Monday, May 7, 2007

Shopping Tips

Picture: Lisa's poses in her new gear!

I have a long list of things I need to purchase for this trip. I am trying to make due with what I have, but there are still many necessities and small luxuries on the list. I don’t like paying full price; it used to be that buying online was synonymous with saving money; I’m finding that this is less true that it used to be.

Hotels: I’ve been a Priceline fan for over 5 years. In the early days I could get a three star hotel in downtown Boston for $55. Those days are gone. In the past year, I have by passed Priceline in favor of booking online directly with the hotel chain. In return, I can pick my hotel, get loyalty program credit for my stay and am paying no more than Priceline’s lowest advertised price. Priceline’s fees are very steep, around $26 per night! This is wiping out any rate discount. In some cases, the Priceline price is already AT or OVER the online rate found on the chain’s site. Buyer beware, bargain sites are not always a bargain.

Electronics: No camera I’m going to bring is going to do justice to the sights we’ll see, but I may as well bring the best camera I can. I‘ve had a couple of Canon SD Powershot cameras; they are very portable and I am comfortable with the user interface. My current SD500 has been dropped and has a cracked case, and I’ve been unhappy with the dullness of my pictures lately, so I’ve decided to upgrade. Lisa still has my old SD100, and it’s a great camera for her to practice with.

I did a little comparison shopping and decided on the SD750. In the past I’ve purchased cameras on eBay or Amazon. Again, times they are a changing. eBay prices and Amazon’s best prices where over $300 + shipping. A quick comparison of prices on Google product search returned several vendors around $260. However, all of these low priced vendors rated poorly on

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