that includes Hawaii), and you sometimes see the term 'all inclusive' being used incorrectly by people to describe packages that really include only the flight and hotel (no meals or drinks) in the price.

What are the unique sources of prices on all inclusive vacations from Montreal to Varadero?

Unique Source #1 - The Canadian Tour Operators

All 7 of the Canadian Tour Operators offer all inclusive packages from Montreal to Varadero, and they are: Air Canada Vacations, Nolitours, Signature Vacations, Sunwing, Transat Holidays, and WestJet Vacations.

Where should I look to get the best deal on a Veradero package?

Well, you could search all 7 of the Canadian Tour Operator's own websites individually, but that would be time consuming.

There are *many* Canadian-based travel sites and brands that sell the packages available from the Canadian Tour Operators and search them all at once. This is the noise.

You may already be familiar with some of the sites & brands that spend the most on holiday advertising, 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 all inclusive deal from Montreal to Varadero is that they are all retrieving their prices from the same Canadian Tour Operators, and all trying to sell you the exact same packages at the exact same prices.

One site or 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 travel sites. A large number of Quebec travellers 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.

You may also have seen a search tool right here on YUL Deals, which is called the Ultimate All Inclusive Deal Finder.

Like any other site that searches the Canadian Tour Operators, the prices searched by this tool are the same, but it has some innovative features that other sites don't, such as letting you search extremely wide date ranges, plotting search results on Google Maps, and comparing millions of prices and TripAdvisor reviews against each other to help determine which deals are truly the best for the money.

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

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

When should I book my Veradero holiday to get the best price from the Canadian Tour Operators?

This is never an easy question to answer, as vacation 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.

But from studying price movements over the years, I can tell you that there are some general patterns when it comes to all inclusive packages:

9 to 12 months before departure:

Package prices are released, generally at their maximum price.

4 to 8 months before departure:

Prices come down a bit, but not usually a whole lot, and generally show little to no price movement. Prices are pretty static.

2 to 3 months before departure:

Price cuts start to happen on a large number of resorts. Can be a good time to book for those that are looking at a specific resort or are picky about where they want to go.

1 month before departure:

Further price cuts to some resorts on some dates. Certain dates and resorts may now be higher if there was a lot of demand.

2 weeks or less before departure:

This is where the craziest of deals can occur, and are the 'amazing last minute deals' that you hear people talk about, *but* the important thing to remember is that they usually only occur to a few select resorts.

You need to be open to going to whichever few specific resorts happen to get the drastic price cut, and of course be able to travel with relatively little notice. There are also usually only a small number of seats available on the plane by this point, making it difficult for larger groups to take advantage of this type of deal.

You can see that there are tradeoffs to playing the waiting game. The closer you get to the departure date, the more flexible you need to be in terms of not only being able to travel with less notice, but also be less picky about where you're going to get the greatest of deals.

What's a decent price on an all inclusive vacation to Cuba?

From Montreal, one week all inclusive packages to Varadero from the Canadian Tour Operators tend to bottom out at around $800 per person, after taxes. The craziest of last minute price drops can bring certain packages down to as cheap as $500-$600 per person, after taxes. 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.

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 Varadero (such as dates when many people in Montreal have vacation time) you can expect prices to react accordingly. Prices are also generally higher during the colder winter months in Montreal, as there is higher demand from travellers looking to vacation somewhere hot.

As for the Christmas holiday period (anything between Dec 21 and Jan 5), that's a whole other level of demand, which means prices are never anything but very expensive relative to the rest of the year. As a very general rule of thumb, I find you can usually take a decent price from an average demand period and multiply it by 1.5 to get your typical Christmas price. And I'm sorry to say, they pretty much never drop in price.

What about all inclusive packages from the Canadian Tour Operators with non-stop (direct) flights to Varadero?

All 7 of the Canadian Tour Operators mentioned above offer packages with non-stop (direct) flights from Montreal to Varadero.

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

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

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

People often want to know if booking an all inclusive package to Cuba is better or worse than booking flight and hotel separately. The answer is, well, that there is no correct answer. One or the other can be cheaper or more expensive for any given situation, at any given moment. All you can do is try both and compare. I do find in general though, it can be hard to beat a really good all inclusive deal from the Canadian Tour Operators.

I'd suggest starting with finding the cheapest flight from Montreal to Varadero that you can. You may want to read the guide: Montreal to Varadero | How To Get The Best Flight Deals.

Then find the cheapest hotel rates you can for your dates. I think some people are surprised to learn that they can book an 'all inclusive' resort separately and on their own, just like any other hotel. You're really just booking a certain room type and rate, that includes all meals and drinks in the cost of your hotel room.

However, it can be difficult to find 'hotel only' prices in Varadero, due to the U.S. trade embargo, which prevents many of the largest U.S. based travel sites from displaying hotel prices from Cuba.

Remember that for a fair comparison, you need to look at the 'all inclusive rate' for the hotel when booking separately, otherwise it doesn't include meals and drinks.

And also remember that you should always keep as many variables the same as possible, including the flight quality (number of layovers, layover length), the number of nights, and the hotel involved.

I think I've found a great deal on an all inclusive vacation to Varadero!

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 people 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 Veradero 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 people 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 Veradero 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.

Common Questions People From Montreal Have About All Inclusive Vacations To Varadero

When should I go on an all inclusive vacation to Varadero?

Well, most people like to go when it's colder in Montreal, which means December through March, and as always, higher demand means higher prices.

There can often be some great deals on the shoulders of this demand, in the first half of December (before the Christmas insanity), and in April as the demand starts to die down (as the weather warms up a bit in Montreal).

January can have some good deals when more people are vacationed out from the Christmas holidays. February & March tends to see a lot of demand (and higher prices) particularly around Family Day and when students have their school breaks.

September is the statistical peak of hurricane season down south around the Caribbean Sea (which Cuba is a part of). The chances of a hurricane occurring drop slightly in October, and then further again in November. By the end of November/early December, the chances become pretty slim of seeing hurricane activity.

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