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New York Times: ‘Use Travelocity to Hunt for Packages’

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.


MORE ARTICLES & TRAVEL DEALS

Vacation Packages to Top Destinations (Travelocity)

More Practical Traveler Columns by Michelle Higgins (New York Times)

10 Reasons to Choose a Cheaper Hotel (Gadling)

Jennifer

My name: Jennifer Gaines, but my friends call me Gaines, Jenni-Dallas or just plain Jenn.

(Find me on Twitter @jenngaines)

Travel ambitions: It's my mission to visit each of the New 7 Wonders and to step foot on every continent before my next milestone birthday.

Greatest travel lesson learned: Find the local hangouts to experience the real, true culture of a place. During a trip to Europe, my friends and I spent several days with a French family in the small town of Vichy. We had a private party in their family-run creperie, feasting on cheese-stuffed crepes and sampling wine that we picked up in the Bordeaux region a few days earlier. Their English wasn’t much better than my French, which is limited to a few well-known phrases from Moulin Rouge and the question: Parlez-vous anglais? (I'm proud to say that I can spout this question off in several different languages, and luckily most Europeans do indeed speak English!) After a few bottles of wine, the language barrier was hardly noticeable (slurring actually sounds the same in French!), and we managed to swap stories about life in other places. What a slice of local flavor!

My most beloved place in the whole world is: My grandparents place in Texas. It’s a 10-acre oasis in between two sprawling cities: Dallas and Fort Worth. A creek runs through their enormous backyard, where Granddad built a deck over the water. The entire place is shrouded with all types of trees (mainly pecan), blocking the Texas sun in the summer. Dusk is the best time to sit on the deck, drink a glass of ice tea and watch baby raccoons from the spring litter surround their back porch as Gram feeds them bread (no lie!). There will be dozens of raccoons eating on any given night. In the fall, my family gathers in the courtyard in front of their house for an annual “weenie roast.” Granddad lights the bonfire, and we roast dogs and s'mores. Yes, y’all, we’re from Texas!

Favorite way to get around: Well, I’m not much of a driver. I get lost easily and my tires have never come across a curb they didn’t want to get to know a little better. But, I do enjoy cruising around and listening to music. That said, I much rather explore a place by foot (with my iPod in tow) for a more intimate encounter.

View that took my breath away: Coming from Texas (where the view is wide but there’s not much to see), scenes from my new home of San Francisco never fail to amaze me. The city is a pedestrian’s dream, but don’t forget to turn around and look behind you as you meander through its neighborhoods. You won’t realize it, but you’ll be at the tip-top of a hill and the ocean will suddenly seem to be at eye level. Take a drive through the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge where even more stunning views await!

Comments

Zonvakantie Tenerife
Reply

Interesting findings. I come from The Netherlands and it’s quite different here most of the time. Depending on the location, seasonality or the duration I’ve mostly found it easier to get a cheap deal when I book my flight and hotel seperately.

This saved me almost 100 euro’s on my skitrip a few weeks ago.

Victoria
Reply

I love Travelocity (more than Kayak) but the issue present is still that they do not showcase locally owned or smaller hotels. One thing that is important to me as a traveler is that a hotel be local (or at least involved in its community) and sustainably focused… I still have to do that research on my own!

Jennifer
Reply

Hi Victoria, Travelocity is open to working with all types of hotels, and we’re always trying to expand our offerings to travelers. If you have any particular hotels in mind that we should feature but don’t, let me know (email: jennifer.gaines@travelocity.com) and I’ll pass that information along to the appropriate market manager. As for sustainability, Travelocity is the only major online travel company that flags green hotels throughout the site. You can learn how we select green hotels and start your search here: http://www.travelocity.com/greentravel. Hope this helps!

team building exercises
Reply

My husband and I are planning our first Caribbean cruise. Is there an advantage to booking a cruise through the ships website, like Carnival or Royal Caribbean verses booking it through a website like Orbitz or Travelocity?

Jennifer
Reply

This is a great time to book a cruise! In fact, you have until March 10 to take advantage of wave season deals. Go to http://www.travelocity.com/cruise. Travelocity works directly with cruise lines to negotiate awesome deals along with perks. Travelocity also has a deal right now where you can get up to $500 onboard ship credit when you use an American Express card. It also helps to manage all of your trip elements in one place. For example, if you’re flying to Miami and staying in a hotel the night before your cruise leaves, it’s good to book your flight, hotel and cruise all in one place. So, there are definitely perks to booking at an online travel company!

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