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Sunday, October 23rd 2016

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

Toronto to New York | How To Get The Best Deal On Packages

Guides >> North America >> New York >> Packages from Toronto to New York City

The Ydeals Noise-Free Guide To Getting The Best Deal On Flight & Hotel Packages From Toronto to New York

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

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

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 Toronto to New York ?

Unique Source #1 - The Canadian Tour Operators

2 of the 7 Canadian Tour Operators currently offer getaway packages from Toronto to New York: Air Canada Vacations and WestJet Vacations.

Where should I look to get the best holiday package deal to New York from the Canadian tour operators?

Well, you could just search Air Canada Vacations and WestJet Vacations own websites individually, since there are only 2 of them. But of course there are *many* Canadian-based travel sites and brands that sell packages for the Canadian Tour Operators and will display packages from these 2 tour operators. This is the noise.

You may already be familiar with some of the sites & brands that spend the most on travel industry 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 from Toronto to New York is that they are all retrieving their prices from the same source, and all trying to sell you the exact same travel 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 travel sites for Canadians. A large number of Ontario 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 YYZ Deals, which is called the Ultimate Package Deal Finder.

Since all travel sites rely on the same data provided by the tour operators, the prices generated by the Deal Finder may end up being the same, but this proprietary tool has some innovative features found nowhere else but here.

In addition to the ability to search extremely wide date ranges, it analyzes your specific requests and travel desires, then correlates virtually millions of TripAdvisor reviews and price variations to produce a short list of true package deals.

This ensures you get the best value for your money, not just the cheapest option out there at some one-star dive. It can even plot those finely filtered quality resort results on Google Maps for you.

What about my local travel agency or independent travel agent here in Toronto?

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 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 on New York packages?

This is never an easy question to answer, as packaged holiday 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 package prices with under 4 weeks to go before departure. But there's never a guarantee that they will.

What about last minute deals on holiday trips to New York?

Great last minute package deals to New York from the Canadian Tour Operators are not overly common. They're certainly not as common as the last minute price cuts from the Canadian Tour Operators to warm Caribbean destinations down south, such as to Mexico or Cuba, that you often see.

Unique Source #2 - The Flight & Hotel Combiners

The Flight & Hotel Combiners are sites that simply mash together the latest flight prices on the major airlines from Toronto to New York with the latest hotel prices in New York to create a package. They tend to be U.S. based brands (but offer packages from Canada).

Where should I look to get the best vacation package deal possible from the Flight & Hotel combiners?

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 aggregators usually all have very identical travel package prices to each other, and vacationers 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 Combination sellers that spend the most on advertising, you have likely heard of at least one of them...

Expedia Travelocity Book It Orbitz Hotwire

How can I compare the Flight & Hotel bundlers against the Canadian Tour Operators?

When comparing vacation 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 holiday package prices. This can sometimes mean the default flight involved is a terribly long 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.

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 vacation packages offered by the Flight & Hotel Combiners are simply made up of two components:

1) The latest Toronto to New York 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 New York 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. Everyone has a different tolerance for risk though.

One strategy can be to first look for dates that involve cheaper flight prices to New York, and then use those same dates when looking for a vacation package. You may want to read the guide: Toronto to New York | How To Get The Best Flight Deals.

What about packages with direct flights to New York?

There are direct flights from Toronto to New York on Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, and WestJet. Look for packages from the Flight & Hotel combiners involving these airlines if you're looking for packages with a direct flight to New York.

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

Holiday travelers often want to know if booking a flight and hotel package to New York is better or worse than booking flight and hotel separately.

To beat the travel package 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 vacation 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 New York that you can. You may wish 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 in New York to build your own travel package, you don't use the same site that contains the vacation 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 can be some wonderful hotels and places to stay that aren't 'linked up' with the major travel search engines. As a result, a search for New York vacation packages using well known travel sites will not return holiday packages that contain these accommodations.

TripAdvisor is a great place to look for places to stay in New York that you won't find bundled with vacation packages from the Flight & Hotel Combiners. You need to look for them manually. Do a Google search for tripadvisor new york hotels. Click on the first result.

On the TripAdvisor page, 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. To save time, 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.

Another great site for finding cheaper places to stay in New York can be AirBNB. These are often accommodations where you're renting a room inside a local resident's own house or apartment. Be sure to look for places with a lot of reviews, and understand exactly what you're getting.

You should also be aware that the legal status of AirBNB in New York is in dispute. Google for 'AirBNB new york ban' to learn more.

What about cheap packages to New York from U.S. airports within driving distance of Toronto?

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

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 Niagara Falls, NY (IAG)

I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a package from Niagara Falls to New York that's at least $200 less per person than from Toronto.

Unfortunately though, there are only 2 airlines that fly out of Niagara Falls, Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines, neither of which fly to New York.

From Buffalo, NY (BUF)

I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a package from Buffalo to New York that's at least $225 less per person than from Toronto. It could happen, although flight prices from Buffalo to New York are usually only around $100 cheaper than from Toronto, meaning packages are likely to only be around $100 cheaper as well.

I think I've found a great deal on a packaged vacation to New York!

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

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

Why should I trust this New York vacation package guide?

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 YYZ 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 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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