I’ve made a career out of telling travelers how to save money. My number one piece of advice: Book your flight and hotel together. I stress this so much it’s borderline annoying, so when a story in the New York Times titled When a Vacation Package Can Save You Money (and When It Can’t) popped up in my Google Reader, I couldn’t click thru to read it fast enough. Mostly because I wanted to know exactly when columnist Michelle Higgins says it can’t save you money.
Turns out even she discovered that, while it pays to be a comparison shopper, “the [online] agencies’ pre-negotiated rates with airlines and hotels allow them to create packages at prices that you’re unlikely to get from hotels and airlines separately,” she writes.
For her article, Michelle tested three sites — Travelocity, Expedia and Orbitz — by searching flight + hotel vacation packages for a few different destinations. She not only shopped across all three agencies, but she also shopped the standalone flights and hotels on the supplier websites as well.
In her conclusion, Michelle writes that “Ultimately Travelocity had the best price for two of my searches.” She goes on to give multiple pros and cons for each of the online travel companies she tested before ending with her key piece of advice: use Travelocity to hunt for packages.