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Thursday, December 8th 2016

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



2013
6
February
Ottawa to Aruba | How To Get The Best Deal On Packages


Guides >> South & Warm >> Caribbean >> Vacation Packages from Ottawa to Aruba

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

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 Ottawa to Aruba. They don't.

They use marketing noise to hide the fact that there are really only two sources of unique prices on vacation packages to Aruba.

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 are the unique sources of prices on flight and hotel packages from Ottawa to Aruba ?

Unique Source #1 - The Canadian Tour Operators

There are 2 Canadian Tour Operators that offer vacation packages to Aruba from Ottawa, and they are: Air Canada Vacations and WestJet Vacations.

Where should I look to get the best Aruba package deal?

Well, you could just search the Canadian Tour Operator's own websites individually, since there are only 2 of them offering flight and hotel packages to Aruba. But of course there are *many* Canadian-based travel sites and brands that sell travel packages for the Canadian Tour Operators and will search both Air Canada Vacations and WestJet Vacations simultaneously. 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 deal to Aruba from Ottawa 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 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 Ottawa travel agency or independent travel agent?

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 an Aruba package to get the best vacation price?

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.

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 deals to Aruba?

Great last minute vacation package deals to Aruba from the Canadian Tour Operators are not nearly as common as the last minute price cuts to other warm Caribbean destinations down south, such as to Mexico or Cuba. Still, there have been some decent last minute price cuts to Aruba in the past.

What's a decent price on an air and hotel package from Ottawa to Aruba?

From Ottawa, air and hotel packages to Aruba from the Canadian Tour Operators tend to bottom out at around $1050 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.

Holiday 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 Aruba (such as dates when many people in Ottawa have vacation time) you can expect prices to react accordingly.

As for the Christmas holiday travel 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 to Aruba from an average demand period and multiply it by 1.5 to get your typical Christmas getaway price.

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

Neither Air Canada Vacations or WestJet Vacations currently offers travel packages with direct flights to Aruba from Ottawa. The flights involved with their holiday packages usually have a layover in Toronto in each direction. Sometimes, these are overnight layovers.

What about all inclusive holiday packages?

Unlike some countries (Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic), where there is an abundance of all inclusive resorts, Aruba does not really have many true 'all inclusive' resorts where all meals and drinks are included. They do have a few, but they will be very expensive compared to countries where there are many all inclusive resorts.

You can try the Ultimate All Inclusive Deal Finder which will search all inclusive packages to Aruba from the Canadian Tour Operators.

I'd recommend searching as a wide date range as you can, as there are relatively few all inclusive packages to Aruba available from the tour operators in Canada.

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 Aruba to create a package. They tend to be U.S. based brands (but offer vacation packages from Canada).

Where should I look to get the best Aruba vacation deal?

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 a 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 travelers 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...

Expedia Travelocity Book It Orbitz Hotwire


When should I book a trip to Aruba to get the best price from the Flight & Hotel Combiners?

Try to remember that at the end of the day, the vacation 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.

Travel packages from Ottawa to Aruba will depend a lot on the airfare that is bundled with it. The packages will usually involve a flight to and from Oranjestad, which is the capital city of Aruba.

One strategy can be to look for dates that involve cheaper flight prices from Ottawa to Oranjestad (AUA), and then use those same dates when looking for a package. You may want to read the guide: Ottawa to Aruba | How To Get The Best Flight Deals.

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 Aruba is better or worse than booking flight and hotel separately.

To beat the packaged vacation prices generated by the Flight & Hotel Combiner sites, you would need to find a hotel price that is better than the source of hotel prices used by the Flight & Hotel combiner sites 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 Aruba that you can. You may want to read the guide mentioned in the paragraph above to do so.

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 to build your own Aruba 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 often hotels and places to stay that aren't 'linked up' with the major travel search engines. 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 aruba hotels. Click on the first result.

On the TripAdvisor page for Aruba 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. Keep in mind though that Aruba has relatively expensive accommodations.

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.

What about holiday packages from Ottawa to Aruba with direct flights ?

There are not currently any major airlines that offer direct flights to Oranjestad, Aruba (AUA) from Ottawa. As a result, there aren't any flight and hotel packages that do either.

The fastest flights from Ottawa to Aruba usually involve 1 stopover each way, with about a 1-2 hour layover. United Airline's fastest flights usually have a layover in Washington DC. Air Canada and WestJet's layovers are in Toronto . Look for packages involving these flights if travel time is a concern.

What about all inclusive Aruba packages?

When using the Flight & Hotel Combiner sites, you could keep an eye out for hotels that offer a room type of 'all inclusive', but there are very few in Aruba and they will be expensive.


What about cheap vacation packages to Aruba from U.S. airports within driving distance of Ottawa?

If you've ever read my guide about flying out of U.S. Airports within driving distance of Ottawa, you may know that I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a package from a U.S. airport to Aruba that's at least a certain number of dollars less per person than a similar package from Ottawa.

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.

From Ogdensburg, New York (OGS)

The only airline that flies out of Ogdensburg is Cape Air, and they don't fly to Aruba.

From Watertown, New York (ART)

I feel it could be worth the drive, if you ever see a package from Watertown to Aruba that's at least $250 less per person than a similar package from Ottawa. However, American Airlines is the only airline that flies out of Watertown, and their flights to Aruba aren't generally a whole lot cheaper than flights from Ottawa, meaning packages won't be either.

From Syracuse, New York (SYR)

I feel it could be worth the drive, if you ever see a package from Syracuse to Aruba that's at least $350 less per person than a similar package from Ottawa. Packages from Syracuse to Aruba can be a little cheaper than from Ottawa, but it's not usually a significant difference, meaning packages won't be significantly cheaper either.


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

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

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


Why should I trust this Ottawa guide to Aruba 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 YOW 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 Aruba 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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