This doesn’t quite sound right, but it’s exactly as it sounds – and all true. Sometimes, in fact often, you can get flights and hotel for less than you would’ve paid for flights alone. There’s no sorcery, witchcraft or other dark arts involved – just one extra search. Here’s how to score flights and hotel for less than the price of flights alone…

a water way with boats and buildings in the background with Grand Canal in the backgroundHidden Prices

Airlines and hotel must stick to “published rates” when you book a hotel by itself, or an airline ticket. They’re not allowed to do any sly deals on those bookings. But if you put the two together, and don’t specify the price of either the hotel or the flights – airlines and hotels can charge pretty much whatever they like. And for the chance to grab all your holiday change, they’ll charge some enticing rates when you combine flight and hotel. You with us?

a room with a fireplace and a sports fieldReal Life Example

My brother in law and I are hoping to attend a Bayern Munich Bundesliga soccer (football) match in Munich to check out the new Courtyard by Marriott Suite. When looking up flight prices for the popular weekend game, they were astronomical. The trip would probably be off. But then I went back and searched for package deals, where you book flights and hotel together. By doing so, the price of two nights at a five star hotel AND the same flights, were less than the flights alone would’ve been! No joke!

a plane flying in the skyShop Around

This tactic works on trips virtually anywhere in the world. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to avoid getting gouged on last minute flights. We’ve got a comprehensive list of the best ways to book these packages for European trips, the best sites offering these packages and a closer look at how to approach these deals. In short: shop around. Look at the cost of flights, look at the cost of hotels, add them up and then see what happens when you search flights and hotels together. Airlines are becoming increasingly aggressive with these packages, since they can essentially offer the flight part almost for free, just to secure your booking.

Do you use this strategy to save on your travels?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I recently experienced this for a work trip: the published fare for an LH flight (which I had to book due to company rules) was several hundred dollars more expensive than Expedia was selling that exact same flight + 6 nights in a nice hotel!

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