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Grouping flights, rental cars, and hotels together often saves you the trouble of booking separately — and it can save you money, too.
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In the second half of 2021, average travel package prices fell by 10%, according to a recent Priceline report. But how do you know if the package deal is really a bargain or just a temptation to make you spend more money?
GOBankingRates spoke to travel experts to get their insights on when a travel deal is your best bet, and when you might want to book your trip separately.
Package deals usually be Good deal
Hotels, airlines, and car rental companies often team up to offer customers discounted rates, according to full-time traveler Veronica Hanson.
“Travel packages offered by travel agents, third-party booking sites, or the operators themselves are often the result of partnerships between brands,” she said. “You might see Hyatt doing a cross-brand promotion with American Airlines and Avis, or a Marriott group with United Plus Hertz. These packages are always better priced, or they offer some extra benefit that a menu booking doesn’t.”
As an alternative to booking through a travel agent or reseller website, Matthew Meyer, founder of MaxTour in Las Vegas, always asks his customers to check with Costco Travel for “great” deals on travel packages.
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“I rarely find other sites that can beat their pricing, and the cancellation policy plus great customer service makes it more attractive to use,” Meyer said.
Steve Olivers, founder and CEO of InsanelyCheapFlights.com, notes that group travel deals can be especially good deals when you’re booking last minute.
“Typically, the cost of flights increases as you get closer to the date of travel, but if a third party books airline tickets for a group, they often offer big discounts,” he said. “Last minute all inclusive package deals are some of the best travel deals available.”
But the package offers may not be the best choice for every traveler
“Grouping can be a great option for travelers who know exactly where they want to go and plan to stay in traditional accommodation. However, if you’re a traveler who likes to be spontaneous, stay in places like hostels and be flexible on travel dates, grouping may not be the The best option is because it’s tougher with what you can do,” said Ravi Parikh, CEO of RoverPass campground and RV park reservation site company. “Paying everything up front in this way may also make canceling or rescheduling difficult, or even not possible at all.”
No matter what, you should always do your research
No matter what type of traveler you are, you should always take the time to check your flight booking prices as a package or separate bookings to ensure you get the best deal.
“You have to compare apples to apples to see if there is a discount or advantage to an all-inclusive deal,” said Nikki Webster, travel writer and founder of Brit on the Move. “And getting from apples to apples includes all the details, such as flight times, connections, and accommodations. One worker can throw away any package, and packages usually come with some compromise.”
“For example, you can find a package deal for Paris that includes flight and hotel for five nights for about $800,” she continued. “However, flights [may] It has multiple connections, [and] Then there is the hotel quality. My experience is that you can find a deal if you’re willing to go with the flow or go with what’s considered involved. And long before you hit “buy” on a full deal, price each item independently to see if it really saves you cost or you can book it yourself. “
Taking that extra step can ensure that you don’t get robbed.
“While there are deals that represent significant savings in items, all too often we see third-party sellers making misleading claims about discounts,” said Josh Bornstein, co-founder of VIP Traveler. “Often, the big online players—namely online travel agencies—offer ‘discounts’ that are not discounts at all. Deals are often made to look like a discount, but they usually refer to the ‘best available rate’ and are the same price they offer. hotels directly, so there is no actual cash savings.It is a real challenge for consumers, so we always recommend that travelers compare to the hotel website.However, there are travel agents and websites be Use their personal relationships to get exclusive offers. The key is to work with agents, consultants, and experts you trust, especially those who make it clear when the opportunity is good or not.”
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