Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Side-by-Side Travel Rate Comparison: Hotels Near Disneyland

When I decided to plan a trip to Disney with my kids, the task felt daunting. I am a single mom of two energetic boys, ages 6 and almost 2. Between work, errands, chores and kids, every minute of my day is put to use. Despite this, and maybe because I am a glutton for punishment, I have this romantic vision of providing my boys with a magical trip to Disneyland, at their most fun and precious ages.

In the past, my perfectionist tendencies have made trip planning difficult and stressful. I'd scour websites for vacation activities, hotel rates, reviews, etc, and waver on the fence of indecision for far too long. Then I found Outski. 

In the interest of full disclosure, I am the official social media guru here at Outski. However, I am not required to write anything from my own point of view. This was purely my choice.

Now, I am a natural skeptic. So when I heard the word "wholesale" mentioned about the travel rates that Outski users have access to, I found it hard to believe. I had to check this out for myself, so I did a little rate comparison, using my upcoming trip as the guinea pig. While I am rarely at a loss for words, I think the following screenshots speak for themselves. In case you're reading this on a small screen, I'll translate for you:

First, I did a rate search on a leading travel website. The featured hotel was the Ayres Hotel Anaheim, which was marked down from $179 to $139. It has great reviews, is a 3-star hotel, and is right across from Disneyland.

Next, I did a rate search on Outski.com, which uses Last Minute Travel Club's (LMT) booking system.

Note: If you go directly to LMT's website, you would have to first pay a yearly membership fee of $49.95 before even accessing their rates. Obviously, this fee is how LMT is able to offer such good rates on the hotels they have partnered with. However, when you log in to your FREE Outski account, there is no cost to you to access LMT's booking system. Not only are you getting the insanely cheap rates that LMT offers, but you're saving $50 right off the bat when you book through Outski's website.

If you look at the screenshot, you'll see on the bottom is the Ayres Hotel Anaheim, the same hotel that was featured as a customer favorite on the other travel website. However, with all things being equal (date search was conducted, dates I wish to book hotel, & number of travelers), this rate beats the other website by a huge margin. If I booked this hotel on Outski today, I would get it for $98.13 a night! That's over $160 in savings, just on the hotel.

Next, is the Stanford Inn & Suites Anaheim. At the time of my search, it was marked down from $169 to $103 on another leading travel website. Not bad!

Then I went back to Outski, and the same hotel was listed for $89.33. Again, I did searches on both of the websites on the same day, within minutes of each other, with the same travel dates selected. Awesome!

After a few more searches, I realized that I will always be able to find the better rate when I use my free Outski account. This, and the fact that I can save trip funds, set a budget, and plan logistics (if I decided to bring another adult along, which I probably will for my own sanity), all on Outski's platform, means that I only need one website to plan this entire trip! Excuse me while I do my happy dance! I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled I am at how much easier this makes my life. One less thing to think about!

As a single parent and sole income-earner, I will be able to stay within my budget without sacrificing comfort. Additionally, I appreciate that Outski offers an easy way for me to save money for my trip through my Vacation Savings Account. I would much rather spend my money on a nice trip for my family than throw it away on toys that will be forgotten. However, I am not the best saver in the world. This puts it on the forefront of my mind, and keeps it in an account that I won't touch for anything but the precious vacation time I take with my kids.

Finally, when we take our trip, I will essentially have paid for it in full before even stepping foot out the door. No high-interest credit cards will be necessary, and all of my trip funds will be safely stored on my FDIC-insured Outski Visa card. If I need to, I can withdraw money from an ATM, but I like the fact that I can use it like a credit card, and not feel vulnerable with a bunch of cash in my wallet.

I can not wait to hit the road with my boys! The "baby" may be too young to specifically remember the trip at all, but the point really is for us to strengthen our bond as a family. That is something that, somewhere inside of him, he will always remember. Years from now he can look at pictures and I will tell him about his first trip to Disneyland. My older son will remember his first trip to Disneyland as a big brother, and how fun it was to introduce his baby brother all of the magical moments that Disneyland brings.

Top Image: © mocnypunkt / Dollar Photo Club
Bottom 2 Images: © Alliance / Dollar Photo Club, © Viper AGP / Dollar Photo Club

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