BerndtCanada Travels

Travel smart...Travel frugally...Travel often!

This is the personal website of Erich and Carol Berndt, two avid travelers from Calgary, Canada. We have created this travel information site to offer our insights and ideas to fellow travelers who wish to travel frequently; exploring, learning, and appreciating the geography, culture and history of the places being visited.  We hope you will find this website useful in imagining and planning your travels.


 
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Learn about some of our Travel Destinations

by clicking on any picture or label found below:

North America

Asia Pacific

Scotland & Ireland

Mexico

Austro-Hungary

Mediterranean

Hawaii

Spain & Portugal

Baltic Cruise

Caribbean Collection

Panama & Costa Rica

European Excursions

Australia & New Zealand

Asia Collection

 

 

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Flights

 

Accommodations


There are a growing number of options for travel accommodation. Most are now searchable online for short or long-term stays; for proximity to attractions; for price range; or, for preferred style. In our travels, we have stayed in hotels, hostels, family-run inns, B&Bs, private beach cottages, suites in historical heritage homes, stylish apartments in the center of major cities, converted barns, convents, YMCAs, miners’ cabins and artists’ studios. We have also take advantage of discounted time-share exchanges and cruises when they suit the occasion.


Using Online Lodging and Travel Aggregator Sites

There are many accommodation booking sites which offer detailed information about properties, locations, reviews, features and contact information.

The 10 Best Hotel Booking Sites for 2023

Airbnb, Vrbo and More: Comparing Popular Vacation Home-Booking Sites


Booking.com, a travel fare aggregator website and travel metasearch engine for lodging reservations, is our preferred site for booking vacation rentals.  We find the reviews to be detailed and accurate and the communication interface to be helpful. We receive a "genius" discount for frequently booking on this site.

 

         The booking.com display of two of our recent apartment rentals in Edinburgh and Vienna

Other popular sites list hundreds of thousands of properties in multiple locations and offer services in many languages. Some are affiliates of each other. Many accommodation booking sites now also provide guides to local attractions, and connections for car rentals or excursion bookings.  Many also have mobile apps for keeping track of bookings, finding locations or connecting with hosts, while on the go. There used to be many separate lodging-based booking sites in individual countries but most have now been absorbed by the mega-sites. There are some locations where small firms and local realtors still book and manage properties. There are some sites that offer unique properties like canal boats, caravans, or campsites. These are some of the best.

 NEW  In 2023, it became possible to book with one account across Expedia, VRBO and Hotels.com.

VRBO

Hotels.com 

Agoda

Tripadvisor Holiday Rentals

AirBnB


 

 

VRBO allows users to search for property features and prices  by clicking on the location

                                           
It is important to pay attention to methods of communication with property owners, payment guarantees and cancellation policies. Also give some attention to the quality and reliability of reviews. Be aware of local laws and regulations regarding vacation rentals.


Finding Budget Accommodations

By using good search engines, planning carefully, and taking advantage of bonuses offered by chains, booking sites and credit cards, it is possible to find reasonably priced and very pleasant e accommodation. The following sites provide tips for finding budget accommodations as well as offering general budget-friendly trip planning information:

Our two-bedroom apartment in Kuala Lumpur with easy access to a shopping center and metro station cost $75 per night.

 How to Book The Cheapest Hotel Possible 2022

22 Insider tips on how to find cheap accommodation

Ditch the Hotel: 10 Cheaper Ways to Stay


 

     
Staying Local

Our favorite stays have been the private rentals of small regional lodgings that allow us to maintain independence, interact with authentic communities, use public transit, and eat local cuisine. Holiday Rentals may also be known by various names such as Ferienwohnung, Gîtes, Baches, or Self-Catered/Self-Contained Apartments. They come with kitchens or kitchenettes, private bathrooms, indoor and/or outdoor seating areas, and increasingly, with WiFi, satellite TV, nespresso machines, washers/dryers, and other luxuries. Sometimes we were met by the owners; other times we got lock-box information to let ourselves in. Email, cell phone and WhatsApp messenger contacts were maintained.

 

           Staying local in Alfama                                                           Shopping local in São Miguel


Although less private and independent, another good option is a Pension, Chambre d’Hôte, a bed and breakfast (B&B), or a guesthouse. The advantage of these is that the hosts are nearby, often sharing their homes, so cleanliness and security are assured. The host knows the area well and can provide information on what to see and where to go. During breakfast, chatting with other guests provides tips and insights. Travel guidebooks often make recommendations about these small and family-run guesthouses. We have been delighted by the  proprietors who have provided exceptional services, such as picking us up and dropping us off at the train station, driving us on a tour of the city, providing transit passes, exchanging currency, providing wine from their own vineyards, bringing us fresh baking, and getting us hard-to-get tickets. Living among everyday people, watching local children play in plazas, asking the grandmas how to cook an unknown food, and experiencing the hospitality of our hosts have enriched our travel experiences and provided our fondest memories. An added bonus was that the money we saved by avoiding “big box” tourist accommodations allowed us to take our next trip even sooner!

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