Being based in Montreal has a lot of upsides (I think I’ve made it abundantly clear that I love my town) but unfortunately, it also comes with its own set of downsides. Nothing is ever perfect! One of the biggest flaws is everything that pertains to travelling outside the city: the airport is quite difficult to get to by public transit (hello dad, thanks for the ride, again) and the pesky taxes mean that scoring a cheap flight out of Montreal is usually more of a fantasy than an actual possibility.
That was until Yulair came around.
Inspired by Montreal’s airport code (YUL), this forward-thinking tool lists all of the inexpensive flights that leave from Montreal (as well as Toronto, Quebec City and Vancouver as of a few weeks ago), regardless of the destination. It’s my go-to website for whenever I want to go on a trip but can’t either fund my dream holiday or simply don’t know where to start. In other words, Yulair tells you where to go according to your budget. I’ve even mentioned it during my CBC Radio interview earlier this year.
Because I am always so inspired by travel-fueled people, I asked the founder and CEO, Fred, to answer a few of my questions.
What pushed you to create Yulair?
The concept behind Yulair occured to me while I was chatting with friends. I was telling them how little money I paid for my flights, and they were amazed. So one day I just decided that I was going to blog about my experience and share my knowledge. And then everything sort of burgeoned from there… I purchased the domain, I designed the logo in under 20 minutes and I published my first post in the following three hours. Yulair was born!
How exactly does it work?
It’s possible to filter the discounted flights directly on the homepage, either by price, area or timeframe. Users could, for example, filter flights so that only those for “Europe in May and September for less than $800″ show up. Users can find exactly what they need in a matter of a few clicks.
Then there’s also the world map function, which displays all of the cheap flights out of Montreal to just about everywhere in the world; users can see the cheapest destinations in a single glance, whether they are looking into flying to a specific region or if they want to be jetted off to a surprising new destination! Last but not least is the flight calendar: it enables users to search deals over a period of 12 months, which is a very handy tool for those who want to travel at a precise time.
What are your favourite destinations to fly to from Montreal?
That’s a good question! Montreal opens doors to pretty much everywhere… but with layovers. Directs flights are therefore all the more special to Montrealers: for example, the non-stop flights to Europe with Air Transat, or those headed towards Delta and United hubs in the United States. There’s also the option of national airlines like Air Algérie or Aéromexico, which offer direct flights to interesting destinations.
Which destinations consistently offer good deals?
Some destinations tend to offer discounts more often than others. For Europe, the main French cities (Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, etc…) are usually a great place to fly into for very little money, at least less than it would cost to fly into other cities of the Old Continent. Fort Lauderdale, Miami and San Juan are also quite affordable year-round. On the other hand, flights to the rest of Canada very rarely represent a good deal (except for Ontario)… that is to say the domestic offer is quite poor!
What is the best deal you ever scored? The best deal I ever got on Yulair is without a doubt a Mumbai flight for just $780. I’m just sad that I didn’t get to go… There aren’t nearly enough graffitis to photograph there! ;-) Other deals that come to mind are European flights for $500 or a flight to Bogota for just $400. What kind of traveller are you? I really enjoyed spontaneous trips. Those that come knocking without warning and for those I don’t have time to prepare. I just got back from Asia even though I had originally planned to visit Las Vegas and the West Coast… I stumbled upon an amazing deal to Seoul with a free stopover in Tokyo, and I knew then that my trip had just been sorted. I had never even read a book on Japan before I actually was on my way there. I really love this feeling of having everything left to discover once I arrive.
If you only had one travel tip to give my readers, what would it be?
I would say, relax and enjoy the trip. There’s no point in running around and trying to cram everything in, see and do everything. Appreciate the moment, get a proper feeling of the place, trust your senses. It’s impossible to see everything… the old stones you missed the first time around will be there next time you visit!