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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.

13 Urban Dictionary Words for Travelers

I’m a dorky writer who enjoys things like grammar and linguistics. Annoyingly, I correct the poor language of others in my head; I won’t respond to online dating requests if their profiles aren’t grammatically correct; and I even edit my text messages before I send.

But, I have to admit that I’ve developed a guilty pleasure that would make most writing traditionalists hurl: I’m obsessed with Urban Dictionary‘s Word of the Day. I suppose this is where my love of language and fixation on pop culture intertwine.

Occasionally, a travel-related word will pop up; I smile and file it away in my brain to be used later for amusement. Since that memory file of Urban Dictionary travel words is growing, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with those who may also find them entertaining. In no particular order:

Noteworthy Travel Trends for 2011

This blurb in a Time Magazine article sums up the impact of living in a technology driven world: In less than seven years, Zuckerberg wired together a twelfth of humanity into a single network, thereby creating a social entity almost twice as large as the U.S.

For those of you whose lives aren’t driven by technology, they’re referring to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2010. Growth in both the social media and mobile space is booming, and the travel industry is no exception.

Travelocity has identified three big travel trends (along with a few other bites) for 2011, and it’s no surprise that technology leads the way in the New Year.

Top Travel Trends for 2011

Travel Gains of 2010

2010 was the year we all complained about crowded seats, lack of baggage space, and extra fees, fees, fees! In the early part of the year, the ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland wreaked havoc on air travel and we’re now ending the year with a big old East Coast blizzard doing the same. But we did see some travel gains this year. Most notably when it comes to the tarmac rule, passed by the Department of Transportation. Planes can no longer sit on the tarmac for more than three hours at a stretch without the airlines shouldering a hefty fine, and this has drastically cut down on the numbers of planes engaged in this practice (despite the fact that the airlines screamed this couldn’t be done).

Lonely Planet’s City Guide Apps: Why I’ll Never Buy a Paper Guide Book Again

When I travel with my husband, I feel like his personal sherpa. I love him to the moon and back but because I carry a purse, I get saddled with carrying the guide book, the metal thermos of water, the brochures, etc. Two hours into a castle tour and my back is killing me.

My solution? Lose the guide book and lighten the load.

Lonely planet

We just returned from a three-country tour of Central Europe and I only bought a paper guide book for one destination. For the other two I tried out Lonely Planet’s iPhone City Guides and I was hooked. My purse was significantly lighter and the apps were far better than a traditional paper book.

Tempted? Here’s how it works.