Friendly Planet Blog

How to shop for the best travel bargain

Planning a vacation is exciting. Of course, once you’ve decided on a destination, there’s still the transportation, food, and accommodations to consider, at the very least. And, of course, you want the best bang for your buck for all of these things. So how do you shop for your next vacation, confident that you’re getting the greatest value for the lowest price?
Those who want to find truly valuable bargains need to look for packages, especially online. Even if you’re an independent traveler who doesn’t want to travel with a group, booking a package that offers set departures means you get the benefit of the group rates on some important features, especially transfers, which can be very expensive for people if you have to go from an airport to a city by taxi.
Usually these packages offer some flexibility as to your return date, typically for a small fee. So you can easily extend your stay and return on a different day from the package return date. But even without the benefit of set departures, these packages are incredibly economical for travelers.
Every volume-based online marketer of travel (like myself) has access to excellent prices for all the different services a traveler needs. That includes discounted airfare; plenty of hotel choices in all different categories and locations, all at great prices; and other extras, such as car rentals, transfers, and optional touring.
In order to get a really great deal on a vacation package, even without the benefit of a group, you should book a package that includes air, some hotel nights, and, (if possible) transfers. All of those services — if bundled into one package — will generally be less expensive than booking all the services separately. At the very least, you’ll save the separate mark-ups on the separate services.
There is one caveat, however. You should very carefully compare the features of various packages because they vary widely and can be tricky. Don’t just go for the lowest published price. That price might not include some of the most important features that will end up costing you big time once you get to your destination. I’ve seen packages that don’t include elements such as the hotel location, transfers, and city tours. If included, these things give you a terrific overview of what the city has to offer so you can explore independently afterward.
So happy shopping! And, as always, if you have any other questions about what to look for when planning your next trip, leave it in the comments below, or feel free to drop me an e-mail.
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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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