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People just don’t get it, and frankly it’s understandable.

How can one thing on its own be more expensive than that one thing, and entirely other separate thing? 1+1 does not always equal two when it comes to travel and that’s what people are missing. You can click away now. Just kidding. Travel is changing, and not just because of mobile phones, flash sales and email mailing lists. The entire approach airlines, online travel agencies and hotels are taking is changing and if you know where and how to search, you can unlock deals that will make your friends heads spin. Seriously…

travel parisPackage Deals Can Be Solid Gold

How do you turn a $1000 plane ticket into a $200 plane ticket? Package deals. How do you get flights and hotel for less than you’d pay just for flights? Package deals. How do you pay a fraction of the sticker price for business class? You guessed it, package deals. Airlines and online booking agencies want all your holiday dollars, and to secure them, they’ll slash prices to keep you away from the competition.

Special Fares, Hidden Travel Deals

Airlines have tickets and prices which they will only sell IF you are booking your hotel or car rental too. A perfect example? Last minute flights. Buying last minute tickets is almost always 5x more expensive than buying flights early because of late booking penalties, but airlines will drop these penalties on many package deals. Similarly, even for bookings far in advance certain prices are reserved only for air + hotel, or air + car rental bookings. There have been cases where $5000 business class tickets became $1500 per person vacations with business class flights, just for adding a hotel. In fact, some airlines basically comp the flights just to get your hotel business.

The Best Places To Look

Would you believe that you can take a vacation from London to somewhere like Venice with flights and 2 nights of 4* hotel for just ? Or that you could fly from New York to Hong Kong with 3 nights of hotel from $450 per person? The best places to book package deals are with airlines and online travel agencies. In all cases, you’re searching for flight + hotel all in one, or flight and car rental all in one. Maybe even all three. For intra European options, here are your best bets. British Airways offers one of the most user friendly tools. for holidays all over the world, booking sites like Expedia, Orbitz and Secret Escapes can be excellent resources.

But, Why Do They Do This?

Window shopping costs travel brands money, and like a great car or phone when you find something you like you’re likely to stick with it. Offering the best prices on the best places to the point where you may not search elsewhere creates a competitive advantage, and if knocking the price of the flights down 60% to get your business does the trick, it may just be worth it. And if you know you’re taking money out of a competitors pocket, that’s worth a lot.

Flexible Payment Options Too

There’s really no good solution for paying for flights over time, but that all changes with packages. Many package holiday booking companies will allow you to pay for the package over time to lighten the burden, just dropping down an initial deposit. Never spend what you can’t immediately pay off, but if you can lighten the blow by paying the amount over a few months before travel rather than in one large chunky transaction, it can be extremely helpful.

You Must Window Shop

Not every trip you’re looking to book will experience magical, life changing savings but many will. Before accepting a great package deal price, always compare the price of booking each part of your travel separately. Sometimes the right hotel won’t be on offer, sometimes it will. There’s only one way to find out. Like all travel deals, flexibility is key. It’s often best to search sticker prices and let the booking machines show you when the lowest prices are available.

Always Be Package Shopping

ABPS doesn’t quite have a ring to it, but always be package travel shopping. Never book a flight without seeing if a cheaper package is available. For example, this week Virgin Atlantic is offering £379 New York holidays with flights on Virgin plus three nights of hotel in New York City. That’s literally less than the cost of booking a plane ticket on its own. These deals exist everywhere for intra USA, Asia, Pacific and beyond. You won’t know unless you devote 5 minutes. For potential savings in the hundreds or thousands, it’s worth your time.

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