Advantages cheap, last minute, known operator
Disadvantages can go mad with the bidding
I found this website last year after reading about a couple who bought a holiday for 50p for the two of them to Cyprus. I visited the site regularly through the summer but couldn't find anything for the dates I wanted for 3 people. Most lateescapes holidays are for 2, occasionally 3 and 4, holidays for more than that are almost invariably camping.The site is a subsidiary of Airtours. You have to register to bid, and then having found a holiday which you like you can either bid the minimum increment which is posted at the side of the page or you can bid the maximum you are willing to pay but the site will only bid the minimum. This has the advantage that if other people have put in higher bids you know immediately that you have to pay more than the minimum and you have the security of knowing that the site won't charge more than your top bid. Transfers and tickets on departure are charged extra but are still cheaper than the brochure.
I have travelled twice now with lateescapes; the first time to Florida and the second to Livigno (skiing).I paid £600 for three of us to Florida from Manchester, this included a travelodge hotel, flights and a hire car, but not the extra insurance. This was less than the brochure price for one person. We had a fabulous time and were pleasantly surprised to find that the hotel gave a complementary breakfast. Our room was cleaned and tidied daily, we are untidy people so I felt obliged to tip heavily!!, it had a bath and a shower and a coffee maker.
The trip was such a success that in the Spring I took my daughter to Livigno on a ski package. This time the price £410 included the hotel, half board and flights. The hotel which was named on the site, the Valandrea, was in the brochure so I could see exactly what I was getting and it was perfect for us, nice and quiet; after a full day's skiing we needed our sleep and had no intention of hitting the boisturous apres ski.The food was quite nice, and there was plenty of it, it certainly wasn't gourmet but it was edible. The vegetarians had rather a tough time though. The resort is excellent for beginners and for intermediates but there are few black runs for the adventurous. If you go to Livigno at the end of the season don't book the ski school through the tour operator unless they use the Top Club at the Mottolino; most of the tour operators use schools which use the slopes close to the village and late in the season they become icy and difficult to ski on. This was the one mistake we made, next time we will book the Top Club. I bought my daughter some private lessons through the Top Club and because they use the slopes at the top of the mountain, after a gondola ride, there isn't the problem with thawing and refreezing.
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