“Vacations ought to be unwinding, not a stream of stressful circumstances. When you have restricted vacation days on top of a rushed work routine, an upcoming outing can undoubtedly turn into the main thing you anticipate for months. As unwinding as going away can be, a few unplanned events can easily turn your trip into an overwhelming situation.”
Compare Your Options
Before you book a flight, hotel room, or vacation package, check the price on each of the individual vendor’s sites. Oftentimes, cutting out the middle man and booking separately is cheaper than buying a package on sites like Expedia or Orbitz. Furthermore, buying directly from the airline gives you more flexibility to manage your flights, and calling the hotel can result in unadvertised savings (especially during low season and if you are celebrating a special occasion). Remember, third party sites require full payment up front, so do your homework before plunking down the plastic.
Bonus tip: Our favorite site for hotel deals in Europe is Venere.com, which has an incredibly easy user experience, a vast Rolodex of hotels (including smaller boutique properties that you’d never find on many U.S.-based sites), and lots of great deals and discounts. We didn’t include it in our comparison of discount travel sites because its forte is hotels rather than flights, but we’ve booked many European stays through Venere and have never been disappointed.
Sometimes you won’t find your favorite or most convenient airlines on these sites. Southwest Airlines doesn’t list its flights with any third party vendors, while American Airlines is missing from both Orbitz and Expedia. When in doubt, search your itinerary directly with airlines to ensure that you don’t miss a cheap rate.
Consult a Travel Agent for Cruises
Don’t book a cruise on any of these consolidation sites. A travel agent specializing in cruises is always the better option because they have relationships with cruise lines, which means discounted rates; and they can score you deals on the cruise ship and with shore excursions.