Ilovlabs and your paris trip....

Sep 19th, 2003, 04:40 PM
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Ilovlabs and your paris trip....


I was checking out the posts and noticed your post about the paris hotels. I couldn't figure out WHEN you were going and so I clicked on your name and checked out your other it still in april 2004??? If this is so, I am really surprised some of the regulars on the board have not told you this by now....

Booking for a paris or london trip more than 120-150 days(3-5 months) in advance is not good nor advantageous in price. Most bargains and or deals will not be offered until about 3-4 months prior to the timeframe or season. (example midwinter for spring specials).

After 6 trips now, the only special I got that far in advance (more than 6 months) was on an airline ticket with US AIR to london and that was on a huge deal they ran that whole year to try to beef up ticket sales to europe. This year it was august before the fall specials on airfare started to show, and the hotels for winter/fall began at the end of august.

I know there is some security in booking that far in advance, but if you are going this spring (march-May 2004), you should really wait until after the first of the year when they start advertising the spring specials. They do this every year.

If I were you, I would tentatively set the date and do my trip planning and searching for things to do and places to go. Then in January really start looking for the deals. You will see mega spring specials on airfare and hotel beginning then.

As to your hotel, I am going to recommend another one that I didn't see on your list. Hotel du Bois on rue due dome, off of Victor hugo ave. This hotel is near the Arc and very central to many sites. If it is not near there it is very accessable from there. (the one train line that goes direct to the Eiffel is Kleber which is about 3 blocks down and 2 over from the hotel.)
You can find specials on this hotel for around 92 euros, inclusive of vat and cont. breakfast. the staff is wonderful and the rooms and bathrooms are huge. make sure to ask for an outer room on the 1st floor. the only drawback is no elevator and the stairs are steep.

if you are interested search on hotel du bois here on this board and you will get my full opinion on this hotel. I would stay there again in a heartbeat.

erinb is offline  
Sep 19th, 2003, 07:51 PM
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Are you referring only to booking airline tickets or hotels also?

Because I find there are no bargain in waiting until you're ready to visit to book a hotel room-there may not be any rooms left. If you mean booking a hotel room via an internet travel site like Orbitz or Priceline I'd still rather deal directly with the hotel instead but this is my opinion only.
francophile03 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2003, 09:22 PM
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hi francophile,

I am actually referring to both. I don't mean wait until 2 months before, but somewhere between 4-5 months rather than a 6 months to a year.

Airfare definitely. I would not book 6 months in advance. That is too early unless you really stumble across a special. I would be looking, but not booking unless that happened. Most airline specials happen a couple of months before the season. my example: airfares for this fall did not go down until sometime in august. I had searched american over and over for months, getting the $700-900 rate. Finally at the end of august, that rate came way down for october flights. This was about 60-90 days out of the departure date.

As to the hotel, I have had better luck thru online sites for paris hotels rather than booking thru the hotels direct. for example, the paris hotel du bois...if I had booked that at the hotel website I would have paid twice what I did at the third party online site and then would have had to pay seperately for the cont. breakfast. the other online site had a special promotional deal that included the breakfast and a special rate.

However, for some reason London hotels are the opposite, they advertise specials all the time. This trip, my london hotel booking was direct with the hotel because I came across a massive special about a year ago when I was 1st trying to plan for april. I had to cancel and reschedule trip for oct and they graciously extended my special deal.

All I am saying is that there is no harm in looking ahead of time and hoping to catch those special deals...but unless you find them I would recommend waiting until about 4-5 months before the trip before seriously selecting and booking.

thanks for responding with your opinion.
erinb is offline  
Sep 19th, 2003, 10:25 PM
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The airfare could just as likely have gone up in August for October and stayed there or even gone higher.

Everything turns on bookings for your particular dates.

If you wait too long, there's always the chance the airlines will have cancelled "excess" flights and remaining seats, if any, on your particular dates, will be at premium prices.

With the airlines changing prices and schedules all the time, each trip is an entirely new endeavor. Especially if you want to travel on specific dates, at convenient times, with preferred airlines.

Ilovlabs specified over and over again that her dates were not flexible.

djkbooks is offline  
Sep 20th, 2003, 09:22 AM
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I really am not contradicting your viewpoint, just stating what has been "my" experience. 6 trips to europe now (london,paris and all of UK), with 5 of them being in the fall.

With the exception of that one trip special, what I have said has held true for me. If I had book deals in the early spring for fall travel, I would have paid twice what I did by waiting.

