Calgary to Dominican | Getting The Best All Inclusive Deals
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The Ydeals Noise-Free Guide To Getting The Best Deal On All Inclusive Vacations From Calgary to the Dominican Republic
|There are thousands of travel sites out there, all wanting you to believe they have unique or special prices on all inclusive vacations to the Dominican Republic. They don't. |
They use marketing noise to hide the fact that there are really only two sources of unique prices on all inclusive packages to the Dominican.
This guide will remove the noise and show you what those sources are, 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 Calgary, 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 Calgary to the Dominican Republic?
Unique Source #1 - The Canadian Tour Operators
Where should I look to get the best Dominican Republic all-inclusive deal?
Well, you could search all 4 of the Canadian Tour Operator's own websites individually, but that could be a little 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 travel 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 Calgary to the Dominican 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-based travel sites. A large number of Canadian vacationers 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 YYC 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 travel agency or independent travel agent here in Calgary?
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 to get the best price from the Canadian Tour Operators?
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.
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 are usually only for 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 on relatively short 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 the Dominican Republic?
From Calgary, one week all inclusive packages to the Dominican from the Canadian Tour Operators tend to bottom out at around $1200 per person, after taxes. The craziest of last minute price drops can bring certain packages down to as cheap as $900 per person, after taxes. This is just a general guideline though, based on average demand periods of the year. It can of course 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 the Dominican Republic (such as dates when many people in Calgary have vacation time) you can expect prices to react accordingly. Prices are also generally higher during the colder winter months in Calgary, as there is higher demand from travelers looking to holiday somewhere warm.
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 flights to the Dominican?
Nolitours and Transat Holidays offer packages with direct flights to the Dominican Republic. Air Canada Vacations and WestJet Vacations packages typically stopover in Eastern Canada, primarily in Toronto or Montreal.
Unique Source #2 - The Flight & Hotel Combiners
The Flight & Hotel Combiners are sites that simply mash together the latest flight prices from the major airlines with the latest hotel prices in the Dominican Republic to create a package. They tend to be U.S. based brands generating packages that originate from Canada.
Where should I look to get the best deal on a Dominican all-inclusive?
This is the noise. The flight price component of the package from the major airlines is identical for every site that offers these types of packages. There may be slight differences in their source of hotel prices, but for the most part they're all grabbing the latest hotel prices from similar sources, at similar prices.
The result is that the Flight & Hotel Combiners usually all have very identical package prices to each other, and people tend to waste a lot of time thinking they are comparing prices from unique sources against each other, when they're not.
Here are the Flight & Hotel Combiners that spend the most on advertising, you have likely heard of at least one of them...
How can I compare all inclusive packages from the Flight & Hotel Combiners against the Canadian Tour Operators?
When comparing packages, you always want to keep as many variables the same as possible. For example, remember that the Flight & Hotel Combiners are using the cheapest price they find from the major airlines when generating their package prices. This can sometimes mean the default flight involved is a terrible one, with multiple layovers.
For a fair comparison, you would also want to make sure the hotel quality is similar (or ideally, the same hotel) when comparing packages. And of course, similar dates and number of nights, as these factors can affect pricing.
Another important thing to remember is that you want make sure you're looking at a true all inclusive package on the Flight & Hotel Combiner sites, and not a package that only includes flight & hotel, without all your meals and drinks. On a lot of the Flight & Hotel Combiner sites, you'll often see the room type listed as 'all inclusive' or 'AI' if the room rate includes your meals and drinks.
On some of the Flight & Hotel Combiner sites, the words 'all inclusive' will appear in the title of the resort in their search results. On other sites, it's possible the title of the hotel in the search results will give no indication that the resort offers an all inclusive room rate, until you actually explore further and discover that it does.
The most important thing to remember is that you want to compare apples to apples, and make sure you're looking at the 'all inclusive' rate on the Flight & Hotel Combiner sites when comparing prices against the all inclusive packages from the Canadian Tour Operators.
One last minor item to be aware of when comparing costs is that the Canadian Tour Operators usually include the cost of transfers to and from the destination airport in the display of their prices, while the Flight & Hotel Combiners usually offer it as an additional add-on once you're well into the booking process.
When should I book my trip to get the best price from the Flight & Hotel Combiners?
Try to remember that at the end of the day, the all inclusive packages offered by the Flight & Hotel Combiners are simply made up of two components:
1) The latest flight prices from the major airlines. The major airlines don't tend to offer great last minute prices, so waiting until the last minute can backfire. I find the major airlines tend to usually offer their most decent prices around 8 weeks before departure.
2) The latest hotel prices. It's more common to see hotels offer discounts at the last minute, but then you have to weigh that against the fact that the flight price component from the major airlines can rise as the date nears, meaning the package price could go up.
So as a whole I'd probably consider the flight price component as being the limiting factor, and suggest that I'd be comfortable watching prices from the Flight & Hotel Combiners up to about 8 weeks before departure. But everyone has a different tolerance for risk.
What about non-stop (direct) all inclusive packages from the Flight & Hotel Combiners?
There are not currently any major airlines that have non-stop (direct) flights from Calgary to any cities in the Dominican Republic. As a result, the Flight & Hotel combiner sites are not able to offer all inclusive packages involving non-stop (direct) flights.
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 the Dominican Republic 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 Calgary to the Dominican Republic that you can. You may want to read the guide: Calgary to Dominican | 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.
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.
Congratulations, you have essentially become your own Flight & Hotel Combiner, not all that different from what the large travel sites are doing.
What about cheap all inclusive packages to the Dominican from U.S. airports within driving distance of Calgary?
If you've ever read my guide about flying out of U.S. Airports within driving distance of Calgary, you may know that I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see an all inclusive package from a U.S. airport to the Dominican that's at least a certain number of dollars less per person than a similar package from Calgary.
How much cheaper it needs to be depends on which U.S. airport you're flying from. Below, I'll list how much cheaper I feel it should be from each U.S. airport, to be worth the drive.
Packages from U.S. cities are typically similar to what were discussed under 'Unique Source #2 - Flight & Hotel Combiners'. They are packages that involve combining the latest flight prices from the major airlines with the latest hotel prices.
From Kalispell (FCA) or Great Falls (GTF), Montana
I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see an all inclusive package from Montana that's at least $450 to $500 less per person than a similar package from Calgary.
But considering that flights from Montana to the Dominican are generally about as much as they are from Calgary, it's unlikely to be much cheaper to fly out of the U.S., or worth the drive.
I think I've found a great deal on an all inclusive vacation to the Dominican Republic!
Excellent! Please share it with your fellow Calgary travel lovers, they will appreciate it and thank you for it! You can post it in the YYC Deals Facebook group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive), where thousands of people from Calgary are crowd-sourcing the best deals, and sharing great travel advice.
Why should I trust this Calgary guide on Dominican all-inclusives?
|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 YYC 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 Dominican all-inclusive 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 Calgary Have About All Inclusive Vacations to the Dominican Republic
When should I go on an all inclusive vacation to the Dominican?
Well, most people like to go when it's colder in Calgary, 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 starts warm up a bit in Calgary).
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 is where the Dominican is located). 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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