Review: Vacation Package

Reviewed by Milli Thornton. Photos Copyright © Brian Williams.

THERE ARE SO many discount travel sites on the Web these days, it can be overwhelming trying to single one out. BookingBuddy, Orbitz, Expedia, Kayak, Priceline . . . and those are just some of the big guys we’ve all heard of.

My solution is usually to avoid the big guys and hunt for amazing deals on lesser-known sites. This paid off for me when I was booking a Caribbean cruise and found the best deal was with Montrose Travel, where I was assigned my own travel agent. But when I was booking our trip to the Montréal Jazz Festival, I learned that one must stay flexible and consider every option.

And sometimes the first deal you find really is the best one.

I had barely begun my search when I found a killer flight + hotel + car deal on Cleveland Hopkins International (CLE) to Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau (YUL): direct flights both ways. A boutique hotel with great French style: Château Versailles.

Chateau Versailles

Château Versailles

But could we afford French style?

Dutifully, and even though I was hankering to stay in a château, I searched high and low for a better price. But even if we had stayed in a plain Jane American hotel, such as the Day’s Inn, I could not find a better price. And this was during Montréal’s peak season, the 30th anniversary of the jazz festival.

What was I waiting for? I quit obsessively searching pages of results and booked our trip.

Three little tips I would add to save you a phone call. If you’ve never booked this kind of package before, you may not know that portions of the package will be billed separately. I was checking my account frequently to ensure nothing busted. At first I was concerned that the charges seemed wrong, but after several days all of the charges appeared in our account and they added up correctly to the cent.

Another slight frustration was trying to choose good seats for our flight. I logged in to several times to do this but it never seemed to “take.” Finally, I visited and found out there was no online seat selection on flights of that type.

We liked the room, even though the bed was only a double

We liked the cheerful room, even though the bed was only a double

Our package allowed for only a double-bed room. I did look into upgrading to a fancier room but it was more than I wanted to pay. By studying the fine print, I found out you cannot call any of the providers direct to make changes. With a package of this nature, you must go through the booking company. If you need to make changes, always be sure to read the terms of service first. would have billed me extra for any changes I wanted to make.

My final opinion on A great deal all round. The website was easy to use, I received timely email confirmations and travel reminders, and the deal was exactly as advertised.

Milli Thornton

Milli Thornton


Milli Thornton (aka Milliver) is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at the Fear of Writing Blog and coaches writers individually at Writer’s Muse Coaching Service.


FTC Compliance: This is an independent review that I wrote because I had a good experience using None of the included links are affiliate links and I was not compensated in any way for writing this review.

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  1. Nice post! Have you heard of It’s a great way to find out about seats on various flights. How did you like the Montreal Jazz festival? I live near Toronto, it’s great to see Americans coming to Canada on vacation!

    • Hi Brenda, thanks for reading. I did not know about; thanks for the cool tip.

      We live in Northern Ohio and love traveling into Canada. (One of my favorite stories on this blog was when I wrote about Niagara Falls from the Canadian side: ). We’ve been to Toronto and your comment nudges me to get those stories written and posted!

      I love stories from my readers’ local areas, so if you have any inklings to write about yours please consider being a guest blogger. I can never get too many stories from Canada. Or you could do vicky-versa and write about the USA when you visit with your aunt. 🙂

      ~ Milli

  2. Hi Milli,
    This is a nice one…it’s always helpful to know ways to cut down on expenses while planning travel as it can get expensive especially for compulsive gadabouts like me…well, maybe I should say compulsive gadabout that was me! Also, have always wanted to visit Montreal and love the pics you have here of Château Versailles…so now I know which place I’ll consider first to say in when I do go!

    • Hi Roona,

      Thank you for reading my post. Yes, if we ever go back to Montréal Château Versailles will be my first look. I couldn’t bear to stay in an American chain hotel when we could do that instead.

      Good luck on getting to Montréal from your current far-flung location. You were once so close to it! But the upside is that it will appear more exotic and different if you were to visit straight from India. 🙂

      ~ Milli

  3. I like all your tips Milli. Honestly sometimes after the stress of setting it up, I barely wanted to take the darn trip.

    We have a AAA right in our neighborhood, a bike ride away, so sometimes we pop over and consult them.

    Château Versailles sounds lovely!

    …Keep bringing those tips on when you get ’em!

    • Sounds very French, riding your bike over to AAA to consult about travel. 😀

      I know what you mean about stress. Brian and I do the buddy system – I take care of things like booking and finances and he’s the map guy and excels at getting us around in the strange territory (whereas I hate that part).

      Thanks for reading! ~ Milli

      • Yes, we are getting the bikes geared up to use them more. Our gas out here is $4.10 – $4.30ish. Yuk. I suppose the companies will have more record earnings next quarter!!

        Good way to lose weight and get healthy. Stop driving! We are lucky to live in a neighborhood area that is bike and walk friendly to grocery shops, espresso, library, all the most important things in daily life. :~)

        Mars Men, Venus Women ~ We do pretty much the same thing as you and Brian. 🙂


  4. Hi Milli,

    Love your site.

    Chateau works for me. We love to stay in historic places, even decaying historic places (makes for a good essay when things don’t work quite right.)

    Will check it out and your recommendations for

    Thanks! G.

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