It has been my experience in all fall/winter trips that it is best to wait until the 3-5 month range and I have seen at the point, the best specials.

you are right, prices could just as easily gone up, but it has been "my" experience that they do not, if booked in that time range.

erinb is offline  
Sep 20th, 2003, 10:09 AM
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When we decide to go on a trip, it can be as far in advance as 6 months. We start planning right away and usually book the hotel within 4-5 months in advance, and the airfare about 3 months. One year when we had booked so far in advance, we were worried about Alitalia dropping their price, since the one we paid seemed high. But sure enough, before our departure date, the prices went up more.
Scarlett is offline  
Sep 20th, 2003, 12:38 PM
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I can't speak for hotels in Paris, but B&B's in Normandy and Brittany were available with reservations 4 to 6 weeks ahead of time. This was for the month of June. Most hosts said that July and especially August was a different story.
Michael is online now  
Sep 20th, 2003, 05:12 PM
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Or Chirac could tick off most of America again, and you will find it very easy to find inexpensive hotel rates! That's what happened to us this past Spring. Which was fortunate as the hotel seemed to have lost our reservation made 4 months previous, 2 weeks before we were to leave. I hopped on the paris hotels websites and by the time I got to work and checked my email, 4 of the 5 I had requested info on availability had responded with great offers. AND the original hotel was suddenly able to accomodate us. (BTW, all were under $120/night double, from $84-$120) When you get to Paris you will discover there are many many many hotels you would be happy to stay DON'T FRET! You will find something just fine...and maybe even better than the couple you think you really really must get in to.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Sep 20th, 2003, 07:17 PM
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erinb: "Ilovelabs" is traveling in April, and over Spring vacation, on fixed dates.

While all advice is interesting and worth considering, there are no constants, only variables.

djkbooks is offline  
Sep 21st, 2003, 04:50 AM
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Dkjbooks, I am inclined to agree with your posts on this subject. Buying an air ticket, more than ever, seems to look like a game of musical chairs. If Ilovlabs waits, he/she might get one of the last chairs for a great bargain, or he/she might find themselves without a chair.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Sep 21st, 2003, 05:10 AM
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erinb, buying airline tickets has become like "Let's Make a Deal". Do I keep my prize or gamble for what's behind door #3? Some people are not gamblers. ilovelabs had fixed dates & has bought her airline tickets already on BA! I agree she could have gambled & waited for sales on Air france or Delta for a non-stop flight, but the fare she got was within her budget & she didn't want to gamble & lose it.

Hopefully your hotel information will be helpful to her. Do you remember what website you used to book the hotel at the special price?
mclaurie is offline  
Sep 21st, 2003, 09:35 AM
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hi mclaurie,

The two sites we used for Hotel du bois were:


Travelocity right now has a special for a double for 92 euros includes vat and breakfast.

Also, I agree that the airlines have been somewhat erratic this year, but my theory still held. Back in january/feb when we realized that we were going to have to reschedule our trip from april to october, we began searching airfare again. at the time we were not sure our air miles would be recredited and were certain we would lose them, so we started searching for good prices on airfares. as it stood, we did get credit and were allowed to use them for the airfare (ended up with one ticket no cost with taxes only, and 2nd ticket for $290 plus tax)

if we had booked that trip for october at any time thru june, we would have had to spend twice the air miles and/or over $699-$900 for each ticket if the miles were not given back. In fact we would have not had enough miles to cover even the cost of one ticket, much less a discount on the 2nd. now this was for flight prices listed at any time thru june 1st 2003 for flights in october 2003.

Sometime after the the 1st of june, american began advertising specials on air miles and flights. Flights went down to around $550. We finally got our credit of air miles and we called back again and we were able to get our original deal and therefore had enough miles to make a difference.

Since then I have been watching the specials just to see what was what....since june, three airlines have advertised specials for london and paris flights....all under $400, BRITISH AIRWAYS, AMERICAN, AND VIRGIN. BA had a steal to london out of newark/jfk roundtrip about $350. ($149 each way +tax) that ended in august for travel thru november. For about $50 more to paris on American.

the point was, these specials did not start until the 120-150 day window. at the beg/middle of the season before....example beg/middle of summer for fall. this has held for the last 5 trips I have scheduled.

I realize that Ilovlabs had a set date, I meant flexible as in hotel or airline company, not flexible on dates.

the key is to set a price say, if airfare is less than $400 or hotel is less than 90 euros, and then begin looking. If you see a special that meets those limits, by all means grab it. I am just saying, don't rush it to much, because you will begin seeing specials 120-150 days out from your date.

erinb is offline  
Sep 21st, 2003, 09:45 AM
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She (ilovlabs) was travelling April 16 to 23 (her school spring break) from Boston to Paris.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2003, 10:04 AM
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Well, I think I'm a fairly experienced traveler to Paris, and the reason I did NOT tell Ilovelabs to wait until much later was because she had very specific ideas about what hotel she wanted to stay at, and exactly where. I don't advise much on airfare, but there was no reason to give her that advice on hotels because her goal was not simply to get a "deal" on some cheap hotel in Paris.

She wanted to stay at very specific hotels, which definitely were NOT the kinds you get deals with on hotel internet booking discount sites. I knew by reputation and much research/reading over many years about most of the hotels she was considering, and she was not going to get deals on them during Easter vacation much later on.

I think you've misinterpreted her traveling style and the goal of her posts and research.
Christina is online now  
Sep 22nd, 2003, 10:19 AM
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The Arc de Triomphe is the western-most of all the typical tourists sights and attractions. Since Hotel du Bois is southwest of that (in the 16th), it cannot be considered "very central to many sights". No elevator and steep stairs are a HUGE drawback.

There are SO many nice hotel rooms in Paris around the same price, and you can always reserve a room, then keep shopping.
djkbooks is offline  
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