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How do you know when you've a bargain?

kent
Destination Expert
for Kent, Solo Travel
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12,027 posts
132 reviews
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How do you know when you've a bargain?

It seems the very unhappy experience of many posters on this forum that they have used third party sites to book trips, and have been dissappointed.

When you book a trip, how do you know that you have booked a bargain?

Personally, I tend to check if I can get the flight/hotel etc cheaper by checking the airline or hotel website directly.

I also check if other tour operators/travel agents/booking websites etc can come up with a better package.

So... what works for you?

What tips can you pass on to other bargain hunters?

What has been the best discount you have ever managed?

United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Mauritius, Grand Baie
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20,193 posts
1,623 reviews
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1. Re: How do you know when you've a bargain?

I usually do some research on various travel websites just to get a feeler for prices. I tend to book long haul holidays with a travel agent and short breaks by myself.

A few years ago, I had a travel agent offering me an all inclusive holiday for a family of four to Mauritius in a 3 star for £3300.00. It was a no brainer that this was a bargain.

Montreal
Destination Expert
for Paris
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18,647 posts
148 reviews
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2. Re: How do you know when you've a bargain?

I find this Canadian website (since I'm based in Canada) useful for checking hotel&air packages, to compare if it isn't cheaper than getting plane tics and booking hotel separately.

http://www.tripcentral.ca/?airpid=20

Sometimes there are bargains to be had, other times not so much.

Kingston, Canada
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3,689 posts
102 reviews
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3. Re: How do you know when you've a bargain?

I find just researching different sites/options is best way for me to get bargains. I have never booked a package holiday, but I would if it was cheaper - never has been yet. I would only book that holiday with very well known reputable websites though. Yes, websites like cheapoair are well known, but they are well known for unsatisfied customers.

The best discount I think I've ever managed is the £9 Travelodge rooms in England - most nights of one trip we managed to book these rooms.

There are many other great bargains I've found though - most found through exhaustive researching, not by booking with the cheapest third party website I could find. Like most things in life the best bargains don't tend to be just handed to us, we have to work for them a bit.

ktown

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
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16,533 posts
192 reviews
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4. Re: How do you know when you've a bargain?

mcpinder: Thanks for the attempt, but I fear that it didn't work :)

As for me, I'm a researcher. I look everywhere to find comps and then usually weigh that against the airline or hotel's own site. As for other advice, we've tried to compile some posts at the right of the page under "Top Questions", but could add some more, as needed.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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37,511 posts
44 reviews
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5. Re: How do you know when you've a bargain?

yep - lots of research and comparisions - if I do my footwork, I am seldom dissappointed with the deals I have booked. :)

Montreal
Destination Expert
for Paris
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148 reviews
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6. Re: How do you know when you've a bargain?

Another important point, understand that there is a reason for the low price -- it may be that it's low season, not a problem for some cities but for beach destinations and some locations may make a huge difference.

For discounted holiday packages -- lowered rates may also mean inconvenient flight times, renovation works at resort, lousy weather forecasts, terrible reviews (like with reports of bedbugs) ..so those also require checking, well, they require checking in any case actually :))

Edinburgh, United...
Destination Expert
for Costa Teguise
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6,529 posts
78 reviews
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7. Re: How do you know when you've a bargain?

I research everything, and I mean everything. I do a cost comparison as to how much it will cost travelling from a airport in the south (air tickets much cheaper) a) petrol b) car parking c) maybe overnight stay (if a early morning flight)

I then cost it up against going from a airport near me.

I check several sites for hotels , including their own. I dont choose lousy hotels either... (check hotel reviews on TA)

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for

Edited: 03 October 2012, 19:46
Kingston, Canada
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3,689 posts
102 reviews
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8. Re: How do you know when you've a bargain?

The saying 'you get what you pay for' isn't necessarily true in my opinion. I've stayed in great hotels paying bargain basement prices, and I've read horror stories of people who paid quite a bit of money and ended up staying in dumps. Every time I fly on an airplane the person sitting next to me may have paid considerably more their ticket. I think you often get what your effort, skill and luck got you.

ktown

Charlotte, NC
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7,321 posts
170 reviews
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9. Re: How do you know when you've a bargain?

A lot of research; on hotels: checking the lowest bids on Priceline, then calling the hotel directly & "offer" about 3% less (talking to Sales Mgr or General Manager)

On airlines (signing up with all for specials), knowing when the sale comes on, checking matrix website & trying combinations, looking at cities closeby.

& then, after booking, re-confirming with the hotel, airline, etc.

I agree with ktown: "you often get what your effort, skill and luck got you."

If you have noticed that this forum is more-or-less a Complaint Forum (It shouldn't be!!!), look at the OP's... Most have posted 1 or 2 messages & connected via Facebook....& some never "make it back" to the forum....

Edited: 04 October 2012, 14:13
Edinburgh, United...
Destination Expert
for Costa Teguise
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6,529 posts
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10. Re: How do you know when you've a bargain?

I will stick with the opinion I have , thank you! I too do masses of research into airlines , hotels and destinations, and at the end of the day, it will depend on budget & costs....