How to Save with Vacation Packages

Jun 1, 2015
There are several reasons to book a vacation package, but the biggest two are convenience and cost savings. A vacation package usually includes flight and hotel bookings for a single package price, though you may also find flight and car rental, hotel and car rental, or even all three packaged together.

You’ll sometimes find the cost of booking a flight and hotel together is hardly more expensive than booking the hotel alone! It may seem too good to be true, but there is a reason why package pricing can offer discounts this great.

Online travel agent sites like Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity are required by their partners -- the airlines and hotels -- to enforce minimum prices on flights and hotel rates that are booked individually. But travel sites do want to offer discounts during times that business is slow. Deep discounts on vacation packages are allowed simply because there is no nightly hotel room rate or roundtrip airfare price -- it is all blended together in one amount. This allows discounts to be offered without violating the minimum price rules.

Here are some important facts to know when researching a vacation package deal:

  • For packages that include flights, the prices include all travel taxes and fees (as required by government regulations). But, this does not necessarily include baggage fees.
  • Booking a package does not mean that you forfeit selecting your flight times or hotel brand. Do not skip this important step and be sure to factor in travel times, layovers and hotel location into your decision.
  • Before doing a search for a vacation package, it is best to start by finding the separate hotel and flight prices so you can compare them to the package pricing.
  • Booking a flight and hotel package does not mean “all inclusive”. Most hotels will not include drinks or food in the cost of the package. But if this is something you desire, then be sure to add the “all inclusive” filter to hotel features while doing your search.
  • Most sites default on package searches to two guests staying together, and will show a per person price. Make sure the guests booked matches your traveling group.
  • Many sites, such as Travelocity, allow you to book a hotel for only a portion of your trip. This is nice if you plan to move between different cities throughout your vacation and do not want to be committed to a single hotel.

More Great Deals & Tips